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SIL struggling with new baby - how can I help?

(12 Posts)
alicet Fri 22-Jun-07 20:47:53

Hi there,

SIL has had a baby girl a week ago and by all accounts is having a pretty terrible time. She was only sleeping 2-3 hours a night in the last 2-3 months of her pregnancy and is now totally and utterly exhausted. She has a lot of support at the mo - her mum and dh are off work and with her and mil is close by and has been helping out a lot. She is also on sedatives to help her sleep.

A couple of nights ago she was back at the hospital (she has been back several times after a fairly strightforward birth) and apparently said that her baby was still inside her. She is due assessment tomorrow to see if she needs to go into a mother and baby unit. She does appreciate that how she is feeling is not normal and that she needs help which I guess is a plus.

Problem is dh and I live several hours away and feel realy helpless. We have just sent them a load of lovely fresh ready meals so that is one less thing for them to worry about. Has anyone got any suggestions of things we can do to help at a distance without being intrusive and without showering them in too much advice? We would go down like a shot to help but think sil is not up to this at the mo...

Any advice would be gratefully received, especially from people who have been through something similar

estobi1 Fri 22-Jun-07 21:26:46

It sounds like you are doing everything that you can - before I read the post I thought feed them - send them food and that is exactly what you have done! Other than that it sounds as though she needs proper assessment and expert help and she is getting just that. Try to relax and remember that when her mum and dh go back to work and she is a bit more settled, then you might be able offer he some support - it is so hard to stand back and watch isn't it - I am sure that it will all fall into place. Best wishes x

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Fri 22-Jun-07 21:33:07

I think you are doing just the right thing, send the food and stand back

Wait until things get better to offer your help, and... no ofense intended but I thought of mentioning the following... don't ring her if you want to help her, one week after the birth, if the baby is awake probably she will be busy, and if the baby is sleeping, she might be trying to rest or may not apreciate the telephone ringing and waking the baby up.

ljhooray Fri 22-Jun-07 21:36:00

Hi Alicet, I think it's fantastic that she has people like you in her family that care so much. Estobi1 is absolutely right, food should never be underestimated, it's the practical day to day things that are most useful right now whilst she is adjusting to everything. Although you may feel powerless, she is doing exactly the right thing, getting help quickly. Early intervention will be the key to getting her on track and help her and baby thrive. When she's ready, turning up with the bleach can be the most wonderful gift to a new mum. I know some people don;t like others cleaning for them, but if she's the type of person that really wouldn't mind, it's lovely. I felt a little down for the frist few weeks after my daughter was born and the trips my eldest sister made to clean for me was the sweetest and most appropriate gift (especially as she lives 3 hours away!)

alicet Sat 23-Jun-07 09:59:13

Thanks for all your supportive messages and helpful advice. I'll let you know how she gets on....

alicet Sat 23-Jun-07 19:11:51

Thanks everyone for your messages of support about sil and helpful advice.

Its got far far worse since yesterday. She jumped out of the upstairs window of their house this evening and has been taken to hospital with 1 and possibly 2 broken ankles - thankfully nothing worse as far as we know at the moment. Dh is in London this weekend for a stag weekend so he is now on his way over to be there for his brother (they live in hertfordshire). Feel so totally helpless up here - just so wish I could be down there to help. BIL is understandably absolutely distraught. PIL's are helping out with their dd who is thankfully fine, and SIL's brother is also down there - terrible timing but her mum went home to Manchester for the night last night to get some things.

Was all for jumping in the car and driving down too and I will do later once dh gets there if that would help. Will go tomorrow otherwise and rationally think this will be better. Weather is shite, I'm knackered and it wouldn't be an easy drive on my own with a tired ds. Better to go tomorrow as there are loads of people who can help at the moment and I wouldn't get there until late. Just feel so helpless and wish there was something I could do.

Just can't imagine many things more awful than this for them to go through at what should be such an amazingly special and happy time. Wish I could make it all OK but know that only time and a lot of support will do that for them.

EffiePerine Sat 23-Jun-07 19:13:29

Alice: so sorry to hear this . No experience of this myself, but would have thought any help would be welcome, esp for your BIL.

munchie Sat 23-Jun-07 19:59:43

So sorry to hear this alicet, I don't have any advice for you but agree with what has already been said you may be able to help at a later date.

estobi1 Sun 24-Jun-07 06:40:24

So sorry to hear that things have got so bad and I really hope that she gets better soon. It sounds like she needs a calm atmosphere and professional help. tbh it sounds like you probably did the right thing by not rushing in as she had all of the help she needed at that time and probably would not have wanted to be crowded by lots of people no matter how good your intentions might have been. I think it is probably a case of waiting to hear from your dh as to how you can help and take each day as it comes. It must be so hard for you all I really sympathise.
Best of luck

alicet Sun 24-Jun-07 12:04:17

Heard from dh this am that she is to see a psychiatrist for assessment for admission to the mother and baby unit today which is great news. He is staying down until tomorrow and I'm staying put for now. We'll go back down again next weekend. Seems to be the best thing at the mo - her dd has lots of people to look after her and she just needs her dh and mum really. If anything changes dh and I will both be there like a shot but this seems to be the best thing for now. Hopefully she will be getting the prefessional help she really needs and will recover as soon as possible. I have no idea how long this usually takes though? Anyone have any exerience of this?

alicet Sun 24-Jun-07 12:04:40

Thanks for all your support - it means a lot x

IsabelWatchingItRainInMacondo Mon 25-Jun-07 12:04:23

There is no way to know how long it will take as it depends in the case and severity of the problem. The only thing that I can assure you is that is not going to be sorted in the same day, the only one who can provide a good estimate is her doctor. So, take it easy, hopefully she will recover soon.

But if you insist in helping out, focus that help in supporting your BIL through the crisis, any help you can provide for the baby would be great but more in terms of practicalities like sending something to make the work of the grandparents with the baby easier.

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