This is part three of a three part series:
- Part One: Planning for a Family When You Have Bipolar
- Part Two: From Pregnant to Mommy
- Part Three: Returning to Work
The next hurdle was returning to work. I’ve been back to work for almost 6 months now, and was quite surprised with myself that the transition went very well. It turns out that I am the kind of mom who needs a career. I used to think that I would like to be a stay at home mom, but after just over a year at home, I realized that I need to work to thrive and be happy. I had started to feel very isolated and restless just before I returned to work from being mostly shut in during a long winter. Everyone at work kept asking me how I was handling being away from my baby and I told them all that as much as I loved the first year of motherhood and being home every day with my baby, I was happy to get out of the house. Being away at work during the day helps me to appreciate being home that much more. In fact now that I am used to being a working mommy the best part of my day is walking in the door at home and being greeted by my little daughter’s smiles and the sweet sound of the word “mama” even when my husband is holding her up saying “It’s your turn – she’s been pooping non-stop all day”.
I know that I was lucky. I know that not everyone who has bipolar will have such a smooth ride through becoming a parent for the first time. But I truly believe that the medication, education, planning, routine and the support from my husband and psychiatrist is why I made it through this enormous life change full of stress. Of course, each situation is different, and you have to weigh that decision carefully on your own and with your partner and doctors input. I believe I succeeded in staying well because I was 100% dedicated to following my plan, but also was flexible enough to change the plan as required. Even though we were very prepared, there is still tons more to learn about in the first year of becoming parents, and the learning doesn’t stop there either. If you have dreams of being a parent or even if you end up one by accident, you can be successful at it. You will have to work a bit harder and do more advanced planning, but don’t ever let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams of raising a family just because you have Bipolar Disorder. I am so glad I didn’t listen to that person who told me not to have kids. My daughter has brought me more joy in her first 14 months since birth, than all the happiest days of my life – and I am proud of myself. I am a good mom.