Motherhood and Mental Health

Posted on November 3, 2011
Christine and MattyChristine and MattyMy name is Christine Chapman, and I’m 28 years old. I joined Fountain House in 2005. In 2008, when I was 25, I became pregnant. I was freaked out but confident. I always wanted to be a mom, but I was sooo depressed. (I later found out that I have Bipolar II.)
I knew I could do it because my Mom did, and she has Bipolar I. When I found out I was pregnant, I got off my psych meds and quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey. My doctor was skeptical that I took myself off meds. I told her just because I'm crazy doesn’t mean I have to expose my child to that.
My pregnancy was difficult. I was nauseated throughout and barely gained any weight. I had great support through Fountain House. I want to thank Ruth Parson, Lily and Beth from Housing, Nicole, Isabella, and Melissa Hollander. During pregnancy I got a new psychiatrist whom I met with every week. I’m very grateful I had her.
When it came time to give birth, my son didn’t want to come out. I was induced and given an epidural. I had really bad back labor and was high on pain killers. The doctor had to perform an emergency C-section. Nevertheless, my son came out with ten fingers and ten toes and no health issues. I was so happy! He was born January 5, 2009.
MattyMattyI felt like a failure after delivery, although I was back on psych meds again. I felt I didn’t know what to do with this beautiful human being. For about a 1 ½ years I felt he didn't deserve me, that I was a horrible mom. I just wanted to die, but I never wanted to hurt him, because he was so precious.
I was soon hospitalized for postpartum depression. When I was in the hospital, all I wanted was to be with him. I realized he needed me in this world. Slowly I became more confident, but I still felt I was unfit. And then suddenly I began to Rise Above. I actually realized that I am a Mom, and I love being one. I am grateful to have a strong support team that includes family and friends.
I am a parent! My son Matthew, better known as Matty, is now 2 1/2 years old and loves trucks, tractors, buses, trains, cars, and animals. Life without him would be sad and boring. He gave me a purpose in life!
Christine Chapman
Education Unit, Fountain House

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