My son, Jace Gabriel, will be two months on May 3 and I still can not get enough of him; I doubt I ever will.
I remember when I had an inkling that I was pregnant, unlike a number of women wanting a baby, I was nervous. The day I confirmed my pregnancy, I was scared, nervous, and a little bit happy. I was at the mall and I immediately called my husband to tell him. I almost cried. I don’t know about other women with Bipolar who became pregnant but I was overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions and none of them was pure joy or elation.
Saying that the whole nine months was difficult is an understatement. Yes, I did not have any problems such as pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes but my mind was and is not stable. I had Bipolar and not being able to take any medicines for it while I was pregnant aggravated my condition. I had major attacks at times – hitting myself (luckily not on the stomach), stomping my feet, hurting my arms and face, screaming until my throat hurt – and it scared and worried my husband as well as my mother. Me? I kept promising myself to do better next time, that I will control myself next time. But “next time” never came. When I wasn’t having my attacks, I saw my pregnancy as something so weird that I even likened it to the movie Alien where the main star got pregnant with an alien. I hardly felt overjoyed when I felt my baby’s kicks, I usually got goosebumps. All in all, being pregnant felt very surreal for me.
Fast forward to March 3, 2016. My psychiatrist recommended a C-section for me, fearing that I would have an attack in the middle of labor pains and the actual labor itself. As I was being wheeled towards the surgery room with my husband by my side all I can feel was trepidation. I was agitated and it was because I knew I was going to be injected with anaesthesia and they will inject it in the spine. I was actually crying because of that. I don’t really remember it but according to my husband I was on the verge of an attack.
When my son finally arrived at 8:59 am, I didn’t cry tears of joy. I didn’t feel any happiness when I saw him. I wasn’t gleeful. Truth be told, I wasn’t anything – I did not feel anything. For days and weeks, I struggled with my feelings towards my son. Why didn’t I feel loving towards him? Why do I keep looking at him strangely? Where’s the feeling of love every new mothers rave about? And the ultimate question every moms ask – Am I a bad mom???
Along with his birth came the Bipolar medications that prevented me from breastfeeding my son as well as taking care of him since the medication came with a sedating effect and I was asleep for 15 hours and sometimes more.
It took two weeks, almost three, and not taking my medication just so I can take care and bond with him for me to feel the first stirrings of motherly love. It was like a dam slowly getting cracks until it burst. And now I know without an ounce of doubt, I love my son more than my life. Oh, my medications still keeps me from fully taking care of him and my attacks are still there that I sometimes actually felt hate towards my innocent baby boy twice but that’s how it is – for now. I can fight my attacks but everyone with Bipolar knows how futile it is. During the good days, I feel like I can do anything, I make plans just like everyone and bond with my baby but on bad days I am a wreck, non-stop crying, screaming, and hurting myself. One thing I am grateful though is that after twice feelings hate towards my boy, I now look at him with a gentleness I didn’t know I can muster during my severest of attacks. No matter how bad my attacks get, whenever I see Jace or hear him crying I am slowly brought back to my senses. Before him, only my husband can do that to me.
Bipolar and babies don’t mix, I found that out the hard way, but it is and will always be worth it just to see my precious son’s toothless smiles and grins, his happy gurgles, and his milestones. The nine months of hell was easily replaced with a lifetime of heaven with my son’s love.