You Can’t Have Kids, You’re Bipolar.

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The other day someone sent me a message on The Lithium Chronicles Facebook page, asking me why I didn’t feel guilty for having children because I have Bipolar Disorder. Now normally when I get questions in my inbox I post them, not only to answer them publicly, but also to let others share their experiences and feelings. I left this question unanswered, and instead decided to address it here, in a blog post.

Do I feel guilty for having children when I knew I had bipolar disorder? The answer is an unflinching and resounding NO. I do not feel guilty. My children are a blessing and I, despite my illness or maybe even because of it, am a great mother.

But what if they are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or some other Mental Illness?

Well if that’s the case, I had better blaze the best trail possible for them to follow. I now not only have myself to think of while trying to live my best and healthiest life, I have two beautiful daughters who learn by example, my example. I refuse to allow the anxiety and worry regarding what-if’s to take over my life. Trust me, I catastrophize enough stuff, this is a non-issue.

IF, in time my children are diagnosed with Bipolar or any other mental illness, we will deal with it. Because I have walked the path that I have, I think if they are ever faced with a diagnosis, WE as a family will all be better prepared for what lies ahead.

But what happens when your moods and health issues come before your children?

I admit, this part does leave me with a little bit of guilt, it has happened, a few times now. I’ve had to leave them in the care of their loving and supportive father to go inpatient on a couple of different occasions. And do you know what happened then? I came out healthier, stronger and more capable of handling my swings. I’m not perfect, and I yell and cry in front of them. I always come back and apologize; not saying that makes it right, but for someone to demand guilt from me by having my gorgeous girls is ridiculous.

I work on my health and my well being on a daily basis, and sometimes those days aren’t good days. Sometimes this does require a day, maybe even two, in bed, it sucks but it’s the truth. But are my children missing out? No, they certainly are not, and here’s why:

My children are not sheltered from my illness; I don’t believe that’s in their best interest. My children are six and eight now and while they don’t understand all of it, they understand more than most adults I know. They are kind, compassionate, empathetic, HAPPY kids, whose reality is just a bit different from some of their peers. Their mom gets sick sometimes, that’s just the way it goes. Their mom also gets really awesome sometimes too. Their Mom encourages them to stand up for themselves as well as for others who have no one to stand for them. Their Mom has taught them about Stigma and how sometimes people are just cruel and ignorant. Because of my illness, and what I do as an advocate, my children have been exposed to awareness and hope. Yes, they’ve seen the dirty end of the stick as well, and we’ve used that as a learning tool on what not to do next time.

Look no one is a perfect parent, but telling me to feel guilty for having the most amazing and brilliant children on the face of the earth just shows me how much farther we have to go to combat ignorance. I am completely aware of the what-if and the could-be situations, but that is not going to stop me from being the best Mom that I can be. Educating my children on mental illness is actually doing you all a service. I have two little warriors already doing what they can to combat Stigma. My oldest just recently made a poster for her class that said, “Mental Illness is nothing to be Ashamed of”, drew a green ribbon for BP Awareness, and had her entire class sign it. Her teacher has now proudly displayed it on their classroom wall.

We all have our ups and downs when it comes to being parents, but being parents with a mental illness can be exceptionally challenging. We don’t need people piping up to voice their concerns over whether or not we should feel guilty.

Look, if you choose to have children or not, that’s your call. I wish you all the best. To those who would shame me for choosing to have children, do you feel guilty for having children because you’re an asshole?

 

Edited on November 17th, 2015 to reflect the disgusting comments from reddit where someone decided to post this and call me everything from unstable to a psychopath. Stigma, folks, and here we go:

 

[–]EventressAwesome Contributor! 72 points 17 days ago 

I wish we could do away with the idea that people are “entitled” to have kids and the believe that having children is somehow a “right” without having to deal with forced eugenics and all that jazz.

Look, I’m sorry but we hold animal breeders to higher standards than we do our own species. And rightly so, if you know you’ve got an animal with genetic issues that are likely to be passed on, you shouldn’t breed it. It’s very basic responsibility. Same should apply to humans – perhaps not by law, but you cannot tell me it is at all ethical to reproduce knowing your kid has a very high chance of suffering physical or mental illnesses. (Random genetic mistakes, and non-hereditary issues are a different story, of course)

 

[–]marchoftheblackbeanz 23 points 16 days ago 

They always try to hit you with the eugenics argument when you say people should have some sort of savings before having children. “SO ONLY RICH PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE KIDS??? THAT’S EUGENICS!!!” No…but you should be prepared for all things in life; children being one of them. However I have found the same people say shit like “You’re so smart…it’s your duty to pass those genes on.” Umm…that really is eugenics…

 

[–]SoMuchMoreEagle 10 points 16 days ago 

Go to any of the animal subreddits and say that you can’t afford to take your pet to the vet and people will chastise and downvote you to hell, saying that if you can’t afford everything your pet needs, you shouldn’t have them. Say anywhere that you can’t afford even something basic for your multiple small children, like food, and people will bombard you with sympathy.

 

[–]tyaway8827/F/3 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 husband is enough! 2 points 15 days ago 

To be fair, I have a bit more sympathy for poor parents than poor pet owners. It’s a lot easier to avoid having pets than having kids (though both are obviously doable). It’s also a lot cheaper to take care of a pet than a kid. Plus you can skip “necessities” for an animal (like shots or vet visits) without the same consequences.

That being said, it does drive me nuts that we allow people that can’t care for a child they already have to continue to reproduce. It’s one thing to have kids and then be put into a situation where you can’t give them everything they need. It’s another to willingly choose that situation when you’re already struggling to manage a lesser version of it.

 
[–]bipolarchick[S] 7 points 16 days ago 

But I’m an asshole of course for saying this.

[–]HelenOnReddit 31 points 17 days ago 

No. Her having a kid she is in no way capable of taking proper care of, and risking passing defects to, is what would make her an asshole. Kids are NOT things.

[–]bipolarchick[S] 10 points 16 days ago 

I don’t see why they never even considered adoption or fostering as an option – or at least using a donor egg.

 

[–]Caddan 19 points 16 days ago 

That’s what my MIL did. Elderly dementia runs in her family, so she determined that it would die out with her. All of her kids are adopted.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 14 points 16 days ago 

Smart woman. 

 
 That would be a wonderful solution to most genetic disorders, but she flat out said that she yells and cries in front of them, then leaves them with their dad while she gets treated. That’s no way to parent. What if the dad died tomorrow? Who would she leave her kids with? She’s just unable to care for any child at all, adopted or not.
[–]bipolarchick[S] 4 points 15 days ago 

As a child, watching my parent struggle with mental illness broke my heart. Yelling and crying in front of your child is no way to behave. Some people with bipolar are stable and can handle an adopted child. This woman is not. But God forbid anyone should tell her that.

 
 [–]SoMuchMoreEagle 6 points 16 days ago 

No one is going to let a person who has been in and out of institutions adopt a baby. She’s too unstable. She probably couldn’t even be cleared to foster.

[–]bipolarchick[S] 4 points 15 days ago 

If she’s not okay to adopt/foster, than a biological child should have been out of the question too. Pregnancy is very dangerous for women with bipolar as well: it can end in suicide or even infanticide.

 

[–]SoMuchMoreEagle 3 points 15 days ago 

Not disagreeing in the slightest, just that adoption is probably not an option. No one can stop her from having her own children, sadly.

 
 [–]THE_DINOSAUR_QUEEN16/F/”Why are their hands always sticky” 22 points 16 days ago 

Another person said it doesn’t matter if they have to suffer because people suffer anyway.

So they’ll willingly have a kid knowing that they have a high chance of giving them a terrible mental illness, instead of adopting or choosing to be childfree, but we’re the selfish ones for not wanting kids.

 

[–]RedEyedWarrior20/M/Ireland/I’d Get Snipped if I wasn’t Gay 20 points 16 days ago 

By their logic this person could have his legs bent the wrong way by some psychopath and it’d all be alright because they’ll “suffer anyway”.

 
 [–]bipolarchick[S] 14 points 16 days ago 

If you believe life is suffering, why on earth do you want to bring a kid into the world anyway? PS, My thoughts exactly, RedEye.

[–]Morgendorffers 10 points 16 days ago 

Just said something like that to my family. At dinner and one couple is expecting a 2nd kid, the hosts have one, and the hosts in laws are expecting a kid but are absent. My wife and I are asked about us and kids and we give some answers. A bingo or two occur. My wife drops the knowledge she has a medical condition. They drop it but mother expecting 2nd says how they’ll have as many kids as we were planning to have so we are off the hook. Meaning, they’re going to have 2 and we “would ” have had 2 so they’ll have 4. Somehow it got to me talking about how disappponted I am with the world and my life in it and how I prefer to have never been born so I couldn’t do that to another person. Fuck making someone suffer through life.

 

Obviously I can’t tell people that, but the fact that I wish I had never been born is my #1 Childfree reason.

I’m not living an unhappy life full of sorrows and suffering, but it’s just, y’know, so exhausting?

 

[–]Morgendorffers 7 points 16 days ago 

Yes. Absolutely. My wife and I are the same way. We’re relatively happy after finding each other and what not. But I never wanted to work 50 weeks out of the year to enjoy weekends where I have to run all my errands or do other chores around the house and maybe enjoy 2 vacation weeks a year. Charles Bukowski said something like: How can people expect us to wake up, force feed, shit, brush your teeth, break you baxk make someone else a lot of money and be thankful for the privilege?

Had I known this would be the case before birth, as a sperm, I would have clicked unsubsribe.

 
 [–]Gay4Android 17 points 16 days ago 

We’re going to have a lot of kids growing up and suffering under emotionally unstable parents. The kids will hate them for it and wonder why they had children only to bring them into a damaged environment. And they’ll hate them even more when the reply is that they shouldn’t judge and discriminate against them just for being mentally ill and it’s just a label and mentally ill people are just like you and me. It sounds nice on the surface but inside they’ll know it’s bullshit because of the way they’ve been treated.

 

[–]SeraeNot the ovaries you are looking for. 12 points 16 days ago 

It sounds nice on the surface but inside they’ll know it’s bullshit because of the way they’ve been treated.

I sometimes feel guilty that I feel this way. My mother is bi-polar and very seriously so. She made life rough. I recognize that not all bi-polar people are like my mother…but I’m not going to forgive her behavior because of mental illness. No way. She put a rift between us that will never be fixed. Using mental illness as an excuse to treat people like shit is just not right, ugh. I don’t even know how to express my thought without sounding like an ass.

I suppose I will just commiserate as someone raised by a single parent, who made oodles of bad choices (and still does) and who had no business having kids.

 

[–]DaturaBlossomsThe only kids I like are goats. 5 points 16 days ago 

My bio-mom had BPD, and she was an abusive psycho. I don’t care how sick she was, she was abusive and neglectful to me and my brother, and flat out refused to get treatment for herself. So fuck her.

 

[–]SeraeNot the ovaries you are looking for. 6 points 16 days ago 

Agreed. My mother was diagnosed and decided to not medicate because, “I’m a nurse and used to be a counselor, I know what’s best for me.” Nah, she can just fuck right off with that thinking.

 
 [–]bipolarchick[S] 11 points 16 days ago 

Emotionally instability is an important factor too. Mental illness can be cause by nurture as well as nature.

Now, not all bipolar people are like that. Some are stable, take their meds, and would make great parents, in which case they should choose fostering or adoption.

 
[–]TheLori24Comfort the Disturbed – Disturb the Comfortable 15 points 16 days ago 

As someone who deals with multiple mental issues on a daily basis and have since I was a child, fuck this person and every person who thinks this way every possible way they can be fucked.

“Tthey’re going to suffer anyway” and “If they’re sick we’ll just medicate them!” are both horrible. Even when I was on medication it never really made me feel ‘right’ or ‘normal’, I’ve always struggled, I’ve always had to cope, some days just holding on to get through that day takes everything I’ve got. I don’t even know what ‘normal’ feels like.

And to be so hell-bent on being a mommy that you just don’t care that you’re likely creating a kid who’s going to have to live like that, who might even have to grow up as a kid dealing with those issues, as long as you get to be a biological mommy? Even with my struggles I know there are others who deal with way more than I ever have, and I wouldn’t wish even my problems on someone I didn’t like, never mind a kid. And anyone who would or who doesn’t care if they do is a disgusting, despicable person. Unfortunately you can’t just say that though, because then weirdlyyou become the terrible person.

But as one of my CF friends who also has mental health issues said it “I care about my hypothetical kids enough to never have them, and never subject them to living like this.” 

 
 [–]Sliverofstarlight 14 points 16 days ago 

My brothers girlfriend is bipolar. He has OCD, is a hoarder, a narcissist and we have a family history of depression and schizophrenia. They want 4 kids. All biological.

I frequently face palm so hard that it sends me out the window.

In all seriousness, those children will be SO beyond fucked that I literally lack the words to describe the level of future fuckery I anticipate.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 10 points 16 days ago 

I have OCD and this winter it was so severe that I nearly took my own life. My bad OCD days are like living death. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.

[–]Sliverofstarlight 11 points 16 days ago 

Yeah, I wouldn’t wish my bad days of depression on anyone. It is quite literally living hell and they are SO selfish and shortsighted that it’s really appalling.

 [–]StumblecatHow is my uterus like the moon? They’re both barren! 3 points 16 days ago 

I only wish it on people who say shitty stuff to people who struggle with their mental health, like people who say “Just cheer up!” to depressed people.

 
 [–]rainbow-sailor 2 points 16 days ago 

I’m diagnosed with OCD too, but I guess I’m a nastier erson than you. I absolutely wish this on people I hate. It’s so fucking miserable and exhausting all the time. I want them to suffer.

But an innocent baby? What? No. That would just be awful. If I ever decide I want to raise a kid (unlikely, my OCD/Depression are awful so I don’t think I’d be a good mom), I’d adopt. Not risk passing on this crap.

 
[–]tparkelaineDO NOT WANT 9 points 16 days ago 

That’s so sad I could cry. Appalling.

[–]Sliverofstarlight 8 points 16 days ago 

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more with your comment, it really is child abuse, and thinking about it is terribly upsetting

 

[–]tparkelaineDO NOT WANT 8 points 16 days ago 

If I had someone close to me with all those problems, I would remind them of how much harder it would be with kids every time they brought up aaaaaall the kids they wanted. Maybe that sounds mean, but it’s doing both them and their potential kids a favor. It might save some damn lives.

I’d be reminding the narcissist how the attention they get for breeding is fleeting, and quickly gets transferred to the baby, and how kids are their own people and not a reflection of their parents. I’d remind the OCD sufferer of how unpredictable and disgusting kids are, and how they don’t give a fuck if you have time for rituals and order. I’d remind them how depression usually gets worse after you have kids, and how people going through it can end up harming their babies. And I have mental illnesses, so I know what I’m taking about and I know these people need some tough love before they fuck up several lives.

 

[–]Sliverofstarlight 5 points 16 days ago 

Yeah, I would say all of that to him, but he doesn’t take his medication so he’s convinced that I’m the evil unsupportive sister, and he’s the normal one. He tried to get my mom sent to a mental institution because she didn’t want him keeping old hamburgers in his bed, and he tried to break into my apartment… so he’s not really a rational person. We don’t speak as of a few months ago, and that won’t change even if they do get married and/or have kids, so…not my problem, but I do feel bad for any future offspring they unleash upon the world.

 

[–]tparkelaineDO NOT WANT 7 points 16 days ago 

Oh, well if he’s out of your life, definitely keep it that way. Hopefully they end up not having kids

 
[–]SoMuchMoreEagle 3 points 16 days ago 

If bingoing doesn’t work on us, why would the reverse work on them? They don’t want kids for rational reasons. I’m not saying don’t try, but I don’t expect it to work.

 

[–]tparkelaineDO NOT WANT 4 points 16 days ago 

Not bingoing. Just explaining some realities they may not be aware of. It’s not because they’re doing something I think is stupid (like having kids). In that case I would mind my business and keep quiet. It’s because they’re doing something (or planning to do something) that’s dangerous and potentially life-ending. Like if I saw a family member abusing or neglecting their child. It’s not bingoing to say “this is actually terrible and here’s what will happen if you don’t stop.”

 
 
[–]saphiraynecats before brats 12 points 16 days ago 

Good god, the comments. Coming from a family with a whole host of severe heritable mental illnesses, I’m genuinely horrified by how many of the commenters knew they had this disorder and bred anyway.

Having a bio-kid knowing you could condemn them to a life of misery and having to be constantly at odds with their own mind is abuse.

At least some of them are capable of being responsible though:

I have bipolar and found out I’m 6 weeks pregnant. I’m 33 years old. I found out (too late) that one of my medications caused my birth control pill to be less effective. I’ve only been diagnosed for a couple years and haven’t found meds that work for me yet. Last night after I crashed out after being awake for 38 hours my fiancée said the dogs were barking and going nuts. I didn’t hear a thing. How would I hear a baby crying in the middle of the night? I have horrible depression and don’t even have the energy to wash my hair some days. I feel like a failure for admitting this, but I don’t think I’d be capable of caring for an infant. So in the best interests of everyone involved I’ve decided to have an abortion. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I can’t even care for myself. My fiancée works 14 hours a day and I’d be the one taking care of the baby 90% of the time.

This is the responsible action. Not throwing your hands up in the air and going ‘fuck it, BAYBEES!’.

The grandmother with the bipolar daughter is heartbreaking:

I have a 30 year old daughter that is seriously bipolar. She has two children, ages 6 and 8 both in grammar school. I had legal custody of my firstborn grandchild because my daughter suffered serious post partum depression to the point she did not want to hold of care for her baby. Three years later, my daughter managed to get an attorney “PRO BONO” costing her nothing because she wanted to “mother” her child, meanwhile having given birth to my second grandchild. Eventually the legal battle came to an end because I could no longer finance the fight which ultimately cost me over $20,000. The state of SD is a “mother state.” Meaning the state of SD would rather place a child with their natural mother than remove the child from their custody, WHERE THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA HAS SERIOUSLY FAILED MY TWO GRANDCHILDREN. My daughter is UNFIT to raise her children. She is continuously hospitalized for her psychotic episodes…

…She takes absolutely no responsibility for her self or her own actions. My two grandchildren suffer emotional abuse as a result. They love their mother but they do not understand that their mother is mentally ill. My daughter lies to the both of them and threatens them that if they “talk” about anything then the police will come and take them away. She tells them what to say at school, etc. and mind warps the both of them and brainwashes the both of them. My daughter NEVER SHOULD HAVE had children. My daughter cannot live a normal life. She lives in poverty and relies upon Section 8, the food stamp program and strangers off of Craig list for handouts for her survival. I do not think anyone that is bipolar has any business having children. It is a severe mental illness. I know how it is affecting my two grandchildren whom are now both labeled ADHD because they are being “mishandled” by a mentally unstable individual. My two grandchildren are being “treated” for my daughter’s illness because it is affecting the both of them so severely mentally and emotionally that they trash their classrooms at school, refuse to go home when school is dismissed to the point the school is calling the police to “witness” the situations

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 9 points 16 days ago 

I’m glad I’m not the only one who was pissed. I barely graduated high school because of my mental health conditions and I can barely take care of myself. My parents should never have procreated.

 

[–]saphiraynecats before brats 7 points 16 days ago 

In my parents’ case, I don’t think they understood the full severity of the problem until all us kids were already born. But the crazy train ends with me, as far as I’m concerned. It would be straight up immoral for me to breed knowing that we have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism and OCD all in one generation. Thankfully I finally found a doctor who agreed with me and gave a me a referral for a tubal. Just gotta convince the gyno now.

 

[–]SoMuchMoreEagle 3 points 16 days ago 

Bring in the documentation of your issues, so the gyno can really see how serious things are. If you have to, them that you are fine with adoption, if you change your mind. You shouldn’t have to lie, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. 

 
 
[–]allrattedup29/F/FL- sterilized with furbabies 11 points 16 days ago 

I’m bipolar and currently transitioning meds. I have had to drop my dog off with my mom because I just… couldn’t. My dog is like my child. Seriously he has a car seat! But managing my mental health is utterly exhausting a lot of time and I can’t put a kid in a cage because “mommy needs a fucking break to cry for a few hours”.

My father is fucked up with mental health issues and I wouldn’t wish dealing with that on child. So at best I torture a kid with having an unstable parent or at worst they have to live with a mental health issue of their own on top of it.

I don’t know how people can do that with a clear conscience.

 
 
 

 

[–]ivegotyounow 9 points 16 days ago 

Dude… NO… fuck that!. I have to spend THOUSANDS every year on doctors because of my mental illness. Thats such a shit thing to say “oh they can just go to therapy and take meds!” .. do you not realize how expensive those can get? Especially.if your insurance doesnt cover it!

Good fucking god. This made me grumpy

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 10 points 16 days ago 

Not to mention they come with some pretty nasty side effects. My schizophrenic friend is a genius with a 150 IQ but he can’t even read, write or paint anymore because of his medication. He’s constipated, he has hand tremors, he can’t do ANYTHING.

 

[–]ivegotyounow 6 points 16 days ago 

Mines 142.. however its really hard for me to function some days. So its like.. yeah im smart thats great.. ima go over here in my dark corner now.

The meds are strange. It takes a looong time to find a combo that works that doesnt zombify you. The hand tremors!!! Those suck. Ballz. Major ballz

 
 [–]saphiraynecats before brats 5 points 16 days ago 

My eldest brother is on the strongest anti-psychotic available to treat his schizophrenia and it barely takes the edge off. I hate when people think you can medicate mental illness away, it usually indicates that the speaker doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about

 
 [–]Morgendorffers 9 points 16 days ago 

Being a parent is not a right. Until the government starts trying to steralize people left and right, it’s not a discussion about being a right. I wouldn’t ever say “you’re not allowed to be a parent because health issue x y z”. But people should really fucking think long and hard about it. Maybe reconsider it if you have genetic illnesses that may make your kids life hell. My wife has a lot of cancer on both sides of her family. Even if we weren’t CF, we probably wouldn’t risk having a kid because they xoukd die before age 12 due to some kind of cancer as it’s a hugely increased risk due to the amount on her side. Its staggering. It made an OBGYN nurse double take but the Dr. Stupid had to say “you can get cancer anyway even if you don’t have a History of it”. Brilliant. 

 
 

 

[–]Sirius-lyNoKids33/F/Asking for sterilization since I was 7 9 points 16 days ago 

I am speechless at some of those comments.

I mentioned in another thread how I’ve been suicidal since I was very young (6-7), and how many problems it caused me growing up (and still causes me to this day). My brother (who physically abused me) is severely bipolar, with schizo-effective disorder as well. I have 3 extended family members with full blown schizophrenia, one of whom is institutionalized. My mother deals with periodic depression and anxiety issues, and had severe PPD with both of us. My family suspects my father has undiagnosed bipolar disorder as well. I truly wish I had never been born. While things were different back then, and they didn’t understand all they do now about mental illnesses and the genetic component, I think it was unethical for my parents to have either of us.

Those commenters are full of shit. While I’m glad my brother finally found a cocktail of drugs that mostly works for him, it took nearly 30 years and multiple inpatient visits. I’m considered medication resistant, so no, they can’t just “take medication and therapy” if they are diagnosed. In addition, unless an illness is WELL under control, no one has any business being a parent in the first place. It’s child abuse to make a child deal with the fall out, in my opinion. And then, when the kids start having problems, the first thing they do is try to self medicate because they don’t understand what’s going on. My brother was on hard drugs before he was a teen, trying to bring himself up or down accordingly. I went through bottles and bottles of over the counter pain medications because it would help numb me emotionally, and I wouldn’t rage out as much. I only stopped when the doctors started to want to do MRIs and CAT scans on me. Then I started self mutilation.

I have an IQ in the 160s, and I can barely function. I work selling food at a bakery, for barely minimum wage, and that’s only because a friend owns the place and understands when I break down.

And to the woman in the comments on that site who said women are ‘genetically built for having babies’ – fuck you up the ass with a unlubed catcus. I’m so mad at people of her ilk that all I can say is this – They are the cruelest, nastiest, lowest, most immoral and unspeakably selfish fucking cunts in the world.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 3 points 16 days ago 

I’m so sorry about your illness, I’m unemployed and it took me nearly eight years to graduate high school because of my issues. And yes, it is selfishness of the highest caliber.

 

[–]Sirius-lyNoKids33/F/Asking for sterilization since I was 7 3 points 16 days ago 

I dropped out the first day of my junior year. I ended up getting my GED a few months later. I have a lot of regrets about my entire high school career, but I keep telling myself that I did the best I could with the information I had and the state of mind I was in at the time.

It took me 8 years to graduate from community college, and I still haven’t gotten my bachelors. This is the first year I haven’t taken any classes at all, towards anything. This is also only my 4th paying job ever (I was an intern at one point), and being able to handle it took a lot of effort this year.

I’m sorry about your illness too. And, I want to tell you that I’m proud of you for graduating high school despite everything and despite how long it took. That shows a strength I would be willing to bet you don’t acknowledge much, if at all (because I don’t either, if I’m honest).

 
 [–]Anubisghost 8 points 16 days ago 

This reminds me of a UPMC commercial I just saw with a woman taking about having sickle cell and how painful it is and she emphasized wanting to have a baby and not knowing if she could. She had just been talking about how sometimes she’s in so much pain she can’t move, and yet she’s willing to pass that on so she can have a baby. And they call us selfish.

 

[–]SoMuchMoreEagle 5 points 16 days ago 

There is nothing wrong with being selfish.

As long as it isn’t at someone else’s expense.

 

[–]Anubisghost 2 points 15 days ago 

Exactly. It just irritates me that people use it as a weapon against anyone they think isn’t living the way they should. 

 
 
[–]DaturaBlossomsThe only kids I like are goats. 5 points 16 days ago 

As someone who suffers from severe clinical depression, people saying that “it doesn’t matter If you pass a mental illness on to a child because they can just get meds” pisses me the hell off. A, some of us can’t fucking get meds because we’re poor, and many of us are poor because of the mental illness interfering with our ability to get work. Those people who say those things should come pay for me to get therapy and medication, since they seem to think the costs are no big deal. B, meds don’t always work, sometimes they work for a while and then stop, or they come with serious side effects, like SUICIDAL FEELINGS. C, even with treatment, severe depression is a hellish thing to live with. It is tortorous, and unrelenting. Anyone who doesn’t care if they give it to a kid clearly doesn’t give a fuck about the kid, at all.

 
 
[–]tparkelaineDO NOT WANT 8 points 16 days ago 

Knowingly having a child with a disability — be it physical or emotional — is CHILD ABUSE. Anyone who does that is a selfish asshole or a naive simpleton who doesn’t comprehend what they’re doing to their child. If I thought my mother had KNOWN I would have had all these problems before I was born, I’d have slapped her across the face and walked away.

 
 [–]joantheunicornTeacher = enough kids in my life 4 points 16 days ago 

I had a friend growing up whose mother had bipolar and a few other chronic physical and mental health issues. She came home from school multiple times to find her mother hallucinating, making suicide attempts, etc. She learned to cope as if this was the way a child should have to care for their parent. Her mother has assisted living now, which is great, exactly what she needs.

They said the bipolar had set in heavily after my friend was born (her mom was in her early 20s). What if having a child makes your bipolar worse, to a point where you are not able to care for yourself, much less a child? Do people consider this? Thankfully, her dad was very supportive and stable, and after her mother moved out, things calmed.

 
 [–]SkyEyes9Genuine crazy cat lady, 66 and nobody’s granny! 3 points 16 days ago 

Sounds like my ex-SILs, breeding away (and criticizing me for not breeding) in spite of the fact that schizophrenia ran rampant in their family. Now they’re both stuck with adult children who are schizophrenic and can’t make lives for themselves away from Mombie.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 2 points 15 days ago* 

I found this little gem on a schizophrenia site, a woman who is going to have kids anyway even though it “ruined her siblings lives.” She has THREE close relatives with schizophrenia. People like that don’t give a flying fuck about the lives they’re creating, and I feel sorry for their children.

 
 [–]JetBlackSunriseSay yes to baby-punching 7 points 16 days ago 

I’ve been in favor of eugenics for years. This is yet another confirmation of my views.

 

[–]PlayingGrabAss 1 point 16 days ago 

So to you would it be equally good to ban someone who wants kids from having them because the consensus is that they’re unworthy, as it would to force someone who doesn’t want kids to have them in order to pass on favorable traits?

 

[–]JetBlackSunriseSay yes to baby-punching 2 points 16 days ago 

No. I would never force (or even encourage) someone to have kids.

 
 [–]Whammersmith 2 points 16 days ago 

I actually think she (the first blogger) has a point. At least she’s being a positive influence on her children when it comes to mental health. Hopefully they’ll be less judgemental in the future, regardless of their mental status.

I do agree she’s lucky, in that she has a partner who can also take care of the children when she is in her depressive phase, and perhaps if she were on her own she would have had a different view.

Equally, I support and encourage those who choose NOT to have children for reasons of mental health. I don’t think that babies will magically fix any problem, and the commenters who told the second blogger that can go fuck off and die in a fire.

 
 
[–]ZidormiChildren are cute, but so are grizzly bears… 2 points 15 days ago 

No….it’s so selfish and dangerous to procreate if you have severe mental illness.

I’m Bipolar II. I take meds twice a day, every day, forever. Just today I forgot my morning pill(Halloween hangover made me forget). I realized my mistake when I had a psychotic episode. All I could do was breathe for ten minutes. I couldn’t move. If you bring a child into that, I guarantee that’s the 10 minutes when they’d stick their head in the stove or do some other idiotic activity.

You’re not an asshole. Just smart.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 1 point 15 days ago 

Thanks. I also suffer from psychosis. I feel genuinely concerned for the children of people with mental illness because they may inherit the disorders.

 
 [–]NanynkaKulichova 2 points 15 days ago 

This is one of my biggest triggers ever. Selfish breeders (they really don’t deserve to be called parents), who don’t care if the kid will be sick too, who don’t care about the clear impact of growing up with a mentally ill parent on a person, who just choose to ignore facts in order to cater their selfishness.

And somehow, they feel morally better for doing all this shit? Entitled to teach others “big truths about the life, where everybody must suffer anyway, so why wouldn’t I make sure my kid will suffer for me personally”. Omg, I cant even, this is just so infuriating for me.

 
 [–]DaturaBlossomsThe only kids I like are goats. 2 points 16 days ago 

And fuck anyone who thinks all women are wired to be mommies, too. I don’t even identify as female anymore and that still offends the everloving shit out of me.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 2 points 15 days ago 

Same here. I guess I was wired improperly because I’ve never had a maternal bone in my body.

 
 
[–]Gnarlybrotep 1 point 15 days ago 

I don’t care if it makes me an asshole, I think anyone with a severe disability/mental illness should be monitored by CPS as soon as the child comes out, and if they can’t properly take care of the child it should be taken. And I say this as a person with a severe mental illness.

There’s no ethical way to force people to stop breeding, it’s a natural biological function. But children aren’t things, and they’re not property.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 2 points 15 days ago 

Not EVERYONE with a mental illness is a potential child abuser, but some are.

[–]Brynyx 6 minutes ago 

 
 [–]peanut_jam -2 points 16 days ago 

Going to pipe in a be a devil’s advocate. I’m type II bipolar. My mother was also bipolar with other (unknown) mental health issues that were pretty severe. I’m the lucky one that got them, but I went undiagnosed for my entire life until a few weeks ago (am now 20).

I knew that there was something “wrong” since elementary school, but I grew up with an amazing father who taught me strength and to not give in– that you can learn self-control. I’m not talking about the “suck it up” attitude, but a distract yourself with good things until you eventually get out of the depression (because with bipolar, it will end) or how to tone down the manic stages. I remember my first true manic stage in late elementary school/early middle school. Guess what? I recognized “this isn’t how I’m supposed to act” and I reeled it in accordingly.

Mental illness can be controlled. Mental illness only means you have to adapt to life differently. If someone had dwarfism, would you expect them not to breed simply because they can’t reach the top shelf like the rest of us without help?

Bipolar disorder in itself isn’t debilitating, and people with it can lead a healthy and normal life.

 

[–]bipolarchick[S] 3 points 15 days ago 

Oh, it isn’t debilitating? when I had a depressed state it took all my willpower not to swallow a bottle of sleeping pills. I’m sometimes awake until 5am because I hear screaming voices in my head and insects crawling under my skin. I barely graduated high school and I don’t have a job. Did you know 50% of people with bipolar attempt suicide, and 15% die to it? But hey, it’s not debilitating, right? It isn’t like dwarfism – it is a lifetime of psychological torture. No one has the right to inflict that upon a child who never asked for that life.

 
 
 
 
 
 

51 thoughts on “You Can’t Have Kids, You’re Bipolar.

  1. Having my daughter and adopting her out, I’ve had people ask if it was because of my bipolar. No, it’s not – I’m just not ready to raise a child yet. But if my daughter asks when she grows up, I won’t hesitate to tell her about my diagnosis. I think kids are more compassionate and understanding than most adults out there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having children if you’re diagnosed with a mental illneas that you’re managing well. I hope to be able to do explain my bipolar to my figure children like you’ve explained it to your girls.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Where’s the Like button? I want to hit it 50 times!
    For the Lithium Chronicles inbox question (which I’ve filed under The Woefully Unenlightened) I have….no words. Or words that would violate my kindness policy. But let me say this about that. I had my son before I knew I had bipolar. I would NEVER have changed my mind. He is my everything. He did not escape some of the genes, he does suffer from anxiety. He’s an adult now, and together we talk about it, I teach him mindfulness and other coping skills, and it’s actually a bond we share against the world. He does worry when I’ve had rough times, but he loves me and worries no differently than if I had any other disease. But he also inherited my high creativity genes as well. I am so proud that he is a successful teacher who is also an accomplished musician, artist, and writer. Thank you, bipolar, for making us so unique!

    Liked by 5 people

  3. My response to the question you were asked… Do you feel guilty for bringing children into the world and passing on your level of ignorance unto them? Do you feel guilty for not passing on understanding and compassion to your children that clearly wasn’t passed on to you?

    I loved this post and your children will grow up to be incredible adults, and they will be filled with love and compassion when its time to change your diaper and mop up your drool.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I loved this post! It’s totally spot-on!

    There are some really awful posts in the blogosphere about this issue. Blogger Natasha Tracy wrote a post that I found incredibly offensive, negative and ridiculous. It pained me that some of her readers/prospective parents would be adversely influenced by her narrow views. I totally choose you to voice my beliefs over her any day, plus she’s not even a parent! (Hope she’s not your BFF.)

    ANYhoooooo, on a much brighter note, you did a stand-up job.
    Many thanks, my dear!!!!!
    You’re a rock star of the highest degree!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I heart you. I did read her post, and didn’t agree either. Like I said, it’s her call, and others if they choose to have children or not, but the whole, “pack your bags we’re going on a guilt trip” shit does NOT fly with me. Some of the best Mamas I know have a mental illness, and their kids are freaking brilliant. Include yourself in there, Love.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a beautiful post. I’ve often thought about the possibility of motherhood and passing on my depression, and what that would mean. I love that there are people like you out there leading by example and raising happy, well-adjusted girls who have an understanding and compassion around mental illness. Thank you so much for sharing this question and your response! I clicked over from the Stigma Fighters FB page:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, that really means a lot. It’s always a personal choice, but I do not like people shaming others for those choices.

      Stigma Fighters is brilliant. I support that organization 100%

      Like

  6. I have son and he is the love of my life! I would never have not had him. Anyway, your child doesn’t have a 100% chance of getting bipolar d/o, the chances are 30% max, that your child may inherit this infernal disease. Yes there were hair raising times, (a few) when parenting him was hard, yes he may have been exposed to some things that a child of a parent who is not mentally ill would never be exposed to. But he is a marvelous human being, compassionate, passionate, and he is in second year Law school. I wish him only love and laughter in his life and I am his biggest fan, and of course being his mom, worry incessantly about him. But to not have him here now, how sad that would have been.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is a wonderful reply to a stupid question. I imagine a lot of people are asking it though. You have the luckiest kids on earth because of your bipolar disorder and your willingness to bring a light to shine on it. They have a great role model to follow in you and Scott for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is the way you deal with life’s issues so well. Much better, I agree, than the ones in the last sentence of your blog. I am extremely proud to have you for a friend Nicole!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: My Son | Bipolar1Blog

  9. Reblogged this on Stigmama and commented:
    Nicole Lyons brings an important topic to light with regards to motherhood and mental illness. A STIGMAMA Contributor and Stigma Fighter, Nicole is an advocate in every sense of the word. Here, she shares her experience with stigma related to a question posed on her Facebook page where someone questioned her choice to have children as a woman with Bipolar Disorder. Her response is telling of just how hard mothers with mental illnesses work. They are tireless in their ability to manage the illness/difference with grace and grit. Thank you Nicole for your work, wit, and wisdom. Keep writing!

    This post was reblogged with permission of the author.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My mother had paranoid schizophrenia. She raised four children and there were many ups and downs. We had a supportive father and we had each other, and I wouldn’t go back and change anything about it. There are mental health issues in my family but none of them have kept us from leading a good life. I was afraid to have kids but had two daughters whom I cherish. There are no right or wrong answers. The question isn’t whether or not to have children, it is what can we do as a society to finally help people with mental illness to get the same medical treatment, rights, and support as those with physical illnesses. Thank you for raising awareness about this issue. I am so glad you spoke up about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy. You’re absolutely right, there are no right or wrong answers. I love your comment,

      “The question isn’t whether or not to have children, it is what can we do as a society to finally help people with mental illness to get the same medical treatment, rights, and support as those with physical illnesses.”

      That is so spot on. Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post, Nicole, especially the ending. Although I truly can’t imagine anyone asking someone if they feel guilty about having kids because of an illness. Every parent gets sick sometimes; that’s part of life. Someday, people will realize that mental illness is simply another illness. But assholes? I’m not sure what the treatment is for them. xox

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I have often wondered and pondered and even anguished over this. I come from a long, convoluted history of family members with Manic Depression. I have seen it rip lives and families apart. I did not have children and that’s fine by me.
    You, my dear friend embody all the beauty, resilience and hope that a person living and thriving with #BiPolar can manage. Your girls are stunning and I know you are the most loving, well adjusted mother.
    I can only turn it around and say would my parents have been better off without me? I already know their answer. It’s a resounding no.

    Love and light.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Love your response. Sorry you even had to consider the question, though. You forgot to ask them when they had their last psych evaluation to prove they don’t have a mental illness before they have children😉

    My son was actually the first of us to be diagnosed bp. I was next and years later came my mother. My other son has a “mood disorder”. Any bets on what it is? Our psych just doesn’t want to add any more labels onto him because he has many other medical issues already.

    Thanks to people like you and my parents who didn’t hide my dad’s mental illness and treatment from us as kids, I believe society’s outlook on mental illness will change. Keep on being you because you are great! I love reading your stuff:)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thanks so much for writing this! You’ve done a wonderful service to those for us who have both bipolar disorder and children. Your daughters are lucky to have you as a role model, and clearly you have successfully modeled empathy and compassion. They are on the right path—you have taught them what they need to know to have a loving and fulfilled life, no matter what the future holds. I wasn’t diagnosed until my daughter was 12, and I did have some concerns about the possibility of passing on my genetic makeup. But as others have said, the chances are only 30%, and I would not have chosen differently if I’d had my diagnosis before she was born. She is the greatest gift in my life, and she has told me I’ve been a great mom. She’s grown up to be brilliant, sensitive and caring. She’s come with me to my bipolar support group and read books about bipolar. We do bring gifts to our children that others without our condition may not. Shame on the shamers.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I have 8 grandkids and all of them will be educated about all of my mental illnesses! 4 of them, ages 13,12,10 and 7 are very well educated already. One of the 3 year olds understands my sadness and my OCD with germs. Shielding and sheltering kids from any and all illnesses is just ignorant! Children have brilliant minds; they can comprehend as long as they are taught with dignity and respect! Nicole you are awesome and I am confident your girls are also!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You kno what Nicole-Ive said this to you before- your contributions to fighting the stigmatized mental health community are phenomenal and inspiring. I can only hope that when my daughter is the age yours are that she will have compassion and a drive to combat the cause as much as T & B do. Children learn by example and I think your example is outstanding. I was the first in my family to be diagnosed bipolar and I can remember feeling scared and intimidated by the idea of having children, petrified even. I wouldn’t change a damn thing thus far. Haters gonna hate. Love you bunches! Big wet sloppy kisses and big bear hugs too! 💟😘😋😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jess, You are phenomenal. The haters on reddit are despicable and the epitome of stigma. I wonder if I should send them all a thank you for giving me a brilliant topic for Embracing Balance.

      Love you, Girl

      Like

  17. Wow. Just. Wow.

    A friend of mine is bipolar and a parent. Her kids are fine but the people commenting would still say she’s terrible and her kids are screwed. On the contrary, her kids are why she makes sure to keep taking her meds (before kids she was never bothered to take them as prescribed) and keeping her doctors appointments. Her oldest is a teenager now and the only real difference between him and most his classmates is he has a very good understanding of mental illness. Oh, no!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. As a mother of two, I can attest to the fact that being a mother with BP is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had severe issues with PPD, which was also terrible. I’m still a really great mom, and I try a lot harder because I have to. When I wrote an article about being a mom with a mood disorder I got a lot of people telling me I was horrible and should give up my kids. My house is a safe environment. When my childen get hurt, are frustrated, angry or sad guess who they come to? Mom. Because they trust me and have every reason to. There are bad mothers who have BP, just as there are bad mothers who don’t. I am a good mom, so I don’t worry if other people write rude or erroneous stuff about me. I know it. My kids know it. My husband knows it. Life is good.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Pingback: It is Child Abuse if a person with Mental Illness procreates? | Bipolar First Bipolar Together

  20. My wife and I are both bipolar and we have 7 kids , from ages 13 to 31, all adopted because our meds don’t really allow us to have kids biologically. I resent anyone telling us they’d be better off without us just because we have bipolar. More than half of them have mood disorders as well, despite no biological link. (not unusual in foster care) I think that our experience helps them with this rather than hurts them.

    I sometimes wonder what my family would have done if I wasn’t the first Dx. with bipolar? I certainly wasn’t the first with bipolar, just the first Dx. Would they have had me? I hope so, despite the suffering bipolar has caused me, I’ve had a lot more joy in life than suffering, and I’m glad I was born.

    Keep up the good work Nicole, your kids and your readers are both lucky to have you!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Holy smokes Nicole. Wow, I must be super ignorant not to realize that some people think like this. Wow!! I do recall a very painful comment my father made to me in a very offhand way that “he should have given imore thought before having children and he wish he had known..”

    I completely agree with you. My kids are more empathetic and understanding and educated regarding issues if equality, justice, and tolerance. I don’t hide my illness from them either. What kind of example would that be? It would teach them to hide anything uncomfortable from me and to be ashamed and silent about it.

    If I didn’t have kids the world would be a much darker place. Their creativity and awesomeness brightens the lives of everyone around them. I’m sure you and I could have a bragging contest.

    I do protect them from my moods as much as possible by being elsewhere when I’m super depressed or too energized. I’ll take a run or camp out at a coffee shop or in another area of the house.

    Thanks for posting this Nicole. It is a good sound view of things in response to those revolting dehumanizing comments.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. My mom was clinically depressed. From the time I was five until I was 15, she didn’t talk to me, she just lay in bed looking at the wall while I tried to tell her about my life. It was sad for me. I didn’t really understand it. I was a bit angry and felt rejected. If only someone with awareness could have explained things to me. If only someone with your kind of awareness could have guided my understanding.
    I can’t believe the eugenics based comments above. They make me sick. I am not clinically depressed, I have two lovely children. Can you imagine a world where you were prevented from having children based on your genetic make up? Sounds like some fucked up post apocalyptic sci-fi movie.
    Parenting is a struggle no matter what your mental health state is. To be constantly aware of your current state is something that would benefit most parents. I see the need for personal awareness every where I go. It is not the people who admit their flaws that we need to be afraid of, it is the ones who point out everyone else’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. There are all sorts of mental health issues in my extended family, from BPD, depression, a variety of anxiety disorders and more… Had those genes prevented children, there are a lot of us, over several generations, who wouldn’t be here now. Some of those disorders have been passed on, and I know my children may inherit some of mine. I love my life and my children and my family who are incredibly compassonate, loving and empathetic. I’d rather, be here and, belong in my family than have the opinions of the haters.
    Lovely blog post, and your daughters are privileged to be yours x

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I actually had to stop reading their comments. I can’t believe that such ignorance and hate exists. These people, Trolls I guess they’re called? They are your modern day white shroud wearing, pitchfork wielding angry villagers. Except their villages are their basements and the pitchforks are laptops. Barf.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Ouch! I actually couldn’t finish reading all of the Reddit comments but as an avid Redditor, I’m not surprised. There are lots of times I have to opt to not read through the comments on a post because I /know/ it will reek of ignorance and put me in a bad mood.

    The thing is, if my mother in law had decided to not reproduce with the man she reproduced with (who is undoubtedly the man who passed bipolar disorder on to my husband) I would not have my husband. The problem with these opinions is the fact that they assume that everyone who has a mental illness is better off dead. Jesus fucking Christ, they/we are not vegetables who contribute nothing to society, never experience happiness, only feel pain or only cause pain. What the fucking fuck? Go ahead and erase everyone from history who has every had a mental illness or a “defect” of some sort and see how drastically it changes everything and how many important people would never have existed.

    I have a mental illness and I’m glad to be alive. I’ve been anxious and sad but I’ve also had the opportunity to learn meditation and coping skills and therapy techniques. I’ve been able to find immense satisfaction in conquering the problems that I’ve faced in life.

    My husband has had the pleasure of being one of the first people in his family to seek treatment and find stability! How fucking cool is that? He was the first one on his fathers side of the family to recognize and admit to his problems with addiction, quit using substances, seek a diagnosis for his mental illness and find a medication that helps level him out. He works, he takes amazing care of his children, and his family loves him very much… none of us wish he were dead or non existent.

    I grew up with a mother who struggled with mental illness and I resent her. But the qualities I resent in her have nothing to do with her mental illness, they have to do with her personality. She refused to acknowledge her flaws or admit that she needed therapy or would often make half hearted attempts and then insist that she was better through the power of God and prayer (not fucking true).

    Shitty parents are shitty parents, mental illness does not have to dictate whether you will be one or not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kris, you stated that so perfectly. Could you imagine this world without the contributions of people without mental illness? And how dare people judge anyway. The sad thing is that the woman “bipolarchick” who posted it to begin with is a fucking moderator in bipolar group, like WOW.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am noticing more support for having children in the bipolarSOs (bipolar significant other’s) group on Reddit than the bipolar subreddit. Perhaps people who do well enough to land supportive spouses are more likely to succeed at parenting? It’s worth consideration.

        The thing is that ALL people should consider the ramifications of having children and weigh their options and take the decision very seriously… not just certain ones with certain illnesses. While mental illness sure can be a heavy weight, there are other qualities that come into play during the decision process. And it still isn’t anyone else’s decision to make unless the state deems it necessary… and I sure as shit don’t see them knocking on the doors of everyone with a diagnosis all the time because they are so clearly incompetent. Big eyeroll, ugh.

        Liked by 2 people

  26. Well, I’m late to the party as usual, but really felt I needed to say something. I’m in shock by the reddit yuk. I’m a mom with labels. I have 4 kids, 2 of them with labels. Everyone always tells me how amazing it is that I cope so well with my army of wild boys being that I was such a young mom. They talk me up and compliment me UNTIL it gets out there that I’m the cause of the diagnosis as I have the same issues…. To be perfectly honest, I am, but really, I was in foster care at 13 and had my first baby at 15. I didn’t plan it or give it much thought that I could pass on Tourette Syndrome, Bi-Polar or any other of my list to my kids. I just accepted that I was pregnant and I would have to make sure I was taking better care of myself. Why do people miss that part? Why was it ok when I was the “teen mom” but not the sick mom? I’m raising teens now and they are the kindest, most thoughtful young men I know but it sucks that we have to live under all this stigma. Thanks for being brave enough to share your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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