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Sure that my sons mum is self harming

(2 Posts)
MST91 Mon 25-Jan-16 13:32:51

I have a one year old son and I'm pretty sure his mother is self harming and don't know what to do if anything. She is only 20, we where never together when she fell pregnant was just casually dating that turned in to nothing but after the baby was born we tried to sort it out and get along for his sake. At first she wouldn't let me see him but a few months ago she started and I now see him every weekend and pay child support etc. We get along ok but to be honest I don't know her all that well and at the moment I'm trying to get to know both of them and see where it goes from there.

We live quite far from eachother (120 miles) she was in my area visiting her friend yesterday as it was her birthday whilst my son was at home with her mum. We decided to meet to just talk, see what was going on with eachother etc as friends. When we was out she was wearing a short sleeved top and when she took her coat off she had cuts going all the way from her shoulder down to her elbow. I asked what they where and she said she just woke up with them, I said they look like Rasor blade cuts and she changed her story and said the cat did them. I asked her if she did them and she said no and if she was going to she would do them else where and showed me her wrists which didn't have any marks. I asked to see the tops of her legs and she had a few on there but not as many as her shoulder. The conversation topic changed.

I know that she suffers with bipolar and a few months ago she was telling me she wasn't very well and hated her self, she even has threatened to kill herself in the past. However these threats just get brushed off with her, I bring them up when she's happy and she says she was just upset and saying it to get a reaction. I don't think she is stable, I think she is a good mother and I do not believe she would do any thing to harm my son but I don't trust that she wouldn't do anything to harm herself. I don't know what to do as I told her she needs help before but I don't know her that well and she says she's fine and laughs it off. But other times I've spoken to her whilst she was in tears.

dangermouseisace Mon 25-Jan-16 14:45:59

Hi MST91 it's good that you are showing concern but confident that you son's mother is able to parent well.

Self harm is usually a way of dealing with negative feelings- a way of coping with life, rather than a desire to end it. Although if anyone says that they want to kill themselves then that has to be taken seriously…even if she says that she was saying it 'to get a reaction' that could be just trying to gloss over the fact that she did feel that bad, finding excuses for her cuts might also be trying to make out she is managing when really she is finding things difficult. It's really hard being a mother with MH problems and lots of us worry that if we are seen to not be managing that we will lose our children (often unfounded), and it can make women less likely to seek help. Do you think that might apply to your son's mother? Does she know that actually it is ok to be a parent and find things difficult? When I first had MH problems as a parent I was petrified that social services would take my children away if I let medical staff know how I really felt. This was unfounded, but I didn't know that at the time.

You say that she has bipolar, is she getting any support from a MH team/GP? You say that you know she is a good mum- have you told her that? Sometimes it helps if someone can say 'look you are doing an excellent job parenting, kids is doing wonderfully etc etc sing praises to the rooftops...but I'm worried about how you are looking after yourself- are you getting any support for you?'

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