Awhile back, I advocated in favor of having children when you have a mental illness. Even at the time, I felt wishy-washy in doing so. I may talk the talk and chase after the children I’ve birthed, but I don’t exactly walk the walk.
Birthing children and raising them is HARD. Doing so whilst battling Depression or Anxiety or Bipolar is HARDER.
However, unless you’ve got a serious condition, producing a mini-you or two is possible. It’s worth it. It’s fun.
To anyone sitting on the fence of indecision, having a child is the best thing I ever did. To those reading this at 2 a.m. and feeling ready to return their child to the hospital, I’ll add that I’ve been there, too.
Mental illness or not, you need some helps in place when a kid comes around. Even those who don’t regularly admit to mental issues need helps. Babies don’t sleep. Babies require clean clothes, blankets, burp cloths, diapers, and bedding several times a day. Babies only come with a ‘Check Engine’ light, in the form of incessant crying.
Babies are helpless. They NEED you. And someone who needs you cannot have you checking out, flipping out, or acting out.
Instead, how about you check out a babysitter or friend so you can take a short nap?
How about you flip out a freezer meal or pizza when it’s dinnertime?
How about you act out your 2 a.m. dreams of taking an hour-long bubble bath -after guilting your partner into hour-long tending?
See how it works?
I knew a woman who was expecting triplets. After she birthed them, her family had a brilliant idea: when a friend or relative offered to help, they whipped out a calendar and asked, “Which day and time can you come?” They wrote in who would help, when, and what they would be doing. In a world of round-the-clock feeding, changing, and tending, one woman did not have enough hands to do it alone.
I’ve only produced one child at a time, and one’s enough to ask help for. A neighbor vacuumed my floors for me. Another folded my laundry. A third came and picked up all the crap my kids left on the floor. Heck -I once had a friend come over and hold my son for half an hour, just so I could sleep.
So, consider having a child, but not alone.
In fact, also consider helps specifically for your mental health. I speak of medication and counseling. There are quite a few medications that are safe to take while pregnant or nursing. Ask your doctor.
Now that my children are older, I enjoy the benefits of their company. We play computer and board games together. We plan family campouts. We cook, clean, cry, and live. It’s hard, but not HARD. I’m so glad I had them, and more glad for the helps I’ve had for them throughout the years.
Some days, I even reconsider wanting to return them to the hospital.
©2020 Chelsea Owens