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Should you expect your mother to be there for you unconditionally?

(101 Posts)
Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 20:43:48

Long, long story short...I'm struggling with PND for the second time in under three years and have had a breakdown recently (yes I know it's an outdated term but it does fit what happened).

I've got a toddler and a newborn and I'm off work with them. DH is quite frankly a saint but has to work full time.

My mum is retired but still fit and in good health (early 50s)

The last few weeks I've needed someone to be there with me at all times (I've been close to feeling suicidal). My mum knows this.

All I want is for her to sit with me. She doesn't need to do anything with the kids. I can still look after them. I just don't want to be alone. However she's still gone on holidays in the last few weeks and after a couple of days of spending all day with us has now had a major falling out with me over something silly, made comments about my inability to cope (despite this being PND#2 I've never really relied on anyone except my DH) and walked out.

She is a fantastic mother in terms of the love she has for my DCs, financially and has done so, so much for us all. Am I expecting too much for her to be there unconditionally until I feel right again and able to cope?

ImNotBloody14 Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:32

In aanswer to your title- no- once you are an adult you cant expect unconditional attention from parents.

However on reading your op- it sounds very much like your mum is not the best person to support you with PND. She doesnt seem to understand it tbh.

Mazzledazzle Wed 31-Jul-13 20:57:39

I intend to be there for my children unconditionally, regardless of their age. That said, I have a pretty selfish mother who, unless it suits her, isn't very supportive.

Have you told your mother, in simple terms, exactly what it is you need? Pnd passes with time, so I don't think it's unreasonable at all that she gives her full support. Once you feel stronger, you won't have to rely on her so much.

It must be so tough for you flowers

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 21:06:16

Thank you both for your replies. I want to be there unconditionally for my kids too but at the moment I don't think I'll make it through.

She does know I'm at the end of my rope (I've has the crisis team out repeatedly) but I just feel it's not quite fitting in with her life.

I just need someone there AM until PM until I'm mentally okay again. I've had two major 'crashes' since DD was born and I'm wanting to prevent another. I know I can only do this with support (for the first time in my life I've realised this) and feel I've been pragmatic in asking for help now I really need it. But it's not there.

Would it be weird to set out exactly what I need? I.E time and patience?

akaWisey Wed 31-Jul-13 21:26:27

I understand your DH is working but if things are that bad you need someone there all the time isn't he the best placed and most appropriate person? Can he get compassionate leave? Or could a RL friend come in so your DM can get on with what she needs to as well as spending time with you?

TBH, your DM may not feel she can give the kind of support you are asking for . To ask someone to just sit with you may feel like a simple request but if you've had the crisis team out twice she may feel completely out of her depth.

akaWisey Wed 31-Jul-13 21:27:17

Sorry, not twice but repeatedly with the crisis team.

MrsRochestersCat Wed 31-Jul-13 21:29:19

My mum deals with me being ill in a similar way - it's like my being ill is her failure and if she shuts her eyes to it then it isn't real. When I was sick this attitude just compounded my feeling that I was alone and stranded, now I am no longer sick I can see she was incredibly stressed and not thinking properly. I no longer ask her for help because her stress feeds into my illness.

My advice would be to ask your crisis team to help you get funding for a mothers help or a nanny, and ask about any Sure Start programmes in your area.

Hold on - it does get better!!

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 21:33:54

Might help to say I am older than your mum, still working though!
She's a young woman- early 50s is very young so wouldn't excuse her in terms of no energy.

However, maybe she feels worried you'll become dependent on her if she sticks around all day? And, tbh, in her does I'd offer support but I would want a life of my own too- which means I would find it hard to sit with you and 2 young children all day every day.

You are asking a lot of her really.

Have you friends who can support you?
What about organisations which offer support? Home Start? Have you asked them- that's one thing they offer.

she doesn't have to be with you ALL the time to support you unconditionally- the 2 things are different.

Unconditional does not mean 24/7 at your insistence.

I think you need to talk to her openly about the support you feel you need and the amount of time she can give you. yes, you are struggling but you are also asking a lot.

ineedtogetoutmore Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 21:35:27

I meant Sure Start- not Home Start.

aturtlenamedmack Wed 31-Jul-13 21:41:02

I think sometimes the people closest to you, understanding mental illness and having the ability to support you through it can be difficult.
In some ways she might be blaming herself or just not understand how best to help you.Do you have anyone else that you can turn to for support, are there any services available to you that would help?
I'm sorry you're struggling and haven't found the support that you need. Things will improve. Keep your chin up.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Wed 31-Jul-13 21:46:28

I don't think you can expect your MOther to give up her whole life to be your sole carer, especially as there is no time scale on when you might be better. She has a right to her own life too and to attend to her other family as well.

Can your GP suggest any help/support you could have so the load is not placed upon one person.

slipperySlip000 Wed 31-Jul-13 21:46:52

OP I think in your situation I would expect/need/want very much for my Mum to be around. In my situation my Mum died suddenly shortly before I had children. I know that my Mum would have moved heaven and earth to be there and hold my hand - all Mum's need 'mothering' and someone to lean on. In your situation doubly, quadruply so. The fact that you've realized that you need to reach out, at last, and your mum hasn't responded, must be very difficult.

That said, it may be something in your Mum's personality or her generation that she can't face the reality of your illness. Either because it's a significant/serious mental health issue or because it's you, her daughter, or both, quite possibly.

I would imagine if you are feeling on the edge something suitable needs to be set up, in terms of giving you support/supervision. Health Visitor? Family Support Worker? Social Services? Are any of these things happening? If things are in progress but taking time, I would imagine your DH needs to step in temporarily until something is organized. Homestart are brilliant.

None of these are any replacement for your Mum. I wish you the best, OP, and a speedy recovery.

kilmuir Wed 31-Jul-13 21:48:31

depends on relationship you have with her.
hope you get the support you need

joanofarchitrave Wed 31-Jul-13 21:56:13

People are who they are. I wonder if she found having small children quite difficult herself - did she have PND herself? Even if she doesn't have to do anything with them, being in a house with small children is not relaxing IMO. She might also find seeing you in pain too difficult to cope with. People can only do what they can do; you can expect what you like, but if she is not able to give you this, you are going to be constantly disappointed.

Where is your DH in this - either taking some leave or coordinating help? What about his parents? Brothers, sisters? Why are you worrying about this, rather than him? What does your psychiatrist or GP say? Do you have a community psychiatric nurse?

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Wed 31-Jul-13 21:57:52

I'm sorry your having such a difficult time, it must be awful for all of you

I don't think as an adult you can expect unconditional support from anyone though its something I personally would want from a partner or spouse

Being with you all the time is a really big ask, I don't think you're wrong to ask for that level of support but I also don't think your mum is in the wrong not providing it

If you really feel you need that level of care then you need to find it from outside agencies or from your husband. I understand it's not easy, I am physically disabled and when I became that way my husband had to give up the job he loved to care for me, it was an incredibly difficult time but we just had to do what was necessary to get through

As much as we would all like to support our children unconditionally it's just not always possible, if you needed to be admitted somewhere you would not be able to physically be with your children but you would still love them just as much

Corygal Wed 31-Jul-13 22:03:01

Whatever you expect from your family, if it doesn't happen you would be better off looking somewhere else. Realistically, it doesn't sound as if your mum is going to be the support that you need - can you think of anyone else, or a group of people, who could at least pop in on you?

Ask friends, other family, everyone - just to come round for a bit. They'll understand what a hard time you are having.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 22:04:39

Hi everyone. I have a panic disorder where I worry if I'm alone I'll 'lose it' - not in terms of temper or anything to do with DCs - just that I'll somehow lose the plot. It sounds so ridiculous writing it down!!!!

Yes I totally get that it's asking a lot. I really do. I could sense hee mounting panic that this dependency would be long term but I don't think it is - just until I get back on a 'level'.

I coped with similar issues alone with DS and I just don't feel I have the strength to do it again.

themidwife Wed 31-Jul-13 22:20:25

I'm sorry I don't think you are being reasonable to expect her to "sit with you from AM to PM" every day. She has her own life. It's also unreasonable to expect her to cancel a holiday to sit with you all day.

I know you feel unwell & if you can't cope on your own at the moment your local childrens' centre family support workers could put together a support package for you including home start, health visitors & outreach. Also - are you under the card of a perinatal mental health team? If so your CPN should be visiting regularly if you have been suicidal & maybe a referral to social services for extra support for you would be appropriate?

Much as we can't expect when we get older that our adult children put their lives on hold for us, we shouldn't expect to be looked after by our own parents after we grow up & become independent ourselves, especially for a long term problem such as PND.

I hope you get the professional support you need, after all that IS what they are there for. I hope you feel better soon thanks

Dahlen Wed 31-Jul-13 22:28:05

I think once you become an adult you can't expect unconditional love from parents. I would not have expected that from mine. However, while you shouldn't expect it, as a parent I would do anything in my power to help my children if I thought it was reasonable (and probably a little beyond).

Reading between the lines with this, however, is it possible your mum has compassion fatigue? Sometimes, if we have had people lean on us a lot, we simply run out of anything to give. It's not that we don't want to give, but there simply isn't anything left to give unless we severely neglect our own lives in the process. I'm sure she'd be devastated to think that you're feeling so alone and vulnerable but maybe she just hasn't got any reserves left right now and needs a little time to recharge before she can swoop in all supportive again.

I feel for you. Living with MH issues takes a strength and courage that is quite amazing in my view. Keep reminding yourself of that. Mentally you're doing the equivalent of running the London marathon with your shoelaces tied together. You should feel proud of your determination.

I hope you feel better soon and you and your mum make up. flowers

mrsdinklage Wed 31-Jul-13 22:48:22

Maybe your mum is struggling a bit with this too. I agree with other posters that you should get additional support. When she is with you do you manage to go out together - like a walk or a picnic in the park. I hope you can talk to your mum, and discuss what is realistic in the levels of support she can provide. Good luck flowers

Missbopeep Wed 31-Jul-13 22:51:43

Is your mum the only person you want- or the only person who is free to help?

Have you no friends who can visit? Other relatives? Does your mum have a husband? In other words your dad? Is he around?

What support are you getting from outside agencies?

Can your DH take leave so he can spend time with you?

In your mum's shoes as I said, I'd do everything I could to help, but I'd actually feel very powerless to help just by sitting in your house all day. I think you have to try to see it from her side and not just yours. And your first choice should be your DH- he should try to take some annual leave etc to support you.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:26:48

I'm just so sad it's reached this point. I never in a million years thought it'd be me that was trying to keeps handle on this.

I feel that it is asking a lot but it is just (hopefully) short term while I get back on my feet. I have to emphasise that this is the first time in my life I've asked for support in this way. Everyone says please recognise when you need it and ask - that's what I've done and yet now I've overstepped the mark?

I've seen a psychiatrist who has just immediately 'signed me off' just saying I'm adjusting and the crisis team told me to have 'me time'. I turned up at the GPs in bits twice explaining I couldn't cope with how I'm feeling, my counsellor once and no one seems interested unless I'm hearing or seeing things, which I'm not. All agencies are fully aware of how I'm feeling yet as I'm coping in the day to day looking after children way there's no help there. We're a 'nice' family in a lovely, clean house with healthy well dressed kids and I think there are more 'deserving' cases - which is why I've turned to my mum.

I think what we might need to do is have a family summit of sorts and try and allocate 'turns' of being with me. I know it sounds silly but I'm at a loss of what to do next. I start CBT soon.

My dad is out of the picture (lives elsewhere).

I'm just so scared my family is unravelling.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:28:30

Sorry for the typos blush

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:31:12

Yes mrs dinklage - a walk to the park does help. We have done that every day.

I think I may have slightly exaggerated 'sitting with me' but you get the picture - I feel incredibly vulnerable and don't want to be alone.

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