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:

This year many of us have a tighter budget than usual given (looks around) everything that has happened. Coupled with the uncertainty of what Halloween might look like, many of us are reluctant to spend money on brand new costumes that our kids will outgrow by next year. I get it. But I also know that many, like me, love Halloween so much. I thought about skipping the celebration this year, but that just feels like too big of a disappointment in an already disappointing year.

That's why I started looking into alternative costumes—something my kids will be able to wear once the clock hits November, and maybe even hand down to siblings and cousins in the coming years. At the same time, I'm not a DIY person, so I wanted outfits that didn't require any sewing or hot glue. Last year I attempted using one to build my son's Care Bear costume, and of course, I burnt my hand.

So with some creativity (and the brainpower of my colleagues), we came up with these costumes that are both fun and practical, made with items that your children will be able to (and want to!) wear year around:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners