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DSis/Bipolar/babysitting - advice needed please

(10 Posts)
ConfusedandDazed24 Sat 19-Oct-13 12:20:05

Hi all,

Name changed in the unlikely event this outs me.

I need some advice and I'm hoping that some of you can help me please.

I have a 4 month old DD, so far I have left her with both DM and DMIL for a few hours but now my DSis has asked about babysitting/watching her for a few hours.

The thing is that she has bipolar. Now whilst I would in no way, shape, or form, automatically say no because of this she is currently signed off from work as she is in a down phase. She is having therapy and is on meds (I can't remember what currently, sorry). Again I wouldn't normally automatically rule out letting her look after DD just because she's been signed off, but when I saw her the other day she told me that she was struggling to get herself washed and dressed in the morning, and that she doesn't have any motivation or energy to do anything. She got teary about half way through our time together (nothing had happened to trigger it as such, she said she was in a really low mood that day), and I also overheard her saying to my DD that everyone thought that she (DSis) was stupid and that no one was bothered about her. DD also started crying and I could see that DSis was getting agitated, and this was only a short cry compared to her occasional wailathons. Finally she fell asleep with DD on her chest, and the position she was in she could easily have rolled off and under DSis.

I love my DSis to pieces, and am keen for her to be involved, however I'm a little hesitant about leaving DD with her if she's in a low mood, but at the same time I don't want to upset her by her thinking that I don't think she's suitable to look after her. Just for clarification, I absolutely do not think that she will harm DD, it's more that if she gets low she retreats within herself and normally goes to bed, and if she has DD she won't be able to do that, so is it fair on either of them?

I was wondering if anyone had been through similar, of if anyone who has this condition can tell me how they would feel about looking after a baby? I know it affects everyone differently but I am keen to hear from others so I can gauge what to do next.

Thank you so much for reading.

Crawling Sat 19-Oct-13 13:01:33

Tbh when I'm unwell my mother takes the dc I certainly wouldn't voluntarily babysit someone else's child. I do have to look after the dc sometimes but I only do the bare minimum required. I would not let her babysit until she is better I think maybe she underestimates how hard it is.

ConfusedandDazed24 Sat 19-Oct-13 14:07:11

Thank you for replying crawling. I did wonder if maybe she's underestimated how hard it can be.

ConfusedandDazed24 Sun 20-Oct-13 18:03:03

Can I just bump this to see if anyone else has any thoughts please?

NotDavidTennant Sun 20-Oct-13 18:12:15

Could you engineer a scenario where you have some essential chores that need doing around the house and need her to 'watch' the baby for you? That way she would get some bonding time with her DN but you would be on hand to keep a surreptitious eye on things.

Lastofthepodpeople Sun 20-Oct-13 18:17:35

Hi, my sister is bipolar. She is currently managing it quite well with meds though and she has babysat my DS. You don't mention how long your sister has been struggling with this or if it's a recent diagnosis. Different individuals deal with it very differently. I think you need to be very honest with her but be careful in your word choice. Say you'd like her ho babysit but are worried about how much work a small baby is for her. Could she joint sit with one of her friends? Or maybe just for a short while at first e.g while you pop to the shops?

ConfusedandDazed24 Sun 20-Oct-13 19:11:51

Thank you both for your responses. One of the problems (for want of a better word) is that if she's got her heart set on something she will say and do whatever she needs to to get it. So I'm worried that if I try and talk to her she'll be very dismissive and take it very badly. She's had this diagnosis for several years now, she tends to over stretch herself when she is feeling good which then results in a very dramatic low which is where she is now. I think being in whilst she sits with her does sound like a plan, thank you for your suggestions.

BigBirthdayGloom Mon 21-Oct-13 17:29:02

My mum is bipolar and I'm afraid to say she has never babysat our dc alone. But that's because she denies being ill and has behaved very irrationally when unwell. If she were open about it and I knew she could cope or admit that she couldn't, then I might.
I guess there are people without bipolar who I wouldn't choose as babysitters and I decide who looks after the children on an individual basis. Otherwise it would be a prejudice against folk with bipolar.
Not much help, but I guess I'm saying think whether you feel comfortable with your dsis, as she is now, babysitting and don't make it about the bipolar.

ConfusedandDazed24 Mon 21-Oct-13 18:31:02

That's good advice, thank you BBG, something to think about there.

thursdaysgirls Mon 21-Oct-13 23:55:05

I have BPD. I have 2 DCS that I have raised alone since they were 2 and a half and newborn. I am my sisters first choice of babysitter. (Nephew is 10 months older than my youngest) My kids ground me, centre me, they are my reason for breathing and the reason I take my meds every day (tho currently only on fluoxetine, yay me)

All I can say is that you know her. Id suggest starting off with asking her to watch baby whilst you have a bath? Youre in the house but shes looking after baby. Then maybe an hour whilst you pop out somewhere local?

Sorry if Im not very helpful. Its difficult to say without knowing more details of her BPD. Eg my last psychosis was when I was 19 (Im now 27) and Ive flipped between hypomania and moderate/severe depression but my parenting abilities have never been called into question.

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