Changes and Hopes for 2015

Credit to Flickr user Christopher Lance. Used with permission with a Creative Commons license.
Credit to Flickr user Christopher Lance. Used with permission with a Creative Commons license.

Many changes have happened in the Stout household over the past year. My son, Nolan, is six and a half, and blasting through first grade with aplomb. I have finished Committed, my novel about my post-partum psychotic breakdown. And my partner and I have decided to try for another baby.

Becoming pregnant, with or without bipolar disorder, is a tall order, and a lot of responsibility. With bipolar disorder, however, there are additional complications. Untreated depression can lead to low birth weight, and if a bipolar person stops their medication abruptly, that can harm them and their unborn child.

Some medications, such as Depakote, carry the risk of spine or heart defects, so I’ve weaned off of anything harmful. I will be taking medications during my pregnancy: lithium, Risperidone, and Celexia–the latter of which are antidepressants. Lithium will not harm the infant in utero, but will harm the baby while breastfeeding, which I would like to do. I’ll be going back onto Depakote during that time.

There’s also the risk of post-partum depression and psychosis. The main risk factors for a relapse for me is 1. being bipolar, and 2. a previous history of psychosis. I have a support team ready to spot signs and treat me if necessary, and to guide me through my pregnancy and beyond–and my partner has been educated. I look forward to a healthy pregnancy.

What changes have happened for you this past year?

Author: Cassandra Stout

Freelance writer Cassandra Stout blogs weekly at the award-winning Bipolar Parent, a comprehensive resource for parents with mental illnesses. She also blogs monthly at the International Bipolar Foundation website ( Her work has been published in the anthology, How the Light Gets In. Cassandra holds degrees from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Journalism. She has been a judge for the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association literary contest for nine years, where her memoir, Committed, recently placed as a finalist. She balances her literary work with raising her children, feeding her cat, and managing her bipolar disorder.

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