Saturday, February 14, 2009

Postpartum Health and Bipolar Disorder

When I started this journey, I desperately wanted to prove that a woman with a mental illness could have both healthy children and manage her illness. So far, I think I have succeeded. That's not to say that it hasn't been challenging. It has. But, I think I have narrowed down a few things that have helped me throughout the journey. Those ingredients for mental health have been provided by a large village of people.

The first ingredient is my incredibly supportive and loving husband. He has been my safety net. He catches me everytime I fall. He has developed a true understanding of my emotional challenges. He has learned what to say, how to say it, and, more importantly, when to say it.

The second ingredient includes my team of mental health professionals. I see my psychotherapist weekly and she has been available by phone at any hour of the day or night. She works closely with my psychiatrist who has extensive experience treating bipolar patients who want to become parents.

Of course, psychiatrists are only as good as the medications they prescribe. Throughout my pregnancy, I was on 100 mg Zoloft and 100 mg Seroquel. Postpartum, I continued those two drugs (reducing the Seroquel to 25 mg so I could wake up for night feedings) and added Gabapentin. In addition, I take DHA and EPA (Omega-3s) and prenatal vitamins. More importantly, I always take my meds. Always.

Finally, I breastfeed and practice attachment parenting. The breastfeeding induced hormones help keep me balanced and reduced the effects of the postbirth hormone changes on my mood.

This has what has worked for me. Bipolar women can be moms. We can have healthy children and we can stay healthy too.


Sarah said...

so happy for you healthy mom and your healthy baby

Veronika said...

I've always believed in you!

Cibele said...

I am so proud of you!

K77 said...

I'm glad it's all working out well.

I was under the impression that lower doses of Seroquel were more likely than higher ones to affect sleep. DP takes 100mg at night (after a psychosis in late 2007) and it knocks her out. She still wakes a few times at night for the toilet, but the kids rarely wake her. I don't know how much of that is seroquel and how much is MS though.

Anonymous said...

If you are a victim of minor depression, it is possible for you to get rid of it with little effort but once you fall prey to serious depression, it may become altogether impossible to tackle this disorder without opting for medications. And among the medicines available in the market to treat depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, Xanax and Zoloft are highly popular.

Alexicographer said...

I've come by from time to time to see if you've updated, and always hoping you're OK. Seeing Akeeyu's latest post only made me hope that doubly so. In short, I hope you and your family are thriving.

Aurelia said...

Hi there,

Wondering how you are okay? Please update us a bit!

Kayla Joy said...

hi-randomly stumbled upon your blog. I was just diagnosed with bipolar and almost started crying when I saw your baby. I'm so afraid of getting pregnant...and so afraid of not ever getting to be mom. Your blog encouraged me, and also made me laugh. Please keep writing.

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Forbidden Regrets said...

Being lonely in a crowded room. Feeling sad and not knowing why, not being able to sleep, waking up in the morning not being able to move, giving up your life out of no choice, crying for no reason, making a demon appear in your head. Listen to its horrid world making your life spin in circles not knowing what path to take. The dead end of a road. The coffee black peice in your soul, not resting till the end of time, never leting it forget you, eating your soul, mind and heart. Try to run as you will, you life will be taken. Draging you one foot at a time into hell. The suicide you wish you could have just to end the pain. Pity when you hate others sympathy. Self hatred, sadness, anger, darkness, deadly, lonely, sorrowing, regreting, perpetual, and killing. Giving up your dreams to be stuck in the enternal force of demonic gravity. It is a world. It is my life.

Dino aka Katy said...

just popped by to see how you are and how life is as a mom

mike said...

Trying to deal with this horrendous cycle of being on the medication and getting off the medications is the biggest challenge that bipolar individuals and their families have to deal with on a daily basis.
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allen said...
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allen said...
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allen said...
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allen said...

The coffee black peice in your soul, not resting till the end of time, never leting it forget you, eating your soul, mind and heart. Try to run as you will, you life will be taken. Draging you one foot at a time into hell.
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