Today on Instagram, one of my lovely followers asked about mental illness and pregnancy. While I’ve never been pregnant, I found this topic extremely interesting as a woman with bipolar disorder. I plan on having children at some point over the next ten years, and I’ve actually done some research about this/asked my psychiatrist about it. So, while I’m not necessarily qualified to give advice on this topic, I do have some thoughts that may be helpful to people going through this.
Do: Go to therapy. This isn’t a must, but it’s something I would make sure to do it I were pregnant. With possible medication changes, constant doctors visits, and physical and mental changes within your body, it’s so important to check in with yourself. You need to take care of you so that you can be there for your child. Therapy is a form of self care, and many people really benefit from it. If you’re pregnant and living with mental illness, I’d consider this.
Don’t: Stop taking your meds without consulting your doctor. Some people choose to have a medicine free pregnancy, while others switch medications to take something safe for the baby. Both are great options! But whatever you do, be sure to consult with your psychiatrist throughout the pregnancy to keep both yourself and the baby safe.
Do: Make sure you’re keeping up on the safest ways to navigate your pregnancy. Don’t obsess. For those of us with OCD and anxiety, it can be really really difficult not to look every little thing up on the Internet. When I have a baby one day, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep him or her safe. But I’m going to try and stay off the Internet. My advice would be to ask your doctor if you have a question. You can always get a second opinion if you don’t think they’re right. But going on WebMD at 3am on a Tuesday isn’t going to help you.
Don’t: Freak out. A billion women have done this before you. You can do it! You just have to remember to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling depressed during or after your pregnancy, be sure to see a doctor! I can’t stress this enough. Don’t wait until it’s really bad. Just go. If you’re healthy and your baby is healthy, that’s all that matters. Do your best. It’s all you can do!
For all the soon to be mamas out there, I believe in you! While I might not have children of my own yet, I do know how it feels to live with several mental illnesses and freak out about everything. After consulting with my doctor after freaking out about what kinds of meds I’ll take when I get pregnant one day, I was reassured that there are safe medications to take. Of course there are! Did I really think I was the only person with bipolar disorder to ever question medication during a pregnancy? No way could that be possible! Whatever kind of illness you’re dealing with can be handled. There are so many medications and forms of therapy out there. A combination of the two is bound to keep you in check.
Again, I don’t really know much about this stuff. I only have the research I’ve done and what my doctor has told me when I’ve asked her a million questions just because. I just thought this was such and interesting topic and really wanted to touch on it. I hope you enjoyed and we’ll chat soon!