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suddenly lone parent to two boys and expecting third baby nov2nd. how to cope following birth?

(15 Posts)
Hannah06 Sun 18-Sep-11 18:12:46

backstory: three months ago, my husband had a mental breakdown and attempted suicide and now has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. we will not be co-habiting in near future as we feel we need time for respite and healing to process this crisis and establish new boundaries for conducting our familylife as we look forward.
so i am on my own with 5 yr old and 2 yr old,beautiful kids, eldest has some behavioural issues awaiting assesment. i am in our privately rented flat-now on benefits. he was sole earner.i am stay at home mother.
my concern is this.due date looming nov 3rd,a third baby boy.
i am planned for home birth (had lovely one last time)... how to make sure i create support enough to meet my needs 2/3 weeks directly following birth and then beyond into first year ?!i am frightened

help:please. tell me what you did.in detail! i am so frightened of going under and developing postnatal depression or worse.
i am not prepared to just 'crack on'the minute i've given birth. i see that natural gentle recovery from labour is such a loving gift.as i have dont it both ways and had pnd with first after just running back into normal life.
i am talking 2-3 week full bed rest which i see as absolute minimum requirement for me personally, as i am prone to anxiety and mild depression.

ideas so far: doula - no funds as on benefits.but dad has made some noises about paying and have seen harship fund advertised on one doula charity site. this would cover daytimes for first 2/3 weeks.

night times? my concerns - 2yr old still wakes up to 3/4 times. (i don't sleep train. i guess i practise attachment parenting type thing...) .
i go very wobbly and upset at night sometimes post labour, scared of having no emotional support for myself.
but cant really see a way around this.

and then what? - i imagine myself falling off a cliff so to speak.
following months-childminder mornings and evenings? say, 8-10/11am and 4- 7.30pm? but income support - no funds. maybe there is state help available with childcare?

my parents are in london but our relationships are complex.

dad is apropriate to stay in my house. he better running errands or taking older kids out. he can be volatile and self-centred to an extreme.he is a recovering alcoholic and our relatoinships is much improved but i tread cautiously.
mum is hot and cold in her availabity-practical and emotional.she is unable for some reason to commmit to regualar stints helping out. she also works a 40 hour week as a nanny to family of five and after that i think she seems to have had enough.she cannot take two weeks off to come and be with me after birth. but says she will stay weekends. however she seems to struggle being in the same room as me at the moment. it is so painful. i think she has disconnected because she cannot cope with seeing this crisis. so will she be reliable? I worry she'll be flakey...
husband keeps ensuring he will be around for long days in first week and perhaps mornings and evenings after that. but he is still bonkers god love him,i mean fine to be with kids but you know....he is still majorly convalescing,he could relapse at any time or find the pace of helping out too much....

if you have not lived this type of scenario please dont feedback. it wouldnt be apropriate.
if your only input is to give car crash stares and pity,relieved that this isnt happening to you.also,please move on.
if you are unable to respect/understand how my family does things r.e, babymooning,home birth, breastfeeding on demand ,cosleeping ,not sleeptraining. again,please maybe think about refraining from giving feedback. conflict with other mums would just break my heart at this point.
xx hannah06

ArmageddonOuttahere Sun 18-Sep-11 18:19:37

Yes there potentially is state support with childcare, I think it differs with each local authority but my Health Visitor referred me for a funded respite childminder. I'd say you would be in with a good chance of qualifying for this, get in touch with your HV / Family Information Service. Good luck with it all.

going Sun 18-Sep-11 18:24:01

Have you considered an au pair, that way you can have an extra pair of hands around the house. I would ask your Dad to pay for that rather than a doula as I don't think doulas generally offer the amount of hours you will require.

Hannah06 Sun 18-Sep-11 20:43:05

thankyou and thankyou.so so much. two good avenues to look at. feel a bit of light peeking thorugh clouds. x h
typo - dad NOT apropriate to stay overnight at my house.

cestlavielife Mon 19-Sep-11 12:58:53

my exP had breakdown/psych hosp/etc. I had help and support from SS but was already invovled due to oldest DS ahving special needs. also GP was a great help - but youngest was five then (2007).

I took strees leave from work to care for the DC. GP signed me off.

but you will need help with newborn and two others.

what help would you actually want?
i see you say "childminder mornings and evenings? say, 8-10/11am and 4- 7.30pm"
so SS could help with funding -
someone to come in an help you a few hours per day/week?
2 year old to go to childminder/nursery sometimes?
what help does 5 year old need?

you need to speak with social services and get your ehalth visitor and midwife on board with all teh issues and what help you need.
HV - find out if will be same for 2 yr old that you will get for your newborn and ask her to find out what help you could get. .

there may be help via sure start/homestart volunteers or they can fund eg a childminder for your other DC. or get a nursery place for your 2 year old.
emphasise the needs of your oldest too.

speak to your GP who presumably knows the whole back story.
youa re entitled to a carers assessment - even tho your H not living with you you were his carer pre his rbeakdown right?
are you splitting forever or are you staying married?

what contact does/will your H have with the children?
whio will supervise it?

if you are still officially together with your H thenyou are entitled to carers assessemnt being his carer - even if he lives elsewhere - so this can open up doors to more help.
speak to mind / rethink -
www.rethink.org/living_with_mental_illness/caring/help_for_carers/carers_assessment.html

www.mind.org.uk/help/people_groups_and_communities/how_to_cope_as_a_carer

also is in SS interest to support you - otherwise they may have three children to care for if you get severe PND.

so if a childminder would help -ask for it and cost it - and ask them for that specific funding.

maybe au pair or community service volunteer - again - it is possible to get SS funding.

www.csv.org.uk/volunteering/supported

RedHelenB Tue 20-Sep-11 16:12:22

Bear in mind that it is not 100% definite you WILL get PND. I was all alone with a baby & two other children & dreading those long sleepless nights but it all went much better than I feared. Even doing the school run can be helpful as it gets you out into the fresh air. I took ds at 1 day old to dds swimming lessons & actually found the routine helpful.

Another option may be for you to stay at your parents for those first weeks or they come to you?

Not quite sure how you could stay in bed for 2/3 weeks with two other children tbh.

notsorted Tue 20-Sep-11 17:57:00

Please don't worry about the PND - if it comes, it comes and if you look at the above resources you will be better placed to get help. Hopefully, you don't xfingers.
It sounds like you should contact doulas and find one who is behind your birth plans and how you would like things to go afterwards, which sound wonderful. Then see where you can get the money from - parents if possible or you should be a strong candidate for help from doula charity. A doula may very well agree to carry on for a few weeks being a mother's help - it may work very well if they have no other bookings and may welcome certainty of specific times/days instead of being on call for other births.
If you can think what is realistic for your mother to do ie weekends, take a hard look at what you think your DP can manage. Are you friends with mums from eldest's school? Perhaps ask and explain and see if you can get some help with school run, especially mornings, or doing some shopping for you or whatever helps.
Divide this one into chunks of a timetable of what you think will happen post-birth - best and worst scenarios - then block in time that you know will be covered. Also if possible talk to DP re what he can do and then he won't feel pressured. And if DP is getting treatment then six weeks on he may have made a bit more progress re his health too.

Hannah06 Wed 21-Sep-11 18:45:30

thanks for your kindness and thoughtfulness over my situation. really good to hear how well you fared redhelen, very encouraging.
i have made some headway.

have applied for doula hardship fund which will fund a postnatal doula.

mum at eldest's old school is a doula and will be at birth.

waiting for receipt of pilot nursery scheme funding for my 2yr old - apparently can use for nursery sessions or childminder.

going to apply for this one-off grant thingy from social fund - community care grant.

eldest does not have a school place at present. but when he does will try and get section 17 funding for childminder to do school pickps and drop offs.

church has list of items i need and are attempting to meet it. they also going to do rota of food brought to home for first couple weeks and seeing if anyone has aupair that can spare couple hours week to take boys to park.
they also have a hardship fund but feel funny asking for that,although i am gearing myself up to.

going to do rota of morning trip to park, late afternoon tea tidy bath bed,and a weekly light cleaning slot. for friends to cover.

i have started streamlining my daily routine with boys in preparation, for example having clothes right by bed and on waking dressing immediately. bathing myself at night so i can get up and go. getting all my hair chopped off as i will never get round to washing it.we are enjoying just staying in alot more too and actually the boys are really relaxing into that, as am I.

one thing i am finding hard is the shock of some friends, aquaintances knowing what is going on and just disapearing off face of the earth! in timehonoured tradition i immediately think it must be because i am difficult company or something. but this bitterness is going to get me nowhere fast. i look back and see the times i have not noticed other people's times of need properly or thought it best to just butt out. still can't frickin believe it tho. xxx

RedHelenB Wed 21-Sep-11 19:16:35

I also think you need to be careful that your two older children don't feel pushed out by you because of the baby ( they've already lost their dad) as that could lead to big problems in the future. Could you really not manage to pick eldest up from school ? Good news about the 2 year old funding, I thought all that had stopped.

tabbythecat Sun 25-Sep-11 00:23:50

your council may be able to provide some free care, a friend had help with her cleaning and shopping for a few weeks when she recovered from an operation. Its worth asking your midwife or health visitor .

MummyAbroad Mon 26-Sep-11 02:01:18

Hi hannah,

I found myself in a very similar and at the same time completely different position to you. I have a three year old and am also expecting another baby boy on the 2nd of November. I split with H about 6 months ago, because of emotional abuse, so I am also going it alone. However I live abroad (Costa Rica) and paying for a nanny/cleaner/general help is much cheaper than in the UK so that is my plan for coping with the practical side.

Sounds like you have got yourself really motivated and doing a great job at sorting out the practicalities, I hope all your plans turn out the way you want them to, especially with the doula, they are a great reassurance during labour.

I just wanted to say that in regards to all the fear about coping emotionally - I have had a massive dose of that recently - and decided the best way forward for me was to go on antidepressants. I got mixed advice from doctors (I saw a few different ones) but eventually found one that has OK'd me to take AD's throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding. I feel like a big safety net has been put in place and its such a relief. When I had DS three years ago in the UK, I also went on AD's during pregnancy but my GP wanted me to stop them before the birth and not use them while breastfeeding. I have since found out that there is a whole spectrum of opinions on this and basically GP's will always err more on the side of you not taking stuff, but if you can get a referral to a psychiatrist they will be much more willing to prescribe (and knowledgeable about what's safe) than GP's are, so you might want to consider that as an option. Personally, my mental health feels like the biggest issue, I know that if I got PND (again) none of my other plans would be any help at all because an unhappy mum just doesnt do a great job.

Also, try and use ALL of the resources you have, including your family. If you dont get along with them, then you dont have to ask them for emotional support, help with kids etc, but could you get them to do more "out of the way" stuff like go shopping for you and drop it off at your place? or take laundry round to theirs to do for you?

Finally, when I feel really daunted by the whole prospect, I remind myself that there must have been millions of women throughout history who have had babies and raised kids by themselves. If they can do it, then so can we right? smile best wishes xxx

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Sep-11 03:12:26

I had a week's worth of support from SS when ds2 was born, as ds1 was severely brain damaged, ds2 had major surgery immediately after birth and dh was working abroad.

A lady came to the house and helped to dress & feed ds1 as I couldn't lift him (forgot to mention I had CS on top of everything!), then came back to get him off the minibus after school, feed, bath and get into PJs and carry him upstairs.

Even though it was only a couple of hours a day it was a godsend. It was a long time ago now but I don't remember it being particularly difficult to set up.

You will manage, I'm sure. What about friends/neighbours? Could anyone take your older child to school and pick them up for you?

pinkytheshrinky Mon 26-Sep-11 05:41:46

i am talking 2-3 week full bed rest which i see as absolute minimum requirement for me personally, as i am prone to anxiety and mild depression.

i think maybe you are asking a bit much which is maybe the reason people are disappearing

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Sep-11 12:00:11

I second getting family to do stuff like shopping, although an online shop shortly before the birth would be good as well.

I think you will really struggle to get bed rest for 2 to 3 weeks tbh, but hopefully you'll manage ok, sounds like you are very organised and thinking ahead which is half the battle.

mumblechum1 Mon 26-Sep-11 21:40:03

bump for yousmile

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