Menu

Learning that I'm bipolar made me a better mom

It was like putting on glasses for the first time—everything made sense.

Learning that I'm bipolar made me a better mom

Mental illness has been a taboo subject in my family since I was a little girl. It probably has something to do with my parents being immigrants and just the general stigma surrounding the thought of someone being "crazy." Which is why I didn't even bother telling my parents that I knew something was wrong with me.

After I had my first baby in 2016, I was struggling—big time. Dishes piled in my house, I never cooked and I could barely shower. These all sound like normal difficulties for first time mamas but something just didn't feel right. I was a literal zombie going through the motions of motherhood, and hid in my safe little house away from any interaction with the outside world as often as I possibly could.

I eventually accepted that I had postpartum depression... but that was just the beginning. Having had depression before once, I accepted it and decided to give my old coping mechanisms a try. I threw myself into working out, writing and exhausting myself to the point where I didn't have the energy to be sad.

And that worked... for a little while.

Until I was unexpectedly pregnant again at six months postpartum.

Once I got over the initial shock, I experienced a gallbladder removal surgery at 21 weeks pregnant, cholestasis of pregnancy while I was on bed rest and preterm labor at 31 weeks pregnant. Then I was in charge of taking care of the infant baby version of the energizer bunny.

When my second child was born, I hit rock bottom. He was a challenging baby. He hardly slept and he cried—a lot. I felt like a horrible mother for the first couple of weeks, and then like magic, I was fine. I was taking care of my two under two, like a pro. I felt like I had everything under control. Like there was no better mom than me.

Until a week or so passed and I was barely able to get off the couch to feed my toddler.

I was up and down, up and down—and then so down I felt like my family would do better without me. This is when I realized that I needed help, and so I went to therapy. Therapy was my only option after months on Zoloft, as prescribed by my gynecologist, did nothing but take the edge off.

Eventually, after putting off the appointment, I finally caved because honestly—I was almost out of meds. I needed that refill to function and take care of my children and I had no choice but to talk to someone.

The first few appointments went well enough, and then my life changed when I got a diagnosis: bipolar disorder.

It was like putting on glasses for the first time—everything made sense. Now that I had a diagnosis, I was finally put on the correct medications to stabilize my mood and really be there for my children at my healthiest.

Being diagnosed as bipolar helped me realize that my children would not get the best life I could provide until I took care of myself first. It makes me a better mother to see a therapist every week and take medications every day in order to show my children that mental illness is not the end of the world.

For me, a proper diagnosis and treatment was the beginning to a better life. And now? I'm proud to be bipolar.

I'm proud to show them that having a mental illness does not make me weak.

That I am still strong, smart, and brave.

My diagnosis allows me to be free from the constraints of self-destruction and self-hatred with not being the perfect mom.

I am human.

I am worthy.

Having a mental illness makes me a better mom, because every day I fight for my family. Every day, I choose to try to be my best for them because I know that I'm teaching them the importance of taking care of themselves first.

You might also like:

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This oil completely changed my skin this summer

And I'm never going back to lotion.

For all the sweating and swimming I do in the summer, it seems illogical for my skin to be as parched as ever. But your mid-thirties (and 2020 in general) don't really seem to follow any rule book, so here we are.

A couple of months ago, I was on the lookout for a moisturizer that would not only keep my legs from looking like an ashy mess, but also truly nourish and benefit my skin. I've developed a deep interest in skin care for my face over the past few years and decided it's high time to extend that degree of consideration to the rest of my body. (After all, there's more of it, right?)

It's not that I'm too concerned with aging, but let's be real. If there's something that can be done to slow the Wrinkle Express, I'm going to give it a go. I also wanted to find something natural that wouldn't turn into a goopy mess the second I started sweating.

Enter: Esker's Firming Body Oil.

Keep reading Show less
popular

In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play