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Should you expect your mother to be there for you unconditionally?

(101 Posts)
Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 20:43:48

Long, long story short...I'm struggling with PND for the second time in under three years and have had a breakdown recently (yes I know it's an outdated term but it does fit what happened).

I've got a toddler and a newborn and I'm off work with them. DH is quite frankly a saint but has to work full time.

My mum is retired but still fit and in good health (early 50s)

The last few weeks I've needed someone to be there with me at all times (I've been close to feeling suicidal). My mum knows this.

All I want is for her to sit with me. She doesn't need to do anything with the kids. I can still look after them. I just don't want to be alone. However she's still gone on holidays in the last few weeks and after a couple of days of spending all day with us has now had a major falling out with me over something silly, made comments about my inability to cope (despite this being PND#2 I've never really relied on anyone except my DH) and walked out.

She is a fantastic mother in terms of the love she has for my DCs, financially and has done so, so much for us all. Am I expecting too much for her to be there unconditionally until I feel right again and able to cope?

BrianTheMole Wed 31-Jul-13 23:33:57

I don't think youre unreasonable op, I'd do whatever it takes for my kids, no matter how old they are. I hope you manage to get some help.

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:37:13

To answer your OP, no you shouldnt expect that.

AYBU to think that you should be able to rely on her now, given your current issues? Yes, absolutely. I would move heaven and earth for mine if there were feeling even a tenth of what you are feeling now.

Is she generally dismissive of others illnesses, MH or physical? Does she find it difficult to deal with MH issues? That could be it, not that she doesnt care but that she is frightened or doesnt know how to deal with it. Totally wrong though, whatever the reasoning.

I hope that you turn a corner soon, I have been where you are and it was hell. I too had no support, but the community mental health nurses were brilliant and got me through, I accessed them via my health visitor who are generally better at dealing with PND that GPs. Take care xx

TwasBrillig Wed 31-Jul-13 23:40:14

I had a very difficult time post natally but didn't have family to fall back on. What do you think would happen if you didn't have someone there all the time?

What about schedulling lunch with someone, so you have a few hours on your own, but with something planned for a few hours later? Or give your mum a specifit task -ie, on Friday could you watch the baby/take it for a walk while I sleep? She could feel useful and the task par a specific end time.

I think expecting anyone to sit with you all day is a very big ask. Maybe for a morning.

Home start is in fact fantastic, I'd self refer or ask your hv to refer and state that you need help to increase your confidence being at home with two. You'd get a visitor once a week (so that would be one day you wouldn't need family) and they would come alongside you and support you.

The newborn stage is hard. Adjusting to having two is hard. Life has changed completely and you are entering a new phase of life, but it will get easier and you will get on top of it.

eccentrica Wed 31-Jul-13 23:40:43

My mum has 3 daughters, we are all in our early thirties. I'm the only one with children. Both of my siblings are extremely needy, demanding and immature. They both have psychological issues such as panic attacks and depression, plus make a big fuss of any physical ailment, and both expect and demand my mum to be there all the time. She will do anything for her kids and as a result she spends most of her life rushing from one of her children's crises to another.

This makes it difficult to impossible for me to ask her for 'normal' mum/grandma stuff like looking after my 2 year old or spending time with me, so I don't ask her very often.

In short, I think once you are an adult it is not necessarily fair to put all of that on your parents. No matter how much they love you, they don't hold a magic wand to fix your problems, and it is not really OK to expect them to drop everything and be there ALL the time. I'm sorry for what you're going through, but you say yourself your DP is a saint, and I think if you need additional help you should be looking for it elsewhere, not expecting your mum to be there constantly.

Sorry if this sounds harsh and I genuinely hope you feel better soon but just wanted to give another perspective. I should add that I have suffered from mental health problems myself but I never wanted or expected my parents to solve them.

IsSpringSprangedYet Wed 31-Jul-13 23:45:01

I will be there as much as I am able, for emotional and financial support for my sons now and when they are adults.

But yes, your mum should stay with you. I can appreciate that she maybe feels a bit overwhelmed perhaps (?), but she needs to bear it for as long as you need her and put you first.

Hope the CBT works and something changes for the better for you.

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:45:06

Thank you for all the supportive messages.

She definitely doesn't understand mental health - she's never suffered. So that's definitely not her fault. If you've not been there you don't know.

Someone mentioned health visitor. I could give them a ring and explain my feelings too - I hadn't thought of the health visitors. They knew about my problems after DS but not now.

Realistically though can anyone really help me except me? For those who have been there is it just time or is that wishful thinking?

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:56:12

Time does help yes, as does physical exercise but what helps far more is knowing that you are not alone.

Nobody can fix it for you but they can say "I was there, I know how you feel and one day you will be better"

So, for what its worth,

I was there, I know how you feel and one day you will get better.

Thinking of you xx

ImperialBlether Wed 31-Jul-13 23:56:33

Hi Stripedmum, I've sent you a private message.

I found health visitors very good, personally, and I'd rather approach them than my doctor, though when I did, they made me an extra long appointment with the doctor, too.

Bogeyface Wed 31-Jul-13 23:58:12

You will find a lot of support on the MH board

Stripedmum Wed 31-Jul-13 23:58:49

<holds hands with Bogeyface>.

Thank you Imperial - you're absolutely lovely. I've replied smile

Bogeyface Thu 01-Aug-13 00:01:41

smile There are many many of us who have been there. We may not be there in person but we are here for you all the same.

<squeezes Stripedmums hand>

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:06:13


xalyssx Thu 01-Aug-13 00:07:48

As you are still managing to keep on top of things, and you have people helping you some of the time, I truly believe that you can do this. I think you don't need people there all day every day, but I agree that everything is much smoother with someone by your side.
Your mother cares about you, and I think that she was upset because you are upset. It is a bit unfair to ask her to come over for that amount of time, but it would be a good thing to have her come round for maybe 4 hours every other day, and to be on the other end of the phone whenever she's not there.
I think that it would be good for you if you can talk to someone more impartial than your mum eg. a health visitor, as they can help you without their own emotions complicating things.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone and there are always people who care about you and want to help you to the best of their ability.

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 00:11:28

I understand how incredibly raw and terrifying it feels. My thoughts are with you. I also understand that people can't do what they can't do. Frantically wishing they could is totally reasonable, but unhelpful when it comes to it. Your mum evidently supports you in the ways that she can do - she's just another frail human, she has her limits and this is one of hers.

If there still is a Sure Start service near you, reach out to it. Also get in touch with Mind. Their resources vary depending on where you are; if yours say they can't come & visit you without a referral, get the crisis team to make a formal referral (mine did this). A partly-trained visitor once or twice a week can be really grounding & provide some reassurance. Mind will also have contacts for other voluntary services near you, for example my nearest city has a women's centre type thing that can be helpful.

You will get through this. thanks thanks thanks for reaching out.

garlicagain Thu 01-Aug-13 00:14:33

Oh, and don't forget Samaritans. You can talk to them for an hour at a time, every hour of the day if you want!

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:16:28

Xalyssx - are you my mum?! Ha! What an insightful message. And thank you for the lovely vote of confidence.

I have coped so know I can cope - it's just at the moment I'm coping but it feels like I'm on the cusp of there's a tongue twister for you!

DH is going to try and wangle some time off. Hopefully I'll get back a little bit of confidence and then the once every other day thing could work.

I had no idea life could be so hard - and there are clearly people in much worse situations (much worse). I just hope it's all going to start getting a bit easier and that it's all going to be worth it in the end.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 00:19:49

Thank you Garlic. She's a great mum in so many ways and it's tempting to lose sight of that when feeling let down and angry.

Yep I'm onto Mind who are providing my CBT and I spoke to the Samaritans after my first 'crash'. A lovely man called Brian (are they all called that?!).

It's all just so bloody scary. I hope it's all going to be okay.

fabergeegg Thu 01-Aug-13 00:26:22

You are doing your best. You're not responsible for the crisis and I believe you when you say that if you could cope alone, then you would. Unfortunately we live in an age where mothers of young children are expected to be alone quite a lot. As if social isolation wasn't enough to contend with, there is also a worrying lack of medical support for most people with mental health issues.

Your back is against the wall and you're fighting to keep your children and to get through this. It means everything to you to survive and in that context, a few weeks, months, even a year, out of your mum's life is worth that. That's the way I see it, probably along with many others with first-hand experience of pnd. For whatever reasons, she's not coming through for you. That must hurt like hell. I'm so sorry.

Due to the onset of sudden, serious disability, my first experience of being a mum was also my first experience of needing a 'carer' around. We didn't have a choice. We put everything else on hold and employed a local woman who ended up being an unofficial granny. It made ALL the difference. Is there is a chance you afford to pay some nice retired lady minimum wage, even for a bit of time in the hopes that your mum will help out when she sees you doing everything you can without her? One ad in gumtree and you'd probably have a flock to choose from.

I presume you have a Home Start volunteer? That would be another morning taken care of.

There are several different parenting helplines it might be worth remembering are there as another port of call. I would definitely call and enlist their help in accessing a befriending scheme in your area.

Is it possible for your husband to take any time at all off work? Would you be expected to struggle on alone if you'd broken your leg?

Wish I could be of more help.

Graceparkhill Thu 01-Aug-13 00:30:38

A couple of thoughts from me:
I think the rota is a good idea. I know from experience that caring for someone with a mental health problem is very tough so it would help to share that out. In my experience lots of people are willing to help if you can be specific about what you want eg " keep me company for 2 hours once a week"
Secondly does the companion need to be physically with you at all times? Could you phone/ Skype/ email? If so the rota could be broadened to include friends/ family from far away.

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 08:10:58

Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. We can't afford help although that's a fantastic idea and wish we could.

I'm praying DH gets a few weeks off and I can try and explain how dire I honestly believe the situation is and get family on board to help. I can just see everything coming apart if I'm 'thrown back in' alone and have another big fall.

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 09:04:30

From what you have said- and I could be wrong- you haven't made much use of outside support- or is that incorrect?

Why are you predicting or anticipating another 'crash'- maybe you'll be fine!

Maybe we could help more if you could open up about what exactly gets on top of you? Does your toddler go to play group or pre school? Do you have contact with other mums? Have you friends who know how you are feeling?

I have the impression that this is all under wraps except for your immediate family.

Are you taking meds for the depression and if so are they working?

Stripedmum Thu 01-Aug-13 09:27:13

Hi missbo. I just don't feel right. I don't feel like 'me' and I panic all day about feeling like this. It's a lonely and desolate place - and I can't quite articulate what it is that's 'not right'.
I'm hoping the psychiatrist is right and it's just adjustment. No one seems concerned.

In regards to outside help - do you mean friends? I have a fantastic best friend who had been through much of what in going through and other lovely friends but they've all got similar age as mine - in fact some have three!!

I'm not on meds as I don't feel like they would be right for me. I'd panic over every little 'symptom' massively and I think in part you need to trust that they'll help you. I massively distrust them. I know they help so many but I honestly don't feel like they're for me.

Missbopeep Thu 01-Aug-13 09:38:55

The reason I asked about meds is that you said you had PND- and a friend of mine who had this was on ADs for just 3 months until she turned the corner.

I know how exhausting it can be with a baby. There is just a 2 yr gap between my Dcs and each were terrible non-sleepers for 6 months.
My mum lives 300 miles away and I had no close family around at all and no close friends. My mum would come and stay for a week at a time then go back to her home. I don't think I was depressed but i was exhausted.

I am hoping the CBT will help you as it's more about changing your thought patterns, and getting back some confidence.

Fingers crossed!

SirBoobAlot Thu 01-Aug-13 09:52:19

I understand. <hugs> When I'm falling apart, I'm terrified of being alone, mainly because I don't trust myself to stay safe. So I totally totally get wanting someone to be there.

I think maybe it might be worth reconsidering your opinion on medication. You don't have to be on them forever, and very low doses can make a world of difference, both for depression and anxiety.

When are you due to start CBT? It's very good for anxiety.

Would a nursery or similar be an option financially for you? Even just one day a week.

As for your mother... People who have never suffered with a mental illness find it hard to understand. I would really recommend a book called "Depression: the Curse of the Strong" as a way of explaining it to her, it really helped my parents.

teacher123 Thu 01-Aug-13 13:56:01

This is possibly going to sound a bit unkind, but I really really really don't mean it to. And I am coming from a place of severe anxiety and currently on ADs for PND. I cannot understand why you would feel this awful and not take medication for it, that will possibly make you feel much better. My life has been transformed since I started taking them, and yes I am still anxious, but I no longer am ruled by irrational fears and panic attacks. Please consider taking some appropriate medication, This is an illness and there are things that can make you feel better, I think that it is unfair to expect so so much from your mum when you are not doing absolutely everything that you can to cure yourself.

I am now awaiting flaming, and really hope that you read this in the spirit of support that it is meant, not read it as being horrible!

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