Lorraine | Hamilton, ON
BPD & ADHD
“When my son RJ gets upset, he’s learned to say things like: ‘My brain isn’t listening.’ When that happens, we take a step back and give him space. ‘I just need a minute to get through my big emotions,’ he’ll say. He’s three.
He’s just started junior kindergarten and, like a lot of kids, transitions are emotional times for him. It makes things so much easier for all of us that he knows how to communicate his feelings, his needs. These are tools that I never had as a child.
We don’t know yet if RJ is dealing with any neurodivergence, but it doesn’t take a diagnosis to see the benefit when it comes to clear communication of our mental and emotional states. We all think differently, we all approach things differently. I use the exact same tools to communicate with him. I don’t tell him mommy has borderline personality disorder (BPD) or ADHD. I tell him: ‘Sometimes mommy’s brain doesn’t listen either. Sometimes mommy’s emotions get the better of her.’
I didn’t get my own diagnoses until after RJ was born. I had six months of severe post-partum depression and it was only while working through that challenge that I was finally evaluated for BPD. The ADHD diagnosis came later still. Of course, I’ve been living with these struggles my whole life. But, until recently, I didn’t have names for them or good strategies for managing them. It’s so important to me that RJ have the strategies, whether he needs them or not.
“Parenthood is incredible, but there’s always fear and guilt lurking. I feel guilty that I can’t be the picture of the perfect mom…”
Talking about these things is something that takes practice. It’s scary. There’s still a lot of stigma, especially if you’re a parent. And I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.
Parenthood is incredible, but there’s always fear and guilt lurking. I feel guilty that I can’t be the picture of the perfect mom, always full of energy. I feel guilty about how much of the onus of parenting I sometimes put on my husband, even though he has never made me feel bad about it. And my biggest fear is that, through my BPD and ADHD, I’ll screw RJ up so he turns out just like me.
But then my husband says: ‘Would that really be so bad? If he turns out like you, then you’re the perfect person to support him through it.’”