I have always desperately wanted a daughter, and wanted to have several babies. I worked in infant care for seven years, and babies are my favorite people. I feel so much love toward them and from them, and have so much purpose when caring for them. From a very young age, around four or five, I have looked forward to becoming a mother. I wrote down “get pregnant and have a baby” on a bucket list I made when I was eight years old.
When I was 19, my bipolar disorder presented. My ultimate diagnosis was bipolar II (mixed-state, rapid-cycling episodes with psychotic features), major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. I have had extreme difficulty keeping myself functional and safe over the years, and it is literally dangerous for me to do something like cook when I am in an episode. I had to leave my job working with babies and go on disability, because I had an episode at work in which I was not safe and I was endangering the babies. That was eye opening. And I did not like what I was forced to see.
I have a step-son who is 12, and I came into his life when he was 6. He lives with his mother the majority of the time, so I only spend a little time with him, but I used get wildly impatient with him when we were together, because I have generalized anxiety disorder, so I’m naturally irritable, and I fretted over his behavior and how it will affect him and his life down the line. I am deeply ashamed of this, because he did not do anything to deserve my irritation. As the adult, it was my job to stay patient, and I couldn’t. He is on the autism spectrum, and learning about autism has made caring for him much easier and more effective, and at this age I am very proud of him for all the progress he has made, as well as for what a kind, caring, smart, funny, and empathetic person he is becoming. However, it is abundantly clear to me that because of my lack of patience, I am a poor parent, and that he is lucky that I am not his primary caregiver.
If I were to have a baby, I would have to go off of several of my medicines for nine months. That, combined with wild hormones, would probably cause me to become suicidal. If I survived, I have a high chance of developing post-partum depression, or just another major depressive episode. Being up at night and missing sleep continuously would bring episodes every day, during which I would not even be able to heat up a bottle of breastmilk. No matter how badly I want or have wanted a baby, it is a terrible idea for me personally to have one.
I had my tubes tied a couple years ago. It was a hard decision, but it was the most adult and responsible decision I could have made. Having a full-time child would be equivalent to raising a person destined to be a deeply unhappy and maladjusted adult. I also would have a high chance of passing down my multiple mental illnesses, and if I did, my child might not have survived her/his teenage years at all.
I still want a baby. I am 31, and my biological clock is still ticking loudly in my head. But I couldn’t do that to another human. I get to have a part-time child, my stepson, so I do get to fulfill some of my mothering needs, and I do get rewarded for that by good, warm feelings toward him. It’s kind of like I won the parenting lottery for my exact situation. I only get to parent a little.
I get angry sometimes that having a baby would be such an awful mistake for me personally. I get angry at my mental illnesses and their consequences very often. I’m sure that there are mentally ill people out there who are far more functional that I am and could raise a child effectively, but I am not one of those people, and I have to be responsible for my choice to refrain from reproducing. After all, it is a far kinder act for me to prevent passing on my genes than to make a person I physically can’t take care of.