Parenting a child when you have a mental illness

I’m only a step parent. I thought I would start this thread though so people could discuss the difficulties of parenting with a mental illness and the techniques used to overcome them.


A short video to get the ball rolling.

I’m hesitant to write on this board because I’m not raising my son.

He’s adopted by another family and we have a very special arrangement.

I was 28 when I found out I was pregnant and knew with all my issues I just couldn’t do it.

I loved him so much even before he was born, it didn’t seem worth the risk to raise a child with my symptoms, it was a very personal decision and its different for every woman.

We skype a couple times a month, he lives on the other side of the world so I only see him about quarterly for a couple weeks, which is pretty frequently all things considered.

We’re all (me and his daddies) going to Disneyland for Christmas, or slightly after Christmas, anyway.

Anyway, I think one of the most important things is to not project symptoms on your child.

As for the rest of it, I don’t know!

This is a great thread idea, though.




This is my correct answer to “you have a kid?”


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I think it’s not the easy option giving a child up for adoption that some people like to think it is. A lot of deliberation can go into it.


It was not and still is not easy,

But nothing worthwhile is, huh?

A lot of deliberation went into it,

I planned the adoption my entire pregnancy and chose his parents right at my second trimester.

It was an exhaustive effort, but worth every second.

He’s happy, healthy and a major part of my life.


I’m so happy that you enjoy a relationship with your son @anon54386108. That is very special. :blue_heart:


Thank you.

Being in his life is the best part of my life.

His daddies and I are really close too,

They’re awesome dudes.


I too was a step parent. Although I’m now divorced from my Mrs I still regard my step daughter as such. Still keep in touch with her and her mother. Even though it was only two years living with them, those relationships last a lifetime.


Also I get to make a lot of “baby’s daddies” jokes now,

Which makes all the heartbreak and pain worthwhile…


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This is a topic I’m very curious about. Mr. Star and I are going to try for kids hopefully next October, if everything goes according to plan. I am always looking for advice and tips.


Wow, @anon54386108! You made the ultimate good mom choice and I think you’re amazing for it. I’m glad you have the kind of arrangement that you do so you can still see and love your son. I’m really moved by your story :heart:


I could not have raised my son on my own. When he was a baby I had to leave his abusive father and move in with my folks. They helped me raise him and it was still hard and I still screwed up in some ways.
My biggest piece of advice is to have lots of help and support. Make sure you’re not “it” for that child.
My son and I have a great relationship now. He’s an absolute blessing in my life, and, I’ve said this before, he’s my deepest heartache. (The heartache has to do with my depth of love for him and wanting everything to be perfect for him, but its never perfect…) It’s intense. :heart:


I don’t tell my daughter or step daughter about anything that others say is not real or that seems paranoid - unless it’s about safety. I can’t help that. My 17 year old sees me as paranoid and having terrible memory problems but that’s it. I don’t talk to her about the men who follow me or anything others don’t believe or see. When she was little she saw me talking to people no one else could see but she doesn’t remember it anymore. Every time I’ve gone to the hospital, she hasn’t been told the real reason. I’ve always said I’m contagious and I don’t want her to catch it so she can’t visit me. I don’t want her to see me in lock down. I see her every day and we spend time together every day. I love her very much and I value our time together.

I have four kids. We had to implement some strict rules on noise when I started getting really sensitive to noise last year. The kids (fortunately) were never a subject of my paranoia directly. I had problems with other adults around me, but not with the kids. But even though, I think that one of my kids started to get insomnia because of me. I feel really bad about that…

I have two boys. 13&17… i think I’m a good Dad. My. Biggest problem is i don’t always want to do things with them. So although i spend time with them It’s probably not doing the most exciting things.

Having mental illness has changed my desire to have children. I’ve wanted kids my whole life and only in the past year or so decided it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I isolate myself too much, I need way too much alone time. If I can’t recharge I become very cold, distant, unpleasant to be around and I would hate to put my children through that. And my sleep disorders mean I need so much sleep, and waking up early (or not getting enough) is actually disruptive to my stability.

When I didn’t have treatment for my narcolepsy and my negative symptoms were bad I thought it would be basically impossible to have kids. I could barely function and take care of myself much less others. I’m a lot better now but still I think I’d rather stick to being a fun aunt for now. It all makes me sad though.


Well neither of my parents had a mental illness yet i still find their “parenting pattern” very unhealthy and to be honest, from this perspective, it screwed me up in lot of ways. So i just think there are a lot of ways in which you can have a bad effect on your kids, besides genetics. So called helicopter parents, blackmailing parents, divorce, domestic violence, so much of it doesnt have anything to do with inner torture that is mental illness.

That said, i get very anxious about all that “how does it affect him and how will it affect him in future?” question. Not much can we predict, but trying our best one step at the time.


@anon54386108 I have the utmost respect for you, what a difficult decision, I’m glad that you still get to have a special relationship with him!


I became ill after having my son. His dad is not in our lives anymore, he was a threat and the “cause” of my illness.

My son lives with my parents now. I couldnt raise him by myself. He is with me a couple of times a week.

Sometimes I think of removing myself from his life even more. I am frightened of having a relapse and harming him in some way. Also I dont have the energy to really be there for him because of the meds. He himself seems to be happy with how things are now though, he is doing well.

The times I was in hospital we told him my head was tired/ill and needed to recover.