Life Scripts, Bipolar & Childfree

Daily Prompt: Funnel via The Daily Post

NOTE: This is a pre-written piece in which I was able to include today’s prompt.

8676002030_6576f87af0My parents were married and had me by the time they were 23. I thought this was a life script I had to follow. So when I was 24, I felt behind schedule, and married the bass player in my band who I’d been dating for a few months and with whom I moved in almost immediately (pre-diagnosis). My parents didn’t like him and didn’t approve of the marriage, so we were married in City Hall with 2 friends as witnesses.

The marriage lasted about 3 years. Although he was supportive when I was diagnosed, our relationship was volatile, mainly because he couldn’t/wouldn’t get a job. He half-heartedly looked, but never got interviews.

He went back to school for one course (he had about a year left to finish his degree), but skipped class a lot, which was another point of contention: I, not his parents, was paying his tuition. I was supporting the both of us working as an admin assistant, and I didn’t make much.

I thought we were supposed to have children, because that was part of the life script. Thankfully, we didn’t. I could barely afford to support us financially, let alone an addition to the family, so we held off.

It was my dream to return full-time to college and then attend veterinary school, which meant quitting my job, being broke, and without insurance — my tuition didn’t include student health insurance. You had to pay for it, and it was too expensive even with student loans. I graduated 3 years later, not when most people do at age 22 or 23 (like in the life script), but just before I turned 30.

About a year before I returned to school, I had started therapy and began learning how to live a mentally healthier life. My ex remained stagnant — had quit school and may or may not have had a job — I don’t even remember. We fought all the time, and finally agreed on a divorce after my first quarter started.

I went straight from undergrad to grad school (not vet school) in 1999, where I met my current husband. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, especially because he was only 24 and I was 30, but when you least expect it, expect it! We were married 3-1/2 years later (a whole other story — not the marriage, but the circumstances around the marriage; and no, I wasn’t pregnant).

Again, I thought that kids were part of the life script. After graduation, we struggled financially and decided to wait. When I turned 35, I thought it was then or never. We considered adoption, and I asked my mom about it, hoping to have a heart-to-heart talk. Her answer: “If you want to adopt, then adopt.” Then she literally walked away.

After the Breakdown, I couldn’t work and was put on disability 3 years later. I thought having a child would be okay because I’d be home to take care of it. I knew it would be challenging because of my bouts with depression and hypomania, but plenty of people with a mental illness have children and take great care of them, so I knew it was possible. I was also concerned about passing on the disease, so adoption seemed like a good option, though that was no guarantee that the baby wouldn’t grow up to have bipolar or another illness.

We continually put off the adoption research, and eventually realized that we didn’t want a child after all. Also, I didn’t know that I would need to funnel my energy into trying to take care of myself; where would I find the strength and endurance to raise a child? (Hats off to my sister-in-law! <3 )

I figured out that there’s no such thing as a life script. You don’t have to be married nor have a house and a brand new car by a certain age, nor have children. At first I thought of myself as “childless by circumstance” because I grapple with bipolar; then I realized that when we didn’t seriously explore adoption, we made the choice not to have a child. I now think of myself as “childfree,” and know that not wanting children is okay, too.

Do you believe there’s such a thing as a life script?

Photo by astrangelyisolatedplace on Visual Hunt / CC BY

15 thoughts on “Life Scripts, Bipolar & Childfree

  1. That story has a familiar ring to it, me. I didn’t have kids of my own but my second husband has. Now I have grandkids. They don’t live close by. We thought about me trying to get pregnant but it never did pan out. I realize too that having a child wouldn’t have been the best thing for me. What do they say? God knows best. It is really wrong for people to always ask a married couple when they are going to have children. Maybe they don’t want any. Don’t put pressures on married couples, right? It will happen if it is meant to, if not, that is okay too.

  2. I’ve always been very independent and so right from the beginning I rebelled against any sort of life script imposed by what other people might expect. My life has certainly ended up going in directions I never would have expected, including the whole mental illness piece.

  3. I love this post. I have similar stance on having kids. its a responsibility you are raising a child to phase this evil world and you wouldn’t want to go wrong. I have autoimmune. I completely understand and agree

  4. Once upon a time, I had a life’s script. I went from fairytale straight to hell after 15 years. Between miscarriages, my husband not wanting to adopt, my depression and then his death… I was toast. My life script changed drastically, and then 2015 nearly was the end of life (period) for me. Since Sept 2015, I have struggled, but my life script turned out for the better.
    Hate quoting “Forrest Gump” but, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get.” 🙂

  5. Absolutely not, I don’t believe in life scripts because we are all so different it would be mad if it was all written down in stone and we could not deviate!
    Reading this post you have written a marvelous script for yourself! 💜💜

  6. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. 😉 I had a rather unhappy childhood and youth, and got some psychological problems from that. When I am brooding over them I often have the feeling that in this life I am punished for the may be bad things I did in another life before, that everything that happened in my life had been decided long before my birth. 😉 When I am confident and in good mood I am convinced that I am the master of my soul, and I am the captain of my fate. 😉

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