I’m a 24 year old mother of one and I have borderline personality disorder. I am no parenting expert as my daughter is only 1 years old. Every once in a while I search online for parenting tips and development milestones. A week ago, I decided to search parents with BPD. I had hoped to find advice and tips, because all I want is to be a good mother. To my dismay, the results were not what I had hoped for.
Every article and blog post I clicked on, written by your average joe or an expert with a pHD, pretty much said a child with a BPD parent is damned. Apparently, a parent with BPD will negatively affect the social and emotional development of their child. They may also be verbally abusive to their child. And the needs of the parent will always come before the child, they will never put their child first.
As far as I’m aware, what I read was nothing more than unjust opinion. Some parents do affect their children in a negative manner. It can be as a result of their mental health. But not all parents with mental health problems let it effect their parenting. There are many people suffering from BPD or other mental illness, who are great parents.
Raising children is one of the most stressful things we can do. It can be extra stressful when you suffer from any form of illness. But with a little help or advice, even those of us at a disadvantage can be wonderful parents.
Here are some great parenting tips from individuals with borderline personality disorder:
“Take what ever time you need to be ok for your kids. Be it weeks in hospital, sending them to daycare, sending them for a sleepover somewhere. Do what ever you need to do, no matter what others may think or say. All that matters is you and your kids.”
“Needing/seeking extra help doesn’t make you a bad parent. It shows dedication and desire to give your child the best upbringing you can provide.”
“If you feel like you’re losing control (for example, rage), its ok to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. Let someone else take over while you calm down. You are recognising the negative behaviour, and addressing it away from your child/children.”
“Take time off if you need to, don’t let your diagnosis affect your child in a negative way. I don’t need much anymore to be functional, when the pressure is too much, I take 5 minutes on the balcony by myself and breathe. I ask my partner to watch the baby while I go for a walk or I take a long hot bath. Now my boy is too young to remember any of this, but when he grows up, I want him to know it’s okay to walk away, collect your thoughts and come back with a clear mind to tackle any problem. I am sure I won’t always manage to be this composed. All parents have this plan in mind that they will break at some point, because we’re humans, we’re not perfect, but when my son will be asked about his mother having BPD he will be able to say: she did everything she could for my well being.”
“You’re going to need a lot of help and support. You are going to get very overwhelmed and need to step away NOW for 15 minutes, a couple hours, sometimes maybe even for the night. Just make sure people in your life understand that. It’s going to be the most daunting task of your life but the love is incredible and seriously… just a smile or a laugh from the little ones makes it all worth it. As cliché as that sounds…. Often when I’m having a tough day or my daughter is giving me a hard time, I tell myself I must be CRAZY for wanting another one!! But as soon as she laughs… or says “I love you mummy”, I’m so ready and willing to do it all over again.
When I first became pregnant my best friend told me that she was excited for me, that she thought this would be a very good thing for me, because I’d have my own little human to love and nurture, and that would love me back. She was right… I feel I have purpose for the first time in my life. A big step for a borderline!
So yeah, don’t listen to anyone who says we cant do it.“
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help x”
“Take care of yourself. Find any local resources that might be of help. Utilize anything you can that will be of help. If anyone tries to judge just point out that you are getting the help because you love your family and want the best for them. Remember kids are kids. They don’t mean to be difficult, they’re learning and need our help and guidance to develop the life and social skills necessary to achieve independence. When you can, take time to be a kid with them. Sit and watch cartoons together, have a water fight, throw a tea party, color. Be in the moment.”
Do you have any useful parenting tips? Feel free to comment below!