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AIBU to be very hurt and upset or do you think the same?

(68 Posts)
sj2008 Sat 02-Feb-13 22:26:38

I suppose this may be better suited to the mental health board but I'd like a broader perspective...I am currently 27 weeks pregnant with my second child. I have fairly severe mental health problems with a diagnosis of bipolar and a personality disorder, I have had many admissions to a psychiatric hospital over the last 8 years. My husband and I have always wanted a big family but put off a second child until I managed 12 months in full time employment and to come off all medication. Fortunately I achieved that level of stability and so far have been healthy in pregnancy.

However, a friend of mine on hearing our news told me she was disgusted that we would consider having more children as she thinks I am not fit to be a mother. She said as there is a chance I will leave now two children motherless it is utterly selfish.

I am totally gutted by this. Although I am close to this lady, she never sees me with my son. I have done countless things to be ashamed of when ill but am so proud of my son and how we parent him. He is happy, healthy and loved and has all the opportunities in our power to provide. He also is now lucky enough to have a sibling on the way and I know he will be a wonderful brother. Aibu to be upset by my friend's views or are there many out there who would write me off as a mum because of my diagnosis and behaviour when ill? X

malachite Mon 04-Feb-13 12:19:36

I think Wannabe explained it really well. I would also be concerned, though I wouldn't speak to you in the horrible way your friend did. My DH's mum has bipolar disorder and was hospitalised on and off throughout his childhood. She also attempted suicide on a number of occasions. This has traumatised him and caused him lifelong problems. In between periods of poor mental health she was a good mum and I have no doubt that she loves him very much, but I can't help but feel that it's selfish to have children when you know you are likely to put them through this. I don't know you or the details of your condition so I am not saying this applies to you. I hope me saying this doesn't make things more difficult for you and that you can stay healthy.

Lovelygoldboots Mon 04-Feb-13 11:28:59

Sj2008, none of us know the future and you have a right to decide your own future. If you get too hung up about other people's opinions then it could become a problem for you in staying well. Everyone judges other parents occasionally and you will probably do it yourself at some point that's just being human. I know someone who judged her sister for having a fourth child because the third one had died of a genetic illness. I could understand her concern, but it wasn't up to her. And your decision is up to you.

mrsbunnylove Sun 03-Feb-13 19:53:40

my mum attempted suicide seven times. i'm not saying its the ideal upbringing but we're all still here.

sj2008 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:15:43

Sorry posting on my phone is not very tidy!

sj2008 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:11:29

wannaBe I suppose this was what I was trying to get at by posting. I know she was rude and out of order in the manner in which she expressed her opinions as people seem to agree, but actually how many people would judge our decision to have another child given my circumstances? Is it that people in my life are concerned about the 'what ifs' for the future which I accept is understandable. Orccould it be that people do make assumptions about my ability to parent because of my illness?

The latter is so upsetting to consider. Although I have had periods where I have been very very ill, a lot more of the time I am my normal self. I have been very privileged to have had excellent education and so I have been able to research my illness and am proud of my understanding.I have considered all aspects of having children as a bipolar mum and I know I am in the best position to have made the right decision. What is upsetting is people's presumption that because I have been ill, that I am incapableof this decision.

wannaBe Sun 03-Feb-13 17:16:42

hang on, who said anything about the friend being concerned about the dc inheriting mh issues? iirc the friend suggested the op was selfish as her mh issues it would seem leave her with a high possibility of suicide (as attempted in the past) and thus the chance of leaving children motherless.

The friend shouldn't have made the comments in the way that she did. But equally it is a bit naive to think that people won't have concerns/opinions over someone who has mental health issues with a history of attempted suicide having children, and the impact those issues might have on those children and even on that person's ability to parent. That doesn't mean that someone with mh issues cannot parent. It purely means that there could be issues which might make that problematic either now or in the future. Thinking it doesn't make someone judgemental, but saying it makes them insensitive. And I'm not really sure how you even go about offering support to someone without coming across as patronising/doubtful of their abilities, so IMO the best thing to have done would be to say nothing.

I have a friend who had severe mh issues in her late teens/early 20s. She attempted suicide on a number of occasions and was sectioned several times. Eventually she came off all medication, met a lovely guy, got married and fell pregnant. And yes, I worried about her and her DC, although I would never have said anything to her along those lines. She had the baby and was healthy for some time. Then about five years later she relapsed and ended up being sectioned again. She has now spent the past five years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Her child spends most of the time having to be passed from pillar to post between friends and family so that the dh can work to support them all while juggling being a father to his dc and spending time with his dw at the hospital. The dd now is aware of her mum's condition and even states that "mummy needs to go back into hospital I think." She is ten. sad

Friend is absolutely a loving and doting mum, there is no doubt about that. But her dd is absolutely going to be affected by this for the rest of her life, and that is an awful lot to put on such a young child. Nothing can be done about that, things happen and they're in the position they're in. But if friend decided that she wanted to have another baby then, given what the existing child has already been through yes, I think I would find it hard not to judge that decision. I absolutely would never voice that to her though but internally I would struggle with my thoughts on it.

And to whoever said that if it were a physical illness i.e. a terminal condition would views be the same? Yes, if someone was dying of a terminal illness and decided to have a baby which was likely to be left motherless I would think that selfish.

Chiggers Sun 03-Feb-13 16:44:00

If you have kids and they end up with MH problems, then I would also say that you would be the best person to go to to talk about those problems and to advise any of your kids about MH issues. Simply because you have been there, battled long and hard to get where you are now AND because you gave birth to them and know a lot about them from bringing them up.

I couldn't imagine a better person to ask advice from than someone who has had MH issues and has become more stable as a result of the sheer stamina and treatment used in getting better (or as good as IYSWIM).

You should pull your friend up on her comment and tell her that unless she can give you constructive and impartial advice, then you'll be looking a new friend. No

fuzzypicklehead Sun 03-Feb-13 16:26:26

Such a high proportion of the population has mental health issues at some point (mentalhealth.org rates it at 25% of the population ^each year^), can you imagine if none of them ever reproduced just in case they might leave their children without a parent?

You sound like you're managing really well. It's true that your history will mean a higher risk of AND / PND, but as long as you keep a look out for the early warning signs and make sure you have adequate support in place to deal with any issues, you'll be just fine.

Your "friend" sounds like she needs some education.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Sun 03-Feb-13 16:08:07

I am not surprised you are upset by this comment, it was certainly thoughtless and a bit mean. However, perhaps you should cut your friend some slack as you have known her for such a long time and she has been a good friend to you in the past. Maybe you would feel better if you told her how inappropriate her comments were.
If she used the actual word 'disgusted' rather than implying it, then I would be a lot less forgiving.

You sound like you are a very sensible and together person. Your DS is lucky tohave you as a Mum

ReluctantMother Sun 03-Feb-13 16:00:56

Ditch her. She is no friend. DP and I both suffer with mental issues and DP has bipolar disorder. We have a son. We have had to educate some friends on mental health issues, but I would not remain friends with someone who still kept such appalling views.

What a revolting human being this bitch friend is. shock

Some posters have highlighted the stigma and ignorance surrounding mh, but whilst that is true (and I've experienced it first hand) there's no excuse for downright overtly hurtful and bitchy comments to a pregnant 'friend'.

Her views are nothing short of eugenicist nazism. What next? Sterilise all those of us with MH difficulties? Then those who are deaf (oooh yes, that can be inherited too doncha know!)? Then those with red hair?...etc etc... shock angry angry

My DH and I both have long-standing mh issues (DH has bi-polar) and I have a long and proud family heritage of mh problems (parents, gps etc) but thankfully noone suggested our DS was anything other than fortunate to have such loving family.

OP- you're doing exceptionally to be so happy, pregnant and stable. Long may it all be well. Ignore the silly twunt, cut her out, and enjoy the rest of your pg.

Oh, and have some thanks by way of congrats on everything.

Teapot13 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:39:35

I haven't read the whole thread but congratulations on the mental health you have worked to achieve and on your pregnancy. It sounds like you have approached this in a level-headed, highly responsible way. Your friends should be congratulating you as well!

A true friend who was worried about you would offer support when the baby comes -- not say you shouldn't have a baby.

MrsKoala Sun 03-Feb-13 15:35:52

Well done you for achieving what you have. I am bipolar and have done many awful things I am thoroughly ashamed of. when I wanted children some friends said I shouldn't because I was too selfish - ie the manic me, not me all the time. One of these 'friends' went off with my husband when I was manic as he needed a shoulder to cry on so they weren't exactly good friends.

Anyway, I have now been med free for 3 years and have a 5mo ds with new dh. I have never been more stable. Having a goal and someone I love more than anything really helped me not get sucked into the heady feelings of mania. I learned to recognise signs and take care of myself more.

I don't think your friend understands mh issues very well and at best her comments are hurtful and untrue. Good luck, you sound very brave.

LoopsInHoops Sun 03-Feb-13 15:34:32

I think she was horribly insensitive and cruel in what she said and how she said it but, as the daughter of someone with severe MH issues, I understand how she would be concerned.

In my mother's family, 4/6 siblings had serious MH problems. Out of 17 cousins, 3 were fine (belonged to those w/o MH issues), 2 adopted, 3 in care, 3 raised away from their MI parent, 6 raised in home with MI parent but with incredibly difficult childhood.

I don't know them all now, but most of them have MH problems of their own and ALL (apart from the 3) had terribly traumatic childhoods. I was quite young when my younger sibling was born, but I do remember thinking how irresponsible of my DM it was to have gotten pregnant in the first place. A very different situation though, with no stable home, an abusive criminal father and no support system.

That's not to say, by any stretch of the imagination, that the same will happen for your DCs, at all. But only too often the MI parent struggles with relationships and struggles to provide security for their children. Provided your DH can ensure that security and safety for your DCs, I think your children should be fine.

I wish you all the luck and happiness in the world. It's a hard life for all of us, and you have to make the most of it. As someone else said, you wouldn't be expected to stay childless if you had breast cancer. But you would expect to monitor your situation carefully, and ensure you have a system in place for if things go wrong.

smile xxx

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:20:54

I have no advice, but plenty of empathy for you. My own mother said the same to me when I was pregnant with my 2nd DD. I have bipolar and fibromyalgia and she has very little idea of what either of these actually entails and even less of an idea of what our life is like with it. Ultimately, you want the best for your children and you wouldn't have chosen to try for another baby if you felt it was going to be an issue. You also went about it in the most sensible and responsible way possible and I think that is so commendable. It is what you have, not who you are!

pigletmania Sun 03-Feb-13 10:35:19

Even if she dsagrreed with you having more children becase your MH she should not speak to you like that

McNewPants2013 Sun 03-Feb-13 10:33:37

Yanbu.it sounds like you have a great support around you and a loving partner who will know what to look out for in the event your MH takes a turn for the worst.

cory Sun 03-Feb-13 10:24:03

Do people whose relative have had breast cancer avoid having children, because it is well known that breast cancer has a hereditary element? hmm

Your friend seems to have very outdated ideas of MH issues.

pigletmania Sun 03-Feb-13 10:10:22

What she said would be a dealbreaker in a friendship, good friends don't speak like that

pigletmania Sun 03-Feb-13 10:07:23

Just distance yourself. Even if you do sport be polite and civil than don't have anything else to do with her

Chiggers Sun 03-Feb-13 09:16:01

Meh, ignore her OP. Maybe she is jealous of the effort you put into being a good mum to your DS and wishes she could be half as good.

When I say that, I mean that you have battled through numerous admissions and ups and downs, with your MH, to be a good mum, so you've done more fighting than a lot of people. It shows you have strength.

2 words for you OP "Get Rid"

Take care

DIYapprentice Sun 03-Feb-13 08:54:13

YANBU!! - She definitely IBU.

And I speak as someone who has an ex-friend who suffers depression and I believe undiagnosed borderline personality disorder. I believe SHE is doing her son irrepairable harm - but that is because she won't address her illness properly, messes around with her medication levels, and won't consider that she has any undiagnosed conditions. (My DS and I have become a target of her vitriol hence why ex-friend).

YOU have a handle on your illness. Yes, you may have recurring bouts in the future, but you have accepted that, and are doing your absolute best to make sure that your condition doesn't affect your DC.

And in my opinion, you are giving your DS an extra support base by giving him a sibling and potential best friend. (As I watch DS1 and DS2 playing together and humming the Star Wars theme together!!!)

sj2008 Sun 03-Feb-13 08:40:23

Thank you for your kind responses and those who shared their experiences. As I am not playing sport at the minute it is easy to keep my distance from her. In the future it is inevitable I will see her often but don't think I will ever be able to forget what she said. It is hard as I do have anxieties about the rest of the pregnancy, birth and how I will manage with a newborn and hearing that has heightened those worries.

socharlotte Sat 02-Feb-13 23:59:56

I think whatever the woman's thoughts were on the matter, she should have kept them to herself.Why do some people have to voice every nasty little thought that enters their head regardless of the consequences?

BurnThisDiscoDown Sat 02-Feb-13 23:53:05

YANBU. If your friend was concerned she would have offered support and a listening ear. A friend does not make you feel shit during a time in your life when you're already vulnerable.

Please ignore her and enjoy your lovely DC.

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