Amelia Wishey blogs about her life with rapid cycling bipolar disorder. Recently, when considering pregnancy, she learnt something significant about her condition.
As if bipolar and the side effects from my medications aren’t already awful… I got hit with some pretty heavy news a few weeks ago.
When I was at my psychiatrist last, I mentioned that I wanted to come off the pill and just let nature do what it wants to do. I’ve never wanted to be the person to actively ‘try’ for a baby, I’ve always wanted to just let nature take its course and not have it be a stressful and upsetting and disappointing time. But recently, I’ve really thought about this and planned it.
But when I said all this to my psychiatrist, her eyes lit up and she said, “No”.
“This is something we’re going to have to plan out.”
Monique Bowley and Rebecca Judd take a look at the many ways of getting sperm into an egg, on the first episode of our pregnancy podcast. Post continues after audio.
I was really taken aback by what she said because I don’t want this to be stressful.
But she informed me that because of my medication, I will need to plan my pregnancy well ahead of time. You see, lithium is quite dangerous during the first trimester of pregnancy. Babies are more likely to have cardiac problems, and there are a number of health risks for mum and baby. She told me that if I were to accidentally fall pregnant whilst taking lithium, she would bring up the option of terminating the pregnancy.
Things got real very quickly in that session and I had a million questions and I was feeling really confused and upset.
I know I want kids someday.
I know I want a girl, I have her named already, and I want her to be my best friend. The thought of possibly not having a child, or the thought of having a sick child, scares me a lot.
The other scary part is that when it does come time to ‘plan’ this, I’ll have to go off my medication, which will be really hard, then there will be pregnancy hormones on top of no medication. There’ll also be a question over whether I can breastfeed. I’ve always wanted to breastfeed my children, but again, it’s risky because of medication.
Since my appointment, it’s been something on my mind lately that’s worrying me a lot. I want children, I want healthy children, I want it to happen naturally and I want a normal pregnancy that isn’t high risk. I don’t want to have to be going and getting frequent tests.
This feels like just another thing that bipolar has taken from me.
Has anyone tried to get pregnant while on medication for bipolar? How did you navigate it? Let us know in the comments below.