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Mother and baby unit??(306 Posts)
Does anyone have any experience of such places? I'm 39+3 weeks pregnant with my very much planned and wanted second child. I have a diagnosis of bipolar and due to risks to baby have recently stopped my anti-psychotic. My psychiatrist thinks my mood is becoming high. I disagree. She is talking about mother and baby hospital after birth. I'm terrified and thinking of doing a runner!
My only experience is via a friend who spent time in one. For her, it was a very positive experience which gave her time and space to bond with her baby while her meds, moods and other needs were looked after. If you are serious about doing a runner, then I would have to suggest that your psychiatrist could be correct in recognising that your mood is elevating. Good luck.
Thanks for replying littlefish. I'm glad your friend had a positive experience. I'm just struggling with even the thought of being locked up. I feel great and can't wait to bring home the new addition to our family. My husband and older child need me at home too. Not sure how serious I am but I don't want any medics ruining what it such a special time.
I know it must be worrying. Did you trust your psychiatrist before this? Do you think it's possible that coming off your drugs is stopping you from having a proper perspective on your behaviour and mood at the moment? You're right, it is an incredibly special time, but it's also a time when you will be very emotional and hormonal and you will need more support than your dh may be able to give.
I trust my doctor but it's a specialist perinatal psychiatrist who has taken charge of my care and I don't know her well at all. It was a difficult decision to take medication at all but I have been given conflicting advice now about the risks so have stopped. I know I am not as well without it but think I've not got long left so it's the best option. I am scared of psychosis.
I was born "into" a mother and baby unit. So were all three of my sisters. My mother also has bipolar, and when she got to 38 weeks in each pregnancy, she'd start to become erratic. She wouldn't notice it herself, so it was judged safest for her to be placed there.
We visited with my dad, either once or a few times a day, and it helped my mum a lot. She got a lot of time to bond and look after her little one, whilst she was being monitored. She wasn't "locked up", because she could walk around with baby in the pram, and we got to go out for longer periods before release.
For her last baby, she refused to go into a mother and baby unit. She discharged herself in the middle of the night, the day before she was due to go in. Social services were heavily involved after that, and did check-ups well into school. And of course, she ended up in the mother and baby unit anyway.
Please think about the best plan for you. If you are worried about family time, ask the psychiatrist to arrange times that your DH and older child can be with you. They'll help you feel comfortable and happy, if you ask.
I spent six weeks ina unit when my youngest was six weeks with PND. It was a life saver and nothing like a regular psych unit at all. The staff were so good and it was a comforting place. I've since got a bipolar diagnosis so I appreciate that it's different when you're feeling (maybe) high. But having spent time in A reg psych hospital it was much smaller (6 beds), supportive, quiet, and half decent food!
congratulations due baby.mother and baby units are small and supportive
unit will emphasise you and baby well being,maybe reframe your thinking its not so bad
I understand you feels panicked,maybe that's indicative of getting unwell?talk to psych
Thank you so much for your replies. I have had many admissions to psych wards and have found them very traumatic. I have been physically/sexually assaulted and given heroin on a ward. I fantasize about first weeks with my baby and surprisingly this does not feature! Also my boss wants me to start working from home when the baby arrives, I won't be able to do that from hospital.
From anyone's experience, what is it like? Do you have your own room? Do you take care of your baby? Do you have to take meds?
The Mother and Baby unit that I worked on was a small 10 bedded unit- you and your baby have your own room (unless you are deemed a 'risk') to the baby- then the baby would go into the 'nursery' (still on the same ward- a large room with glass window so that you can see the baby)
There are medication rounds etc.
They are great. I work quite closely with ours.
Provided you're not a risk to your baby then you won't be locked up. Your family will be allowed to be there all day if you want them there, you can go out for walks together and depending on how well you are home leave too either days or overnight.
It was small and quiet. Had my own en-suite room with cot,, but there was also a nursery for the babies to be cared for if you needed rest. Had own kitchen to make toast and tea. They had nursery nurses to help care for babies, but it was very much a case of them being there to support rather ban take over. The staff were amazing. They were very good with my oldest daughter and really involved my husband. Nine months later, at Christmas time, they sent me a lovely hand written 'its your baby girls first Christmas' card, wishing us all a happy time.
It was my first time of being admitted. Sh!t did I get a shock when I was admitted to a general psych unit a year later. I really felt locked up. The two experiences were very different in my case.
Thanks for sharing, it makes a reassuring
read that it may be different to a normal psych ward. I feel so great though that the thought of being on hospital is bizarre. I am painting the lounge at the moment which I suppose at ten o'clock at night and 9 months pregnant is maybe a sign I'm a little high but it feels so good. I wonder if I disengage from services what they will do. They can't force me to see them can they?
I strongly urge you not to disengage,given you known to services and they concerned
better to ome to a mutually discussed plan,and discuss outcomes than be avoidant
mh and children and families can invoke a range of statutory powers if situation considered risky
If you disengage they will worry more about you.
Could you maybe speak to your team and ask if you can have a look around the ward before you are admitted?
you need some reassurance,perhaps you're seeing this as catastrophic rather than treatment
what's dh thoughts in this,it's a discussion he need to participate in
how he supports your recovery,and collaborative working with services
I wish you all the v best, I hope this resolves well.do discuss your valid worries
maybe you will need in patient treatment,meds,and community support in own home
I think all the responses here are telling you that the mother and baby unit is a positive and nurturing place to be in, should you need the support.
I do understand how well and positive you feel now, but remember you will be tired and on a hormonal rollercoaster after the birth. Your psychiatrist is a specialist in this area. Why not listen to what she is saying/suggesting?
Tbh, painting the lounge at this time of night and talking about disengaging from the services sound slightly worrying. <Though of course the painting could be down to the overwhelming 'nesting' impulse >.
Please don't disengage - we all need some extra support from time to time.
Cooperate and you will get on better for sure. If you believe you are well then you need to be logical, listen to them and explain calmly how you feel. M&B units are different to MH wards.
Running off and refusing to see them will get you ss involvement or sectioned.
When can you go back on meds? When baby is born?
A friend was painting a room when she went into labour, so sounds very nesting. Why it meet with them and agree to talk with them and say what support you have in place at home, how you using your current support well etc.
Thank you for all your opinions/advice. After another full on busy day started with 6 miles jogging/walking I feel totally exhausted but can't settle tonight. My head is fizzing with thoughts. I really don't want to be poorly again, shutting them out seems like a safer option.
you'll not get the resolution online.you need to talk to your psych
seems like there's a lot of avoidance,denial and prevarication going on.but you know that
this simply will not go away,better to be participant in planning,than denial.whats dh opinion
He doesn't know I've stopped the meds. He has a lot on at the moment. I know you are right, this won't be resolved here.
i wish you well Martha,please talk to your psych.
Hi Martha - I was in Derby MBU for a long time last year. If you have any questions please PM me. It was a necessary experience, not great, but not horrible. I would rather be at home, but I was not anywhere near well enough to be. It was much, much better than waiting till baby was 1 and going into a general psych ward, or getting so ill that I was TOO unwell for MBU and had to be in secure unit.
Not long at all now til you give birth martha.
It is generally an unsettlingly time when you are at this stage of pregnancy.
The very best of luck to you with all of it. Please reach out and accept the support that will benefit you. x
No baby yet. Having a mega wobble. Feeling so impulsive.
Hey Martha, do you think you could maybe contact someone from your care team and tell them how you are feeling? It sounds like you need a bit of help right now. This is a tough time of pregnancy for everyone.
posting online is avoidance of what you actually need to do Martha.talk to team
you're heavily pg,known to team who have concerns,this wont go away
I urge you to be collaboratively involved with the and tell dh you're non-compliant with meds
You know these feelings mean that you need support and will be losing the ability to make rational decisions. Please contact your care team and talk urgently to your dh. Good luck.
Spoke with cpn today. She threatened me with a mental health assessment if I won't allow daily contact. Guess I have no choice.
But it is good they are there to offer support for you.
Martha,given you're non-compliant with meds,suspicious of staff I can see why staff concerned
try reframe how you see this it isn't necessarily threat,it is support for your needs
do work and try collaborate with team and best. wishes
I guess I should be grateful, I realise people are crying out unanswered for support. I just want to be able to enjoy my maternity leave and last few days as a family of 3. Constant reminders that I may well be sectioned after the birth does not feel good. It feels like they are out to get me.
If you voluntarily go in, they'll soon kick you out when you're stable and they'll see that you have awareness of your state . Much better than getting really poorly and being forced into hospital.
40+4 no baby yet. I have agreed to take lorazepam to help me sleep. Still feeling pretty speeded up.
I am very much an atheist, I believe in the beauty of reality. Things are beautiful because they are real. I believe in the wonder of science. This is more than enough for me.
However I am really scaring myself. I am so anxious that the baby won't be ok and that the two of us may not make it through birth. It's like I am wishing I had an omnipotent being I believed in to help me with this. Its scary not trusting what I have always thought. Do I make any sense?
It's completely normal to feel a little anxious about your impending birth. It does sound like your fears are beginning to feel overwhelming though. All I can do is keep encouraging you to speak to your team and lean on them for their support. Good luck.
They came to see me today but I couldn't let them in, feeling a bit paranoid I suppose. Hope I will be induced soon.
martha- Im a mental Health nurse- you must let them in to see how you are. You are at risk here of actually being sectioned- do you really need all of the added stress of trying to convince a team of mental health professionals that you are 'safe' to look after yourself and your new baby?
By avoiding/hiding from them you are indicating that you are disengaging from services. Please Martha- contact them now and arrange to see them.
Hey tiredemma. Thanks for replying, I have huge respect for mental health nurses. I am anxious and terrified about giving birth and falling ill afterwards and having their intervention is making things worse. I know my mood is unstable right now but I want to just be on my own.
martha by disengaging this is likely to proceed to MHA, maybe admision
i urge you to saee the psychiatrist.see the team and participate in working
yes youre scared,but avoidance and disengagement makes this more urgent,it wont go away
have you considered a friend or advocate be present with you at any assessments to support you
Does your dh and /or GP know youre non-compliant with medication?
I don't really understand the way this works for Martha.
Martha, I don't know anything about the procedures but I don't think you are really aware of how you are from what you are saying. You sound speeded up in what you write.
The thing I don't get about psych services is why is it about "engagement" and "compliance" - surely Martha's just.. well... ill? If you had a relapse of cancer (even if it was because you forgot your meds) no one would be saying it was up to you.
Martha I'm guessing if there is anyone with you that they can see how you are. I hope they help you to get the right help. I've just been discharged from care with a Mother and Baby Unit. I understand what you are saying in terms of your fears. Remember these are normal fears. What's happening here is that those normal fears are becoming confused with your mood. The risk of postpartum psychosis is very high when you are like this. Your best bet is to get help asap. I know it's hard. I understand why you feel paranoid and scared, it is very overwhelming. I hope that you get support to go in asap.
working the issue is that Martha (or anyone who is psychologically unwell) can only get better if she has the help she needs. The barrier to that help is Martha herself - the nurses can't see she is ok if she refuses to open the door. They have to balance the risks to her and her baby if they don't see that she is ok.
Martha, you are doing fine, but you do need to let the nurses come in and talk to you. That's all. Just so they can see that you are healthy, that you are not a risk to yourself.
You do sound so very scared. Wouldn't it be nice to try the M&B unit, just on a voluntary basis, so that you can know you are safe without having to think about it?
Anyone who is ill can only get better if they get the help they need, whether it's psychological or not. I just don't think some of the language use is helpful. People (whether psychologically well or not) move towards what sounds workable for them and move away from things that sound blaming and aversive. Being sectioned is aversive. If you think you are going to be sectioned, you are less likely to want to see people who might section you.
I agree with Lougle that you sound petrified Martha. You've mentioned a few times about wanting to be induced soon. If this is something you want, you will be able to talk to the mental health team and/or your midwife and GP.
What I am hearing is:
- you are scared for your health
- you are scared for your baby's health
- you want to be induced
- you are afraid of what is coming next
- you are afraid of being sectioned
- you are afraid of people telling you that you are going to be sectioned
- you feel powerless right now
- you are worried about what it's going to be like with two children
- you want to stay with the elevated feelings because right now they are easier than facing the fear.
It is understandable that with all this going on, the pull to avoid seeing people who will confirm that you are ill right now is huge. It's part of being ill. It is your illness playing tricks on you. It's saying that this is not illness, that you can just shut it out. Unfortunately, this is not true.
You can feel that strong urge to avoid and still decide not to avoid. It will be hard but you can do it. You can do the brave thing even if you don't feel brave. The brave thing is admitting that you are not in control and where you would like to be right now.
If you choose to get this help, it is likely:
- you will have support to reduce your fears about your health
- you will have support to reduce your fears about your baby's health
- you may be able to get an induction agreed
- you will have support and a plan in place to prevent the likelihood of you getting sectioned after the birth
- you will get support to regain psychological equilibrium which will increase your feelings of control and power about giving birth
- you will prevent the inevitable crash that follows an elevated state
- you will have better experiences of introducing your second child to your eldest child
- you will improve the experience of having two children.
Your fears are normal. Every mother is terrified at heart that her baby might die, kill her or take her away from her other child. Every mother is afraid of whether they will love the new baby enough, or love it more than their first baby and afraid of what it will do to their family. This is part of this experience and it is hard but the only way to stop it overwhelming you and robbing you of everything you value and everything you wished for and planned for is to get help and get it NOW.
Don't let them in because you are afraid of what they might do.
Let them in because you value this baby, you value your older child, you value your family and this is what you need to do right now to be well enough to demonstrate your love for them. You are not your fears or your thoughts. You are you beyond all of this. To get back to you, you need to get help. It's crap, it's unfair, there's no real reason it's happened to you.. but it is happening and the only way to stop it getting worse is to let them in and accept that you desperately need help.
Really hoping that you have support.
indicators of mental well being are steady mood,ompliance with meds.
no obtrusive thought,not feeling scared,not feeling paranoid.
and willingness to engage with team treating you as you recognise you have an illness that need treatment
Martha has written she feels
feeling increasingly paranoid
non compliant with meds
suspicious of Drs and team,refusing to work with them
as not told her husband she non compliant with med
...this is all likely to be indicative of deterioration in her mental health
the comparison with declining CA treatments,isn't a good comparison.this isn't necessarily about declining treatment. a ca pt could decline treatment,and if assessed to have full capacity to understand,and no mh issue affecting decision making then that decision would be legitimate choice.refusing ca treatment wouldn't usually initiate mh contact,unless mh was considered impaired
in mh if the decision making is influenced by mental illness,then the choice is impaired and result of the mental illness.at that point intervention by psych and team is appropriate.
non engagement is a key indicator of potential deterioration
I have worked hard all my life to try and achieve success and yet I am barely a valid person. Why can't I have any say in what happens to me. It doesn't seem fair. Whatshould be one of the most happy and significant times of my life is becoming a nighmare. They can't section me, I am fine.
you're being asked your opinion Marta,you're being invited to participate in treatment
you have declined to do so,you're avoiding the team trying to work with you
if your mental state has deteriorated you can be sectioned after an mha
Martha, I spent four months in a M&B unit as an emergency admission. I was blue lighted there after a dreadful incident. My baby was safe through all this i hasten to add. I would have been sectioned if I hadn't agreed. I am glad I cooperated for the sake of my whole family.
However we feel we have to trust professionals, I look back and realise how very unwell I was, I was not making any kind of rational decisions. The longer you resist the longer your recovery will take.
You will be fine but you need help.
Martha you are valid. You can have a say in what happens to you, if you co-operate and join in that discussion.
They can section you if you cause them such concern for your wellbeing or that of your child that they feel they have no other option. It is unlikely to happen if you agree a plan with them for keeping yourself well and safe.
It is very likely to happen if you don't allow them see that you can keep safe and well.
If you engage with them it may be they assess you as not needing the mother and baby unit. Beds are very scarce, they do not offer them lightly and will do everything they can to keep you at home if you follow their treatment plans and can show them you are ok. If you do not engage with them as others have said they can make things non optional which would be more stressful, potentially longer away from family and harder to be free from services in the long run.
Ps not long now til the birth of your baby, I hope it goes well, you have lots of special cuddles with the baby and some great photos and early memories!!
How are you doing Martha? I'm thinking of you and hoping your getting some help.
Scottishmummy, your posts are horrible, I'm sorry. Do you have any idea what it's like to be spoken about in those terms? I don't care if you can quote evidence about them from here to eternity, Martha is first and foremost a HUMAN BEING who is in pain and suffering and the way you reduce it to clinical detail is not helping!
Martha you ARE valid. You also are NOT your illness.
My experience of Mother and Baby Units is this: the community team were much more full of all this crappy language about deterioration and disengagement and liking to sound full of themselves with their superior knowledge about mental health but on the ward itself they were nothing but caring and there WITH you and your baby. Safe. Warm. Nurturing. Seeing you and your pain as valid. Helping you to normalise all these fears that you have. Supporting you to get through the hard bits.
Generally, professionals who work intensively with people in pain are way better at talking about these things. They've seen it all and then some and they accept what is reality for you without talking to your illness... they will talk to you, not your symptoms.
I haven't had the elevated mood you have but I did crash very much after the birth. It was a really awful time and I remember it as being a bit of a blur. You really need people who get that. It is really hard for your partner to understand.
For some reason, women are more vulnerable on a second pregnancy - I think it's because of all the natural fears of what bringing another person into your house provokes in your illness. Your mind is trying to avoid these natural fears and because of that it is making you (paradoxically) much, much more ill.
You will be heard a lot more clearly on a Mother and Baby Unit. It's not what anyone wants at the start of pregnancy but it is the best place to go right now and it will give you what you MOST need... space to be seen, care for you that is sensitive for the fear that you feel, knowledge your baby will be cared for and you will be cared for. You can't see these positives now because you're seeing FROM your thoughts rather than being able to look AT your thoughts and see that you're just scared. This is making you very ill and it is unfortunately likely to make you a LOT more ill if you don't get help now.
I am thinking of you a lot. I really hope that you feel that you can get this help as soon as possible because I've been there and I know that you need it.
Thank you so much for your kind and considered replies. Your compassion and empathy is very important to me. I'm 41+1 now and the end seems in sight. I know I need medication sooner rather than later but I am definitely wanting to wait until after delivery. Everything feels a bit racey and speeded up, feels impossible to try and reply properly but I have really appreciated your comments.
Any luck with induction Martha? They agreed an induction at 41+3 for me (normally would be 41+7) so I could get on with medication and wrote a plan for the labour staff of who to call if I showed signs of psychosis e.g. to stop me being sent to a general psych ward. Maybe this would help?
In the end I went into labour myself on that very morning but the staff in the normal ward were so kind.. they pushed aside usual protocol and let me go in during the early stages and gave me the home from home room which was really calm and not at all clinical, with soft lighting etc. They gave me a lot of space and privacy as well.
You might find if you get in touch and set up something like this that you feel a lot better and then you can transition to meds when you have had the baby. I didn't take meds before birth either though I can see it would have helped avoid the crash. It's not an easy decision.
Induction booked in for next Tuesday....saw a midwife I'd never met so she had no idea of my situation and made no mention of it.
9-5 it's really distasteful that you chose to argue with me and berate posts
please vent your ire and dissatisfaction elsewhere
this is not about you
Martha, I would strongly urge you to let them know your situation. As you are feeling high and speeded up right now, you are at high risk for postpartum psychosis. You need a plan in place so you are given the right meds either way and if you do become psychotic they are aware as you could be a danger to yourself or your baby. That is not what you want, you know this. If you face this now, even though it feels like hell, you will be safer. I know you would do anything to avoid the fear of losing it to that extent but the paradox is that running away from doing what you need to now because of that fear makes it more likely you will be at risk.
You need to act. You can do it.
Scottishmummy, with all due respect, it's not about me but it's not about you either. My comments were because I found your tone unhelpful and I know that those kind of comments can seem very frightening and threatening to women in distress when they most need to trust the system. It should really be obvious that my comments weren't about me.
9-5 you're still talking about yourself and generalising about what you think women want
don't enact your gripe with my posts on mh thread,it's inappropriate
I stand by my posts.they were not addressed to you
Martha as I have said best wishes
Martha, you mentioned at the beginning that you are being seen by a perinatal mental health specialist and that it wasn't your usual doctor and you felt that you didn't know this new specialist. Could you contact your usual doctor to discuss how you are feeling?
SM, I am not generalising or talking about myself or what women want. It's not inappropriate to share your experiences on a mental health forum where someone has come to look for support from fellow service-users. It's often important for people in distress to feel heard, understood and listened to and also to hear that others have felt the same. This is not exactly a new or radical concept in mental health care.
Delivered a beautiful little girl last night. Very quick labour. Could not be more delighted.
Congratulations Martha, hope you are both well and you are enjoying newborn snuggles x
congratulations,hope you all well.
Wonderful news Martha. Hope you are doing well with your beautiful daughter.
Going home and feeling great. She is amazing, as is her big bro. I'm so in love!
Enjoy it all, you've earned it!
So as my doctor predicted, after four weeks of an unmedicated high I have left myself with very few reserves to cope with the demands of a newborn and a young child. I'm really exhausted and feel very anxious about my daughter. I'm terrified my son is going to hurt her. I don't know how rational my thinking is or what is normal for the first few weeks after giving birth. The plan was that I would be seen every day for 14 to spot early psychosi but the bank holiday seems to have messed that up as no one is coming till Tuesday. I want to prove I can cope but my head keeps wandering to dark places. I love my little family so much I don't want to let the professionals know what's going on in my head in case anyone tries to take them away.
They won't take them away, Martha. They will want to give you enough support to let you be the Mum you need to be and to stay safe.
Tell them. Don't keep anything from them.
They are waiting for you to let them help you, that's all they want to do.
phone the out of hours team immediately get some support
you need support, accept help
make that call
Really desperately want to be ok but finding this so hard. I'm exhausted.
Martha, that's because you are resisting the help that will make it easier.
Let them help you. You are in control - only you can accept the help you need.
I have told them I am struggling but the only answer they have is medication and I can't risk giving my daughter a dose of antipsychotic and bf is too important to me to give up.
its about balance,your welfare,your mh,and the baby wellbeing
perinatal psych will know what meds safe bf,and discuss choices
you need to engage in that discussion,how to maintain good mh,and feeding baby
Can you be admitted for observation for psychosis, as others have said it will all be easier to secure outcomes you value if you work with them. The doubts are a mixture of your mind working against you and hormones. This is the hardest time for all new mothers, everyone has difficult thoughts now but your mind lingers and believes in those dark places in a way that you know can be frightening, unpredictable and that means you need additional support right now. Your values here are obvious, you care for your family and your children. That means you need to reach out for that professional help now. Mother and baby unit will have 24 hour line. USE it. Good luck xx
The consultant came to my house yesterday and I was honest with her. She is very keen for me to start meds asap but accepts my desire to establish breastfeeding first. We have compromised on lorazepam for the weekend to try and protect my sleep. They are going to continue to monitor daily to try to avoid hospital. I still feel very self aware and can recognise that some of my thoughts are irrational and odd so hopefully that will stand in my favour. I really want to be able to enjoy my beautiful newborn!
ok,so good you're having dialogue and there is negotiation.that positive
you and psych have same goal: for you to remain well and enjoy new baby
to maintain that you need to keep talking to psych and team.and best wishes
I'm so glad she came around to see you and that you were open with her. Enjoy your baby!
No reason to feel you can't enjoy baby and take care of yourself too. It is good you have awareness of and distance from your thoughts, just keep on talking to and seeing them, it is absolutely best way of having this time as you with your baby. How is your dp, are you finding you can be open with him too?
Shit.....I am really struggling to hold it together. Wish I had a way out.
where your husband in all this?you're known to services call out hour team
I'm not sure how beneficial this is,repeatedly posting you're not coping
mn has a limited capacity to advise.you need to have the face to face conversation
you call out hour team.you can present to a&e ask for to see psychiatric liaison
ask another adult to watch kids
you discuss thoughts/feelings and whats going on for you with staff.
I worry online posting prevents you addressing what going on.you need real life help
Acts as a little relief I guess. I am doing my best to cope and my husband is doing his best to support that. If it pisses you off..stop reading it??
This magic real life help you speak off?....I have been in psych hospitals, been assaulted there, forced to take heroin and been sexually abused. It has ruined my life so I am sorry if I am not in a hurry to go back. Or maybe it is the anti psychotic drugs I should be in a hurry for? They sap my energy and make everything bland but I suppose thats ok if it keeps me quiet? Why should I deserve to experience the magic of my young children.
It is useful for me to repeatedly post as I get a little support from other mums and don't feel entirely alone with this hellish illness. If you can't appreciate that I can only presume you have zero empathy with my situation.
Martha,I wish you all the best
I do recommend you get support from services
mn is a support but it's not solution
Martha, congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I'm sorry you're having these difficulties but can understand why you feel as you do from the experiences you've had.
I work supporting women breastfeed and would be happy to find out more about what anti-psychotics are compatible with breastfeeding if that would be helpful?
It sounds like you have a good relationship with the consultant who visited you in your home. Perhaps there would be a mild dose of a breastfeeding compatible medication that you would allow her to prescribe for you?
I think that all women struggle with new babies - it's always hard work as well as being wonderful. You sound like you are doing your best and lots of parents face additional health issues - you are the best mother your children could wish for.
We all need support too and I hope that the horrible experiences you've had in the past won't mean that you don't get the help you need now.
Hi there, hope you are getting through each hour as it comes. You've done really really well so far, and it's great you are still in touch and communicating to the people who are there to help you in real life.
It's hard cos as I can Sms point and I totally agree that it's not good to use mumsnet instead of using rl professional support. That's what is really going to help you, but also, don't want you to feel that anyone is cutting off mumsnet as a source of support. So just wanted to say, well done for getting this far, and please please keep talking to the rl people as well as on here.
Good luck and hoping each day gets a little easier for you. Congratulations!
Thank you snapcacklepop, the consultant who I am seeing is a specialist perinatal psychiatrist so I do trust her advice on which antipsychotic would be safest. Its very kind of you to offer to help though. My problem is there is very little research on the effects to baby and I know that I couldn't prevent my daughter getting a dose of it, however small which would increase my anxiety about her welfare. I .bf my son for 15 months. I loved it and he seemed to really benefit. It's too important to me to give up on.
Double, thank you for replying and I do accept the point that mn is no substitute for real life support. My family and friends have seen me through some pretty extreme episodes in the last ten years. I worry that they no longer see the real me and just the illness. I feel so much pressure to cope and be well at this time otherwise they will think my decision to have another child entirely irresponsible. I have ruined ..any chance of the top career my parents had penciled in for me but I know I can be a good mum and give my children a safe and happy home. I wish bipolar would just fuck off.
Martha, I got fab support from mn and I think sometimes it can be hard to appreciate for some that rl services are often just keeping you safe at most basic level and the real thorny work of getting well is something we each have to dig deep within the resources of our own selves to facilitate. I always think MN is as much as anything a conversation we have with ourselves. Sometimes you can post the unsayable in a way you can't. This is why so many beareaved and struggling with cancer come here. Sometimes you need compassion and empathy, not solutions.
Martha you are doing what you can. Hold tight. Remember thoughts and feelings don't control our actions, only influence them. Breathe, one foot in front of the other, this storm will pass. You are on a lonely road right now but you are seeing the psych and feeling your feelings. This will pass. Keep letting them in, keep in touch, stay true to your deepest values. You are still you. You will recover and this will seem like a nightmare. I have hope and faith in your future and I will hold your hand here as you get the support you need in real life too.
Martha, I'm glad that you're getting support on here. Of course it shouldn't be in place of real life support but all support is important and I think it's a good sign that you're able to chat on here and as Working9while5 said it can be a valuable space to say things in a way that you can't in real life.
I wonder how you would feel about going along to a La Leche League group or just contacting the leader for some help if you don't feel up to that? www.laleche.org.uk/find-lll-group
This blog might be helpful:
This may be useful for checking out medications and breastfeeding
It's very unusual for a mother to have to stop breastfeeding because of medications. Sometimes you might have to take an alternative medication for a while and unfortunately a lot of health professionals look up the BNF (British National Formulatory) for their info re drugs in pregnancy and breastfeeding which is far too over-cautious and frankly unhelpful! Hopefully your local LLL leader could help with finding proper medical references regarding compatible medications and breastfeeding.
There is a great service run by the Breastfeeding Network. It's run by a pharmacist and if you feel up to it maybe you could contact it or perhaps as your perinatal psychiatrist to contact them (they take a lot of professional enquiries) www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-in-breastmilk.html
Thinking of you and hope things will improve soon. x (sorry for long links!)
Martha,I'm sorry to read about the ghastly experiences you've had in mh system
regarding your current situation,I imagine the aim will be home treatment in the least restrictive environment
you will get support on mn yes,but pragmatically you need to maintain rapport with staff.your psych sounds great
good luck,I hope this works out well
Getting support online from others who understand your despair need not in any way diminish relationship with professionals and can really help when you just want an ear not an assessment. There really are 24 hours in the day with a new baby and we don't live suspended in a bubble inbetween contactswith mh professionals. Martha will be going to the loo, feeding her baby etc, interacting with others in between these visits and the very few posts relatively made on here.
Martha's care team are visiting daily and are discussing meds etc. The care is happening right now.
Martha I totally understand your feelings about bf. I felt similar. I also understand your fear meds will flatten your feeling for your baby as I also had this fear. It is about that balance. I had to increase meds after a short while because I really needed relief from my symptoms in order to be able to access therapy.
Just remember you are not your thoughts or fears. They are there and the scary and unwelcome ones are just like passengers on a bus beside you... Even if they are loud or shouty you can just keep on going through this part of your life, you just have to stay on the bus. Hold on. Keep breathing. Try not to pay too much attention to those thoughts or fears. Notice them, breathe and feel your feet on the floor or your baby in your arms... Stay in the present moment. Let the thoughts and fears be. Notice them, breathe into them, let them be. They will pass, no matter how huge or scary they might feel. Your love for your children and desire to do the best for them and you seems clear to me. This will pass.
Mind yourself. Are you getting any sleep with the little one?
Thank you very much for your responses. Snapcacklepop, the links you shared are very interesting. I have emailed the breastfeeding network and look forward to their advice.
I also apologise for the rant in my last posts. I know hospitals are necessary and some people have positive experiences. I hope nobody reads my account and is made more anxious about treatment.
I am getting sleep 2 hours at a time so am pretty tired now. I almost feel like this is happening to someone else and I am just watching. I'm terrified to leave my daughter, even in a different room as I'm constantly worried something awful might happen which is tiring in itself.
Nobody came over the weekend despite the plan. The NHS can only cope with mental illness 9-5 Mon-Fri it would seem. My CPN, who coordinates my care, is now away for a fortnight so I'm not sure what input, if any, the professionals will have.
My little girl is amazing though.
Martha you are sounding pretty good despite it all. I remember that feeling of fear and the tiredness so well! We went to a park yesterday I went to with my little one when he was about six or seven weeks and I remembered vividly that feeling that everything was happening to someone else, that it was like being caught in a bad dream while still loving and appreciating my little family. It's really tough and so difficult to describe. It's a rollercoaster.
Hope you get rest today.
Had a really productive appt with midwife and health visitor today. We talked about why I find being honest about how things are, so difficult. They have suggested lots of different support available to new mums so not mh specific. They also offered a support worker who could come help me at home. I would not be comfortable with this I don't think. Does anyone have any experience? I would be so ashamed if my family/inlaws were to know.
I told them I was having some pretty dark thoughts but didn't disclose any more. Doesn't feel safe to share them here either. I am coping though.
support worker is a good idea,assist with tasks,support you,go out to groups
there's nothing to be ashamed of.its a transitional support to get you by.that all
frankly I imagine dh,family,in law want to support you,and if this is way of doing so.so be it
Martha, I too am having a support worker, sometime in the near future.
I have PTSD and suspected Bipolar, between the 2 I don't seem to be able to get much done, (or get much sleep or rest from my mind) I have a local MH Charity and CAB put them onto me, they do home visits so I had someone visit me at home for my initial visit, now I am just awaiting a support worker.
He/she (she i hope) will help me opening of bills and filling in forms, then apparently she will be dragging me from the safety of my 4 walls outside, if I want to go the gym we will do that, to start with walking the dog would be good.
I have forgot what else she will be doing, I have thought of cancelling her/them but my paperwork pile isn't going down and my mind is still a bit manic. (awaiting referral)
I really do not want a support worker but need the support tbh
Thanks diary for sharing that. It sounds really positive and I hope you do get the support you need. Bipolar can take a while to be diagnosed but then there are so many meds that can help a manic mind!
I'm fortunate in that my husband takes care of our bills etc. When I am well I am very high functioning and manage to work full time and look after our home. It might make me a proud idiot but I wouldn't feel comfortable someone coming in to my home to help. I know my family want what is best but I already feel like a huge failure. I have let them down.
it's short term get you through,support you with tasks,with baby stuff etc
it's a transition,not a forever thing.whats important is support/structure support you at home
again this comes from dialogue with you and staff,that there's a mutually agreeable plan
Martha, it sounds like you are doing well and dealing with a lot. In reading your posts I was reminded of a book which you might find interesting
Mind you - not too many mothers of little babies have much time to read!
Another thought - I understand you're feeling that you don't want a stranger coming into your home and can understand your feelings about it. Having said that - all mums (especially to little babies) deserve and need lots of help and support. I am a bit like you in that I do lots of things for other people but am not great at saying when I need a bit of help.
Would it be a possibility to get a cleaner for a couple of hours a week for a while of a 'mother's helper' - nothing to do with mental health, just hiring a bit of extra domestic help to allow you to focus on the important job of your family (which includes taking care of yourself).
Please post on how things go with the medication and breastfeeding if you want to. I work for La Leche League and can use the professional liason for you if you think that woule be helpful (they are able to offer a similar service to the drug line).
I hope this last bit won't offend you. If your son or daughter became ill would you blame them and feel let down by them? Or would you feel concerned and want to do what you could for them. This illness is a horrible thing but it is certainly not your fault and it is not you. - If your parents really are feeling let down then they are very wrong but hopefully they are feeling as sad as you would be if your children were to become ill.
Take care and go easy on yourself. x
Sorry to hear you had such a horrific time in hospital. I, too, would do anything to not have to be admitted, although my experiences were nothing like yours.
However (and I hope it doesn't come anyhwere near this for you), mother and baby units are nothing at all like regular psychiatric units. Small, quiet, and with only other women who are in very similar circumstances. As I say, I hope it doesn't come to that for you.
Remember some of the shame is the illness, too. Probably most of it. I told myself all those same stories, particularly about my parents. A lot of it caused me to isolate myself even further from sources of support... but I think the thing to remember here is that YOU are not isolating yourself as Snapcracklepop has said, it is the illness trying to isolate you... the illness sees fault in everything, fear in everything, hopelessness in everything. Those thoughts telling you again and again that this is you, when it's not.
I am a year down the line now and I have just started an NSPCC PND group for women who have had severe depression postnatally. As someone said at a session, very few people talk about things really feel when you are in the depths of despair. If people do talk about this postnatal mental illness, it's often in a cursory "I felt awful, I couldn't get out of bed, then I took the drugs and had some counselling and now I am all better!!!" sort of way.
It's difficult because there is no common currency of how to discuss these things. Right now, the current trend is to talk about the symptoms of the illness... oh I am so ill... my thinking is irrational... disordered.. etc... and in my service, there was a lot of labelling e.g. "intrusive thoughts", "catastrophising" etc... but actually there aren't words that adequately describe what it is really like and all of these are inadequate for the task. This makes for a lot of miscommunication between women and professionals I think and it sounds like you have had some horrendous experiences to boot which will compound these feelings of not being able to trust the professionals. Bottom line is, when you are dealing with something so intimate and basically being asked to plumb the depths of your soul, it isn't pleasant to share these thoughts or feelings with people who get paid to do it and can walk away at the end of the day when you can't. That's a reality. These are the times we live in... and though it might be better than when women were locked up with milk fever, it's still not ideal. There's still limited true understanding of the pain involved and ideally we would all be loved and supported and able to share openly with people who truly love us in a way that would hold our pain... but this isn't the case for very many so the professionals are there to keep us safe and on that path to recovery even if we might resent having to have them in our lives.
The most important reality is that the most crucial thing is to get well. There is nothing more important. The illness shouts no no no no no no no don't listen to that... but sometimes the grace lies in letting go. It's shit you need to be involved with services, but you do. It's shit you are having such horrible thoughts and overwhelming feelings but you are and the best thing for your daughter is to find some stability as fast as possible and that will mean working with the meds so you can get to a place where you can handle the rest of it. Right now, you have to hold on and keep breathing, keep putting one foot in front of the other.
It is the most vital part of this, and you do it on your own in some deep sense. You could have support coming out of your eyeballs but you have to submit inwardly to letting go of the control and of the stories about who you are and who you need to be. You have to allow yourself to be supported when cruelly, this illness is screaming at you "NO!!! YOU AREN'T WORTH IT!!!"
This is where you are... in all its entirety. With a beautiful baby but also a horrendous illness and all the feelings that both experiences can bring about in you. I think every woman with severe depression at this point would do ANYTHING to make it stop. That is why we end up so vulnerable and at risk... because sometimes the illness seems stronger. Only it isn't. You may not feel it, but you have space inside you for all these feelings and thoughts. Breathe into them. Make space for them. They are here. But so are your feelings of love for your baby. Hold tight to that. It is easier to move towards what you value. Your mind will always tell you that the most important task is to move away from what hurts... again, the grace here is in letting go, not paddling upstream.
The work you are doing in each day is worth a million times anything any job could ever be. This is the work of a lifetime. My therapist used to say that in the end of the day, you are in the trenches. The bravery you need to summon up when you are truly at the depths is no more or no less than the bravery a soldier in the trenches of WW1 would have felt, rushing into the enemy firing line. It's pretty huge. You have nothing to feel shame for, though your illness will tell you that you do.
Just hold tight.
Thinking of you a lot x
Thank you. I'm really moved by your thoughtful replies . I don't think my response does them justice, I am taking on board what is said, I'm just very tired. We had the most challenging night so far last night, I have had no sleep since Sunday night which is hard. Everything feels compounded when I'm this tired.
It is a really tough time with sleep between baby and illness. Hope the tide turns. How old is she now? It is so unsettled those first few weeks.
She is 3 weeks nearly and is a little treasure. She feeds really well and is very contented mainly. It was 2 hourly through the night though and I couldn't get back to sleep in between so I feel exhausted again. My husband doesn't wake up and yet it's me doing breakfast/school run while he is in bed still. I think I will be glad when he is back at work.
Have an appt to discuss meds again today. I would prefer to be on depakote as that has the least side effects for me but I don't know how safe it is.
Oh Martha I can identify with that. There were times I felt almost murderous towards dh at that early stage. We had a massive argument because he threw a hissy fit because he wanted to go to a friend's wedding all day and drink etc when both boys were waking. this was compounded by mh professionals talking about how "supportive" he was because he'd shown up to one appointment. It was written all over my notes that he was supportive which made me feel even more shit as if I deserved no better. I heard an awful lot about how tough it was for him but like you there I was getting up and doing this stuff when I felt like I had (at the very least) a giant boulder on my chest and it required superhuman strength. At six weeks I even took both boys back to Ireland on a ferry when I was convinced at that point that they were literally in mortal danger from contaminants. It was a nightmare.
The good news is that he did eventually cop himself on as I got well and was more able to insist that I wasn't doing it all. I would say ultimately it has been good for us because he does now take a lot more responsibility. He was always good at some things but he sort of wanted continual praise and approval for everything he did and I just didn't have the energy.
I'm so glad you are finding your wee girl a treasure. It makes it so much easier when you can access that at all.
Oh and good luck with appointment. I've no advice on meds but hope they get it sorted for you.
Came across this today and thought you might find it interesting
Hope you can sort out something better support wise - i think i'd kill my dh if he was in bed sleeping while I cared for baby after a hard night!
I know this isn't a great solution but when I was really exhausted i'd take both dcs up to big bedroom and feed/sleep (safe co-sleeping) with baby while having tv / toys for older dd.
Take care. x
Hi can you tell your dh that you need him to do things, like school run etc if he is in bed ( if you were in hospital he would have to do everything after all!) could you tell MH team your dh not getting up and helping, they may be able to provide a support worker to help you?
does dh know you're struggling?does he know you were no compliant with med
why exactly is dh getting a nice lie in and you run around?he should get up and help
you both new parents could he help you more when on mat leave?
Not sure why the compliance with meds came up there sm? Martha has said she is on Lexapro with negotiation with team upthread.
As I'm sure you are probably aware, there are a lot of women with mental health issues whose partners do sweet fa which compounds illness at these times. I'm guessing that as Martha has daily involvement from a mh team her dh will know of her issues, she has also been clear that she has had bipolar for ten years and that her family and friends are aware so let's not cod ourselves that dh is oblivious and thinking all is fine and dandy. Maybe he doesn't know the risks to bipolar women after pregnancy but I'll wager he might have had the opportunity to find that out for himself.
Look, my dh was useless with this and he is not usually a prick or a bad man in any way. I have met countless other women who have had similar experiences. Unfortunately a lot of women have to try and get through this without a lot of support even though it is a massive risk factor. A year down the line he has grown up a lot. He totally ignored all signs of depression and OCD first time around.
Martha, hope your med review went well. Thinking of you.
sharing tasks,open immunisation,and the dh taking in tasks will support op
at one point he wasn't aware how bad Martha felt or that noncompliance meds
I wonder if he knows how things impacting for op,maybe he needs to do school run and not remain asleep?
sharing tasks,open discussion,and the dh taking in tasks will support op
at one point he wasn't aware how bad Martha felt or that noncompliance meds
I wonder if he knows how things impacting for op,maybe he needs to do school run and not remain asleep?
I don't know how it is for Martha's dh sm but my experience of it was that dh was somewhat avoidant of the situation and not accepting that it was really as severe as it was. Every professional I met I told them dh wasn't coping and despite the fact they should have no one ever offered a carer's assessment or dealt with it in any way. I started off being very open and communicating my needs but when it is not forthcoming and you are very unwell, it can be difficult to push the issue. I am in regular contact with a good 10-12 women who have had serious postnatal illness (both people with pre-existing mh conditions and not) and unfortunately it does seem that burying head in sand and not really picking up the slack without specifically being told to is not uncommon. Many of us also have had experience of psychs and others putting a lot of emphasis on how hard it must be for our dh's when really they are not doing a hell of a lot. I think it's a sort of protective avoidant reaction myself but it can be very difficult at the time.
Scottishmummy - was compliance the word-for-the-day on your calendar this week? Lets all hope next week's is something less likely to alienate and offend.
refrain from having a go at me on a sensitive thread
it's not about you,not about me.
derailing is a bit off.v inappropriat
That's the second time you have told someone on this thread that their reaction to your words is inappropriate sm. It is not a derailment and the op herself has indicated to you that professional speak is quite difficult and it clashes with where she is at. She has also sadly said she now doesn't feel safe to share her darkest thoughts here. I don't know anything about you sm but I have found some of your posts here to Martha a bit accusatory and I'm wondering what that's about. As you say, it's not about you or me. It's about supporting Martha who has had very dicey experiences with professionals at a time when she needs the support and empathy of people who understand having been through some of this. I think Martha is doing a pretty ace job to be honest. She has a three week old and is in the depths. It really is the most cruel time to be ill and I think I wouldn't be alone in feeling that it is something that it is hard for anyone who hasn't been there to fully understand. I get the impression sm that you think that there's a raft of supportive wonderful services out there just clamouring to help women 24-7 as are their partners but sadly the real world isn't quite so ideal.
Well, SM has touched upon an important issue that I think is relevant to this thread if you're talking about the wider challenges of negotiating support within the MH system.
I (and it seems others) find the term "compliance" deeply offensive and am lost as to why MH professionals, in particular, can defend its use. It is defined as obeying, obliging, especially in a submissive way. Push that term on anyone with a modicum of independence and self-respect, and the chances are they will object. This highlights the disparity between the "patient-centered" rhetoric that flies around CMHT and the underlying values that follow a much older approach to treating mental health. I was fast to remind one particularly obnoxious psychiatrist that I am not "compliant", I choose to take medication.
Thank you all for your replies.
I haven't really considered it before but I do struggle with the words non compliance. I know the planning and research I put in before choosing to have a second baby and my decision not to take an anti psychotic while bf was an informed one. Yes the professionals are not in agreement but it is not their struggle. I want to put my daughter first. That phrase makes me feel like a naughty child. Like my opinion is invalid. I completely agree with the pp who is able to express this much more eloquently. It does make me wonder what your experiences of mh care are sm?
My husband is a wonderful man, and I am really lucky to have him by my side. He struggles when I am unwell and does try to bury his head I think. He is working hard on renovating our house hence why he is tired but I am struggling with his lack of support through the night. My doctor spoke with him at length about protecting my sleep as it is a huge risk factor for me but he seems to have forgotten. He comes across to them as very caring and supportive so I darent complain. I've never felt that I deserve him.
This is the third consecutive night with very little sleep. Feeling pretty wired and disoriented. Was worrying yesterday that strangers in the street knew what I was thinking. I can recognise that's irrational but it felt very real at the time. I'm not sure how to pull myself out of this.
Still having daily contact with mh team and they do seem concerned. I definitely can't be honest with them as I know they will over react. They want to know how to help if i won't take meds. If only I had that answer I'd help myself!
Martha, I totally understand where you are at. I have been there too. I also had immense difficulties with feeling I couldn't talk about how I was feeling honestly because of the medication issue.
The evidence based dose for severe OCD with visual imagery is 200mg sertraline (highest dose, sertraline not the best drug but only one for breastfeeding). I knew that after 100mg, some of the drug would go into my breastmilk and could lead to withdrawal. I just wasn't prepared to do it. So I wasn't honest about the imagery I was having - I was still seeing images of my children dead or dying which were deeply distressing but I was determined that I was going to maintain breastfeeding because I knew that it had been something that ultimately really supported my bond with ds1 and also supported my sleep. So it was a balancing act.. having obsessional thinking, there is no way of communicating to anyone the extent to which I agonised over this decision. There is no way to communicate that with a professional in a short appointment. This is what I meant when I said really that in the end, we all have to go it alone on some deep level no matter how open we are to professional involvement.
I also could have written what you wrote about my dh. I think that's essentially what I said to every professional too - I desperately told them that he was struggling and anxious but no one did the carer's assessment and I felt that I didn't deserve to push him and that the professionals would interpret me saying he wasn't being that great in some ways as just a symptom of depression and negative talk, One of the profs even gave HIM that "Living with a Black Dog" book and spent a whole session talking to him about how hard it was living with me while I sat there like a lump, thinking "do you realise he is doing nothing at home and falls asleep as soon as he gets in from work while I have to get on and do everything?". I just didn't feel there was a way of saying that because it would have caused tension with dh and they would have been dubious about it. Yet he totally bought into the idea he was my "carer" and that he was really stressed by the caring role.. I have no doubt he was terribly stressed by seeing me in distress and the fear of where it would take us and that this was a profoundly awful experience.. but he wasn't breaking his backside caring for me and I had no choice but to get on with things even when it was stressful beyond belief and not supportive for my mental health. This seems to be a fairly common story.
Are you having any psychotic symptoms or suicidal ideation Martha or anything serious like that? Acceptance and Commitment Therapy has really good empirical support in even brief sessions as a way of enabling you to cope with any symptoms and it drastically reduces hospitalisation admissions. It basically asks you to externalise the illness, recognise it is not YOU and put your values first. Accept the pain, Commit to Taking Positive Action on your Values and Take Action. There's more to it than that but it sounds to me as though that is what is getting you through so you are sort of doing it anyway. The idea is that you accept and don't struggle against the scary thoughts etc and breathe in and around them when they arise, try and visualise them as an object and befriend them while making contact with the present moment through breathing and just letting them pass on by, doing nothing with them. This is incredibly hard as it means you literally just let them there, you don't do this to feel better, you just accept that you'd rather feel those feelings than go against your higher values which in this case is breastfeeding your daughter and your love for your daughter.
Could you ask them about this - it's not just for psychosis, it's for all sorts of things so you could talk about this as a way around admitting things that will freak them out but ask them to investigate it and support you with it maybe?
The truth is that living with the most frightening thoughts is an act of immense bravery and courage and the fact you have been doing it is a testament to an incredibly strong will to breastfeed your baby. I would never have seen it like that but now a year down the line I look back and think shit, it really was dire... and I got up, I did breakfasts and tasks like you are doing even when I was literally having sometimes nonstop intrusive thoughts about finding the children dead and hadn't slept at all. There were times it wasn't ideal but I just kept plodding on with it and it did pass. I didn't shout or roar at them or hit them and even when ds2 started smiling and that itself acted as a trigger of fears that he would die, I just kept turning back to him again and again and smiling and willing my smile to be in my eyes even when it was intensely painful to do so. Now I see that as an act of courage and of love but at the time it just felt like a nightmare. I think
Hope you have a better day today x
I am having fleeting thoughts of suicide but they are not consuming me. I am really exhausted though and desperate for sleep but my mind won't let me even if my daughter will.
it isnt my intention to offend the op,this thread has terms throughout that anyone can contest
language,diagnosis,and labelling are big issues in mental mental health
I don't want a helpful thread to be derailed,and I don't think this thread is place for exploration of terms.I'm happy to discuss elsewhere
I think the points about partners,are interesting and yes thought provoking
Martha, Im sorry youre having a hard time but think youre doing a fantastic job. I mentioned the Naomi Stadlen book up thread because it touches on the thoughts that so many mothers have about terrible things happening to their children it deals with this and how it can actually serve a useful function. I found this a much more about the book extremely helpful as I remember being horrified at some of the thoughts I was having after the birth of dd1. I hope this doesnt come across as belittling your illness Im worried that there is a sense in your posts that you think your children/family/partner are worse off for having you in their lives and I dont think this is true at all. I want you to know that so much of this is experienced by lots of parents and the fact that your children have such a caring, loving and intelligent mum puts them in the very fortunate category!
I also wondered how things are going medication wise for you? I meant to say before that its entirely possible to take medications later on in the breastfeeding relationship that cannot be taken when a baby is a tiny newborn. Im a LLL Leader and would be so happy to help you down the road (if you would like me to) to find out whatever information about different drug options that would be appropriate as your daughter gets older.
I know how tough it is to be really really exhausted and its especially important for you to get rest to make sure you keep well. Is it possible to arrange someone to take the children out for a walk or to the park to allow you to sleep for a few hours? Is there anything medication wise that you can take to help you have a rest or is that something youd rather not do?
You come across as a very likeable, intelligent, caring and loving person. I feel sad that youre having to deal with this rotten illness that you dont deserve. You have friends on here who care and want to help and I think you do in real life too. I respect how hard youve worked to inform yourself regarding the options for medication and treatment during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I know how very difficult this is.
Please keep on posting here if you feel you have the energy.
Take care. x
I also want to add an apology if any other posters felt the thread was derailed earlier. I found I was wincing at the tone of SMs posts and hoped that when another poster said as much before it might have brought an end to it. I found the language used incredibly disempowering and felt concerned at how inappropriate and saddening it was given the nature of this thread.
I didn't think it was derailed. I originally posted about it being inappropriate because I felt sm was unintentionally invalidating Martha's experience. Sm it's not about contesting it to have a go really, it's about just sticking up for the idea that some of this language really drags you down and pigeonholes you when you are at your most vulnerable and already feel a loss of sense of self. When I said this earlier you said I was just generalising/talking about myself etc but really I was trying to pick up and support what I heard in Martha's posts and which SnapCackleFlop also did. It isn't personal, believe me. It's just when you say about language diagnosis labelling etc being "big issues" in mh there's a big difference between contesting it around the staffroom table and experiencing it as your life being reduced to a catalogue of symptoms. I say this openly to you as someone who prior to this was involved in mh services on the other side of the table. It's been an eye opener.
Martha - hope you are alright in all of this. Hope that you're getting some rest and being kind to yourself
Working9while5 - thanks for articulating that so well
Working and snap, thank for being so incredibly kind. Your support is really helpful and I'm astonished at the selfless way it keeps coming! As I read through there is so much I would like to say but when it comes to it, I feel all jumbled up!
One of the reasons I am so tired is that I don't feel comfortable with my daughter being out of my sight. I am so scared something awful will happen to her. I keep seeing it over and over.
I don't think I can improve without meds but am too worried about side effects for my daughter to take them. feel very stuck.
Martha, I'm glad you've posted again (just had to get ds back to sleep and now am awake and can't get back to sleep!).
I understand what you're saying about how difficult it is trying to balance everyone's needs, the benefits and risks of medical care, your deep love and desire to do what's best for your daughter and to look after yourself.
It sounds to me that this horrible illness is warping the already immense fears and anxieties that most mothers face when they have a baby.
I think it's very positive that you've decided you may need some medication for a while to support you and to help you not to be overcome by this illness. You mentioned up thread that you would prefer to take depakote as it had fewer side effects for you. I did a quick search of some of the general resources and this seems to be a good medication to take while breastfeeding. I would be very happy to contact our (lll) professional liason to find some more detailed research/information about taking this while breastfeeding so that you can read it and decide if you would feel happy to take it for a while.
You know this anyway but when breastfeeding (and indeed just when being alive!) everyone is always weighing up risks and benefits and hopefully making the best choice they can under the circumstances. There's powerful evidence about the benefits of breastfeeding even when the mother smokes or takes all sorts of drugs and even some very compelling stuff about how positive breastfeeding can be when the mother is Hiv positive.
Looking after yourself is in turn a way of loving your children and doing what's best for them. You know best what's right for you and for your family.
Would you be happy for me to gather some info from the professional liason about breastfeeding and depakote? Are there any other medications I could also try to find out about for you?
Take care. x
Well done OP you are hanging in there.
Are you still seeing the community health people/ medics? Do they know how difficult everything is for you? Any ideas from them?
Are you able to think ahead at all (I know it's really difficult), when would you think about phasing out breast feeding? It's so difficult as its really really good for your baby, but it's also really really good for your baby to have a mummy who is well too - such tough choices, my heart goes out to you x
How are you doing Martha, any further on with meds? For me I needed the breastfeeding from a mental health point of view as much as anything because it was protective of my bond with my baby (as it was quiet cuddle time that I valued and that gave me some space with him as it was something I needed to do, it couldn't be taken away by someone else to do so it was a regular time of deep contact every day). It was also protective of my sleep.
I did take the drugs though. Not the exact dose they would have wanted but more than I was initially comfortable with. It is a balancing act. Your worries about the medical side effects in terms of risk are just your illness talking, they are very small but it's so hard to not inflate that when you are ill.
You can definitely take the drugs safely and continue to breastfeed so if it is for you as it was for me (which it may not be of course) then I would take that giant leap and just trust that you can take the drugs to support you back to wellness and that they won't harm your little girl. It is a massive and hard decision either way, just sharing my experience.
I breastfed my son for 15 months and not only did I really enjoy the closeness but felt proud that I was doing something right for him. I worked full time throughout this period too, couldn't afford maternity leave! I am really lucky to have 9 months this time to enjoy my daughter so it never even occurred to me that I wouldn't feed her myself for as long as possible. There is also a fair amount of pressure from my family/in laws to breastfeed.
Got a couple of parties to go to today. Feeling so worried about taking her to them I can barely breathe. I keep deliberately thinking the worst has happened just so I don't have to feel so anxious anymore. Does that make any sense?
Martha - are the parties children's ones or grown up ones? If it's a kids one you older dc has been invited to could your dh or someone else take him so you can 'babymoon' at home? The illness isn't anyone else's business but it would be very understandable that a woman with a very young baby is going to stay home to rest/look after baby.
Otherwise I'd personally think nothing of declining the invitations unless you're keen and happy to go.
Regarding the breastfeeding, I know how great it can be and I remember some interesting research that it can actually be helpful for the mother's mental health (could try to find references if you'd like). Having said all that I hate the thought of someone feeling awful about breastfeeding and feeling they have to be it because of pressure etc.
I really think it's fine not to go to the parties if you don't want to - I'd had a caesarean with dd1 and didn't go out much in the early weeks at all - definitely no parties that were going to cause me more worry and stress. I think there's also a worry when a baby is your second child and you try to do a lot to ensure dc1 doesn't feel pushed out and that everything's changed. To be honest I think a lot of parents make life very hard on themselves - if I was doing it all again I'd put a lot less pressure on myself but I think it's easier looking back to appreciate that this time is so fleeting - harder when you're in the middle of it.
"I keep deliberately thinking the worst has happened just so I don't have to feel so anxious anymore. Does that make any sense?"
I think this was essentially the entire drift of my OCD in the postnatal period (and there's a lot of overlap with depression). I had this whole thing where I would obsessively read blogs etc written by people whose babies had died to give myself some reassurance I could survive if the baby died. Sick, literally... my poor, poor mind was so addled it was concocting all sorts of strange rituals to try and stop natural fears of harm coming to my treasured baby. It was explained to me that part of this is to lower your mood to dampen the anxiety so you are choosing it in a way as the lesser of two evils.
I went to a wedding when ds2 was 6 weeks and I can remember standing in a circle of my husband's friends with ds2 strapped to my chest and feeling a) that I couldn't breathe and b) that there was this massive whooshing sound roaring through my ears and I was sure it had to be noticeable. Dh later told me that he thought I was really relaxed! Ha! To get me through I used to really try to feel my feet - the little toe, big toe, the toes in between, the sole of the foot, the sensation of the contact with the foot and the floor etc. I found that anything that could keep me in the present moment even for a second was a help, and breathing into and around these intense feelings. It often helped me to watch my breathing and/or ds2's breathing (and in a non-judgemental panicky way, as opposed to the frantic watching of ds1's breath where I was convinced each space between was "the moment" I'd been dreading).
I really feel for you Martha. Ds2 was due a year ago tomorrow (he was 10 days late) and some of those moments I remember like they were yesterday. Just remember it will pass.
One thing I'll say too is that any focusing you can do on the present moment in terms of sensation has the added benefit of being more likely to be remembered later. I have nice memories of lying with and feeding ds2 listening to Mindful Motherhood mp3's because I had to focus and so I was able to transfer these to my memory. Other memories are a blur. I won't pretend it was ever easy to focus on the present moment with the thoughts, fears, whooshing, imaginings, intrusive thoughts etc.. but I am glad I persevered for my own sake.
I think I have come to the end of what I can cope with.
Both my babies are awake, have been since 1am, it's now 4. I'm on my own with them and I'm just so tired. I don't know how other people do it. I feel so hopeless. I'm such a failure.
oh Martha, I remember being there with my second. One night when I just went between one room and the other. Truly that was the worst night of my parenting life. It will get better. I know that's not much help right now.
I know you don't want hospital, but perhaps this is the point where you have to make some tough decisions.
One thing the mother and baby unit let me do was slow down and care for my youngest without the day to day distractions of domestic life. There was a nursery where they cared for her during the night so that I could sleep in the knowledge she was OK. They came and woke me up when she needed feeding. There was a nursery nurse who looked after her during the day if I needed a nap. It was far from ideal, and certainly not home, but I know that I could not have coped with everything. It let me prioritise bonding with my youngest for a while. They were also super-supportive of my decision to breastfeed, and then to stop feeding.
If you're so focussed upon breastfeeding without medication, perhaps that might be one compromise you need to ensure that will work? Just for a while until you get over this hump.
I remember that they showed people around the unit for them to think what they thought.
It's just a thought. I would do anything in the world to avoid going in to a regular psych unit, but I would choose to go in to another mother and baby unit without hesitation.
I am so sorry with how you feel because I have been where you are. I was admitted to a mother and baby unit when my youngest child was three months old. I was bf but after a couple of weeks as I was on meds I switched to ff for exactly the same reasons as you. He is 12 now and one of the tallest dc at school and in top set for all subjects. I suppose I'm saying he has suffered no adverse affects because I was hospitalised and tbh he will never know.
I have also been in a regular ward in a psychiatric hospital, before dc. It was a very different experience. The mother and baby unit saved my life and I look on it as a positive thing.
I slept for three days when admitted and they just bought my DS to me to bf every few hours. They bought me food and drink to my bed as I was so exhausted.
Sorry I mean I switched to ff because I had exactly the same worries as you, giving meds via breast milk. So it was a sad decision to make. I hope that makes sense.
"If you're so focussed upon breastfeeding without medication, perhaps that might be one compromise you need to ensure that will work? Just for a while until you get over this hump.
I remember that they showed people around the unit for them to think what they thought.
It's just a thought. I would do anything in the world to avoid going in to a regular psych unit, but I would choose to go in to another mother and baby unit without hesitation."
I agree, Martha.
I was lucky that ds2 was actually a good sleeper and my ds1 was 2 and a half and sleeping through in his own room and could be put extra days into nursery if there were nights like this during the tough times so I had some reprieve and could nap in the day and do my mindfulness stuff to get me through without this sort of thing.
I would not have been able to do nights like those when I was feeling like you are, I just wouldn't. That doesn't make me a failure and it doesn't make you a failure either.
In some ways, what you have to think of it as being like is that if you had good social support, this is what would get you through. You would have a mum or sister or aunt who would do what the staff at MBU would do and you probably wouldn't bat an eyelid at needing that or feel a failure, it would seem normal. It feels hard when you need people who are paid to do this care but it is what it is. You just need that extra support - it particularly feels hard if you are grieving that you don't have those types of supports that others seem to have as well as in the grips of this illness.
You will be okay, this will be okay, But self care is the first step to being a good mother. I have only recently clocked that. You can't be the mother you need to be FOR YOU, to fulfil YOUR dreams of being a mother if you don't take care of yourself... and if you can't be that mother, you will suffer.
You need extra support, be it meds/MBU/other sources. You can't be doing nights like this. Your sleep has to be protected.
Would you think that someone who was in recovery after an operation was a failure for not being up for doing a marathon? That's all this is. You need rest.
I feel really confused. Maybe you are right and I need help or maybe you are trying to get me too. My husband might be able to read this so I'm not sure I can post anymore.
Oh dear Martha. Please call someone ASAP.
Martha if you are reading this still, you are in a severe state of mental distress and you need some real life support right now. Is there anyone in real life you trust who can be with you now and you can confide in about your confusion? It is really hard not to feel you can trust anyone and I understand why you would find it hard to trust anyone here.
If you are feeling paranoid now and that you can't trust anyone, think to yourself if you might like to call 999 and get some emergency help.
I'm looking up the thread and I can see that it might seem like everyone suddenly changed from saying that you were doing brilliantly to saying you need to be in hospital or suggesting ff but this isn't the case, it was just lots of people cross posting.
For me, I think it's just that when I see how far you've come and how brilliant you've been doing when I know what it feels like when you are so scared, I think God, I couldn't do it without sleep. It seems so unfair for you to have both children up for three hours in the middle of the night, it's just not reasonable. I can't think of any other situation where someone in that sort of distress should be expected to do that, it is only after birth that we are put under such pressure. I can cope with lots but to be that distressed with those feelings you describe and have no sleep is just hell on earth. I think it was just pure luck for me that ds2 wasn't like ds1, if it had been the other way round I would have had to go to hospital just for the sleep.
Can someone take your older baby for a night and can your husband mind your young one?
I just want you to get some sleep. If someone could just let you rest it would really help you through this and then the confusion might lift and you would be able to make a decision. I hope you are still able to read this.
Keeping everything crossed this passes for you and you are safe xx
Martha, I was just responding to what you yourself wrote--that you don't know how much longer you can take the stress of sleep deprivation. I was trying to make the point that the M and B unit saved my sanity because it gave me that support with DD2 that I just couldn't get at home. I could say "I need to sleep" at any time, and they would look after DD2. (And they were the nicest, most professional nursery nurses I've ever met.) Just think about that: an absolute luxury. It became a peaceful, supportive haven.
While I missed DD1, they let her and DH visit at any time for however long they wanted. They were so welcoming. They fed them both, played with DD1 and even looked after the girls so that myself and DH could get out for a meal together. It let me recuperate and actually enjoy DD2 while she was small. If I had stayed at home, the sleep deprivation and stress of caring for both of them would have made it a living nightmare, where I wouldn't have had a moment of pleasure.
My thinking is that, if you can intervene now to get a bit of rest, you should hopefully be able to avoid a crisis. Please listen to your body and you head; I think they're telling you to get some time out before you collapse.
if in distress you can present to A&E ask to see psychiatric liaison
you're known to services call the out of hours team,or in work hours call your team
help and support is available, I wish you and your family the best
Martha, I'm so sorry you're feeling like this. Please get the help you need to help you feel better.
Regarding the breastfeeding - I've taken lots of medications while breastfeeding and I'm certain that in the developed world almost no-one will have breastfed for any reasonable amount of time and never have taken any for of drug. You've said before the the Depakote (sp?) is better for you re side effects. It is recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics and American Academy of Neurology as being compatble with breastfeeding. If I were you (sorry I know that is probably quite unhelpful) I would take the depakote and feel confident about continuing to breastfeed.
You are more to your children than a pair of boobs. I really admire you and how hard you work to care for your family. Sometimes it can be hard for us to see a situation clearly when we're right in the middle of it - especially when we're exhausted and unwell. I really feel that you would benefit from taking the medication and it doesn't have to stop the breastfeeding it you don't want it to.
Please go easy on yourself. x
Please can someone delete all this. Please?
Martha, you can report your post on the right hand side of the message. That way MNHQ can see it.
Whether you do that or not, you really need to think about getting some help now. You are absolutely at the end of your tether. You just need to let someone help you.
I have asked for real life professional support this week. I have shared that I am not coping, that my thoughts are strange and I am not sleeping. Nothing has changed. I can chose to take quitiapine or not and I could go into hospital or not. I'm not sure what I was hoping for or expecting but I am scared that I now face 3 days with no contact from anyone, no one involved works fridays. I feel on the edge.
Well done for taking that step, Martha, it can't have been easy.
Do you feel that either of the options will help you?
There should be someone on duty from the team(s) looking after you, even if the people who know you aren't there.
The nearest unit is over 2 hours away which is just not an option. My son and husband would not cope, nor I with the guilt. But I would rather chose to go than be forced.
I have been well on meds but also unwell whilst on them so putting aside all my fears about transmission through bf and the sedative effects, I have little trust they will work.
I know I need to do something. I can barely cope with having my baby out of my sight which is exhausting.
I was a similar distance away. They will cope because it will be much easier on them knowing you are safe, than trying to manage the situation themselves.
Martha, you may find that helping you will be helping your whole family. You are trying to keep it all together to protect them but what they need most of all is for you to be safe.
Think the physical effect of no sleep might kill me first
Why don't you agree to try the unit just for a few days, on condition that you can leave if you want to?
Hey Martha, I'm so glad that you have asked for some rl help but it's so hard when you take this step and it doesn't seem to make the difference. You are in such a dark place and it is just so incredibly difficult to have to bear.. but I'm going to be the broken record here and say it will pass if you can just hold on. I also couldn't cope with having either of my babies out of my sight so I remember that and I never had the additional difficulty of being bipolar, I only have OCD. You have been doing a great job to just be holding it together even if by the tiniest of threads until now.
I really sympathise with your feelings about the unit. I know I was horrified when it was suggested for me and my nearest one is four miles away so very different state of affairs in terms of saying no because I still could go to groups on the ward etc and access the support that way.
I guess I'd say in terms of the guilt, I've done a lot of work this year on realising that self-care HAS to come first... that if you can't give to yourself you can't give to anyone else and it's so crucial as a mother. This has been a hard won realisation and took a lot of therapy but just remember half of the guilt is just our society insisting women should always come last in every family situation. You can't.
I am thinking of you lots and sending you the famous Unmumsnetty hugs x
Well done for asking Martha, I agree that it is better to go in as a voluntary patient. I mentioned up thread that I have been in a Mother and Baby unit. They were so helpful and I look on it as positive as it helped me get better.
Having the crisis team involved this weekend. Gutted it has come to this.
Martha, it's just a name, don't worry too much about what they're called. They are there to help you. That's all.
IMO,it's easier to conceptualise it as home treatment team
the aim is intensive treatment at home,in community
in order to minimise need for admission
Martha, really hope things will improve soon. I'm glad that you're getting some help though can appreciate how difficult it all must be.
Thinking of you. x
The crisis team have seen me in some pretty horrific states over the past ten years but never see me well. I suppose I worry that they will be judging the fact I have had a baby. Truth is she has been planned and wanted and loved for such a long time and I am so sorry and sad that so far I have not been able to enjoy her. Feel like such a failure.
They won't judge you for having a baby any more than they would judge someone whose diabetes was really well controlled for years and then pregnancy threw out out of control. You can't stop living because you happen to have an illness, otherwise what is the point of living?
Be proud that you have accepted help for you and her. The enjoyment will come later.
team have a role to support and work with you,they'll not judge.
they want same as you.a happy outcome
you know what this isn't forever,it's a difficult time which with support will pass
I think you're being utterly strong and wonderful by knowing when to ask for help. ANYONE looking at your situation from the outside will see a mum who is trying to do the very best thing for her children - who you obviously love and care for very much.
I do hope the extra support helps.
Had a horrible night. Kept thinking something awful was going to happen. Have had to ask hubby to sort out our eldest and take him to nursery. Feel like I really have come to the end of my resources. Going to try and sleep today but I'm scared.
Martha, that horrible sense of foreboding is awful - I hope it isn't so bad now and that you managed to get some rest. I promise these horrible feelings aren't going to last forever.
Some of the other posters on this thread have shared really inspirational stuff. I hope that it will help you see that there is light and hope (I've learned and gained a lot myself from the other posts).
It's good that your dh took the older dc to nursery and I hope that you did get some sleep. Take care and keep posting if it helps. x
Perinatal psychiatrist came to my home again today. She has informed social services of my situation. The bitch. I will not be trusting her with anything from now on. She threatened that if I didnt agree to meds today the decision about hospital would be taken out of my hands. I took her script but am I hell being threatened into taking her poison. My husband is on my side. I am trying so so hard to keep everything going. My house is immaculate, my children's needs are met in every possible way. They can all fuck off.
Martha You sound like you are feeling very threatened by today's events.
I'm just so gutted. I love my children dearly and will never hurt them. All my anxieties are because I'm worried about them and want to protect them. I can't believe they have involved social services and without telling me first. I have let them into my home everyday for the first five weeks of my precious daughters life. They have always said they have no concerns for the children. They are lying bastards and I will never trust them again.
try work with sw and mental health team for a good outcome understandably you're upset
the psychiatrist has a statutory responsibility to alert social services
i do wish you and your family the best and hope things begin to feel less imposing for you
They can involve Social Services for support, Martha, without thinking that you would harm the children in any way.
Hi Martha, how are you doing this eve? I have a 22 month old and have been taking quetiapine 300mg, whilst breast feeding. The advice line I phoned from bf'ing nretwork was that such a small amount goes into the milk that its not a problem.
My son is now a full on toddler up to mischief, reached all developmental milestones and he's healthy.
The quetiapine has kept me out of hospital and stabilised my mental health. I'm mega tired from it but not in that awful place like before.
I hope this is reassuring for you.
Thank you khalessi for sharing your experience. I'm stuck with the meds, I just feel like I can't take as they will hurt my little girl. I can recognize this irrational but it doesn't help me swallow them.
This just feels endless. Same debate with them over fans over but because they have said for weeks how poorly I am and yet I am still going and not psychotic I don't know ifI believe them.
Martha, have been thinking of you.
The difficulty with professional involvement is that they only get small snapshots of how you are and to an extent they are matching it against "templates" for how you are or should be that they have gleaned from the literature. This can feel very dehumanising but remember they are only looking at a tiny portion and estimating "risk" etc, they don't really know or appreciate YOU or who you are in your totality, even if they care and are empathetic. They're not your family or loved ones, they are doing a necessary job but it is just a job and try not to identify too much with their assessment of you because it isn't the whole picture.
I don't think the drugs are the evil you fear though.. and I really don't think they would harm your daughter. Have you managed to get any advice from any of the breastfeeding organisations? It might feel more neutral and balanced.
In terms of social care as support, as I got better I self-referred to an NSPCC PND group and it has been MUCH more human and supportive than psychiatric services.
I have a friend who is a social worker. She says to put social work's role in relation to mental health issues in context, you have to realise how non-interventionist social workers are with much, much more serious cases that are NOT due to illness e.g. there are 6 year olds caring for their mothers with heroin addiction who are prostitutes having punters in the house who are known to services and not removed, so believe me, they will do pretty much sod all with someone who is suffering depression.
On one level, it's a paper exercise to tick the box you have been "checked" in terms of risk and also to signpost you to things as appropriate e.g. like the group I am doing or HomeStart or other things that might support you in the home.
I was in the same situation as you Martha. My baby was older but I did not want to stop breastfeeding in order to start medications. I had teh same fears medications hurting the baby. I ended up in a normal ward for months, because there was no space in mother&baby unit. This was not very good thing and I am quite unhappy how things ended up. If I would have known this beforehand I would have asked for more practical help etc. just to stay at home.
How do you feel yourself? Can you cope without medication? I haven't read the whole thread but could you delegate as much of practical things to others so you can just concentrate on resting?
I feel like things are extremely difficult because I'm exhausted and I am not getting any pleasure because I'm so worried/having so many disturbing thoughts. However I am still coping and doing day to day what I need to. I still feel rational enough to be able to make the decision on meds. I don't know the best way forward with so many professionals now involved.
I have been referred to ss on a previous occasion by a psych nurse in hospital. I was very unwell and on a section 3 so was not responsible for my son anyway yet they took the case as a child in need and prevented me from being with him. It took 3 long months once I was well for them to close the case. I felt it was handled really poorly and they had very little understanding of my condition. My son was never in any danger and at 18 months it was traumatic for him not to be able to see me. The mh professionals agreed that ss input was at best unhelpful, at worst damaging. I am devastated they have contacted them again.
That sounds horrific, I'm so sorry.
I don't know what's best here and it must be exhausting.
If it were me (and that's easy to say when it's NOT), when I read posts from hummusbaby and others who have been where you are, I think I would go to the mother and baby unit so that I could have regular contact with the oldest and have the youngest with me and begin to move on from this.
I think I would be gutted by this, by the way... so I don't say this lightly. I can only just imagine being in your situation and at the same time I can't because I only had it suggested not pushed as is happening with you. What has your husband said to them?
It's such an awful situation to be in. I'm not surprised you don't know the way forward. I feel you should be able to make the decision about meds but it does sound like it's going to be taken out of your hands and I really don't want that to happen to you, I'd like to see you at least be the one to say I want to go in rather than being sectioned again.
Such a cruel state to be in.
Being somewhere safe with just my baby would be really good and the thought of some sleep is amazing but I can't go into hospital. My husband and parents would be devastated/angry and disappointed. Hospital admissions have ruined my life. At 18 I had a place at medical school, an international sports career and a group of friends I considered to be like family. Hospital made me lose everything, all my good qualities, all my friends, everything. I would prefer to consider suicide as an option than being locked up.
Have read through this thread and my heart breaks for you. What an amazing and resilient woman you are. It is clear from your posts that your children come first followed by your hubby and family and your own welfare a little further behind like all of us mums.
I can't imagine what it's like to have people coming into your house and telling you what to do, giving you difficult choices to make and making you feel powerless.
You deserve to be well and happy. If spending time in mbu will make this happen quicker then you should consider it. Breastfeeding is important but your emotional health is more important and your little one will benefit more from you feeling well again. You have given her that first precious few weeks of breast milk.
I hope you start to feel better soon but wanted to wish you all the very best. X
Harriet I can't thank you enough for reading and replying. I am finding things so hard today and your kind words are helping me not feel so alone with all this.
Hi Im another one who had mbu 'suggested' so cant imagine what its like for you to be in that difficult situation - but just wanted to add just how incredibly strong you come across as in your messages.
I agree on the breastfeeding. For a different reason I was only able to feed one of my sons for 4 days (and the other for 3 weeks) bu everyone really emphasised at the time that it was good that at least they had some. They are both strapping nearly 6 footers now :-) but at the time I was so upset and worried about it. I really wish I could have just accepted it as unavoidable at the time.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself re how your family will feel if you do end up going into hospital for a short time. The most important thing (for them and you) is to get well x
Hi Martha, I've been thinking about you and am so sorry that the psychiatrist has handled things in this way. You've had appalling experiences in the past and I understand how difficult it's been to allow the involvement you have done up to this point. I think she's been short sighted and and I think somone more skilled and experienced wouldn't have acted in such a way to erode any scrap of trust that might have been built up.
More importantly I'm pleased that it sounds like your husband is on board and on your side. I hope that her bad handling of things won't make you totally rule out the medication (of course it is up to you but make the decision that's right for you and your family and don't allow her to put you off the medication route unnecessarily).
You are extremely strong and brave and your children could not have a more devoted mum.
Is it possible to see another psychiatrist - perhaps even pay for a private consultation if that would be possible?
Is your husand due any leave from work? Maybe you could plan a little break or a nice week or two at home when you concentrate on getting lots of rest and enjoying your lovely children (and I've made a new rule that you're not allowed to do any house work!).
Would you consider taking half the dose of the medication to see how that goes?
Take care and get some sleep! x
I posted earlier but it seems to have disappeared. I agree with Snap.. it seems so unfortunate to mess with your trust like this.
I don't think sometimes professionals think about what a hugely big deal it is to allow them access to your home at sensitive times of your life.. how dreadful it feels when they effectively are taking a stand against what you wish for yourself and your family in your own home.
I also agree you have been very strong and resilient in all of this and clearly at all times thinking first and foremost about the health and wellbeing of your children.
Did you mention or am I imagining it that you had a good relationship with another psych but now the perinatal one is involved? Could you discuss this with that person or are they no longer involved at all?
It would be really good if your husband could be off... I saw someone else say that their dh was signed off when they were ill, I think on the PANDAS page. If you want to stay at home I think that you have to really have a co-ordinated plan with your husband to prove the support is there until this crisis passes.
Someone also told me this week that they found the APNI service very good when they were having issues with the care they were getting from a perinatal team: http://apni.org/
Any chance of an advocate also? I think that the NHS has to provide independent advocates if you are being sectioned though I am not 100%. I really feel you and your husband need more support.
Don't know your financial situation but also things like getting in a cleaner or a home help or something like that might help? Is your older one at nursery - I think I remember you saying that you do a school run... could you sort out extra days etc? Our nursery also does private stuff by arrangement e.g. picking up and dropping off kids.
There is a way around this, there has to be. I wish it didn't have to be such an uphill struggle for you. Thinking of you and sending the famous "unmumsnetty hugs" x
Thinking of you Martha and hoping you are being supported. I nearly ended up in MBU with DD about 3 months ago when she was 4 months. I didn't end up going in, was supported at home and am feeling better most days now. I can relate to the fear of going in, and that they might make me stop bf to take medicine. I've been thinking of you all day and I just hope you're able to get the support you need so that you can get well. Sending love and strength.
It looks like there are lots of lovely people here who are rooting for you. Take each day as it comes. Perhaps talking to your own doctor might help. Talk to someone you trust. It will get better. It will x
Thank you for such lovely replies. I can't begin to tell you how helpful it is right now, you are all so thoughtful. Whoever says mumsnet is bitchy and judgmental should read through your kind words!
Another night with very little sleep, mainly as I couldn't switch off. Felt like my head was being bombarded with thousands of thoughts and it was hard to attend to them all. I am trying this weekend to allow my baby to be with my dh in another room. I can manage a couple of minutes while he does her nappy for example but am too anxious to get some rest away from her. I think he understands and is not pushing it too much. It must be hard for him not to get time with his new baby but he is not complaining. I do trust him I just know she needs me with her or she will get hurt.
Martha, promise that you will talk to your care team about these feelings. They seem very obtrusive, especially to sleep, and I don't know how you're functioning to look after a little boy and a baby girl as well as being unwell, you are amazing. Your care team want to help you and your family. Please trust them.
My dh has suggested he take some time off to help so that might be a possibility. Financially things are tough though, we had savings in preparation for me taking maternity leave but they have been decimated since she was born. Unbelievably our boiler, washing machine and now car all have broken in the last 5 weeks. Car needs a new engine! I know everyone has annoying life stresses like this but it does feel like someone is taking the piss.
My dh did ask how I would feel about going back to work early to help us cope. Obviously this just feels so beyond me I can't even think about it. I can't imagine ever leaving her let alone doing my job. But I know we need my wage so it's more pressure not to go into hospital.
I wish I had an escape. Every time suicide gets stuck in my head, one of them does something lovely and I know how selfish it would be to leave them behind. I just dont know what to do.
Life does tend to take the piss like that .
If necessary take out a small loan just to get you through this bit and try and hold onto the fact that this horrible horrible time won't last forever. You'll be able to get your finances back in order / go back to work etc - but just not at the m
Sorry - just not at the moment.
Re the suicidal thoughts. I've put this on here before but it's something that I read a few years ago that I think is helpful.
It was something suggesting that if you just can't get the thought out of your head then tell yourself 'ok if things are still this bad in two years time then I'll think again.'That means that you're not putting yourself under the pressure of thinking I'll have to feel like this for the next fifty years - and if course you will feel much much better within 2 years. Then when the thoughts keep coming into your head you can say 'look I've delayed any decision on that - and I'm not giving it any more thought now.
I know it's not as simple as that - and hope it makes sense - but I did find it helpful.
Those thoughts of suicide creeping in can feel like an option when times are tough. You are exhausted, your head is busy with thoughts and you are overwhelmed.
Take your days moment by moment if looking ahead seems impossible. Admitting you need more help is not a sign of failure it's a sign of strength. The quicker you get what you need the quicker you will feel like yourself again.
Whatever the solution is....more sleep, mote family support, medication, mum and baby unit you should try to remember that you will get better and this is not something that you could prevent.
The anxiety sounds horrible. Sleep is such a healing prospect and when your head can't switch off it doesn't help.
Speak to someone you trust and share your thoughts with them. You've done really well so far but if things aren't getting any better then by sharing your worries the people who love you can help you feel better quicker. X
Can you take a mortgage holiday? We had to do this so that I could take unpaid mat leave though now I am on sick leave. It helps.
I think the fact your dh is saying about work shows how well you are coping on the surface... I think sometimes men don't see how severe things really are for us when we are doing anything at all e.g. feeding the babies, getting them up etc... because let's face it, if men got PND and these illnesses they'd most likely be floored far sooner than the average woman.
I remember that anxiety so well, the feeling you can't be more than a foot away, not sleeping or sleeping in a shallow way, being exhausted and not being able to sleep.
This will pass, this will pass - the thoughts of suicide too. You can do this and you can get through this. I read something helpful which is that 1 in every TWO people will seriously consider suicide at some point in life but less than 1% die by suicide every year (or something low like that). The thoughts are unpleasant but they are just thoughts. Let them pass.
Hi Martha, I hope you managed some rest last night. My heart goes out to you as I was in such a similar position when my youngest was very small.
I too hadissues with separation from my newborns, which stems from my own adoption. Do you know why you feel your daughter will come to harm if she is not with you?
One of my 'tools' for when I'm sinking is to sit outside with a cup of tea and do some mindfulness. You could do this with your daughter, tell her what you can see, hear, feel the wind etc. I'm aware this doesn't change things but may give you a few minutes away from the awfulness of what you are thinking & feeling.
My son is 22 months, still breast feeding and I'm still taking antipsychotic meds. I trusted the breast feeding helpline more than my perinatal psych with regards to meds in breast milk- have you had a reply yet?
I know work is ages away for you yet, but I'll share my experience. I have done a staged return to work, starting at 2 days a wk. I don't find it easy going to work and it comes at a price, some weeks I do very little as I'm so tired from it whilst being on meds. The good side though is it helps structure my week and keeps a foot in my career.
Please don't be afraid of meds or mbu. What you so desperately need is rest and support to get better. It's so positive to hear you see how much your children need you. I hope today is better for you.
If I were you I would go to mbu. How long do you think you can continue like you are doing now?
There is some problems with our baby and they might have been caused by the sudden and long separation from me. I saw the baby only occasionally.
Mbu is over 2 hours away and we don't have a car at the moment. I'm sure that my little boy who is very sensitive would endure problems if I went in. He is attached at the hip with me and has always been a bit of a mummy's boy. I couldn't leave him.
Everyone keeps saying I can't continue like this, my husband and doctor included. I have felt on the edge, like I can't continue several times and yet five weeks on i still am going. I accept that my thoughts are odd but I'm not psychotic. Maybe I have to just keep going, day at a time. Maybe if I can keep going things will get better.
Martha the only thing is that if you are persistently unwell it may cause problems too. I have had to admit this in relation to my older boy recently as I didn't have treatment after his birth when I was similar to you in terms of anxiety and not being able to be separated, sitting over his cot watching him breathe and freaking out every time I started to drift off. I was there but I wasn't there, if you know what I mean.
He's fine and a gorgeous caring playful little boy but I can see such a huge difference between him and my youngest in terms of attachment. Ds2 has been so much more secure with me, even though I was quite ill, but I do think that the treatment really helped. I'm sorry now that I was so stubborn and didn't get the help then.. but I was determined to do it on my own and I have to admit I don't now think that was the right decision. I did all the things you are doing in terms of caring but I wasn't anywhere near my best me and by doing it on my own I let that carry on too long.
There is a reality that if you keep going things probably WILL get better... but it will take longer and you are enduring an awful lot. Is that fair on you or them? I carried on after my first baby with nothing and looking back I can see that was the illness... and it was pride and shame and all those things.
Your previous experiences in hospital are standing in your way but as many have said here MBU isn't like a general psych ward... and many people who have experience of both would never darken the door of a general ward again without being carried in kicking and screaming but MBU is different.
Also in terms of meds, I totally hear you. I am hoping to try to conceive and have to stay on my meds at the dose I am on... I tried to go off but started relapsing immediately. There are risks with staying on but I can see now that the risks from depression are so stupidly high that I have had to find a way to accommodate the risk to the potential baby because I can't be ill again for my other two boys. It is such a cruel choice that we face when we have these illnesses but your family needs YOU Martha, not the shadow of you that they can access when you are unwell.
I am thinking of you all the time x
Martha, glad you're keeping going and that you're getting so much support on here.
I think all the posters have made really good and helpful suggestions.
I think working9while5 (sorry if I've got this wrong) is saying that you have to balance the effects for your daughter of taking the medication while breastfeeding agaisnt the effects on your daughter of you not taking the medication. It isn't as simple as protecting her best by not taking the medication while you're breastfeeding her.
It's so clear how much you love both of your children and I think you're incredible in how well and how much you're doing and contending with a nasty illness too (you're doing well by anyone's standards though I don't just mean doing well for someone who's ill). I know you are being really selfless here but sometimes it can be hard to see a situation clearly when we're right in the middle of it. I wonder if a friend of yours was in a similar position how you might advise them?
Also think the mortgage holiday is a brilliant idea. Maybe your husband could ring up and ask if it would be possible?
Also, would your husand's employers be open to him taking a period of flexible working time (if he can't take time off). Maybe some useful info here www.maternityaction.org.uk/workingparents.html
Take care. x
Yup. You put it more clearly Snap. I am having a sleep deprived week x
CPN called my husband this morning. If I won't take medication as supervised by him they are going to section me. Guess I have no choice now. Just have to decide if breastfeeding with a dose of anti-psychotics is a better option than formula. Children's services don't need to see us though as they have no concerns so that is a relief.
Can you get some medical advice to help you make that choice?
I think you are right, you have no choice whether you take the medication.
I'm glad that Social Services aren't concerned, that's positive.
Good luck with your decision making, it must be very tough.
Martha this is the tel no of the drugs in breastmilk helpline. The woman who runs it is a pharmacist I believe.
0844 412 4665
You will get better. Thinking of you.
Advice is to continue feeding and the worst outcome is my little girl will get 2% of the dose I do by body weight and will be drowsy.
I'm so tired this afternoon I'm struggling to interact as I normally would with my son. I have put a film on for him and he had some lunch but I feel really guilty. CPN said over and over how poorly I am and that I am not anywhere near myself. I refused to accept that but the fact I cant pretend even for my son means maybe she is right.
If your problem is tiredness (among others) then changing to formula might be a better idea. Usually formula fed babies sleep better through nights. Breastfeeding also makes one tired.
Really pleased about childrens services. How do you feel about breast vs bottle? You could introduce some bottle feeds and see how you go. My ds1 had to have formula from 9 days due to severe failure to thrive and he was still having breastmilk at a year. The solution is so individual. If you can have support with night feeds and sterilising bottles etc ff can be protective of sleep but bf can be useful for if you dont have energy or support for that, only you will know the logistical pros and cons for you.
In some ways at least now the med choice isnt yours you can just move on. You badly need rest x
Get some advice about b/f from perinatal psychiatrist or pharmacist. There are ways to minimise baby's exposure if you are worried such as mixed feeding, expressing milk before taking meds or discarding feed with highest dose of meds.
I'm sure all will be well regardless but it can help to know you have some options. Baby having occasional bottle might mean you get a decent sleep too which could really make a huge difference to your energy levels.
You have had some tough decisions to make and I hope you start to feel better soon.
Martha, I pleased that children's services are out of the picture because now you don't have to have that hanging over your head (and although it must have been horrible to go through they've confirmed that there is nothing to worry about regarding your children's welfare which we knew already).
I really feel that the medication will help you feel better when it's had time to work. I have taken lots of medications for different things and have/still am breastfeeding. Of course certain medications aren't compatible with breastfeeding but there is almost always a suitable alternative drug that is fine. The benefits to your daughter will not be diminished at all and in fact by taking the medication I really think you'll be enabling yourself to feel a bit better and be able to enjoy things more which in turn will benefit your daughter, son and yourself a million times over.
I've said before that I'm a LLL leader and I'd be very happy to help with anything breastfeeding wise if you would like me to and if it would help. Please pm me if you want to.
I also think it's great that you put on a video for your son and had a rest. Most new mums do this (i sill do sometimes and my youngest is 2 yrs)!
I hope it's ok to say this - i think that despite this illness you've veen functioning at an amazing level. The way you're able to articulate things on here and to think things through. I really think the meds will make things a little easier and will stop requiring the superhuman strength it must be taking right now to do things.
Take care. x
I agree about the video!
When I was in those early stages and quite unwell I remember the intense guilt I felt about everything and anything but - realistically - nothing that most mothers would even think twice about.
I shouted at my ds1 one day and put him into the buggy as a time out because he refused to come out of the garden when ds2 was screaming his head off. I remember thinking this was The Worst Thing anyone could EVER have done to a child at any point in the course of history, how could I have been so useless, who gets cross with a two and a half year old etc. I really believed "normal" and "proper" mothers didn't lose their temper, get irritable, have moments it was all too much etc... this despite ten years working with children where I KNEW they did all this and more.
It is the illness that causes this level of guilt and the feeling that it's okay for other people to have weak moments but not for you.
You are doing everything normally and well you just need to take care of your self. Without self-care, we can't take care of those we love in the longer term... it is actually a MORE selfless act to take care of yourself in these circumstances than it is not to. It took me ages to get my head round that!
Thinking of you x
Thank you to all you lovely mummies who have helped and supported me the past few weeks. This thread has been invaluable.
My daughter slept for 7 consecutive hours last night after never going more than 2/3. It felt so good to have some proper sleep.
I'm still having delusional thoughts, am pretty anxious and am still at risk of admission but am feeling more positive that I can influence the outcome for myself and my little ones. She smiled at me today, a proper smile and it felt wonderful.
That's so good to hear martha
Finding today really hard. Thoughts of suicide are over taking. Trying to fight them but I'm so tired.
Call the out of hours team, or go to a&e ask see psychiatric team
In office hours call your allocated team
It's hard having intrusive negative thoughts.hope this resolves
How are you doing today Martha?
I wanted to share with you a strategy that I learned from a book on intrusive thoughts in motherhood:
1. Expect, allow and accept that fear/the thought will arise.
2. When it comes, wait and let it be
3. Focus on and do manageable things in the present.
4. Label your emotional reaction to the thought 0-10 and watch it fluctuate: arise, peak and pass away.
5. Function and appreciate how hard you are working, how much you are doing and every simple thing you do, from feeding the baby to having a cup of tea.
6. Expect, allow and accept that fear/the thought will arise.
I know when you are in the thick of it that this can seem impossible, but just take a leap of faith and believe that if you do these you will get through. One foot in front of another and don't forget to breathe as they say on some support threads here.
You have been doing an amazing job. Keep going. The other thing I used to do was also from that same book, it was where you imagine the thought is a hot coal in your hand and you just physically let it go: closing and open your fist to "let go" of the thought.
I'm thinking of you x
Martha, if you're not already doing this, is there the slightest chance you can get a bit of childcare for your oldest? Even if it's just for a couple of hours for a couple of days a week? Or can your OH arrnage to take a few hours annual leave here and there?
I ended up doing this when I had PND (and subsequently diagnosed bipolar) with my youngest. I found a wonderful childminder (who we still use at the moment), who took my oldest for 3 mornings a week. It gave me a break, allowed me to enjoy my youngest, and I got the chance to nap a little. I ultimately had to put my oldest in care almost full time and my youngest went to the childminder a couple of mornings as I became soo poorly. It was either that or end back up in hospital and see them even less.
I felt guilty about this for a bit, but it was a case of being at home, rather in hospital, and actually be there and enjoy them the rest of the time.
We had never planned to pay out for so much childcare while I was off on maternity leave (and I went back straight to work on to sick leave). It sent us in to debt, which we're still paying off 3 years later. But you got to do what you've got to do in this situation.
Martha, I've been thinking about you and hope that things are alright.
I've learned so much from this thread. I hope that the horrible thoughts have eased - can you think of them as a troublesome symptom (which they are) in the way someone with an illness might experience vertigo or nausea temporary paralysis. It's just a crappy thing that you have to manage until it passes but it isn't you. It might just be a sign to take more rest or get out for a walk or have a cup of tea with a friend but it's not you any more than a migraine or a hemorrhoid would define you!
I think Working9while5's exerices are great. I think most of us could benefit a great deal from them.
Hope you're alright and that you'll post when you feel able to.
Take care. x
Thinking about you too xx
Thank you again for your lovely replies. Sorry I don't respond individually, I know it's lazy of me but it's not that I don't read and appreciate your words, I am truly grateful for your support and advice.
Sleep and routine are improving here and although some days are harder than others I think I am coping ok. The professionals involved seem more relaxed and have backed off a little and the risk of full blown psychosis has passed I think.
I have to decide whether or not I go back to therapy. I have had long term psychotherapy with a psychologist for many years. We stopped our sessions just before I gave birth with the intention of meeting again after 8 weeks which is fast approaching. Our current work was surrounding my childhood and how I developed the problems that I have. I hoped that if I resolved this a little I wouldn't blame myself so much and feel like such a failure. As I had been very stable this sort of thing was manageable but I worry that it would be too stressful to resume right now. On the other hand it seems a shame not to accept the help. My other problem is a practical one, I'm not sure how comfortable it would be taking the baby along!
Hey Martha, sounds like you are having some more stable moments if not days at least!
I took my ds2 to appointments weekly from the time he was 10 days old. He basically just breastfed through for ages and then I brought toys and sort of did the therapy sitting on the floor. My therapist was very good about it. I had to do some nappy changes and stuff like that, and some days he was whingey and it wasn't exactly ideal but the moments I really remember are times when I was talking about serious stuff and he would start giggling and my therapist would be trying to stifle a laugh. It was actually quite healing in some ways because it can take the heat out of some of the hard memories. At other times it probably intensified them but it was fine. I have two appointments left (finished regular therapy when he was just about seven months and had just started crawling, on a thinned schedule now) and he won't be coming to these last ones with me.... but it honestly was surprisingly fine. I found it very supportive, even the hard down'n'dirty work because it's already there in your head on some level so it's good to just begin to make headway. I thought it would be weird breastfeeding in sessions but the therapist is a good one and it didn't bother him so very quickly it didn't bother me.
And no need to apologise about not naming people, it's not an issue at all x
Thank you, your replies are so thoughtful and helpful I just didnt want you all to think I don't take it on board. I taking just hard to hold names etc in my heads right now!
It was strange having therapy when I was pregnant, sometimes I'd be really upset and she would give me a couple of hard kicks. It was comforting in a way. It is good to hear your experience is such a positive one and I hope your last two sessions are successful. I imagine coming to the end of therapy brings a mix of emotions for you? I'm impressed you were able to feed during a session, not sure I'd have the confidence to do that.
I wasn't really that confident! When I started I basically arrived in a complete and utter panic (had to travel on the bus and was at that stage more or less convinced that this was massively dangerous to my baby) and arrived in a total STATE, sweating/hyperventilating/flushed/flashes in my eyes... so obviously ds2 picked up on it and started screaming and basically it was just going to have to happen or my head would have exploded from him screaming!
I have to say the therapist was so absolutely not batting an eyelid about it that it really helped. I once had to feed him with the psych and I didn't like that at all, felt v uncomfortable. I didn't really know if I would be able to go to therapy with ds2 but it really was fine and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity now at this stage. Although we had it in the Mother and Baby Unit in case he needed to be taken out if he wouldn't settle, we never needed anyone, it was just me. I think because I was unwell and basically in the house all the time apart from that appointment that helped bizarrely as it was a novel place for ds2 so he was always transfixed! I can barely remember it, it seems unreal that I did so many sessions!
I haven't quite grasped therapy will really end! I am doing an NSPCC PND group at the moment which is really good as there are people there very similar to myself, also have just done a Mindfulness course... so still have a lot going on but will find it weird to be cut loose in September!
I hope you're doing OK Martha. I think taking your baby along to see the therapist is a great idea (if you feel it would work for you). I wanted to add something that really helped me breastfeeding wise if you feel funny about feeding in front of some people. I had lots of these sorts of vests
And even though they're not designed as nursing vests they were perfect to pull up your normal top and just pull down the vest over the boob you're going to feed with. Just put back up when pulling up bra afterwards. It helped me a lot as I hate showing off my tummy/middle and it really made it seem more private.
Take care and post when you get a chance. x
Hope you are doing well Martha.
Have been thinking of you Martha, hope that you are managing okay at the moment.
Thank you. I think managing is a good word. I am getting through each day, meeting the needs of the children and my husband and looking after the house. I'm still having really horrible thoughts about the children dying but I think I am managing them better. Feels a bit like life is happening around me though and I am not quite here. Don't know if that is just tiredness.
Thanks for the clothes tip snap. I am struggling in the heat though, two tops is just too hot!
You sound like you are right where I was at at around this stage Martha, You're doing an amazing job. I've sent you a pm of some helpful things I've been working on in my PND group and have some other stuff I can share by email if you feel you need it, though it is early days and reading is probably a bit of an ask right now. Great to hear from you! The heat is really hard when you're already feeling slow and wading through treacle! x
Yes - definitely not the weather for two tops! Good when we have our usual climate though!
Hope you're looking after yourself in all this too. x
Considering dropping them off somewhere so they are safe and hurting myself. I'm not coping today.
(((( martha )))) Is there anyone you can talk to about how you're feeling?
Thanks snowy. There will be on Monday. I feel so much guilt. I am blessed with two gorgeous babies and all I can think of is hanging myself. I know the damage that would do to their little lives.
I'm sorry you don't have access to support at the weekend. Would you think about ringing your out of hours GP?
Is there any one with you Martha? Will your husband be home soon? Can you go for a rest on the sofa and let dcs watch video? Please phone someone you trust who can support you. xx
Hubby is home so I'm taking the baby out for a walk. It's not a rest but at least it's a bit of peace.
I keep telling myself that if I were to do it in the night, my son would find me and that would ruin his life. That is enough to make it not an option. It is so tiring fighting these thoughts all day though.
Hope you're getting a rest now. I'm glad you've posted again and that you're trying hard when things are so tough.
I which there was something I could say or do that would help. I think the advice and techniques which Working has mentioned sound helpful and worth trying. I really hope you will get the support and help that will help you cope with these horrible thoughts until they go away. Remember that they are not you and things will get better.
Awake at 4 am feeding little legs, discover the next sale is at 5. Been there with her at 5 and spent 300 quid I don't have on clothes for her. She literally won't even get one wear out of everything. What the fuck? Now I'm up I am up making flapjacks. Only 12 hours ago I was seeing if the handrail on the stairs would take my weight. What the hell is going on!
Can you take the clothes back? I think they give you seven days.
Can you get in touch with psych because you are cycling, could be meds? Or hormone shift, is she cluster feeding or have you dropped feeds? Find out about clothes, bet they can go back. If you can't take clothes back maybe you could sell on eBay or ask someone to do so for you?
Remember 'sane' people spend crazy amounts in that sale and I know several women who get up at 3am to queue for it, it sort of provokes strange behaviour in people who have never had elevated mood. Not minimising how you are feeling as I know it is different but try not to be too hard on yourself x
Martha, I checked the Next website and it says that goods can be returned in resaleable condition up to 28 days after buying with receipt help.next.co.uk/Section.aspx?ItemId=10775
When clicking on the exceptions link it states that Pierced earrings, food, alcohol or toiletries/grooming products and made-to-order goods cannot be returned. I think there should be no problem taking the things back if you hang on to your receipt - maybe someone else could do it for you if you can't face it?
I agree with Working that you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. I think most parents in the UK have bought things that their child doesn't actually need but they feel they are caring for and valuing their child in doing it. It's difficult as it's the shops and banks who benefit from exploiting these feelings that we all have. The point is that the feelings of wanting to love and care for our children are good - just the guilt feelings and thinking they need tons of expensive stuff that's bad for us.
I promise your little one would be happiest with nothing on at all cuddled up with her mama!
Loads of people I know (including myself) have done things at strange hours at different times. I'd be more concerned about you getting the rest you need and looking after yourself properly.
You've been doing exceptionally well during a time that's very challenging for anyone and you've had the added burden of a difficult illness on top of it all. More than nice clothes or flapjacks your children will be happiest with a happy Mummy who's getting the help she needs to be well and enjoy them.
Thinking of you. x
Thank you. I will return the stuff tomorrow. It's still all inthe bags in the car. I've been non stop all weekend, got a bit tipsy at a kids bday party and probs made a fool of myself. I know this is not good. Hope I manage to slow down tonight.
Please don't worry about having a few drinks!
I've always tortured myself about things I've done that I feel so embarrassed about - some things from many years ago that I would still feel so horrible about. I'm trying to realise that no-one else even remembers these things and that everyone has things like this and most people manage to get on with things without crucifying themselves the way I usually do.
I'm trying to apply the same kindness and care that I would show to my children or a friend to myself. I hope you try to do this for yourself too because I know we'll look back at our lives otherwise and truly regret the amount of energy and time totally and utterly wasted on beating ourselves up for nothing.
Even if you did do something crazy like strip off all your clothes and run around nude and shrieking (and I'm fairly sure you didn't) look at all the famous people who've done really way out things and who have gone on with things and are now working and doing fine (the Brittney Spears for example - not that I'm suggesting we all take her as our role model but I do always remind myself of the very rough road she's been down and that she's now extremely successful with lots of work and doing great).
I'm not sure what's best to do when you feel very speedy like this. I'm sure other people will be able to offer good suggestions on how to handle these times but please go easy on yourself (we all have days when just getting through them is enough of an achievement).
How are you doing Martha?
My mood seems to be swinging rapidly from one extreme to the other. Feel a mess this morning after 2 hours running late last night. My baby girl is 2 months already and it just feels like that time has passed in a blur.
She has gone from the most placid content baby to a screamer this week which isn't helping. Nothing I do seems to settle her, I'm finding it really hard and school hols have started so have the big one with me all day everyday now too.
Organised some pills to od on. What the fuck am I doing?
Is there anyone you can talk with about it?
No I don't think there is anyone. I really just need to escape.
Martha please call your MH team, you need some RL help my love.
I saw my cpn today and promised her I could keep myself and the children safe tonight. I have to keep going. If I contact crisis team now they will admit me. I have to keep trying.
Do you have any time for yourself? Take some hours off and meet friends etc. Baby can drink expressed milk or formula meanwhile.
How are you doing Martha?
I'm ok, thank you Emma. I have chemically calmed myself down but not overdosed, both chickens are asleep and I will be fine to feed little one when she wakes up. I think the desperation has passed for another day.
I know that I am judged by my family not on my successes but by how many times I have been down and got back up. However the last ten years have just been one battle after another. What is the point? Why try to get through another day? I inevitably will look back on my life as a failure. I have no career and no friends. I have made a difference to nobody. I have wasted my talents and opportunities and am lonely and miserable. How can I be a good parent when I'm such a poor role model. My beautiful children deserve special much more. I am sick of fighting suicidal thoughts one day and being manic and delusional the next. I don't know the way out of this.
Have been lurking on your thread but didn't feel I could contribute until now. I am quite certain that you are not, as you suggest, a 'poor role model' or in any way a failure as a mother. On the contrary, you have two beautiful children who love you and who you love. You have always tried to put your children first (possibly at the expense of your own health) and have a lot of insight into what they need and how your behaviour may affect them.
I am the child of a parent with serious mental health problems, as is my husband (probably not a co-incidence). We are both in our fifties, with children ourselves, and are regarded by friends and family as doing just fine. I can tell you that your children don't want 'more' -- they want you. Please don't think they would be better off without you -- they most definitely would not.
My husband and I both feel that, while our childhoods were certainly 'different' in some areas, and our parents' behaviours were at times bewildering, frightening, inappropriate or just wrong, we still loved them and appreciated what they did for us and what they taught us, which includes acceptance that sometimes people's lives are incredibly difficult, but it is always possible to find a way through. If either of them had given up -- and that was a real possibility at times -- I don't think either of us would have recovered.
Thank you so much for sharing that with me, ancient. It is a great comfort as all I hope is that my children can go on and live happy and ordinary lives. I don't want to give up.
Thinking of going in voluntarily today...I'm not managing anymore. Since my therapist told me she was pregnant on Friday, I have lost control.
Sounds good! Do they have places? Where I live there was none so I ended up in acute ward. I avoided sectioning by going informal.
Have you ever tried meds? My mood got up almost immediately the right one was started
Martha, I'm sorry that such a big and emotive change has happened with your therapist. I can appreciate that it could cause additional stress and the fact that she will be off work in the future for a long period of time must be difficult for you.
It sounds like you're in touch with yourself though. Is it possible to go to a unit voluntarily but only have to go part time (if that makes sense) - having said that perhaps a straight spell of having complete rest and focussing on getting yourself well might give you a great boost.
I hope things go well for you and your family. You deserve to be happy and well and to enjoy your family and your life. x
It's kind of you to say that snap but I don't deserve happiness and I certainly don't deserve my beautiful babies.
There are no beds available at the two closest units so I'm back to not having a plan. My psychologist is undecided as to if she will come back. I'm so upset and overwhelmed by this.
Oh dear Martha...
You could start the medication and stop breastfeeding. Or alternatively try to get as much help as possible to take care of things like getting a cleaner, help with children. And of course put your name down on b&m unit waiting list.
I had that guilty feeling as well but now hindsight I think it was a bit obsessive. My "baby" is doing fine even though he got 9 months less breast milk than his brother (and was separated from me for a while)
I don't know what to say about your psychologist though, but I did get upset about other people being pregnant. I don't know why though, but that feeling has disappeared.
Martha, I've been thinking about you & hope things are ok. x
Thank you snap. It is very kind of you.
I am not sure things will ever be o again. Think I just have to learn to cope with things being extreme!
My little girl is a delight though, she is so smiley and is constantly making the cutest little noises. I love them so much but its so hard trying to stay well.
How are things Martha? Been thinking of you x
Martha, hope things are alright with you. I watched a very good TED talk and thought you might find it interesting
Take care x
Thanks working, I have finally agreed to go back on a mood stabillizer. Had a few weeks of very elevated mood and have totally exhausted myself. This seems the only strategy to prevent a low mood of equal proportion. I am still breastfeeding just trying not to worry.
Snap, I love TED talks. Will have a look at that now thanks x
Hi Martha, I'm so glad you posted. I've been thinking about you and hope you are alright. It sounds likes you're doing a brilliant job despite the challenges of this horrible illness.
I think giving the medication a good go is the right thing to do. I think you would be hard pushed to find a breastfeeding mother who hasn't taken medication and some point (i've definitely taken medications when needed while breastfeeding).
I really hope this will help you avoid a low period as you've said. Take care. x
Having a tough day. My little girl is under the weather and I cant cope with the relentless crying. Im so tired. Im thinking of a way out for me without the children being put in any danger.
Im feeling like suicide could be my way out. Have made an appt to sort my will. Am so tired and tired of being out of control.
((((Martha)))) Can you tell anyone in real life how you are feeling?
I wish someone could understand. I feel sick that my babies would have no mummy yet I still want an escape. I hate myself so much.
My therapist takes maternity leave in 2 weeks and I will never see her again. I cant cope with this. There is no hope.
I just came across and read your thread. You sound like a great mum, going through a tough time at the moment. I don't have direct experience of being a parent, or of PND/bipolar, but a friend of mine at secondary school lived with her dad and mum, who was bipolar. She was one of the loveliest people I have ever met. As a family they had some tough times, but the love between them was beautiful to see and the good times plentiful too.
Being an autie while trying to conceive myself, I have taken the opportunity to learn as much as I can! The biggest lesson I have learnt is that I will need to accept as much help as possible when I have kids. I dont often post on mumsnet, but wanted to offer you a hand to hold. Have you got anyone in RL that you can ask for help too- mental health team, family, GP? Even help to arrange some childcare so you can have a break? If not I hope you find a route through this,and keep posting on mumsnet if you need support.
I just found this thread but you sound like such a loving mum. Is there anyone you can call who would remind you of that in real life? Or can you call samaritans?
I have always tried to do what is best for both of them in all the decisions I make as I suppose that is all we can do. It makes me cry here immediately to think of my son asking his dad where I have gone, to not see their beautiful little faces again or see them grow up. I love them so much but this is too hard. I need a way out. Im thinking benzo od in bath but it is not a sure enough thing.
Martha, Have you started the new medication? You said recently that you had a few weeks of very elevated mood and were considering meds to deal with the very low mood that would probably follow. It sounds like you're having a very rough time and I hope the medication will work soon.
It's not fair that you have to deal with such terrible demons every day - is there anyone in RL who can offer support.
Take care, xxx.
Yeah snap ive started a mood stabilizer following some haliperidol to get me down of the ceiling. Was pretty manic so its expected I will be on the floor now. I hope the meds start to have an effect soon. Im really struggling to cope with the baby. I am really scared of what I might do to myself.
Need someome to take my baby. Just for a bit.
That sounds like a good idea - all of us need a break sometimes. Is there anyone you trust who could help?
I am now admitted in the unit.
Hope your admission goes well, and is short so that you are back home and close to all your family soon. I was saddened this week to hear that the MBU in Cardiff the only one in Wales is to close, the one in York closed a few years back- why does this happen- making it more difficult for families because of the distances they need to travel and what support is there available to help with the cost etc?
Place seems lovely and relaxed although 90 mins from home. Still feeling the effects of my s attempt.
Oh Martha. Have been wondering how you are but not on here much. So sorry you got to this stage of lowness. It's shit for all of you. I really hope the MBU supports and helps you heal. I have only attempted s once and I was very young. I can only imagine the black numbness that you've been feeling. I really hope the meds kick in fast for you. I hope you can still feel that love for your family somewhere. The worst time ever for me was when I lost that, it really makes it so unbearable. I hope rest and meds and support do it for you xxx
Really sorry you're going through this Martha. I so hope you get the medical support you so rightly deserve - I think the health service has let you down up until now and am sad it has come to this but hope that this is the big turning point when things improve and you can heal and get well. Thinking of you and sending hugs
Am badly missing my husband and little boy who I havent seen since last week. Unit is very quiet and relaxed so am getting good rest but feeling overwhelming sad. Staff have commented on how unusual it is to have a mum with such a good bond on the ward but this makes me feel so guilty that despite my unquestionable love for my babies I still want to die.
Glad you're getting a rest and that the staff and place is ok. I'm sure you must miss your children & dh very much. What are the visiting arrangements like? For what it's worth I don't think you want to die - I think these thoughts and feelings are symptoms of the illness and you don't 'want' them any more than anyone with any illness wants any symptoms (hope that makes sense!). The important thing is that you're doing everything possible to get well and get on with enjoying life.
Hi Martha, I was just thinking of you so thought I would pop on and say hi. I hope that things are still going well on the ward over the past few days
Last appt ever today with my wonderful therapist. Unbearable that I will never see her again. Safety of being in hospital is helpful but I want my husband and a cuddle.
Have you told your therapist and hospital staff how you feel about her leaving?
how are you? I hope you got that cuddle with your husband.
Feeling reflective as its NYE so revisited this thread. Seems all a bit of a blur but I want to thank all the wonderful people who gave sound advice and loving support. Sadly I feel robbed of what should have been a magical year. My maternity leave finishes very soon and I am terrified of what is to come. Although I have been out of hospital a while I have not been well and I have little hope of overcoming this monstrous illness. Feel so alone with it all.
Thank you so much for posting. I didn't post on your thread earlier in the year, but do know that this first year is a blur for everyone. I 'coped' fine and have very few memories! In moments of doubt just out one foot in front of another and smile at your little ones- whatever's going on inside it is your gentleness they'll remember.
It's good to hear how you're doing, martha, but I'm so sorry that things are still rough. I completely understand the feelings of being robbed of DC's babyhood. Even now, I look at women with their babies looking so happy, and I feel so jealous that I never had that with either DD.
It took me a couple of years to really get back on my feet after being in a mother and baby unit with number 2. I used to despair and think I would never be well again, but I did get there and you will, too.
Have you managed to get medication sorted?
I am so jealous of you Martha. I ended up in normal adult ward for three months and baby had to go to grand parents who live hundreds miles away. Also I am not fine after discharged seven months ago. Baby, well now a toddler prefers her dad to me. I think I have lost the bond I had with her.
You should consider yourself lucky . I am really bitter and angry.
Awful post zingzonga but best wishes to both of you. No one is luckier. It is a horrible horrible illness and you both will get better in time
Zingazonga I am so sorry to hear what you have been through, I have spent many months in adult acute wards and know how devastating that can be. Must have been horrific to be away from your baby. However please don't say you are jealous of me, mental ill health has ruined my life and I find it to hear that I should feel lucky. I'm not sure the 'my situation is worse than yours a really helps anybody.
I am still bf but yes am taking a mood stabiliser and an antipsychotic, its hard to say if they are helping or not. My war on myself is currently manifesting itself as disordered eating, I don't feel I deserve to be nourished and have really punished myself over Christmas.
My cpn and her co worker have both been off for the last fortnight so unfortunately I am pretty unsupported as I prepare to return to work. I am not ready but need to financially. Everything in my head is screaming just run away.I am having lots of suicidal ideation, can't cope with this.
Martha I am so sorry to hear that things remain so hard for you. Is there any chance you can call your MH team and speak to someone? Going back to work after having a baby and maternity leave is a big step and you must feel overwhelmed - talking to someone outside the family could help.
You are fighting your illness so hard and I know it must be utterly draining. But I know you are doing your best for your children and they want and love their mother and need you. Please get help and let people in RL know how you are feeling.
Martha, I was in a similar situation to you when I returned to work. I went to my GP and she immediately signed me off work for a month (i.e. the sick leave kicked in the day I 'returned'). After that, I had a phased return starting with 1 day a week and building up my time across 5 weeks. I was still not fully ready at that point so I negotiated a 4 day week for 10 weeks by taking half the time as annual leave and half as unpaid leave.
I was lucky to have a good Occupational Health doctor supporting me and I get 100% pay on sick leave. Keep in mind that you're covered by the Disability Act (if you have declared you have bipolar). They have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments.'
I'm not sure whether that's possible for you? I hope you're feeling better soon.
Martha, I hope you're managing and that the earlier comment hasn't bothered you too much. (I would have also felt it to be rather insensitive.)
What I ment was that op was very lucky to get to mother&baby unit. I don't think it was insensitive. Places in those are rare and what I have read they offer much more support than common wards.
I'm not sure why but that comment was hard to read. I suppose I am lucky in many ways and I feel guilty that I don't appreciate what I have got.
Thanks for the advice on returning to work. Financially I have no option but to return. I work for a small company and I am the only female,I already take a lot of slack for having taken maternity leave!
My cpn has tried to refer me to the eating disorders team but they don't take on anyone unless there bmi is under 14. So if anything this has re-enforced the idea that I am too fat, haven't managed to consume anything today. I wish I could just disappear.
Generally telling people they are luckier than you were isn't a great idea Zinga though I say this very kindly and gently to you. It's still a pretty hard situation and Martha's not feeling amazingly well so it's sort of immaterial though I know it can be hard when you perceive others have benefited from support you would have liked to have accessed. It's just not very relevant right now.
Martha, sorry to hear you are still feeling so unwell. I so hoped it would be better for you now.
I was signed off for four months after the 52 weeks and I was feeling much more well than you say you feel now, and was never hospitalised. It doesn't sound to me that you are well enough to be back at work just yet, untrained as I may be. I wish you hope and a way out of this misery for 2014,
Its shit being at work, I can't concentrate and don't want to be there. Its shit at home too. I don't want to be anywhere. I am a cretinous waste of space. If only I could be brave enough to fix this.
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