How to Have Kids When You’re Crazy

Awhile back, I advocated in favor of having children when you have a mental illness. Even at the time, I felt wishy-washy in doing so. I may talk the talk and chase after the children I’ve birthed, but I don’t exactly walk the walk.

Birthing children and raising them is HARD. Doing so whilst battling Depression or Anxiety or Bipolar is HARDER.

However, unless you’ve got a serious condition, producing a mini-you or two is possible. It’s worth it. It’s fun.

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To anyone sitting on the fence of indecision, having a child is the best thing I ever did. To those reading this at 2 a.m. and feeling ready to return their child to the hospital, I’ll add that I’ve been there, too.

Mental illness or not, you need some helps in place when a kid comes around. Even those who don’t regularly admit to mental issues need helps. Babies don’t sleep. Babies require clean clothes, blankets, burp cloths, diapers, and bedding several times a day. Babies only come with a ‘Check Engine’ light, in the form of incessant crying.

Babies are helpless. They NEED you. And someone who needs you cannot have you checking out, flipping out, or acting out.

Instead, how about you check out a babysitter or friend so you can take a short nap?

How about you flip out a freezer meal or pizza when it’s dinnertime?

How about you act out your 2 a.m. dreams of taking an hour-long bubble bath -after guilting your partner into hour-long tending?

See how it works?

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I knew a woman who was expecting triplets. After she birthed them, her family had a brilliant idea: when a friend or relative offered to help, they whipped out a calendar and asked, “Which day and time can you come?” They wrote in who would help, when, and what they would be doing. In a world of round-the-clock feeding, changing, and tending, one woman did not have enough hands to do it alone.

I’ve only produced one child at a time, and one’s enough to ask help for. A neighbor vacuumed my floors for me. Another folded my laundry. A third came and picked up all the crap my kids left on the floor. Heck -I once had a friend come over and hold my son for half an hour, just so I could sleep.

So, consider having a child, but not alone.

In fact, also consider helps specifically for your mental health. I speak of medication and counseling. There are quite a few medications that are safe to take while pregnant or nursing. Ask your doctor.

Now that my children are older, I enjoy the benefits of their company. We play computer and board games together. We plan family campouts. We cook, clean, cry, and live. It’s hard, but not HARD. I’m so glad I had them, and more glad for the helps I’ve had for them throughout the years.

Some days, I even reconsider wanting to return them to the hospital.

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©2019 Chelsea Owens

Photo Credit:
Jordan Whitt
Thiago Cerqueira
@rw.studios
Edward Cisneros

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16 Replies to “How to Have Kids When You’re Crazy”

  1. Love the honesty you display here!! It’s not easy being a parent but for sure more of a challenge when you have a mental health concern. I burned myself out for sure when my two sons were little and I was a stay at home Mom for 12 yrs before my divorce and after that life changed drastically. I had a series of breakdowns.
    Anyways, your advice is so important!! Asking for help is not a weakness or sign of failure. It’s a strength and at times life saving!! Great post, thank you😊💜

      1. Oh yes, you’re welcome!! I am sooooo much stronger and have healed from so much. I wrote all about my spiritual and self healing journey on my blog at https://www.emotionalmusings.com
        I love mother’s sharing honest stories about parenting. You are appreciated💜 Have a great day!

      2. That kind of attitude will do you well my friend. My sons are 18 & 14 now and I always kept it real and continue to do so. My older one and I are very close and he knows I will always be honest with him. Good, bad or indifferent….that’s what kids need from parents. I don’t make up stories or sugarcoat things. Looking forward to your next post😊

  2. Yes, children have a great demand on our time, and all other resources.
    My daughter has a baby suffered with colic. Anyone who has ever dealt with that problem knows how frustrating that can be.
    I remember one thing that someone told me that they heard once, “children do not come with a manual”. That is so true Chelsea!

  3. Having children was the best, best, best thing I ever did. Not that I really thought to much about it all those years ago, it was just sort of what happened. The mental health help in those days was absolutely shocking. Looking back, I’m disgusted by the attitudes that I was faced with, but they didn’t know any better and things have now improved and moved on. Thank goodness. All in all, despite the hard work bringing up two children on my own, I feel so unutterably blessed to have such wonderful boys … they truly are the lights of my life. Katie x

  4. That’s really inspiring to read, I’ve always felt like having children wasn’t really an option because of my bipolar diagnosis. It’s nice to know that there are people out there that are having children with chronic illnesses and thriving.

    1. I’ve known at least two people who had children and are bipolar. I know another who has chosen not to. Like anything from holding a job to consistently showering, you learn what you can and can’t do and what helps you need. 🙂

  5. Having kids is easily the hardest thing I’ve done. Love them so much but it’s also so hard. I don’t think people with mental health issues should ever use that solely to decide if they have kids or not, but it does make it harder so I think it should still be taken into consideration. As well as the support system you have. Of course, sometimes things just happen

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. This is inspiring to someone who doesn’t yet have a kid, but thinks about it. I also wonder what it’s like to watch for signs of mental illness in kids and the dilemma of potentially passing on mental health challenges to the next generation.

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