Please Don't Assume I'm a Bad Mom Because of My Mental Illness
OK, so I’m just going to say it.
Just because I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) doesn’t mean I’m automatically going to be a bad mother. I’m saying this because this is what I instantly thought when I was first diagnosed with BPD. I thought I had failed. I thought, “I’ve got these issues now so I can never be any kind of mother, let alone a good one!”
Yet, I am here to be brave and say I am a good mum. I’ve always been extremely protective of my little boy H. I’ve always given him lots of attention, love and affection. I’ve played games, baked cakes, cooked, been creative and arranged days out. I am always cooking meals from scratch and trying to make sure he is as healthy as possible. My husband and I are always being told what a lovely kind, polite boy H is.
This is so lovely. Amazing in fact because how can this be true? I’ve got borderline personality disorder? BPD rules my life so I must be failing him! I must be doing something wrong!
This is very much the way you are treated by professionals after your diagnosis. I was, at least. It is wrong and unfair, and it actually feeds the negative views we already have of ourselves.
Everyone would be better off without me.
I may as well disappear as I am failing at everything.
I was terrifyingly thrown into the world of social services after my son was born. Meetings, appointments, checks ins. There was never any questions about whether I was causing any harm to H, but I was told after we had been discharged from social services, the reason they got so involved is because of my diagnosis.
I mean, seriously! My family and I went through hell and back because I had a diagnosis that people think suggests I might not be a good mum.
Professionals should not be focusing on a mom’s BPD diagnosis solely. They should be focusing on and encouraging the positives we bring to our child’s lives. They should be treating every case individually, and of course, if there is a need for intervention, then absolutely, 100 percent I agree with the necessary precautions being taken.
Please, don’t assume because I have BPD I am not a good mother.
I actually feel my BPD makes me a better mother at times. I am sensitive and feel every emotion intensely. Because of this, it makes me closer and able to understand H more. I can put myself in his shoes and communicate better with him.
Since I like to see the people I care about most happy, I do a lot with him. I take him to his favorite places, play his favorite games and make him smile at every opportunity I can.
Ultimately, I do now believe that I am a good mum. Wow. Did I just say that?
There are always days I look back and feel guilty for the times I was struggling. I imagine what it must have been like for H when I was at my worst. I look back and think that for more than half of his life, I was ill. What a shitty mother!
Then, I remind myself, he spent plenty of time with friends and family, who adored him. He grew in confidence. More importantly, it gave me the time and space I needed to get better. So that I could look after him to the fullest.
I’m not a perfect mother, far from it. Yet, I am no longer striving for perfection. I am just doing the best I can with an amazing, little boy I am blessed to have in my life.
Lots of love,
This post originally appeared on Amy’s Boarderline World.
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