As I venture on my mommahood journey at diagnostic code 295.7, there is a partner that helps make it possible. He is my caregiver, the father to my baby boy, and the love of my life. He is my husband.
For many years I would not consider motherhood. Then late one Summer, I had an epiphany. My husband was not my father. He was the complete opposite of the man I grew up fearing. Also, my husband had cared for me over the many challenging years. He managed my medications, accompanied me to doctor appointments, brought me supplies when inpatient, and looked out for my well-being in every way possible. Furthermore, my husband was loyal. He had demonstrated that quality by remarrying me several years ago when I had divorced him during a whirlwind of mania. This was a man I loved and could raise a child with safely. The only thing stopping me, was me.
So, I took a leap of faith and received an amazing baby boy in return.
But, I have something here that so many others facing severe mental illness do not have. That is a caregiver that works with me as a partner in my journey. Too many are expected to manage this illness on their own… fighting a battle where your brain is working against you. It not only works against you, it tricks you.
One of my greatest blessings lies in my husband. He monitors my medications, checks in on my symptoms daily, supports my needs, and often knows what I may be needing before I am ready to admit it. He has been there through twelve in-patient hospitalizations, eleven treatments of electroconvulsive therapy, one month of partial hospitalization, a suicide attempt, and the past eighteen years of treatment. I am blessed. No other word.
As a society and as a medical establishment, I wish we could learn the power of support and caregiving. I wish we would allocate funds and personnel to such endeavors. I wish we would reach out and help each other, not just place everyone on an assembly line of “care”.
Bottom line, no matter who we are, we need support… we need a caregiver.