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The guilt associated with being a parent and having a mental health problem

(9 Posts)
Crusta Wed 05-Mar-14 18:17:46

Does anyone else feel utterly wretched by the way their depression/mental health problem impacts on their ability to parent?
I have long standing mental health problems that began to be a real problem after I had my second child. That child is now 11.
My house needs a bloody good clean and tbh just doing the bare minimum each day is an effort.
I try my best to do nice things with them and for them, building good happy memories.
(this thread is partly prompted by a thread in chat in which children who have been neglected have coped with this over the years)
It just got me thinking how many of us out there who have mental health problems actually feel how this impacts on our children and how they will grow up and how they will feel?
Anyone else out there? if you actually have understood what I have written

Messupmum Wed 05-Mar-14 18:51:46

I worry about the effects on my dd constantly. I wonder how much she notices but pretends not to. Finding things very hard, it's just dd and myself and I would hate her to grow up thinking she had a damaged childhood.

LastingLight Wed 05-Mar-14 19:29:41

There have been periods when I have been really ill and/or suffering badly from meds side effects and my dd has suffered. I have borderline abused her and I cannot describe how bad that makes me feel. I told my psychologist that I want to get better for dd's sake and she said I should want it for my own sake, but really, I feel it's more important for dd! You have to focus on what you can do for yourself. Get therapy, see a doctor, get a referral to a psychiatrist if you don't feel your gp is doing a good enough job. Use whatever support is available to you. Don't give up. MH issues can and do get better. Just be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time. Children are resilient. If you can manage to have some good times, some positive interaction here and there, that will give them (and you) a boost and hope for the future.

Crawling1 Thu 06-Mar-14 09:29:12

Yes I feel exactly the same. I also worry that one day my dc will end up caring for me as a result of my illness.

ForTheLoveOfSocks Thu 06-Mar-14 09:45:27

As the child of someone with a life long MH illness, there are two things I urge you to do;

Sod the cleaning. My mum was forever bloody cleaning. She never took me anywhere nice or spent time with me doing something I liked to do.

Don't lie and say you are ok when you are not. Get the help you need, even if you don't want to take medication, if the professionals say you should take it then bloody well do it! My mum was sectioned 18 months ago because she felt she no longer needed medication. She decided she was well enough to come off them without telling anyone angry

I think the fact you are considering the effects of your illness makes you a better parent than mine.

AgentZigzag Sat 08-Mar-14 00:37:45

Agree with socks that you thinking about how it affects your DC means a lot.

I've tried to measure the effect my MH problems has on my DDs and it's an impossible task because you just can't tell until they're not children and can assess their childhoods for what they were.

Instead of looking at what I'm doing I try to look at how they're turning out, what kinds of problems, if any, they're having or how they act when they're not with me etc.

If all they have to worry about is me saying no to a packet of crisps then I'm happy. They're lumbered with me unfortunately, we've just got to make the best of it grin I don't want to apologise for the person I am, and I know they'd rather be here and love as I am than the alternative of me choosing not to have children.

SergeantJarhead Sat 08-Mar-14 00:43:18

I absolutely feel that my mental illness has impacted my ability as a parent. Which is why this week I made the most effort to take my son out every single day, and stay out of the house which I feel impelled to clean. Four days in, we're both knackered! However, I feel better and my son has been able to see more of his extended family in four days than he has in months and that can only be a good thing!
Agree with PP, whatever help you can get, take!
It isn't an easy road but it is a journey that CAN be done. Stay strong x

JoulesQueenofSheba Sat 08-Mar-14 10:02:34

I worry every day about this. I was diagnosed with PND after the birth of my son when my daughter was 5. All my childhood memories are that of mum shouting, being controlling and what I now realise was absolute toxic. I never wanted kids in case I turned out like her. I had my daughter however and I realised that I am me, not my mum. Also I realised the complete and utter love I felt for my daughter was something I don't think my mum ever felt for me.
So I had my son and things just spiralled. I try so hard not to be my mum but with the PND my bad days are sometimes suicidal days. I NEVER want my kids to look back and see what I see with my mum so I try really really hard to hide it from them. Sometimes I don't succeed and I am overwhelmed with guilt.
It's a one day (or sometimes one hour) at a time kind of thing I think where you breathe deeply before you say or do anything when you're around your kids x

Crusta Sat 08-Mar-14 17:55:22

Thank you for the really helpful responses. I suppose thinking about it she would rather have me here depression and all rather than not at all.
I think because I am constantly reflecting on how it does impact them( I have an older son as well who is severely disabled) and thinking of ways to give them positive memories and doing daft stuff like making sure she gets to go to the groups she enjoys and spending time with her friends, and although these things are difficult for me to do, I do them precisely because I want them to have a happy childhood and it not to be tainted with the effects of my depression.
This has been really helpful actually, very easy to focus on all the negative stuff instead of congratulating yourself on all the really good stuff.

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