Girlfriend diagnosed post natal 6 months after birth.(22 Posts)
Hi all. I'm new to this community and after some advice/reassurances.
My girlfriend and I had a beautiful baby girl in May. The labour and birth were difficult. Girlfriend had kidney stones, SPD where she could barely move around. So she didn't enjoy the pregnancy much. We then had our 11lbs girl, the labour wasn't any easy for her either. I won't go into details but it was pretty traumatic for me so god knows how she coped.
Now 6 months down the line my girlfriend has recently been diagnosed as having lots of gall stones. We have had regular emergency visits to hospital due to pains but they wouldn't give her any pain killers and she is due to have the op mid Jan.
Now to the point of my message. Over the past week my girlfriends mood has deteriorated a lot. She keeps beating herself up(not literally) over the feeling she's a bad mum, etc
I commute to London from Suffolk every day which means I'm away from home 12 hours a day. On way into London yesterday after a series of texts and calls with the girlfriend, it got to the point I had to jump off at next station and go home to get her to see a doctor. She has now been diagnosed as having postnatal depression and prescribed some drugs ( the name I can't remember)
I'm typing this on my way to work as I lied to the boss yesterday saying I was Ill. But am worried if I have any more time off I'll lose my job. But at the same time my girlfriend needs me as her 'anchor'.
I'm wondering if there is anything I can do re work or anything I can do to assure my girlfriend while I go to work.
This is really upsetting for me so really couldn't imagine what my girlfriend is feeling!!
Sorry for the long read.
I don't have any magic answers but well done for helping and being there. You'll not feel the thanks for it right now, but trust me your gf will be very grateful when she is feeling a bit better.
Re work could you talk to your boss and explain and ask what options there could be? You might be surprised.
Carry on being the clearly loving and supportive partner you are. It may be tough some days but as some one who has suffered depression, once the days get brighter your thankful to those who helped get you there.
Thanks for your reply.
Ive never been around someone who has depression well not that I know of. I know she relies on me a lot and this has meant she relies a lot more on me than usual. I have seen a change in her mood towards me already. But I understand and keep trying to support her.
I will try to have a word with the boss. But i previously had alot of time off at least one day a week due to the other illnesses shes had.over the past 6-10 months. Think hos patience has worn thin.
Hi OP. Welcome to the nest of vipers
Others will be along with detailed advice soon. But as a sufferer of PND myself, these are my thoughts:
- encourage your girlfriend to take her meds. They're so important to stabilise mood in the short term. I'm guessing she's on an SSRI like sertraline, citalopram etc. Please reassure her that they won't zone her out or make her high, that's not how they work. However, she may get some side effects in the first week or so - I got nausea while on sertraline - which should then go off again. Theyuusually take 7-10 days to kick in so she needs to take them even though it may feel like they're not working.
- is there anyone who could stay with her while you're at work? (If you're really not able to take leave.) They need to be sympathetic and non-judgmental - no comments like "what have you got to be depressed about, you've got a beautiful baby"
- has she been referred to the community mental health team? I had a lovely MHN come and talk to me, and plan what we were going to do to get me better.
- reassure her that it's just an illness like flu, and not some sort of moral failure or weakness. It's also pretty common.
- there's an organisation which can help survivors of traumatic birth - sorry, I can't remember what it's called, but Google will be your friend there!
Sorry if this post is a bit disjointed, I'm typing on my phone.
Also try and get here to talk to her
HV I found mine very supportive when I had PND
Thank you for your replies.
I've tried convincing her to go to her mums (who only lives a 2 minute walk from us). But she refuses to. Says she doesnt want to see anyone. so I think the idea of someone coming to stay over is completely out of the question. It would put my mind at ease if someone was there tbh.
She has realized the meds will take 1-2 weeks to kick in. Which is making her feel worse as she knows that'll be time I'm likely to be at work.
Told me she sometimes feels that our baby isnt even hers. Feels spaced out, ie walking the opposite direction to where she's actually going (ie kitchen rather than living room) and so on. Wanting to not be herself. Wanting to just not be there, away somewhere.
I know she has a facebook group she's in where all the women had their babies around the same time as she had ours. I believe a couple of them have PND, and that she did only just tell them how she's felt. (Which I think they told her off for not telling them :P)
I hope your boss is understanding, none of the illnesses have been your partners or yours fault. I know that might not make any difference to the work situation but important to remember any way.
Is your gf close to her mum normally? Might a little intervention work? Perhaps not spill all the beans to her mum, but a little nudge if I think daughter could do with someone to visit, she's got a lot in and I'm busy at work, Christmas etc etc,
Don't expect your gf to be thrilled at first, but sometimes the reaching out is the hardest thing, and you don't want people judging, but hopefully if she's close to her mum and her mum is understanding that might help.
The other post saying about meds etc is spot on (sorry forgot name). And it is something that will improve, given time.
Don't forget, a new baby = a lot tiredness on its own! let alone mixed with depression! when you are home! try and enable rest times or relaxing things all together.
I liked having something to look forward too with enough time to look forward to and 'plan' it, it helped me focus in something. Baby's first Christmas might be just the thing in a none judgy but enjoyment way.
Baby steps all the way. Good luck xx
Well, she was better yesterday when I came home and after the doctors. She put up the xmas tree and decorations, seemed to be in higher spirits.
But it's the point when she's alone ie not with me, that she starts panicking etc. I will try to talk to the bosses and see if I can even just work from home etc.
I've told her mum what I think/feel, but I also told the gf that I had, which I got in trouble for. But I think her mum will go visit her today.
Would a "stranger" be better than her mum? Just that sometimes we don't want to admit to how we're feeling toa loved one (especially with the stigma that mental illness still attracts) whereas we might be more open with someone we don't know. I had a postnatal doula who was a lifesaver (almost literally at one point, when I was so low I was Googling painless ways to kill myself ). She was a mum of 3 and so had been there, done that - it was wonderful to have someone who could do anything and everything domestic (looking after the baby, some chores, making me food etc) and to whom I could just talk. (We had no relatives to help so that was another factor.) If money will stretch, that sort of thing might be worth considering.
Worried expect to get into trouble for a lot of things! 9/10 we are grateful for really! You are doing fab, remember to look after you too, and it hope you have someone in real life you can talk too as well. It's not easy for you.
You are probably entitled to emergency leave now that you are a parent. Check your HR policies. Please do your best to keep your worries about work from your gf. My (then) husband went on about getting in trouble at work and it made me feel worse.
Also check if you have Homestart in your area, a volunteer can come over regularly for a chat, help out with a few things, whatever she feels would be best.
PND is not just depression, it's partly about the huge changes that have happened in her life, the responsibility etc. Let her know that you think she is doing a good job, even if she contradicts you, it will help to hear it.
Keep in mind Post Traumatic Stress too, often gets mistaken for pnd, if the birth was bad. Meds won't help that, you need specialist therapy for that.
FB group is great as someone will always be there, also get her on MN.
Spoken to one boss who I know has kids, as it happens one of his relatives suffered quite a bad PND so he understands some of what the gf is going through. He's going to put the suggestion forward that I work from home next week which should help the gf.
The Gf and I work for the same company, so they know of all her previous health issues, and she's on mat leave atm. I do tend to not bring up work related stuff to her when I'm home as I know she does miss the office.
I will look at the other options and see if she will try them out.
Her mum doesn't seem to understand PND. She just told her to snap out of it and get out of the house more.
I have a little experience of this as the mother of my DCs suffered with this, and I was working long hours at the time. I'd encourage you to be open with your bosses (I see you've told one already), and just act with compassion, and remember that when she gets at you it's not her talking, it's the person who's brain has been influenced by this cruel illness.
From reading your posts you seem switched on and empathic, which is exactly what's needed. Good luck.
And welcome to the Vipers' Nest. We're lovely really. Honest.
Can you afford any extra help at home also?
Ie a cleaner so she doesn't feel like she needs to do everything in home and look after baby? Someone twice a week for the next few weeks then down to once a week. They she can at least completely rest when baby does
Does she get time without baby? Could you look into a babysitter coming in maybe one morning so she can have some me time and one evening so you can both go out for a few hours as a couple. A few hours shouldn't be to expensive and can just be temp for now
I'd say her mum won't be much use then. Telling someone with PND to snap out of it is about as helpful as telling someone with diabetes or a broken arm to snap out of it.
OP, you've had some great advice here so I just wanted to add a little bit from my personal experience.
I gave birth during the summer and it was a shock to everyone when I developed fairly severe pnd almost overnight. I'm gradually getting over it now, and whilst the support I've had from professionals, etc has been great, it is my dh who's really pulled me through I think. Seeing his love for ds and me on a daily basis has provided me with a positive anchor to rely on.
You sound like a great guy capable of providing good support. Stay patient, stay loving, give practical help wherever possible, and try to show your gf the pleasure that being a parent can bring.
Before having ds I worried that becoming parents might damage mine and dh's relationship, but it's been the opposite. Coping with a new baby and my depression has brought us closer and I hope that this will in the long term be a positive outcome from this difficult time.
I gave birth in July and developed quite serious PND - my GP signed my OH off work for 2 weeks to help me and it made a huge difference combined with the sertraline. Might be worth asking if they could do the same for you?
Although someone suggested it above, I didn't want to have somebody come and take the baby so I could have time by myself - I saw that as people thinking I wasn't able to look after her. I just needed someone to be with me so I didn't have the weight of it all on my shoulders. So do check with her before you go ahead and organise something like that in case it makes her feel worse
Do you have any annual leave that you can take now for the next couple of weeks? (or one day a week?)
get her on Mnet also- many mums on here with similar issues
Hi I was never diagnosed with PND, but I strongly suspect that I either had it or was borderline. You mentioned that she misses work. I have to say, that it was only when I went back to work part time and did some normal things that things started to right themselves. The contact with colleagues and just the journey in really helped me.
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