You know how it goes. You meet a guy, hit it off, go on a few dates. Eventually it comes up–the most complicated and loaded question ever:
Do you want kids?
No, er well, not no, sorta? Maybe? Maybe not? I want to say yes? Can I? Not sure. I mean I can probably get pregnant. Should I? I don’t know.
Do I wonder about this a lot? Absolutely. Have I come up with a satisfactory answer? Hell no.
It weighs the most heavily on me in times like this–times when I’m feeling well enough to start to dream again.
So many things to consider…would I pass this disorder to my children? Would I be able to care for my children if I were to get really sick again? How would I tolerate the way my life would be while they were babies? Would I be able to be present for them? How does medication play into the whole pregnancy thing? Unless something changes, being unmedicated is simply not an option for me. Would getting pregnant and having a child trigger a depressive, manic, or psychotic episode?
You get the picture. And these aren’t even the “regular” things “normal” people have to take into consideration. If I dig deep enough, I don’t think I can write off having kids without some sort of regret haunting me until the day I die. But I also refuse to give into the idea that I have to sacrifice myself for the sake of having children.
So I guess my answer to that loaded and complicated question is I don’t know.
It’s I don’t know because I don’t know what having children will do to me. I don’t know what Bipolar Disorder would do to my children. I don’t know what the risks are with medication. I can’t say yes without gut wrenching fear, and I can’t say no without regret.
These are decisions that I cannot, and should not, make on my own. It’s not black and white, and my answer will depend just as much on my support system as it does on me.
So the next time a guy asks me if I want kids, I’m going to tell them I don’t know.
Because I don’t.