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struggling with PND for the second time in under three years and have had a breakdown recently (yes I know it's an outdated term but it does fit what happened).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

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 14:47:15

will PM you Imperial

ImperialBlether Thu 08-Aug-13 11:23:27

I'm so glad you're feeling so much better. I'm not sure whether your mum meant to help you out there but I'm glad it's all worked out for the best.

When you say your hormones are all over the place, do they mean in a "needing HRT" kind of way, or in a way that can resolve itself naturally?

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 10:56:35

Thank you!!!

No I agree with you totally - I'm prone (very prone) to this and it's not going to be calm waters ahead. I really appreciate that offer and will snap your hand off!

I'm just so glad I'm not 'lost' for good. I feel so much more like the old me it's a bit disarming.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-Aug-13 09:58:22

Hi Striped - my Outlook Calendar just reminded me to come back to this thread to check how you are - and, wow, what a fantastic update. I'm really, really pleased for you.

Not wishing to create a cloud for your silver to line, but if you experience some down days in the future, please don't be afraid to come back to this thread - we'll be here for you.

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 09:07:30

Also therapist said this childlike need for your mum is common in these scenarios. Amazing.

Stripedmum Thu 08-Aug-13 09:04:21

Cory in sorry to hear about your DDs problems - I CANNOT imagine dealing with what I'm dealing with at a younger age. I'm in my thirties. It must have been horrendous for you and the whole family.

I am very happy to hear though that things sound like they're in hand.

My father in law said something about tough love is what hurts the most. Cheesy maybe but true.

cory Thu 08-Aug-13 08:57:42

Good to hear that things are moving.

What I was going to say is that I have been in a similar situation to your DM- except that my suicidal daughter is still a teen.

And yet when I broached the subject of giving up work to sit with her all the time, the MH services said that was precisely what I must not do, because it wouldn't be the best thing for dd. She is only 16, but their take on it (on the day after her second suicide attempt) was that she had to take ownership of her treatment. To me, as a mother, that felt really hard, but I could see their pov.

In dd's case, what was needed was a combination of medication and CBT, and generally paying attention to her wellbeing- eating well, getting enough exercise.

To me, it turned out, unconditional love meant stepping back.

Well, I'm just glad you're feeling much better than last week - glad some of the CBT ideas are helpful - I think that's generally a very good approach.
Glad your more reconciled now in your relationship with DM too.

themidwife Wed 07-Aug-13 21:00:27

That's a great result & a great update. It's true - no one can make the decision to get better with help & support other than you. That's not to say you don't need help. It's just that you have to be willing to seek it for yourself & not make it your loved ones' responsibility. Bloody well done!! smile

Stripedmum Wed 07-Aug-13 20:55:36

Mumsy you're absolutely right. In fact CBT woman said today she might have felt it was something she had to do. And I was that bloody angry about the 'not coping' comment and my perceived lack of support from her that I thought "right time to get aggressive about this."

She's an amazing mother. Amazing. And intentionally or not she did me a huge favour.

Mumsyblouse Wed 07-Aug-13 20:47:18

I'm so pleased to read your update. I can relate entirely to how you were feeling last week and what I always find amazing is that your thinking and mental state can often shift quite dramatically in a short space of time, especially if what is driving the anxiety and distress is basically hormones/lack of sleep. That's not to say it will all be hunkydory or you won't have bad days, but the shift in your thinking is really positive.

In relation to your mum, I know it sounds a bit silly but in some ways your mum did you a favour by pushing you to find your own solution to this which is as it has to be. I'm not saying she did this deliberately, but what she did do was put boundaries around what she could personally offer. I don't think this was a bad thing to do.

Hope that you carry on with getting better and do go back to the GP if you need to.

Having suffered PND I'd say unfortunately some people just don't understand it at all, it doesn't make them bad or toxic people just sometimes you need to have experienced depression to appreciate what someone with it needs.

Stripedmum Wed 07-Aug-13 20:21:53

Hi everyone!

Well what a funny old time I've had.

I've had my tests back and my hormones are screwed - absolutely screwed. So there in part is a 'reason' for some of the awful shite I've been going through.

A week of eating extremely well has made so much difference. I'd been exercising a lot but the nutrition side was missing. I don't know if it's that I've taken control though that's made me feel better?

CBT has commenced. The first session I thought was waffle but actually I was given some things to read that really hit home. I'm going to really put the work in.

Finally I've realised that I've been relying on others emotionally far too much and it's unfair. I need to be okay and that needs to come from me. I'm just so glad I'm in a better place than I was this time last week, I.e. the lowest ebb of my life.

The other thing which is positive for me is if things take another 'turn' I'm willing to try the ADs. I've let my GP know to expect me in fact! I think 'letting go' of this fear of the ADs could have helped me too.

Thank you all so much. MN has helped pull me up - again.

teacher123 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:09:38

Well done! That step is so hard smile if they don't work or don't suit you, at least you know you've tried everything. X

garlicagain Sat 03-Aug-13 00:30:32

I'm proud of you for taking on board that there is a health problem, and seeking advice. Well done smile I hope the weekend's good to you.

themidwife Fri 02-Aug-13 23:52:45

I'm really really pleased to hear that Striped. I hope you didn't feel I was too harsh but it's so important to give it a go & get well for your family. thanks

Stripedmum Fri 02-Aug-13 23:03:05

Hi everyone. I just wanted to check in. I've been to GP today. They're testing for hormone and vitamin deficiencies etc - and if they come back clear I'm going onto the ADs. I have to give them a shot.

Thank you again for all being so, so kind.

Fallout1977 Fri 02-Aug-13 11:31:59

My mum is there for me unconditionally, she was there when I nearly died, she was there when my marriage failed and she is here for me now. She does the same for my brothers and will always do it. I am exactly the same with my kids and I hope they will be the same for there's.
I also recognise that my mum also has her own life to lead and try not to put on her too much. Luckily I married an amazing man 2nd time round so my mum just visits us to enjoy.
Of course you want your mum there but you must remember that she could be frightened for you and it may be incredibly distressing for her to see you like this. Hopefully she will come around and sit with you again.

tangerinefeathers Fri 02-Aug-13 10:49:37

Re Ads, as others have said: what you have is a health issue and there are great meds that will pick you up off the floor until you are well again, and you can go off them.

You may get yourself out of this depression without them, I am not suggesting that you rule that out. I only went on them once when I had what I would call a breakdown. A few years later I found myself sinking again but went into therapy instead, as I wanted to address the root causes that were causing it (funnily enough, my mother...).

but as others have said the hormonal fluctuations around the postnatal period can really floor you (i remember it well) and you have enough to deal with, so maybe a spell on ADs will get you back to normal faster.

waiting a week sounds like a great plan. and you sound like you are looking after yourself with good food and exercise which is another huge plus.

good luck. xx

Missbopeep Fri 02-Aug-13 10:33:38

OP I have a little knowledge on this from a professional point of view ( research) and can confirm that in many studies, exercise does help you overcome mild to moderate depression. Exercise outside in green spaces works the best ( some of this was researched/ carried out by MIND who organised green space exercise in groups- which has an even higher rate of success.)

So- your running will help but it won't work in a week. People I have spoken to as part of the research I did say it took around 3 months- 1 person I spoke to was in as bad a state as you, with 2 small children, and suffering very bad PND and panic attacks.

If you are going to go down the no-meds route then you need to be very committed and also pursue the CBT because your posts do show you are being trapped by negative thinking- understandably.

I think that although you want your mum, you need to try to work through the reasons why you want her ( or another adult) to sit passively with you at home, whilst somehow the PND will fade- which is what you seem to be banking on.

You mentioned originally other issues which are not PND but will I assume have an impact on your mental state- health issues and loads of other stuff. Is this being addressed at the same time?

themidwife Fri 02-Aug-13 10:09:25

You really must go back to your GP & start medication if things are that bad. Excuse my harshness (I have compassion fatigue due to my parents lifelong "illnesses") but you must put your family first & try to get well. You are not having any treatment yet you want your mother & husband to stop working/living for themselves to sit with you endlessly while you feel depressed. I know you can't just "snap out of it" but you must have the will to get better by committing to treatment. I had a friend at Uni whose whole childhood was ruined by her mother's depression which was never treated but caused year after year of misery for everyone. It's not fair on your family is it?

Lovingfreedom Fri 02-Aug-13 09:29:14

I do know what I'm talking about. My reading was that OP is not suicidal. She was discharged by the psychiatrist and has not been prescribed any treatment. If you are suicidal OP please go back to the doctor or hospital and get treatment. You can't expect your mother to devote all her time to you. And if you stop thinking about being so let down by her you might realise you are quite lucky in having a supportive family.

teacher123 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:55:23

Phew I'm so glad that I didn't get shot down in flames!! I think the support on MN is amazing, so many stories of PND and getting better. It's certainly helped me. I do think that there's a stigma about taking ADs, yet if you had another illness you probably wouldn't think twice about taking medication for it! There is an element of trial and error, and I have had some side effects BUT nausea and dizziness is better than feeling like I wanted to run away from my whole life and leave DS somewhere safe with someone else because I couldn't look after him properly. Come back in a week and see how you feel, we'll be waiting. X

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 22:50:11

I'd like to think I'd be there for my kids whatever- I'm older than the OPs mum but my DCs are still single etc.

But it's a huge commitment to sit with someone 24/7 and give up your own life etc indefinitely. Especially when the OP has not tried the most obvious solution to her depression- medication.

She may think she is practising 'tough love' or she may underestimate the issues.

I'd like to know why the Op wants her mum there- is it her mum she wants because they get on well, are close etc etc- or is it something as basic as no one else being able to fulfil a mum's role when you are down?

Because if she just needs another person, there must be friends and family apart from her mum who can do this and share the load.

curryeater Thu 01-Aug-13 21:06:57

Sorry to hear things are so hard, stripedmum. I am sorry if this sounds really bossy and sanctimonious but please try not to think in terms of what your mother "should" do. you know she won't do what you want her to so it is just upsetting to frame it in terms of "should".

Fwiw my mother would not change her holiday plans for me, in a million years. I don't tell her anything about my health problems because she denied them when I was a child and in her care so she certainly doesn't want to know about them now. I am feeling better about this as I am learning to think of my mother as a wonderful person in her own way who just happens to be someone who can't give me what I need.

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