we are going through PPS

HI everyone,

I am reaching out for any help, advice, support as my sister in law has had post partum psychosis after giving birth to her first child. She was quite 'high' after the birth and looking back, I can see that was the mania setting in. Like many of the stories I've read, after seven days she suddenly got dramatically worse and was immediately sectioned and she has been in hospital since then. She made good progress although much more recovery is needed. I'm reaching out about my brother and how best to support him (we lost our parents many years ago) and he does not have much support (although I have moved in with him since to help take care of baby). I feel he needs understanding, support and counselling to get through this as well as deal with the stuff my sister in law is saying to him when he visits her (she is sweet when we are all together but is challenging with him in private). I have contacted Mind to tap into their support and Pohwer to maybe also help with the care my sister in law is getting. The ward she is on now is aloof, lacks communication and any sense of a care plan. We are desperate for to get Mum and baby reunited and into the Mother Baby Unit but it does not seem to be happening. We've gone from being on top of the world to the depths of despair, but although we fully accept what happened and are committed to the recovery, I don't think my brother, sister in law or myself can do this on our own so any help or advice would be gratefully received. Thank you xx

14 Replies

  • Hi Aner123,

    I'm sorry you're all going through this. I'm sure you'll find lots of support and advice on here.

    How long has your sister in law been in hospital? It's really good that she's progressing well with recovery but yes it's a long process.

    I do hope they manage to get her into the MBU so she can be with her baby, especially if the care and communication on the current ward is sadly lacking.

    Is your sister in law being aggressive towards your brother or just saying very odd things? Whatever she's saying, it's not her, it's the illness. She will get better but I know it's such a traumatic and distressing time and can feel so hopeless.

    I don't know if you've already found this, but APP have a very good 'insider guide' for partners: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    It sounds like you're being a wonderful support. I'm sure others will post who have 'been there'. Any questions, do ask and we'll all do our best to help.

    It really will get better.

    Sending you very best wishes.

  • Yes it does get better. Tell your brother about this site because this is a really good support system. Don't give up on your sister in law. Keep visiting her just being there will make a difference. During the recovery process she will know you were there for her in her time of need. When I went through my PP I just remember my family being there for me and visiting me. Hang in there it gets better.

  • Hi. Sorry to hear of the difficult time you are all going through at the moment. Firstly, it WILL get better but it does take time and a whole lot of re-adjustment, understanding and patience on the part of everyone concerned.

    My wife was hospitalised for 2 months at Leicester MBU from aug-oct 2013. I had no previous knowledge of the illness and found the process of watching my daughter and wife go into a mental health institution very traumatic. But it was the right place for her to be.

    Obviously all cases are very different but I found that making sure I kept myself well supported and busy with friends and work and allowing myself time to rest and be as 'normal' as possible was pivotal in allowing me to support my wife.

    It it tempting to get frustrated at the lack of progress in terms of results from the medication because in our case they were not incremental improvements like with other illnesses. My wife was delusional, uncommunicative and insistent that she was not a fit mother and this continued for weeks and weeks in the MBU, but then just suddenly it all clicked into place as the medication did it's work (in her case olanzapine).

    She is now fully recovered and in time your sister in law will be too.

    Listen to the healthcare professionals but make sure that your brother gets to have his say and is present at reviews of her medication/progress. Obviously an MBU would be best and I hope this falls into place for them.

    If he/you would like to talk to anyone then please let me know and I am very willing to have a chat with him. I found this site amazingly helpful during my wife's illness. Best wishes



  • Hi, I am sorry to hear of your situation. It will get better. Everyone just needs time. Even if you are hospitalised mothers will eventually bond with their babies. Just be there for your family and try not to worry. There is life after psychosis although the recovery period can be very long.

    Take care x

  • Hi

    Really sorry to hear of your situation. It sounds like you are already giving amazing support to your brother by moving in with him, what an amazing sister you are!

    I don't have much to add than what others have said. I had PP in 2011 and was in a MBU for 3 months. I would fight strongly for her to go to a MBU, I had amazing support there, very holistic dealing with relationship and practical support with baby as well as all the mental health support. I am sorry to here the ward she is on now isn't good, this is awful and must make things so much worse. Have they said why a MBU isn't possible yet? Whereabouts in the UK are you? On the APP website there are a list of all the UK MBU's. app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    One thing to say is that she will most definitely get better.

    I'm glad someone has pointed you in the direction of the guide for partners, I hope your brother will find it helpful. I know for my partner it was of course a huge trauma, and in a way I got all the support (I was lucky in that I couldn't have faulted all the support I received) whereas he was just left to deal with it, to the point he even had counselling recently (over 3 years afterwards) where he talked through some of what happened. I would definitely advocate for him taking time out, seeing friends if possible, trying to do normal things.

    It may be good for your brother to come on here, I have seen husband's post and there are a lot of partners on here who write with such great support, though I know this kind of thing isn't for everyone.

    Take care

  • I'm sorry to hear this has happened, and yes it is such a shock as it is not well publicised. My husband aimed to be supportive, listened, took up night feeds, went to work and let me rest. My mother in law came to sit with me everyday, as I was too scared to be alone. I have suffered PP following 2 births, the first went undiagnosed and untreated, I seperated from baby, suffered complete memory loss and gradually got well over 4 years. The 2nd baby, we were anticipating post natal illness, the very first signs I went straight to the GP. I was treated at home, whilst I continued to breast feed, bond and rest. Support teams and family were with me daily, making dinner, doing ironing and talking to me. The support husband, family and carers put in, make all the difference to recovery. Just be present and aim to keep mum and baby United and bonding. X

  • Dear all, thank you for the invaluable support and encouragement. My brother has read the replies and its helped him. The consultant did tell us about the "seesaw" recovery with many ups and downs and after a couple of days of downs, today was, gratefully, a good day. My sister in law is now allowed out for an hour every day (went for a walk in the park with baby today) and on Tuesday some one from the MBU is coming for her assessment, together with the elusive consultant whom we are yet to meet after over a week on this ward..

    My sisters in laws care plan said that she should have daily one to one psychotherapy but she has had nothing despite always asking for it, its all pretty frustrating. But, we've got the advocate on board and maybe they can help and Tuesday's ward round should (we hope) be a bit more enlightening..

    She has been visited twice daily since we were allowed to book the family room, so we have time with baby and family in the day and my brother spends one to one time with her every evening. Her parents flew in from the states when they heard what happened and their visit has been invaluable but they leave tomorrow so we will keep on going and adjusting to what each day brings.

    My sis in law is doing well, talking and thinking fast with disorganised thoughts - some from a great place, some not from a great place but I cannot say how much I love and admire her for how she has coped with what has happened to her. I cannot imagine how much she has suffered and what she is going through, especially in the nothing ward where she is just being 'kept' in all intent and purpose.

    I hope and pray, MBU comes soon and that it is indeed the place for recovery and support we hope it to be and yes, we know this is going to be long haul. We don't really have a support network (my brother and wife recently moved back from the states) so its just them and us (i.e. my family) but I think as things improve they will both actively look to create their own circles of friends. I've never written on a thread before but I'm so glad I did and grateful for this forum. Thank you!

  • Hi I've just come across your post. I'm Quite new to this too and this is my first thread to comment on as I am just coming through the recovery of pp myself ( I was in mbu during sept and oct last year. ) I'm pleased that it seems that things are progressing (walks out etc) and hopefully mbu is getting sorted soon . all I'd say to you is to support your brother and sister in law is to keep doing what you're doing - visiting them is a massive help and helping with looking after the baby . I would say everything goes back to basics and so its to make sure that your brother gets some sleep and eats well - he needs to stay strong too ( so do you) .

    As for the care plans etc i thought it muht help if I share my story - I remember getting very agitated that I didn't get one straight away but I do remember that it did take quite a while for the Drs and nurses to pull them together - there didnt seem to be any rush at all - I now know this was in part because they know it is a long process to get better and they also may be taking their time to get to know your sister in law to understand what her typical behaviour is. of course if you feel they could be doing more to help her, then as someone else said ,stand your ground but just thought it might help to let you know nothing was quick for me - but everything will fall in to place at some point ...my thoughts are with you at this difficult time . best wishes to you and your family x

  • You say she's talking and thinking fast with disorganised thoughts, so perhaps they may not proceed with the psychotherapy until she is past this stage.

    I suffered PP in 2012, I was admitted to our local psychiatric hospital 10days after my son was born, having had very little sleep, I was psychotic and don't remember much of the first two weeks (probably just as well!) then when I started coming out of the psychosis, I was still very muddled and had racing thoughts, I was treated on a mixed sex general ward then when I was well enough, my son came to join me in the MBU during my last week in Hospital.

    I was in Hospital for 4 weeks (under a section) so I got 'better' in a relatively short space of time, however, the reality is that there is then the aftermath and recovery to deal with and this takes a long time, for me I only started to feel like 'me' again several months down the line and it took me about a year to feel fully well again.

    I think that you're providing a wonderful support network to, both, your brother, sister in law and your new niece/nephew, as for support for all of you...

    When I was out of hospital I felt completely and utterly lost, and isolated, until I found APP. I thought that given that ony 1 or 2 mothers out of 1000 will suffer PP and that I hadnt even heard of I until I suffered I it myself, I would never be able to meet or speak to anyone else who would understand, but thanks to APP, and this forum, I met a lovely lass who went through the same and provided me with a lot of support and a few missing pieces of jigsaw to aid me in my recovery, and thanks to all the info APP provided, via their website, on this forum, etc. my Husband and I had the information we needed to decide to have another baby (something we would never have even dreamed of 2 years back) and during my pregnancy I had tremendous support via APP peer support service.

    Although you may feel like your sailing without a map and never getting past the horizon just now, your sister in law will get better.

    In the meantime, take good care and know that we're all here for you and, having suffered the same, know what your sister in law is going through.

  • Thanks again for the support. We finally got the news today that my sister in law goes to the MBU tomorrow and baby will join on Friday. The news could not come soon enough as I felt the wheels begin to wobble these last 24hrs for me and may have fallen off if she did not get the news about moving soon. I feel I could rant, go into a blow by blow account of the difficulties faced this week on the ward or I could just breathe and be grateful that she will now be moving out of that place to somewhere, I can only hope, that will give her and my brother the support they need. I feel another rant about the ward coming up but I need to embrace each positive and focus on the fact that tomorrow, things will change and I hope my sister in law will start to once again take a few more steps forward in her her recovery. I'll keep you posted..

  • Hi Aner,

    it's great to hear the news that your sister in law is going to the MBU, I presume she is there now, and really hope that she is settling in OK? I think even just being with her baby will make all the difference, bonding with baby etc is so important for recovery.

    As others have said, it can be a long up and down road to recovery - it was 18 months before I felt fully myself, as others have said, and had good and bad days. But I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that I even see positives from the whole experience - the love and care shown to me my mental health professionals, and my family and friends, and people on APP will be with me forever and something I obviously would never have experienced if I hadn't had PP. I cherish my son so much as well, and am thankful every day for him and the relationship I have with him.

    Your sister in law will most definitely recover, and I hope you can look after yourself also and your mind will be at rest a bit now she is in MBU, I really hope it will be a positive place for her, and you all.

    Take care, thinking of you all

  • That's great news. I am sure the MBU will be the best place for your sister in law.

    All the best for tomorrow.

    Look after yourself too and do keep us posted x

  • So pleased to hear that your sister in law is now in the MBU and baby will be joining her today, wonderful news 😊

  • Hello Aner123

    I'm really pleased you have found the support here invaluable. I'm sure your sister-in-law will feel the benefit of the MBU. Well done to you and her husband for fighting her corner to get there. It can be a very frightening ordeal for everyone, especially your sister-in-law who is fighting so hard to be well.

    To reassure you that all will be well eventually, I had PP in the mid-70's and early 80's (although I didn't know this at the time). I was sectioned twice but with general psych care and family support, after quite some time, I regained my sanity and place.

    The APP team and forum have been a great comfort and support in my understanding of what happened to me all those years ago. I'm sure your sister-in-law is so grateful for all that you are doing and have done for her. Make sure you take care of yourself too.

    We are all here to lean on.

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