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Parenting

MENTAL HEALTH HISTORY

12 replies

windmill · 22/03/2003 16:01

MY FRIEND WAS A PERFECT MUM, I KNOW BECAUSE I USED TO LIVE WITH HER. HOWEVER, SHE HAD A HISTORY OF MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS A FEW YEARS BEFORE SHE BECAME PREGNANT WITH HER DAUGHTER. THE MIDWIFE, SEEING NOTES ABOUT HER MENTAL HEALTH HISTORY DURING A ROUTINE CHECK BECAME CONCERNED AND CONTACTED SOCIAL SERVICES. SOCIAL SERVICES THEMSELVES SAID SHE WASA GOOD MUM BUT THE COURTS INSISTED ON A PSYCHIATRIC REPORT AND ON THE BASIS OF THIS, THE GIRL WAS REMOVED AT 9 MONTHS OLD. MY FRIEND IS NOW WITH A NEW PARTNER (SHE WAS A SINGLE MUM BEFORE) AND HE IS VERY SUPPORTIVE WITH NO PROBLEMS AS FAR AS I AM AWARE. SHE NOW THINKS SHE IS PREGNANT AGAIN. DO YOU THINK SOCIAL SERVICES WILL FIND IT AND REMOVE THIS CHILD TOO?

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leese · 22/03/2003 18:12

Difficult one Windmill - obviously cannot comment on the individual case, as we know nothing about it.
Your friend will be referred to social services again in this pregnancy, either by her midwife/GP etc. Some women refuse to access maternity care for this very reason, but social services invariably find out about such cases. In all likelihood a 'Case Conference' would be called to assess your friend's situation now - this involves a meeting of all those with any bearing on the case (midwife, health visitor, GP, social worker, your friend, her new partner etc) - and an assessment would be made as to her ability to parent. This sounds harsh, but is usually an ongoing process, one which should be designed to support your friend, but also take into account the needs of the child.
Social services do work hard to keep families together, and I believe that is their primary aim. Of course, we all hear of the cases they get wrong, but not so much of their ongoing everyday work.
Bottom line, your friend will need social work input with this child - even if it is just hopefully to say that all is now well. If they did no assessment, and figured that, as she has a new partner, things must be fine, they would be negligent in their duty.

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windmill · 23/03/2003 09:28

Hi leese, thanks for your note. You mentioned some people don't have antenatal care for that reason and this is what I am worried about. She has already said she will not tell her GP she is pregnant and I think it will be worse for her if she doesn't care, because social services might say she doesn't care about the well-being of her unborn child if she doesn't have the ususal checks. She says she will just get help if she has problems as I myself didn't have much midwifery or GP input with my pregnancy, mainly contacting them just when I had a problem. However, I am qualified and have the equipment to check my own BP, urine, foetal heartbeat etc. Anyway if she doesn't have this care, what is she going to do when she goes into labour and if she gets through that she will still have to register the birth. I will try and have another word with her about it. Like you say I fear they will find out once she has the baby if not before.

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leese · 23/03/2003 11:19

Exactly Windmill - your friend may need very little ante-natal input at all, as I would hope all would be well with her and the baby. However, by refusing ante-natal care, this may well not count in her favour once it is discovered she is expecting again and/or has delivered. where does she plan to have the baby? That is another consideration - if it is in hospital, then social services would be notified at this point. If she plans to keep it all a secret and deliver at home, who will deliver her? A community midwife will be bound also to report her concerns regarding your friend to the appropriate people. She may well plan to have noone with her (barr a friend/partner), and this would obviously not be advisable.
Your friend would do herself far more favours being up front about everything from the start. Inform her GP/midwife of her pregnancy, and get the ball rolling. It will look far better iif your friend is seen to be cooperating, and actively working towards creating what the 'professionals' deem to be a caring, safe and happy environment for her child. You sound like a good friend - do your best by her. You say you are qualified - what do you do?

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windmill · 23/03/2003 12:10

Hi leese, at the moment I am a complementary therapist and I am able to use a lot of the methods of diagnosis that a doctor would use. I specialise in pre-conceptual care, antenatal care and natural childcare and help women with pain relief in labour, but I spent many years nursing on gynaecology and maternity units.

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leese · 24/03/2003 18:03

Gosh windmill - you'll be able to add masses to most of these threads with all your experience.
Hope your friend is OK. Is she definitely pregnant?

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cheeky · 27/04/2003 13:34

Just wanted to symaphisise with your friend windmill. My cousin also had a child removed although her circumstances weren't the same; she was suffering from severe depression following a bereavement and she couldn't cope with the baby.

I obviously can't say what will happen with your friend. My friend has had another baby since; as she knew she wouldn't be able to cope, when she found out she was pregnant she agreed with her husband that he would move out towards the end of the pregnancy and when the baby was born she would take the baby to him and he would bring up the baby on his own.

It was a difficult decision to make and she felt really guilty about it but at the same time has no regrets and is able to see the baby and social services never got involved this time. I hope everything will be okay for your friend this time

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cheeky · 27/04/2003 13:36

Just wanted to symaphisise with your friend windmill. My cousin also had a child removed although her circumstances weren't the same; she was suffering from severe depression following a bereavement and she couldn't cope with the baby.

I obviously can't say what will happen with your friend. My cousin has had another baby since; as she knew she wouldn't be able to cope, when she found out she was pregnant she agreed with her husband that he would move out towards the end of the pregnancy and when the baby was born she would take the baby to him and he would bring up the baby on his own.

It was a difficult decision to make and she felt really guilty about it but at the same time has no regrets and is able to see the baby and social services never got involved this time. I hope everything will be okay for your friend this time

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snowqueen · 02/05/2003 15:46

Any news Windmill? Is your friend pregnant or not?

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windmill · 02/05/2003 16:39

Hello snowqueen and cheeky, No she just had a late period. She has decided she wants to try for another though, even though she is afraid of the same thing happening again. She is afraid she won't cope if she loses another but shes also afraid she won't cope if she doesn't have another!

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Jaybee · 02/05/2003 16:55

Could she not contact Social Services before getting pregnant just to check what the procedure would be this time. At least that would show she is forward thinking.

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windmill · 02/05/2003 18:40

Thats what other people have suggested to her but she is afraid they will say that she would lose this baby too and then she'll be really depressed. I would have thought it would be less depressing than losing another though.

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motherinferior · 03/05/2003 11:05

Suggest she tries MIND and the Mental Health Foundation - they'll be coming at it from her perspective. Good luck.

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