I’m Borderline And I’m Planning A Baby
This is a reader submission from Hana Graham, who suffers from borderline personality disorder.Â She’s working with her team of medical professionals to plan a baby and we asked her to write about the process.
I have a long, sordid mental health history. The current diagnosis includes borderline personality disorder, some form of depression (major? psychotic? dysthymia? cyclothymia? the jury is out!), severe anxiety/panic disorder, EDNOS (anorexia/binge eating disorder), and 14 years of self-harm (cutting, burning, dermatillomania). I did develop PTSD after being sexually assaulted in 2012, but I’m pretty sure I’ve kicked its butt (yay)!
Nobody likes to talk about borderline. When I say “I’m borderline”, you say “bunny boiler!” I’m here to show you why that’s wrong, and why I have just as much a right to love and a family as a neurotypical woman does. Why I am going to be a good mom. Why it’s not “wrong” or “immoral” for me to want biological children. How women like me can plan for baby, and to share the resources I’m using. For the record, I was born and raised in America, and I now live in Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K., with my husband, and all current resources are a part of the National Health Service, which is free.
The funny thing about borderline is how much work it takes, and how oddly accurate the “outdated” name is, in that respect. I could give up, and give in, and either end my life, or resign myself to living in hospital care for the duration of my time on earth. But I am stubborn, and I want to live my life as fully as I can. I walk a tightrope. I have a very delicate balancing act going on every single day. It requires a couple days a week of absolute rest, so I don’t overload and have a breakdown. The anxiety ties into this in a big way. For most people. “stress” means something inherently stressful. I’m always functioning just below my max capacity for stress, because of my anxiety, and it when it comes to stress, well, I’m like my cats. If you so much as rearrange my furniture, THE WORLD IS ENDING AND I AM GOING TO DIE.
If I don’t manage my stress levels, I will wind up dissociating, which is scary. I am not real, my fingers aren’t my own, things happen that don’t actually happen, I’m liable to injure myself in attempts to verify my existence. These are the days when I absolutely need my husband, because I need him to essentially babysit me and keep me as grounded as he can. I am not safe to be alone on these days. These days are my primary worry when we have children. We’ve been together long enough that he can tell when I have dissociated without me needing to say or do anything. It shows in my voice, my mannerisms, my eyes, my movements. I’m still wondering how to plan for these days, because they are random, and I know motherhood is stressful, and I’m frightened. Thankfully, these days are rare, but that could change with the stress of parenthood.