I think there is a great deal of hope, especially because you are so young still and have the knowledge that you suffer from BP at such an early age. If you want and choose to, you can aggressively stay on top of your symptoms and develop better coping strategies and thought patterns. Making the effort to be as stable as possible will help you be a better mate, and find a better mate. I don't think one person having BP is what undermines all of the problem marriages, there are other issues sometimes. In my case, my husband blamed the BP, but we had serious underlying incompatability issues. Say we were going to a party. He would want to flirt with everyone and have his ego stroked, then come home with me, me being okay with it. I didn't feel like a respected and valued wife in this scenario. So in the end, BP was neither here nor there. It isn't easy to walk away or give up; I think most of us who have had to end a supposedly enduring relationship have struggled hundreds of hours before coming to the decision.
But back to you. Since your having this illness has been identified so soon in your life, you can better protect yourself against the types of relationships and people that just wouldn't last in the end. For example, you can watch out for co-dependency problems, or other friends and lovers who indulge in activities that would hurt you and worsen symptoms. Almost your whole story is an open book. I can imagine that it is fairly traumatic to learn that you have BP already; the future can loom so large and menacing with a lifetime illness that requires serious efforts at maintenance. I felt that way when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 17. BP still is stigmatized, too. It can feel so unfair, and make you wonder if your dreams are still possible. I really believe they are; BP doesn't have to hold you back from tremendous accomplishments. A few weeks back there was a string where some of us talked about our successes. BP folk can be very talented and intelligent, and can do well out there in the world if they learn how to manage their illness.
I believe there will be someone for you, maybe even someone for me again one day.
As long as we are honest with those potential partners, giving them all the knowledge they need, I think a relationship can work. With a worthy person. I'm not saying they have to be perfect, just not people who will take advantage of us on purpose.
When I officially got my diagnosis it was so hard to accept, "What, now this on top of everything else? Why go on?" So I started a special project. I got as many different butterfly iron-on patches as I could and started sewing them onto a white jean jacket. In the end, there were over 140 butterflies on that jacket, and it reminds me I can get through one more day, and that some days I am even happy and grateful to be alive--even had special patches to signify this. I was hospitalized, I lost my husband and home, and can't find a job because the market is tough where I live. But that jacket is there, reminding me to hang on to hope. And I really believe there is hope. What is so hard is how impossible it can be to experience and recall that hopeful feeling when we are depressed, it is almost like a switch is turned off. That's why my tangible object turned out to be so valuable.
And if you truly want to be a mom someday, if you are stable and have a support network that knows what to do when your symptoms get worse for a period, I can see you making it work just fine. Being a mom must surely be doing your best, and there are many fabulous moms out there struggling with other illnesses. Of course, because it is an illness, you can't control all of it, but there is so much that is in your power to affect. But I think today we accept that there is no one right or traditional model for a family.
As for parents acknowledging how hurtful their children can be when in the throes of polar symptoms, not all BP individuals behave in the same way or patterns. Some of them are more inclined to be unkind to themselves rather than others; some isolate. Some struggle more with depression than mania. What is important is that you self-analyze to uncover what your pattern is, and educate your parents/relatives/trusted friends and get their support. And if they turn out to be unsupportive or resistant to you diagnosis (working on the assumption that it is a correct diagnosis), then it is so vital that you get other supportive people in your life.
Sorry if this is too long.
Welcome, by the way!
Blue Monday Linda