Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Anyone a mum of two with Bipolar who can share their experience?

I had the best perinatel cafe during pregnancy but as I have bipolar I was always a risk of PP and after just a couple of days I had a severe relapse with PP. I also had depression and anxiety afterwards and took me almost a year to get back to 100% myself. Saying that I had the best support from my husband and family and did still manage to enjoy maternity leave although not the start I’d hoped by any means. I’m now mentally really stable again and love being mum to my amazing son who is 14 months now.

I often think of how I would cope with two children. I know deep down it’s something I’d love to do but it would be tremondesly difficult to go through it again. It’s a lot too put my husband and family through too. Are there any other bipolar mums on here who can share their experiences? Do you find you can keep stable or does the stress of having two bring on a relapse? Did you get PP second time around? If so, how did you cope?

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Hi Kazzle,

Im guessing its different for everyone. For me I had PP with my first (i have Bipolar but not sure whether I had it before and had gone undiagnosed) then after a 7 year gap I had my 2nd child followed 3yrs later with my 3rd.

I didnt suffer PP again but I did have peaks and troughs of depression. I had a very good supoort network and with doctors and the right medications I really stayed relatively well especially considering how hard I did find the baby stage. I love the toddler onwards stage!

I didnt find that i was more stressed with two or even three. If anything I was more relaxed 2nd and 3rd time around as I had more confidence. That's not to say it was a worry free time though. Every blip of depression would send me and my family into a panic that it might escalate into PP. I really dont know how I would have coped had I suffered another PP. Its almost unbearble to think. I do remember my husband saying that we survived it once and so we could get through it again. Equally I can completely understand those who cannot risk the illness again.

The risks and odds are stacked but its such a personal thing and different for all. I think talking things through as a couple, getting a great support network and a good team of doctors and CPN are all key to staying well.

The APP website does have guides for planning further pregnancies and also guides for Bipolar and pregnacy planning. Maybe someone can point you in the right direction with links to the guides.

I hope others have some personal experiences to share with you

Wishing you well

T x

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it’s really helpful and given me lots to think about. I have had bipolar since I was 14 so although I am really experienced with managing my symptoms parenting has thrown me a few curb balls! I will talk things over with my husband and start thinking about putting a support plan in place. I like your partners attitude, it’s so true that as unbearable as it was we must remember that we did survive it first time around, so it is doable. I was worried that looking after two would be too much and potentially cause a relapse so very refreshing to read how well you are coping with three!

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Hi kazzle

You’ve had a really helpful reply already. I did just want to give you a link to our guide for planning a pregnancy if you’re at risk of pp, if you haven’t seen it already app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Do you have a perinatal team in your area? If so they should be able to give you some preconception advice . There is so much you can do to prevent further episodes.

I have one child and never gone on to have more, I know how hard it is to try and weigh up whether it is the right thing to have more children or not.

I wish you all the best

Ellie

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Thank you Ellie, that’s really helpful! Fortunately we do have a perinatel team in the area so good idea to speak with them.

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Hi Kazzle,

I had PND after my first baby (Jan 2015) and PP after my second (May 2016) and went on to be diagnosed with bipolar after a relapse around 9 months ago. I can't answer your questions about having another baby after PP, but I can share my experiences of what it's like to have bipolar with 2 young children who are fairly close in age. My diagnosis of Bipolar is still not that old, and so I have found that I am really only now reaching some stability. Having two children is taxing at the best of times, and it can be a struggle when I am not very well to meet their needs. However, I have always found that with the help of my husband and family we have always muddled through and my girls are resilient, happy and meeting all their milestones. Having 1 child that still regularly wakes at night, and one that still wakes overnight occasionally means that getting enough sleep can be difficult at times. If lack of sleep is a trigger for you this might be worth considering. Although it might be less of an issue if you have a bigger gap.

Other than my initial hospitalisation for PP, I've been back in the MBU again for 2 weeks about a month ago. Whilst I was able to have both kids with me (they accept children up to 3 years) it was difficult for the girls as it was a big routine change for them, especially around sleep and less freedom than they'd have at home.

Another big challenge for us is that my husband also has generalised anxiety disorder and depression, so at times I've had to do more with the children when he's been quite unwell, which has at times impacted on my mental health.

Despite the challenges having 2 children has been worth it for me, especially since I can see that they are thriving despite my and hubby's mental illness. We'd definitely consider having another down the track too.

I wish you well, whatever you decide.

Kristyn

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Thank you for sharing your experiences. You’ve given me lots to think about. Sleep is a trigger for me so last time my husband did all the night feeds. We’d have to work out something like that again. Well done you for overcoming these challenges and raising two happy thriving girls. Inspiring stuff.

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Hi! I’ve got bipolar 2 and am pregnant with my second. I’ve been offered a lot of support this time around, I had PP four months after giving birth to my first daughter.

My PP lasted around four months and I was lucky enough to have a strong support network. I wasn’t hospitalised although I was given the option of going to a MBU.

The way I look at it, is that would you regret not having more than one in ten years time, when you might not be able to?

I weighed it up and decided that the first hellish year was worth it in the long run. Only you and your partner can decide the right choice for you.

Good luck whatever you decide!

Xxx

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Thank you Arabella. Thanks for sharing your story. You are right, it’s a painful start but the long term benefits are far greater. It’s a scary thought but at least there is good support out there. Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

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P.s congratulations on baby number 2. I hope everything goes as smoothly as possible for you

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Thank you Kazzle! I’ll let you know how things are in six months! Xx

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If you can cope with one you can cope with two . Having said that a bit more of an age gap may help if possible. Most imp is rest after delivery. Soneone need to help with night feeds if poss. I tuk quetiapine low dose to help to sleep after baby for a month.

I have history of bipolar 1. Had bad episode of PPP in 2009 but tuk no meds even after baby then. In 2015 had a son with good care plan. Early Epidural helped me a lot. Tuk meds after. Now currently 35wks planning to take lithium to lower risk post natal as things are harder with a toddler and I have other stresses. I have been off meds all preg and fine but this is risky. It is hard with more than one but if you plan to make things easier like my older daughter stays late in school few days a wk. I suppose ur older one be in nursery if you had another. You need to judge if you can cope with night time with baby after 1st month and the other. How are things now .how stressed do you feel. That's best guide. But do go for it now or later .planning is much better and it there is much better chance to avoid a relapse

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