People think that once you’re pregnant, you’re not entitled to your body, but what happens to the mother happens to the fetus — a mentally healthy mom is critical for fetal and infant development.
What Every Woman Should Know Unless you are already diagnosed with bipolar, the best thing you can do right now is to simply be aware (and make sure your loved ones are aware) that it can happen. This increases the likelihood that you’ll get the help you need ASAP (before it turns dangerous), should it happen to you. If you know you have bipolar disorder, on the other hand, you can ease your risk of developing postpartum psychosis by continuing to take your medication (under your doctor’s care) throughout pregnancy and while breast-feeding. This remains — quite literally — a scary pill to swallow for many mothers with mental illness, because of the question of safety. And it’s true: There are no easy answers. There’s a huge debate in the medical community about the safety of taking antidepressant and antipsychotic medication during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Many new mothers fear that the medicine will harm the baby’s growth and development, and since there is a dearth of large, long-term studies on the topic, it’s hard to say for sure what the effects will be.
I hope that by sharing my story out loud, other mothers won’t feel ashamed about their mental health and they will realize that there's a community of support ready to help them heal.