Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet Mama Bear

When I was pregnant with my first child, about 8 months, I saw two men trying to break into our house as I pulled into my driveway. That’s the moment when I discovered my “Mama Bear instincts”. I climbed out of my car, with my big pregnant belly and approached the men. I scolded them and told them to leave our neighborhood and that I was going to call the police. It wasn’t until later when my neighbor who witnessed the whole thing from her bedroom window mentioned how bold I was for approaching these guys. At the time, I never thought about what they could do to me, I was overcome with a strong feeling to protect my home and to protect my family.

Today these feeling are alive and well, as it is for most moms. I’m Mama Bear to three boys, my youngest is 5 years old, my middle son is 7 years and my oldest is 9 years. I have very protective feelings for all of my boys, but with a mood disorder in the family, this instinct shows up in different ways. I’m passionately searching for a way to protect my oldest who is living with a mood disorder from all the pain he’s living with, yet at the same time, I’m just as passionate about protecting my other sons from their own brother. This is a very strange dynamic to live with. And as you can imagine, my feelings are so scattered, it makes for a very messy mind.

Tonight, I experienced this very challenge. As my moody son went into a rage, I was trying to protect himself from harm when I was hit hard in the face, causing my tongue to bleed. After checking to make sure my teeth weren’t chipped and cleaning the blood from my mouth, I found my middle son locking himself into a bathroom, frightened by his brother’s rage. From there I switched to protecting my younger boys, so I brought them to their room and closed the door so they wouldn’t hear their brother’s screams. I sat with them, giving them hugs and words of comfort to assure them they’re safe and their moody brother couldn’t hurt them. Once they’re calm, I was back to my moody son to help him through his rage, making sure that he didn’t do something to hurt himself, waiting for him to return to his normal senses so that he could feel safe and assured that after all that he’s done, he’s still loved.


  1. That "Mama Bear" instict is very real. You are so right that it is a strange thing to have to have that protectiveness for your non-mood-disorder children too. My boys are 9 and 7 and when the 9 year old rages, I'm back and forth (literally and figuratively) about which child to "protect". It's a really tough thing that not so many people understand. I do.

  2. Thanks Sarah for your feedback, it’s nice to not feel so alone in this.

  3. I just wanted to say, i hope someday i can get to the point you are at with not only protecting your youngest but actually helping your oldest. I feel so bad most of the time as i feel i cant even protect my 4 yr old from my 6 yr old. My 6 yr old is BP. I am also BP. I know what he is going through, i have been there, however, at his age i do not know how to relay to him that i can relate and i know what he feels. I am not sure at his age he even knows what he feels. He also has a learning disorder and is severely behind other kids his age. Him and my 4 yr old are on pretty much the same page. This too is hard for me, as i forget at times he is behind and begin talking to him and treating him or expecting things out of him that i would out of a 6 yr old. (he is almost 7) Then i kinda remember and am like oh thats right..... I dont really know what to do. He is in therapy, we are starting with a new therapist as we changed ins comps and well, long story short, the old one didnt take the new ins. Anyways, what i was originally saying was that i just dont know how to not get upset with him when he is in a huge fit over literally nothing. I feel like instead of protecting him i get mad at him, especially when he starts in with the punching himself, i make him stop it, but i get mad that he does it, maybe now that i think about it, it isnt really anger but hurt. I guess i dont really know. Wow i really just realized that i was babbling on and on and i am really sorry, once it starts coming out i feel like i cant make it stop. 6.5 years of hell bottled up inside of me, as my husband doesnt like to talk about it... and no friends really as who has time for that, family is over 1000 miles away. Lonely life. Anyways sorry ill end it here. I am just saying, you are pretty great to be able to put up with what you do.

  4. Bipolar Mom,
    Thank you for sharing your experience, but I want you to know that I don’t always get it right. There are many times when I too feel anger towards my son as he slips into a rage.

    Sometimes that anger is even escalated if he hurts his brothers. And to be honest, sometimes I feel anger when his behavior is upsetting what should’ve been a fun day. We’re human and we can’t be perfect at this, in fact even when I think I’m doing a good job my son reminds me that I’m not.

    There’s no way we can get through raising these kids without feeling lots of ugly feelings inside, I’m his mom, not a saint. So please don’t be so harsh on yourself, I can read in your words how much you love your kids and I bet you’re doing a great job with them, even after all the mistakes or moments you wish you could do again. We all feel this way. I just want you to know that you’re not alone in your feelings.

    I just think that the feelings we have are just a side effect of this illness, we just have to let those feeling go and move on to the next day.

    Also, I hope to encourage you that it does get easier as they get older. My son just turned 10 years and he’s changing and understanding his illness much better which is helping us all. I think the therapy is working much better now that he’s older and can make sense of his feelings.

    Please feel free to open your heart on this blog anytime, it really does feel better to let it all out. I too understand the feelings of not having anyone to open up with about all of this, that’s why I started this blog, I needed to get some stuff off of my chest so I can keep moving forward. Thankfully this blog has helped me tremendously.

    If you ever want to vent privately, please email me at the link above, I can be your listening ears whenever you need it.

    Sending you a hug...