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Despite My Bipolar Disorder, I'm Not Afraid of Becoming a Parent

I live with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. And I am not afraid to become a parent one day. Here’s why.

I have heard time and time again that deciding to have children while living with a mental illness is hard and irresponsible — that it just should not happen. While I definitely respect people’s own choices about deciding to have children (or not), I personally believe my illness and the experiences I have gone through will make me a better parent instead of the opposite.

I have seen my own parents raise five children. I have four younger siblings. While neither of them have never been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, watching their strength, no matter what life would throw at them, gave me faith I can overcome almost anything in life. Both of my parents have given me great tools to walk my own path in life. It wasn’t perfect, and it still isn’t. But I know in my heart they did the best they could with what they had. And I accept the good and the bad they have given me as a legacy.

It is true I have not always felt this way. But I do not see why I should refrain myself from having the same dreams and aspirations as anyone else just because I live with a diagnosis. I refuse to not even consider trying. I refuse to see myself as doomed.

My disorder does not define me. I am not bipolar, I live with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. And I have clear memories of the child and the teenager I once was — a person I’d give a big hug today because she was such in distress. I made a promise to myself to always remember that kid. Because I recall feeling even more hopeless whenever an adult would dismiss my feelings simply because I was not 40 years old. I made a promise to always remember so I cannot forget where I came from and the path I have taken over the last few years.

Now that I am managing my illness, I keep in mind that I must never take my mental health for granted. I have learned to know myself and recognize the red flags, my red flags. I know my strengths, my ability to ask for help and more importantly what makes me more vulnerable. I know who I am. It has been a long process, and it is never-ending. But I have never felt more solid, calm, loved and happier than I do now. In the past few years, I have taken the time to do anything I wanted to do. I have decided I did not want to live my life for anyone else but me.

If life gives me the blessing of having a kid one day, I hope if I embody everything I have just explained to you, I can be a great example and a great mother. That my disorder will make me more sensitive, alert and actually more capable. From the bottom of my heart, that’s what I want to believe.

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