Having kids when you have a mental illness can be a huge blessing. I know some people that have bipolar disorder and have decided not to have children.
I did a little research years ago to determine how much of a chance it is for a child to inherit bipolar disorder from one or two parents that have bipolar disorder. There was large inconsistency in the numbers. The only thing I found consistent was the overall chance of passing on bipolar to a child does increase with one parent who has bipolar disorder. It increases even more with two parents that have bipolar disorder.
The chance of increase for a child to inherit bipolar from a parent is similarly impacted if a parent has any mood disorder such as depression
Impact of Children
From my own personal experience, I know how much of a positive impact kids can have upon the parent who has bipolar disorder.
Those of you who are parents know the importance of having a schedule for your child. Routine-routine-routine was hammered into my head for not only my first born but my second child as well. This scheduling fits into alignment with routine-routine-routine for our bipolar selves. Finding a schedule that the whole family can follow creates harmony.
I just realized there are huge variations of thought for raising kids. In terms of routine, I am speaking when my kids were young. Specifically, about the time when your kids go to school. Even as early as early childhood and preschool. Children go to school and have a snack at the same time each day. For your child to get to school, they need to get up and eat as well on a routine.
So, back to my point. Having children basically forces the family to get on a routine. It is imperative for the household to function properly. Overall, kids have an overwhelmingly positive impact on the family and the parent(s) with bipolar disorder.
Have you ever heard of Social Rhythm Therapy? You should check out the book Treating Bipolar Disorder: A Clinician’s Guide to Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (Guides to Individualized Evidence-Based Treatment. Social Rhythm Therapy is a therapy whose premise is based on routine. Therefore, in theory, having a kid should be a therapeutic Godsend, right? Well, the answer to that question is both yes and no. Let us look at a person’s schedule to look at the answer to this question. Personally, I found having the schedule to be very helpful. I feel that Social Rhythm Therapy should be practiced by everyone who has bipolar disorder. If it makes things better, why not practice its principles?
What happens if your child does not follow nicely into a routine? This is where things can get squirrely (if that is even a word).
If your child has any special needs related to sleeping, your whole sleep schedule can get thrown off. If you are a parent already, you understand how stressful and rough it can be when your kids are not sleeping.
When you are a parent who has bipolar disorder and your sleep is all thrown off, your whole sense of reality can be thrown down the hole.
In this regard to a parent with bipolar disorder, a child can have a negative impact.
I would like to say that having kids is not completely about coordination.
When children are introduced into the family dynamic, it creates something special. I found that routines can be taught, but the love between a parent and child is naturally created and takes time to cultivate.
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