Families with a bipolar mother face several issues. The problems arise whether there is a formal diagnosis or not and the issues begin during pregnancy and can have ramifications for many years to come. Children of bipolar mothers have challenges that other children do not face. The complexities of the disorder affect everyone in the home.
Medication and Pregnancy
Pregnancy is problematic for a diagnosed mother with bipolar disorder. Medication is effective in the treatment of manic depression. However, the medicine can cause problems for the developing baby. It is important to take precautions when planning a pregnancy when the mother has manic depression that is being treated with medication.
Problematic medications include lithium and other mood stabilizers. Possible complications include spina bifida and neonate toxicity. Other possible problems may occur but more research is required before the effects on the developing baby are fully understood.
Bipolar mothers can minimise the possibility of complications by planning for the pregnancy. This approach is ideal because the mother can work with her physician in order to treat the mood disorder before becoming pregnant. The doctor can develop a treatment plan that addresses the needs of the mother and the baby.
Bipolar Mother and Childhood Experiences
Growing up with a mother who suffers from manic depression is very difficult for children. The children are not aware that their parent’s behaviour and mood swings are abnormal. The shifts in mood are confusing but they adopt the changes as normal simply because they have no other experiences to compare.
Problems include the following:
* Inconsistency in parenting style is very problematic because the parent does not discipline the child during certain stages. The child may become confused about which behaviours are acceptable and which are not.
* Neglectful tendencies are troublesome when the mother falls into a depressive state. The child does not receive the attention and affection required for self-esteem and motivation.
* Poor modelling is another issue. The child may adopt poor habits including procrastination and leaving tasks and project unfinished.
* Isolation from friends and family is another problem that can cause great distress in a child of a bipolar mother. Other children do not share the child’s perception and experiences, making it difficult to relate to peers.
* Shared symptoms can occur in some cases. The child may adopt the perceptions and thought processes that the mother exhibits.
* Genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder is of great concern, especially if the child’s environment is stressful.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with a bipolar mother is possible for an adult who has the ability to be objective about the situation. Proper care and medication can help the parent treat the symptoms of the mood disorder.Learn how I beat Depression