This is right up my alley. I too am bipolar and I have and do struggle with the issues that you have talked about. All the prospects you speak about were and are still frightening …possible post-partum psychosis, having a child with a birth defect, having to go off meds.
It was so frightening that at first to begin I did not feel that I had the right to marry, much less have children. I couldn’t concieve of anybody loving me enough to want to have kids with me knowing the risk. I decided that I was better off being single rather than marry (and other people told me that too); even though I was dying inside and really felt called to marriage.
Then after much struggle with this issue and numerous other life issues, there was a special night last year when I managed somehow to be up at 3 a.m.(sorta like now, tee-hee).I saw the story of St. Gianna Beretta Molla on EWTN (here is a her story in brief from here saintgianna.org/significantdates.htm but the rest in full is found in the site map at left. While it seems a morbid story for the issues we share, what really touched me was the Prayers and Sharing section of the site, where people shared innumerable prayers to St. Gianna as well as testimonies as to prayers answered for difficult preganacies. It was at that time that I realized that I have to fully surrender to God’s will to be married and to realize that with God all things are possible. So I said “Yes, Lord, I will follow your vocare** to be married and have children no matter what the cost”
Even after this, I was like."OK God, I surrender but this is not like the single life or religious life…where is the guy? He has to be extremely compassionate and be preapred to take care of me if I fall ill. Where in heck will you find that man?"
Sometime later, I went on catholicmatch.com (no this is not an ad for them), I set my profile preferences for a certain age etc…and would just check back for fun.( I was on a trial memebrship and couldn’t communicate with the guys so it was just curiosity about the process) Lo and behold one day, I saw a match. The guy wrote about God in a way that touched my heart but what was even more suprsing was that I KNEW him. (He has a rare name), He was a guy who was at my church that I knew since I was a teen but somehow I hadn’t seen in a long time.(Our parish has several weekend Masses so it is perfectly possible not to see someone for a while). But as I could not communicate with him I simply left it alone and lived my life.
Jump now to this year and I am taking care of my Mom who has been ill for months.I am so focused on my Mom that the idea of a relationship is out my head. I was just complaining to God and asking to send a young friend like me who could relate to taking caring of a sick aging parent. I go to my usual Mass and who do I see? The same guy. Since I knew both his Mom and sis, I was simply cool with walking up to him and asking how things were with them. What fell out his mouth was," My mom is sick", so I was like,“Well join the club.” It turned out that he was the main caregiver for his Mom and so we simply exchanged information about the world of bedpans and breakfasts in bed. He gave me a ride home and I started to send him some inpsirational e-mails. What has developed from that is now a beautiful love affair.
We plan to be married in the next two years ( I am still in school and it is not only my Mom who is ill, Dad has cancer as well) and we are putting our trust in God for when it is time for babies to come.We still have our trials to go through with three sick parents between us. Today we have just hospitalized his mother. But through Christ we will get through this too.
I fully will be relying on the intercession of St. Gianna and my main goal is to be as healthy as possible for when preganancy happens. We both have decided on NFP and we will be using it more conservatively. As for the fear about thaving a child with birth defects, I think I worked it out as this:
We will be co-creators with God in the marriage act to have this child, but ultimately God has the finally say in how the child will be, defect or no. I pray that the child (or children) may come out without defect but a child who has a disability is of eqaul worth and dignity in God’s sight. If the child has bipolar, I pray then to be the best mother and example that I could that living with bipolar can be done with grace, strength, a sound mind and health.
While I never will dream****of judging you or telling you what to do, I hope that what I have said will make you think as well as what you find if you go on St. Gianna’s site…May God bless you and keep you. You can PM me anytime