Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Strange Feeling

When I went to see my psychiatrist last week, I went ahead and asked about my medications and what that will mean after the baby is born. (We covered the initial "How are you?" and had moved on to politics already, so I figured I could ask about this even though it's still a while away. I LOVE my doctor, as an aside. He and I agree on politics 100% and he is great to talk to)

Ok, a little backstory on me and my mental illness: I have Bipolar Disorder, and looking back can see a long history of this affecting my life long before I managed to get diagnosed. I have only been medicated for about 2.5 years now, and the radical difference medication has had in my life is amazing.
After my 2nd son was born, I also had severe undiagnosed PPD on top of the bipolar which made mothering 2 small children in a miserable marriage and complete isolation a very bad time for me.
This is why I do not now have primary custody of my children. One thing that I do know is that I am, and have always been, an EXCELLENT mother. And I knew even then that I was giving them everything that I could but I was breaking. When I left my marriage and moved out, I still stayed home with the kids every day for 12 hours a day, then made dinner with my ex husband, put the kids to bed, and went home to my own place to get up and do it again the next morning at 6 am. Even though I was no longer living in the same house, I was still there as a stay at home mother.

But after a while, I had to get a job, my soon to be ex husband stopped paying for my living expenses, and I was still severely ill without being able to comprehend what was going on with me. I spent this time in my life just convinced I was a horrible person. It's a post for another time, but being Bipolar without meds is like looking at yourself through a soundproof, one way mirror. You keep yelling and screaming, begging yourself to STOP acting or reacting in a certain way and the other You that everyone else is seeing cannot hear your pleas for sanity. Your own mind is a prison, and it is an awful place to be.

I know I was not as attentive to the kids as I could have been during that time, but I also know that even still, I was there for them and a good mother. During all of this though, the divorce went through, I did not have the means, financially or mentally, to care for my children primarily. I have to live with this now, and it really sucks to have the 55/45% arrangement. But that is not what this post is about. That was just a little background.

Now, onto what this post is ACTUALLY supposed to be about:

I nursed Max for 3.5 years (nursing through my 2nd pregnancy and tandem nursing for a year) and I nursed Miles for 2.5 years.

I am pregnant with my 3rd child (my husband's first) and I will not be nursing this one. The mood stabilizers that I take for my mental illness pass in too great a dosage into breast milk. But me being SANE and healthy mentally to care for a child is FAR more important to me that nursing. But it is such a strange feeling to be looking at this. It is freeing, in a way, which does leave me with some guilt. I am not one who is prone to many feelings of guilt and I'm fairly sure this is just stemming from too many Dr. Sears books early on. (I do like Dr. Sears, not saying I don't, but at this point, I need a bit more balance in my parenting)

I also don't plan to co-sleep this time, either. I do not believe at all in cry it out techniques or anything, but I will be SO GLAD not to have a 3 year old still in bed with me. Isn't it strange how parenting ideals shift over time? With a 6.5 year gap between my last baby and this one, so many of my parenting choices have mellowed. I don't care if the baby cries a little bit if I put her/him down for a minute so I can pee. They will survive!

I also have a tiny bit of guilt at the glee I feel of getting to leave the kid with someone other than me and my boobs for a night out occasionally before the child is walking and talking! My feelings on this are so mixed, I find it amusing.

But I am sure I will get over it! Viva la Boob Freedom this time!

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