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Help!! MW contacted social services because of prenatal depression.

(35 Posts)
Geothecat1234 Fri 10-Jul-15 14:49:38

Hello,
I've just returned from a midwife appointment and am absolutely devastated. I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant and have been treated for pre natal depression since 16 weeks. My midwife just informed me that after my last visit to her (when I was 18 weeks pregnant) that she contacted social services about me and that I should understand why she felt she had to. I don't. I fortunately don't have any suicidal thoughts and i have no concerns over my ability to mother my child. I have a huge support network and have been referred to a perinatal team. My depression developed during my pregnancy and centres on the rational awareness of the life changing event of having a child. According to the research I have conducted I am by far from alone in having pre natal depression. I am 38 years old, a home owner, a professional and am living with my partner of five years. Im sure that a few readers will think that there must be something more to this story. There truly isn't. Before this depression I was a very confident, happy, adventurous and free spirited person who loved life. So. . . . Is it standard procedure to report all women with pre natal depression to ss??? Surely, it is actions like this which will prevent women from talking honestly to their midwives about their emotions leaving their pre natal depression untreated, which can be harmful. I am devastated and now terrified of the implications of this referral. Can anyone tell me what it means?? And has anyone else ever heard of such a thing????? I'm considering my next move. .. Although right now I'm too angry and too upset to do anything but write this and cry. . .

Houseworkavoider Fri 10-Jul-15 14:53:41

I doubt ss will be very interested.
You will most likley get a phone call and maybe a couple of visits and them they will leave you be.
Ss will not be looking to take your baby. cakebrew

Geothecat1234 Fri 10-Jul-15 14:58:37

Thank you for your reassurance. I'm just completely shocked as to why I'd be referred, particularly when I'm still fairly early on in the pregnancy. I worry that it means my name is on file somewhere and I don't know what implications this may have in the future??

sizethree Fri 10-Jul-15 14:58:43

Please remever that any action the midwife takes is to help you and yiur baby.
I understand it must be upsetting as she has gone behind your back, but are you sure it's social services she went to? I think the practice is that if there's history of or current depression then the midwife has to notify the community mental health team for a bit of extra support for you.
She really has no reason to make this difficult for you. I think she has gone about offering you more support in a clumsy way though.
Would you be able to call her and flag up how you're feeling?

TheOriginalWinkly Fri 10-Jul-15 15:05:08

Please don't worry. It's standard (good) practice by public agencies to share information about parents/children that could potentially be in need of extra support. Nothing will happen, mostly likely you'll never hear a peep from social services, maybe a quick 'everything ok?' phonecall (their caseloads are massive with families in greater need) but the midwife was right to let you know, far better she's being open about it than sneaking around behind your back.

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and your baby flowers

Geothecat1234 Fri 10-Jul-15 15:05:49

Thanks for your reply. I'm already under the care of a community mental health team, which is why I'm even further surprised as to why she has made this referral. They haven't. It was definitely Ss she said she had contacted. Don't understand why she would do that 2 weeks after diagnosis of pre natal depression????

CoffeeTwo Fri 10-Jul-15 15:08:38

Actually, unless there's a safeguarding concern she shouldn't have referred without your consent. If it's for support she should have discussed this fully with you beforehand. I'd expect no more than a phone call from ss to have a chat about services available for support.

PacificDogwood Fri 10-Jul-15 15:11:15

The integration of health and social care is happening - slowly, but it's happening.

Please do not feel threatened by this referral - it is good practice and nothing personal at all.

You, you MW and none of us know how your health is going to develop during the rest of your pregnancy and when you have the baby - it sounds like you have good family/friends support, but forward planning wrt other agencies is a good idea too IMO and IME: it is hard to impossible to access adequate help in a hurry in a crisis, trust me.

Wishing you an uneventful pregnancy.

NB I was that woman in my late 30s, professional, expecting first (of 4, as it turned out grin) child a while ago. And much as I don't think that I had pre- or post natal depression with any of them, it was hard, in ways I am still struggling to articulate. Plan for the worst case scenario, then hope for the best thanks

cantthinkofnewname Fri 10-Jul-15 15:12:09

I replied on your other thread, just to say that the MW was probably being very risk-averse. I take size's point about MWs and other HCPs wanting to help and, while that is true of course, they are often more concerned with risk. SS will not take seriously if there are no other concerns. My DSIS is a MW and she would not refer to SS for simple AN depression. She finds it hard enough to get SS to intervene where are genuine CP issues. I am a little worried that she didn't tell you BEFORE she referred to SS (if it was SS, as size says) which is standard practice unless there are CP concerns. She should have sought your permission otherwise. Professionals cannot share information without consent unless there is good reason not to and, in this case, there seems not to be. I would approach PALS.

PacificDogwood Fri 10-Jul-15 15:14:10

Yes, the referral should have been discussed with you. Consent is not required, but disclosure.

PacificDogwood Fri 10-Jul-15 15:16:39

Risk averseness is going to get worse as common sense is discouraged hmm

I know there are many and some good reasons for 'professionals' not being allowed to act without ticking a box somewhere, but it also has its risks.

MagicAlwaysLeadsToTrouble Fri 10-Jul-15 15:19:02

SS mostly do support work and sign post to other agencies. seriously.

Your consent should have been sought for this, that bit is poor practice. But please don't panic.

What will probably happen is a SW will call you and see if you want some support from children's services, if you do great then let them direct you. If you don't then say no thank you and that's it.

Only if there are safeguarding issues (which there isn't if your OP contains all the facts) will this go any further.

dashoflime Fri 10-Jul-15 15:20:19

Hi OP. I was referred to social services during pregnancy as I had missed some appointments. (It later turned out that the appointment letters had been sent to the wrong address)
Like you I was shocked and worried. I didnt need to be. The social worker phoned me once and we had one further conversation at her office. I think she just wanted to see that there was an understandable reason for missing the appointments and that everything was ok. The case was shut almost as soon as it was opened- as Im sure yours will be smile

Junosmum Fri 10-Jul-15 15:24:49

Ok, so I'm going to admit something I don't normally say on public forums. BUT I'm a social worker. I currently work with elderly people, mainly with dementia but spent 8 years working in children's social work.

From a personal perspective I think that the midwife should have discussed it with you BEFORE making a referral and I would find it hard to trust her again.

As for the referral I doubt you'll even get a phone call. And very much doubt you'll get a visit. That is unless the MW has other reasons to be concerned, which from your post sounds unlikely. I really wouldn't worry.

Should SS call/ visit: Just be honest. Most SWs don't take much notice of the referral but go on gut feeling and professional judgement of what they see. A hostile/ annoyed/ resistant person makes it much harder to make that judgement accurately and increases the chance of repeat visits. Obviously it's a lot easier to say than do.

cantthinkofnewname Fri 10-Jul-15 15:33:00

dash being referred for missing appointments is really overkill. It also has no basis in law (the foetus has no legal status, and you are not obliged to access services - it's not against the law to miss services, though it is a waste of money, but that's another issue, and it wasn't your fault anyway). The law is quite clear on this in relation to children: carers are obliged to seek medical help for children but not for themselves. Adults can, for the most part, chose which services they want to access. Pregnant or not. I find it very worrying that adult service use is being a CP issue.

mummyneedinganswers Fri 10-Jul-15 15:42:53

This is something i wouldnt admit on these forums but want to give you peace of mind. I have a form of bipolar and I'm 19 weeks pregnant have attempted suicide in the past and also self harmed as I had stopped my meds while unstable. I was referred to ss because of my past mental health history at my 12 week scan they didn't need my permission obviously but to reassure u I have an extensive history of mental health and bipolar episodes, I have been completely stable for over 2 years now and haven't been on medication for my bipolar for over a year and a half. I am in a very stable relationship of 3 years. I haven't been contacted by social services that I was referred to as they have no concerns my drs can vouch that I'm stable. I wouldn't worry about them they will be to offer you support if the even contact u. Even tho you say your in a stable relationship a home owner and a professional many people lead normal regular lives but suffer in silence so the MW was being orecautious please don't worry x

Geothecat1234 Fri 10-Jul-15 15:43:53

Thank you for all your replies. I feel like a massive vote of 'no confidence' has been placed on my file. I'm going to ask to change MW on a vote of no trust. I want to write a letter to the practise manager expressing my anger and how incredibly unhelpful it is, particularly whilst already battling with prenatal depression. If I was further on in my pregnancy I may understand this course of action but I still have several months to go and have only just begun anti depressants. If what you are saying is true, that it should have been disclosed to me prior to the referral then I will raise that in my letter. I fail to see how it is a CP concern at this stage. There is no child at this point and as we are all to aware anything can happen. My depression is pre natal not post and although the chances are higher I may suffer from that there is no clear evidence I will. I'm aware I'm ranting. I'm sorry. I'm just devastated.

cantthinkofnewname Fri 10-Jul-15 15:44:38

Another point Geo is that you may find that the MW has 'beefed' up the referral to SS. We don't know what she actually said but, in order to bypass the need for consent and to get SS to take seriously, you might find that she represented your depression as worse than it is. Social workers, IME, are well aware that HCPs and others do this. If a social worker does contact you (and a PP who is a social workers has said it's unlikely) then just be frank and explain that you are already receiving treatment and your AN depression is being well managed. Don't forget you can see your healthcare records to see what the MW wrote in your notes though you may find, as I did, that they mysteriously disappear for many months.

Spintastic Fri 10-Jul-15 15:48:56

What form has your depression taken? As in, what have you disclosed to your MW? That might make it clearer why she has felt the need to do this

I'd be furious in your position so I can fully understand how you feel

cantthinkofnewname Fri 10-Jul-15 15:51:21

I know it's hard Geo, but don't take this personally. It's not about you but about the MWs' anxiety. You raised a 'red flag' for her and she didn't want to deal with the risk attached to it, so she transferred her anxieties to someone else (SS). I know younger, newer HCPS tend to do this, but an old hand like my DSIS would not have referred. Please don't let it undermine your confidence. You are quite right to change MW though, and to complain.

Seriouslyffs Fri 10-Jul-15 15:52:15

Geo I really wouldn't complain, it's not worth it and things could backfire- unlikely but why bother.
As other posters have said you'll get a phone call at most.

JJXM Fri 10-Jul-15 16:03:32

Again I would echo other posters and say don't take this personally. BUT when this happened to me I was absolutely furious and I was warned in advance by the referring midwife. I was referred because I had spent time in care as a child and had been abused. I cannot stress how outraged I was. I was under a cmht and have borderline personality disorder and take antipsychotics.

But social services came for a visit and filled in an assessment and that was it. I've a history of suicide and had committed an act of serious self harm in the pregnancy. But it was a box ticking exercise and I doubt they will even visit.

It's only in hindsight that I realised the social services visit wasn't a reflection on my fitness as a mother but to make sure there was a plan in place in case I suffered the very serious post-partum psychosis. It also made me realise that if services had been as stringent when I was a child I might have been spared a lifetime of abuse.

Don't worry.

Appleblossom82 Fri 10-Jul-15 20:38:07

This is exactly why i have never discussed my mental health problems with medical professionals. I dont trust them, fortunately i have felt very well for the last year or so.

I do have an attempted overdose on my records, but so far noone has mentioned it. It does worry me though confused

WhirlpoolGalaxyM51 Fri 10-Jul-15 20:54:15

Perinatal / prenatal depression is as common as post-natal apparently but less well known, affecting 1 in 10 women. And you have told about it and are getting help from the local mental health people.

I can't really understand why you were reported either, and like others I suspect nothing will come of it.

Be aware that when they come and see you they can take a long time to confirm their next move. We waited 4 months from the visit to getting a letter saying "no concerns no further action" and for those 4 months I was freaking out wondering what was going to happen (I had depression and anxiety pre and post natally as well). Anyway so if they come and go and you don't hear anything try not to worry, no news is good news type attitude.

Geothecat1234 Fri 10-Jul-15 21:25:15

Thank you for all of your responses. I have no idea how I'm even going to approach this subject with my partner, infact I don't think I can!
Spintastic, you asked what I had disclosed to MW. I have discussed feelings of anxiety, low mood and feelings of being overwhelmed, before beginning my meds I was struggling to get out of bed, tearful most of the time and unable to work. At no point have we discussed my thoughts about being a mum, only about being pregnant. I am working with a perinatal team now to help me overcome or at least manage this depression. I am now getting out of bed, eating at least five a day, doing yoga twice a week, have taken up mindfulness meditation classes, walk daily, eat my vitamins I have never been in mental health services before and as I mentioned there are no thoughts of self harm. Today she called me a complex case. From the research I've done on the Internet about pre natal depression I am expressing only the same feelings many others seem to have. My only crime it would seem is being honest about it. Honesty does not make me a threat or require me to be placed on a radar of any kind.

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