What's a male voice doing in this conversation? Let me explain:
Two months ago my daughter phone me from New Zealand. The year before, almost to the day, I had been there to attend her wedding. She had news for me:
"You're going to be a grandfather …"
Calmly, coolly, with great poise, I picked myself off the floor and planted myself back in my chair.
My daughter! My little girl!
We yakked excitedly for at least 30 minutes, then it was time to acknowledge the elephant in the room: I live with bipolar disorder. My daughter does not, and we definitely don't want her to start.
Bipolar disorder puts women at much higher risk for postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis, not to mention relapse into bipolar. In addition, a good percentage of women experience bipolar disorder for the first time following childbirth.
I do not profess to be familiar with the fine points of psychiatric genetics. All I know is that if there are any dormant bipolar genes lurking in my daughter's genome, we don't want to wake them up. But come October, all hell is going to break loose.
No sleep, stress, hormone crash. Zillions of adjustments.
The odds are strongly in her favor of a healthy delivery, I assured her. But she needs to be aware of the risks. That way she can lower the risks. And, heaven help, should something happen, she won't be caught off-guard.
My daughter has a loving and supportive husband who is a physician. She has the best mother in the world. She has a great network of friends, and she lives in a country that provides excellent prenatal, natal and postnatal care.
In other words, my daughter is going to be fine. But you know how fathers worry.
A few days ago, I ordered online something very special. Today the package arrived. Tomorrow, I will repost it to New Zealand. Boston Red Sox baby gear. Yes!