..to be surprised that there is no free childcare available for women with PND?

(64 Posts)
shiteforbrains Fri 19-Jun-15 14:08:38

My best friend has PND, her DD is 7 months old and she has had a really tough time. It is no surprise she has PND really from initially not thinking she could conceive, then when she was overjoyed to find she was pregnant getting crippling SPD, then an unbelievably traumatic birth, then a baby who would not feed and has been in and out of hospital trying different meds and formulas and is still not feeding properly and refusing to wean, all the while screaming for most of the day. She has been amazing but has now been diagnosed with PND, possibly a lot later than she should have been.
She needs a break, she needs some time to recompose herself before facing the onslaught of screaming child and feeding problems again but there is no help.
She can't afford childcare and it would seem that there is nothing available to her.
Does anybody have any advice or experience in this area? If it really is the case that there is nowhere that she can take her DD for a break when it is all getting too much then I think that is disgusting, not to mention dangerous.
If there isn't such a thing then there should be and I for one will campaign for it.

ItsTricky Fri 19-Jun-15 14:11:57

Homestart?

AliceAnneB Fri 19-Jun-15 14:18:07

I had a baby with severe reflux who screamed morning, noon and night. It's just brutal. Is she on the list for CBT? Usually they send someone to look after the baby while you work with the therapist. Some of the parenting sessions at children's centres offer a free crèche. What about joining a YMCA? They often have a free crèche and she could get a workout. The memberships are done on a sliding scale so should be affordable.

TorrAlexandra Fri 19-Jun-15 14:18:50

It's a fine line... for one thing, that seems like the sort of grey area wherein the dread social services tend to dwell, whose response might be 'can't cope and need a break from your baby? Fine, we'll take the kid off your hands and you can have an indefinite break'. And it could be another thing that some people will abuse for their own gain, ie go to the doctor, play up the symptoms a bit, voila free childcare!!

shiteforbrains Fri 19-Jun-15 14:22:03

Tricky - Thank you but no Homestart in her area sadly. There would be if she was 3 miles down the road!?!
Alice - Thank you I will send her a link to your reply.

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Fri 19-Jun-15 14:22:10

I don't think there is a thing yet, but I will join your campaign.
Being a single mum, my dd has just started at a local nursery. She gets 15 hours free, now she has turned two.
It might be worth talking to sure start or her local job centre.

splendide Fri 19-Jun-15 14:22:11

I attended a PND group at a surestart which had a crèche so that was a couple of hours a week. I'm really lucky that my DH works flexibly so once the feeding was sorted (about 5 months) he started taking him a couple of mornings a week. It was so so beneficial and I think basically cured me although I still have wobbles. I don't know what all the counselling and CBT cost (and I'm really grateful for it) but I do wonder if it would have been better spent on a bit of childcare.

shiteforbrains Fri 19-Jun-15 14:26:41

Torr - I don't think we can be afraid to ask for help for fear of the childcatcher. We need to break the stigma attached to PND and other mental health issues. There will always be an element in society that will take advantage of services but that shouldn't mean that they are not available for those who need them?

PattiODoors Fri 19-Jun-15 14:29:08

Her HV can maybe arrange something?
Worth asking.

Sundaysmumisfullofwine Fri 19-Jun-15 14:31:08

Health visitors and children's centre workers can apply for crisis childcare funding in this area, to help in exactly this kind of situation.

TorrAlexandra Fri 19-Jun-15 14:33:45

I'm absolutely with you, I definitely agree there should be support for those that need it, just pointing out what the general reasons for hesitation/opposition might be.

QuiteLikely5 Fri 19-Jun-15 14:35:48

Contact the HV. Best person to ask. She will have local knowledge.

SaucyJack Fri 19-Jun-15 14:39:05

Social workers can refer people for free childcare.

I'm not it should be widely available though. Quite possibly due to sour grapes on my part.

I think one should need to be in pretty extreme circumstances before it becomes the responsibility of the state to step in.

Has she tried the Post-Natal support coordinator for her local branch of the National Childbirth Trust? They might be able to put her in touch with someone in her area who has had PND, or might know of support groups or services that could help her.

When I was doing that role for my NCT branch, I once looked after someone's baby for the morning - she was utterly desperate because the baby screamed constantly unless carried around - so desperate that, after some phone conversations with me, she left the baby with me. I offered this so she could go home and have a bath and a good sleep.

I don't know if she'd find anyone who would do that for her (though if I were local to her, I would do it in a heartbeat) - but it might help if she had someone to talk to, who knows what she's going through.

One thing I learned when I had PND was from an expert in the field - Dr Katherina Dalton. Her theory was that there are receptors which absorb hormones from the bloodstream - the hormones that help combat PND. But if your blood sugar drops, these receptors switch to absorbing glucose from the blood - so your body is making the best possible use of the available blood glucose.

This can mean your levels of the hormones drop, and this can contribute to PND. And although the receptors do switch back when your blood sugar rises, it can take up to a day (iirc) for this to happen, during which time you have too little of the hormones.

Her advice was to eat small amounts of carbs regularly through the day. Have something within an hour of getting up, don't go more than three hours without having some carbs, and eat some carbs no more than an hour before going to sleep.

This needn't mean eating lots more - she said to divide up a normal daily allocation of carbs between several little snacks, rather than three meals. She suggested things like oatcakes or rice cakes as snacks.

I can't guarantee this works - my PND was secondary to clinical depression (undiagnosed at that point), so whilst this helped a bit, it was never going to deal with the underlying depression - that took years of therapy, and is still ongoing. But it does give the person back a bit of control, and the bottom line is that, if it doesn't help, it won't do any harm - and it doesn't involve medication.

St Johns Wort can also be useful.

Hexenbiest Fri 19-Jun-15 14:43:00

I see you thought of Homestart.

The local children center might have something - they vary in what they offer ? Groups , creshes.

One of the local one had groups that children from families with problems could get free subsided places from 18 months - another had service when very young DC could be left with a staff member for few hours - but think there was a charge - not open for everyone.

Though since then they have all had their funding cut.

A good HV might know what the area has to help.

Has she actually checked the price of local child-minders - see if any would do maybe one morning a week - or two and what it would cost rather than assumed it out her reach?

Niloufes Fri 19-Jun-15 14:45:45

Could also call your local NCT volunteers.

AliceAnneB Fri 19-Jun-15 15:08:04

I thought of one more thing. I used a postnatal doula to help with my son while he had reflux and I had PND. I know she mentioned that they have a charity of doulauk that gives services to women in need. You might try there and see what they can do.

sadwidow28 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:31:04

It's brutal isn't it? My SIL had PND and had nearly lost the plot when her DS was 8 months old. My DB was worse than useless to be honest. He kept telling her to 'get on with it' and pointed out that our DM had raised 9 children full-time.

I worked mid-way between my home and hers so I did a 65 mile trip to her and 125 miles back to bring her and the two DCs to my home -and left my DB to have a jolly holiday on his own-

My DH and I took over the caring for her and all child-care (including having the baby sleep in a cot with us in our dining room where we camped out on a blow-up mattress). We did the evening walks to the park for 6 year old to play, night settling of both, over-night feeding etc - and still went to work the next day. She knew she just had to get through the day (although I did take the 2 DCs with me into work one day when I was assessing a child-minding course grin ) She was an absolute mess through no fault of her own.

I took her to my GP to get some medical support for her. (DB wouldn't allow her to tell the HV or her GP that she was struggling with a baby with colic). We then agreed that we would keep the DCs for an extra week and she could go back home to try to get her marriage back on track and explain how much support she needed from DB. (She wouldn't LTB even though I advocated it!) But when I took her home, I spoke to DB and told him that he had better get some respite support in place for DSIL and I didn't want to hear him say that he worked FT so child-rearing was her job. At the end of that week, my DB brought my SIL back to stay for a weekend and collect his children. I don't think my DB had a pleasant weekend with us to be honest. My very gentle DH used his 'cross voice' on my DB.

But, given that I am one of 9 children (8 still alive at that time and living local to DB and DSIL) how come someone else didn't check that she was okay? Only when I forced my DB to get some respite in place did he ask my DM where he could find help. My DM knew every strategy available through church and SS. (Before the days of Homestart.) My DM organised members of the family to take the children to the park, or back to their house for tea etc on a regular basis.

I will never, ever forget my SIL's PND and how desperate she was.

The more that nuclear families are distanced (more mobile because of work etc) the greater the problem has become. I'll join any campaign to get better support for a mother who is struggling - PND or not. Sometimes just 3 hours a week on a regular basis is enough to allow them to re-charge their batteries.

Sorry for the long post!

P.S. DB never did step up to the plate and eventually she LTB - then he died!

sadwidow28 Fri 19-Jun-15 15:40:57

Some contact numbers that might help - advice and linking to support:

apni.org/ Call us between 10.00am and 2.00pm on: 0207 386 0868.

www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/ Call 0843 2898201

www.carers.org/

splendide Fri 19-Jun-15 16:19:47

Sadwidow you sound amazing. I was like your SIL. Just couldn't function, it was so awful. I wish you could be cloned and passed around!

elliejjtiny Fri 19-Jun-15 16:43:42

sadwidow your post nearly made me cry, I wish I had a relative like you.

I know of someone who got some free childcare because she had PND but she had it badly. She spent some time as an inpatient in a mum and baby unit and she was getting support from SS as well.

I'm on 150mg of sertraline and still score 21-23 on the Edinburgh test thing that the HV's do and been like this since my youngest was born just over a year ago. I just get a GP appointment once a month. Been offered counselling but haven't managed to take that up yet as I have 3 under school age, the middle one has complex special needs and the youngest still breastfeeds several times a day.

I think there should be better treatment available to women with PND, or prevention would be even better.

PtolemysNeedle Fri 19-Jun-15 16:51:35

I get where you're coming from because it would be nice if our society was so rich that it could afford to pay for childcare for ill parents (all ill parents, not just ones with PND) but I think you're being a bit extreme to say it's disgusting that we don't.

This is what fathers and family and friends are for. I assume you offer to have the baby so that your friend can have the break you believe she needs, or are you unable to?

Babyroobs Fri 19-Jun-15 16:54:41

My first 2 babies were born in new Zealand ( going back 15 years). My second dd was born 6 weeks premature with some health problems , had bad colic and rarely slept.I was also trying to cope with an 18 month old and absolutely no family around and few friends. My lifesaver was something called a Plunket centre which my HV referred me to. I went for the day a few times and they looked after my kids whilst I was packed off to a wooden shed in their grounds with a hot water bottle to sleep for the day and woken for lunch which was provided . They helped get the baby into a better routine and were generally great at supporting me for a while whilst I needed it. I swear they helped avoid me sinking into pnd. Over the years i ahve often remembered their kindness and though what a great idea it was. Unfortunately I've never seen anything similar here. Some mums who were worse ff than me went a few times a week to catch up on sleep.

StarlingMurmuration Fri 19-Jun-15 17:05:55

I have a friend in a very similar situation, and this thread has just prompted me to text her to offer more support. We have similar aged babies and I have PND but I'm lucky in that mine was caught very early and I have had a lot of support from my GP etc, plus I have a Homestart volunteer, because I am fortunate enough to live in an area which is covered by Homestart, unlike my poor friend who only lives a few miles away but in another county. I hope I can help her in some way now.

I hope anyone who is reading this with a friend in a similar situation has also been prompted to contact them. Thanks for posting, OP, and for drawing attention to this very difficult problem.

Itsalldramarama Fri 19-Jun-15 17:13:46

Please contact your heAlth visitor , she may be able to refer you for a Sponsered place in a day nursery '
My nursery has several children and babies on Sponsered places for various reasons eg Pnd , bereavement , stress , new baby ( we have other siblings so mum can bond ) please try , there is no stigma in asking for help x

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