When a woman who is a mum shares she has a mental illness, most people chime in with “I know someone else with post-natal depression….” Which leaves us with two choices – correct the person and wait for the confused look, followed by a swift change in subject. Or just let them be none-the-wiser.
While community awareness of depression and anxiety has improved dramatically, many people still don’t understand what life is truly like for someone living with Bipolar Disorder.
It wasn’t that long ago, that the general consensus amongst medical professionals was the women with Bipolar Disorder should be discouraged from having children. And yet, here we are proving the experts wrong again. Mothers who passionately love our children, and want the best for them – who just happen to have a mental health condition.
We have the opportunity to educate people about what life is like for mothers, who live with a mental health condition. But to do that, we’re going to need more positive stories about mums with Bipolar Disorder in the media.
As an Ambassador for the National Register for Anti-Psychotic Medication in Pregnancy project, in Australia, I have worked to raise awareness of the issues facing mums like us who have Bipolar Disorder. And to encourage funding for a world-leading study into the impact of anti-psychotic medication on unborn babies.
Here is a Herald Sun (August 2011) article about my family’s participation in the National Register for Anti-Psychotic Medication in Pregnancy (NRAMP). We were also interviewed on Channel 10’s The Project in 2013 and I spoke out against cuts to mental health services for mums on Channel 9 News in 2015.
Social media is a great way to join others in the fight for more research into mental health and to end stigma against people with a mental illness. When you see articles in the media, be sure to like and share them.
Together, we can smash stigmas around mental illness and motherhood!
For media seeking to help us raise awareness, please contact us for interviews: