I became pregnant for the second time at only 17 years old when my first born was a mere three months old. Not only did it come as an unwelcome shock to me, but also the father. I did not want to abort and I spent my pregnancy, excluding the last two months, feeling very scared and alone. There was always allot of crying and being physically ill during this time. His father was convinced I had become pregnant on purpose as he wanted our first to be a boy and she wasn't. He spent many, many nights gone, out drinking, cheating and he once even smacked me for getting upset after he spent our rent money at the bar.
There were many years that I never even put these facts and my son's problems together. I decided to research this as soon as it crossed my mind and for several months blamed the entire situation on myself. If I would have known, I could have prevented it. I was 17 years old, I was responsible for an infant, I had then undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder and my partner was gone as much as he possibly could be.
Here are some facts I came across searching for some answers to his problems.
Many mothers during pregnancy face extremely stressful circumstances. They are confronted with such unhealthy situations as the break-up of their marriage, physical or emotional abuse, open infidelity or simply uninterested and uninvolved partners who prefer staying out to staying home and supporting their pregnant partners. These mothers experience constant stress, shame, loneliness and, sometimes, clinical depression during pregnancy or after giving birth. The babies of these mothers are exposed to a variety of stress hormones, toxins and malnutrition inside the womb. Some of these babies will continue to live in the same or often worse noxious environment. No wonder some will later become hyperactive, underactive, inattentive, or temperamental and exhibit poor self-control. Many of these children are later medicated with Ritalin or antidepressants. Not everyone understands that the problems a child exhibits today may have resulted from events that occurred several years ago. Last, but not least Environmental events surrounding pregnancy and birth have been linked to an increased development of mental illness in the offspring This includes maternal exposure to serious psychological stress or trauma.
Now, years later my son is now 16 and has already been involved in a drunk driving accident, (thank goodness nobody was seriously injured). He spent a week in a juvenile detention center, did 250 hours of community service and was on probation for six months. He was diagnosed at a younger age with ADHD and put on medication. At age 12, he was then diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and has been taking Tryleptol for four years now. He doesn't seem to have any physical problems, so I presume the stress I put him through while in-utero has only affected his mental and emotional state.
The conclusion I have come to is that yes, my mental and emotional state while pregnant DID affect my son. I did not know this could happen until recently as I would have left the situation to help him.