Helping my daughter-in-law

Hi, we welcomed our newest grandchild on Dec 13, 2015. Jack is a wonderful blessing to our family! Very shortly after his birth (emergency c-section), his mom just got hit with a ton of setbacks. Abdominal wall infection, bad reaction to pain meds, add in the hormonal changes and she got PPP. We had 24/7 care for her at home before she was willing to go into the psyche ward. She spent 13 days there, got the meds she needed, and has been home for 8 days.

There are 2 stepdaughters in the home, most of the time they are spending it with me so as to not overwhelm the new mom. She is on 3 different meds, sees a psychiatrist, psychologist, g.p., social worker, and has an RN coming to the house for a "healthy baby" program thru the county. So the care plan is set in place. We have a small, but close family support circle set up, my daughter and bf are living with them since she can't be alone w/the baby due to the meds and their side effects. My husband and I are in and out of the house as well. Her parents are coming when they can due to work schedules and long distance.

I guess I need some guidance as to how best to help her. She's still very fragile, still has the off the wall thoughts (paranoia, embarrassment, feels everyone is angry with her (nope!!). We are identifying her "triggers" such as tv, loud noises, too many people in the same room, etc., and trying to keep the house as calm as we can. There is a lot of support, love, caring, concern, etc. She's had a couple of bad days in a row. I know this is going to take time, but even though she's getting the help she needs from the medical community, the family is left hanging. We're not sure how best to help her.

I've done some reading on PPP, and can say we're doing pretty good considering we really don't know what we're doing.

She seems to be at her best when the girls are there with her. I had hoped to work the girls back into the home gradually, but it's almost like when they're around, she doesn't have the time to allow the negative thoughts to settle into her too deep. I've observed her and she's very good with the girls, a bit more subdued (probably med related), but she's on top of their schedules (meals, baths, school, homework) and the girls are very good with her as well. I agreed to let the girls go home tonight but am reserving the right to bring them back here since I am concerned about her mental health and not getting her too overwhelmed.

How important is it that she takes her meds at the same time, every day? It seems that she is delaying taking them the last few days saying, "She'll take the later." Is it a coincidence that she's had 2 bad days at this same time? We believe she is taking them, but we may need to monitor her closer to make sure.

She's very hard on herself during this time, taking blame, where there is no blame to be taken. This is an illness, it happened to her. She did not choose this! She gets angry with herself for not being able to "snap out of it". We assure her every time she gets on this kick that she is strong, she is fighting to beat this illness, that she will get better, but she has to be more patient with herself and allow the meds and doctors to all do their jobs.

This girl is so important to us!! We couldn't have picked a better wife for our son. She is just so wonderful in every aspect. She just completes our entire family. It breaks our hearts to see her this way.

For those of you that have struggled with this illness, do you have any tips, tricks, advice for us? How much stimuli is too much? How much is not enough? She has trouble sitting still for too long, she wants to clean her entire house when the girls aren't there. Anxiety? She is on lorazapam (sp?) for anxiety but only takes it "as needed". I know she'd like to skip it entirely, but am not sure that's a good idea this soon out of the hospital.

So many questions, I could ramble on forever. We just want our girl back. TIA

28 Replies

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  • Hello and welcome to the forum! I have to say it sounds like you are doing all the right things for your D-I-L! The care plan sounds very comprehensive, and the best care possible considering there presumably isn't a Mother and Baby Unit to admit her to?

    Trust your instincts, with regards the stepdaughters. It sounds like she really benefits from having their routines to follow, so see how it goes? But you are right to be concerned about having her overwhelmed by things.

    One thing that struck me a little, was that you didn't mention how well she was coping with little Jack? Has she been able to spend some time caring for him, building up a bond? The baby itself can be a huge "trigger" for anxiety and distressing thoughts, so this might be an area she needs some help overcoming. I had a couple of sessions with a fantastic child development / parent-infant psychologist.

    APP have a couple of excellent resources /handbooks on their actual website: look for the guide for partners/family and the recovery guide, under the "Insider Guides" page.

    Best of luck and congratulations on your new grandchild!

    X

  • Hi Grandma-lady,

    Welcome to the community here, it sounds like even though you've all had/are having such a difficult time, you're doing a great job. Just the fact you're here asking for info & tips is a fantastic way to support your Daughter-in-law, she might not be able to say so now, but one day she'll thank you for all your support.

    It's really hard to judge the right amount of space, support & stimulation needed, so I agree it's really a case of using your judgement & going with your gut feeling...or perhaps just asking her if it's appropriate? In the early days when my mind was 'busy' I couldn't have coped with a lot of noise, people etc. & needed total calm, but later on when my mood was dropping, I needed people to be around, doing practical things for me, distracting me from the long empty days to help keep me buoyant.

    Have you seen this insider guide on recovery? It might give you an idea on the type of issues we face at different stages: app-network.org/wp-content/...

    Also this blog I wrote might give you some pointers of the type of things I needed to hear when I was ill & what I would've liked people around me to do: ppsoup.com/2016/01/26/what-...

    I think it's important to keep an eye on her continuing medication, it can be so easy to forget with everything else going on. Taking it at the same time each day is very sensible too, it'll then become routine so less likely to forget (& probably spaces out any possible side effects too). I agree, it's not good at all to skip any medication, if she has any issues or thinks it's not working for her, she needs to discuss it with her Psychiatrist & not make any changes herself. When's her next Psychiatrist appointment? You could encourage her to be open with him/her to talk about any concerns she might have.

    Even if it seems like you don't know what you're doing, I think you're doing a great job just by asking questions & finding out more - especially with her parents being far away, it must be a great help you being there. I know there are so many questions & it's all incredibly confusing at first so don't worry in the slightest about asking lots. We'll do our best to answer them & share any tips. don't forget to get plenty or rest yourself too. I know it's easy to say but try not to worry, you will get your girl back, she'll get better & be herself again. x

  • Forgot to say, there are some great resources & an insider guide for Partners here, to answer some of the many questions he probably has too: app-network.org/partners-2/

  • Andrea, your blog just made me cry. I wish I had have heard those things when I was ill. Very well written, thank you so much for sharing xo

  • Dear Grandma-Lady,

    It sounds like you are having the worst of all possible introductions to grandparent-hood this time. I suffered from PP following the birth of my son in Dec 2010 and I remember, dimly, the family arrangements being made round about me, and how guilty and inadequate I felt that I was disrupting everyone's life in this way. It sounds as if your daughter-in-law may also have a number of physical symptoms to contend with too, which cannot be at all easy.

    The main thing to emphasize is how very early days it is--home for 8 days after a fortnight on a psych ward. Getting a routine with the medication is very important, and the other important rhythm is her sleep. Hopefully the meds will be helping with that, but some gentle activity around the house will help. Let her do some cleaning if she wants to, if it will help her feel useful.

    You say that she is still having off the wall thoughts, that she gets angry, feels guilty. It's important that she is completely open with the psychologist and psychiatrist--it's the only way they can help her. She is only describing symptoms, not a part of herself, if that makes any sense.

    I also wonder, like KatG, how much time she is spending with baby Jack? If she finds being on her own with him makes her anxious then perhaps playtimes could take place with someone else alongside. Sometime the way to build confidence is to do the task based things first--nappies, bottles, etc. I found it very difficult to know how to deal with lots of unstructured playtime and it was something I had to learn gradually (and while I was very depressed).

    I haven't answered all the ppoints you made but I know that this will ring lots of bells for the other ladies on this Forum and I hope you get lots of helpful responses.

    Best wishes

    x

  • Hi Grandma-lady,

    Cute name. My family was a huge support for me the first several months after being home from the hospital. I was hospitalized for 10 days for pp then went back a few weeks later because my anxiety got so bad. At that point they doubled my medicience because the first round they gave me was a month long shot... So I was basically a walking zombie for a couple weeks. The second stay at the hospital was 6 days. Once I got home I would have someone everyday come over or I would drive(not recommended!) to a friend or family members to have company. This was extremely important for me just to have someone there. When I was alone my depression/anxiety doubled. My mom was the most support for me. It was during the summer so we would get out an take long walk and I didn't have to feel like I had to keep the convo going. She listened to my needs and didn't feel jugded. Getting better was a slow progress but I honestly didn't see true progress till I came off the antipsychotic. I felt like s different person when I got off of it.

    I definitely would recommend her to take the meds as perscribed which usually means at a certain time of day. Once you commit to taking them at the same time it's harder to put it off. Nobody likes taking them so it would be easy to try and put it off. I would get angry everyday when I took them! Also one really good thing we have in our area(Ohio) is a peer postpartum mood disorder support group. Through that program I got a mentor who went through postpartum depression 4 times. We met at least 1 a week and talked several times a week in the phone. She was a life saver. They also had support meetings 2 a month. I still help out with the group as a mentor myself because I know how much it helped my recovery. I think that's a good way to look at it. She is in recovery mode so it may not look like progress but each day you can process more and put more time and healing between you and the illness.

    It's lovely to read and respond to helpful caring family members. I hope your daughter in law recovers well.

  • Dear Grandma-lady,

    I am now a grandma, but 36 years ago I had a postpartum psychosis. I spent two weeks on a mental ward and was heavily medicated. I remember how difficult it was for the first few months as I struggled to regain my sanity and sense of normalcy. I had a 3-year-old, and my mother flew out twice to help me. I made a complete recovery by the end of the first year.

    I live in the U.S. and am currently serving as vice-president of Postpartum Support International. We have a saying, "You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help, you will be well." Please tell this to your daughter-in-law.

    You are not alone - a lot of other women experience this. Eventually you will connect with other women who had a similar experience. There are a lot of us.

    You are not to blame - I tell people I had a 25-year guilt trip over my experience. However, I finally gave up on the guilt as the child of my psychosis grew to be a man that I am proud to call my son. He is a beautiful and sensitive man. We are a close-knit family.

    With help, you will be well. Also tell her that it takes time. Help includes medication, counseling, and the support of family. I was able to wean off the medication gradually, and that's important.

    Your daughter-in-law is very lucky to have you. Hang in there.

  • Hello, your post prompted me to post on here for the first time. I developed PPP after my second baby in May 2015 but am thankfully well in recovery after full mdt and amazing family support much like you described. Firstly, I am sure you daughter in law will look back in time and be so thankful and blessed for your care concern non judgemental and heartfelt support. Having experienced the total anxiety and crazy paranoia, id advise trying to judge stimuli on how your dil reacts day by day - as these symptoms can be so variable it's impossible to judge in advance. I felt very strongly I was the best judge of when to take my Lorazepam for anxiety as I did have insight into the levels of anxiety preventing sleep versus the awful side effects of it doping me unable to care for my children. Also I found that having both my children with me - with the oversight from my family - was totally the best grounding for abating my symptoms and not leaving me with time to get manic or paranoid as much. Keep listening to your dil, be as honest as possible with her, keep reinforcing the positive things that she does like how well the girls respond to her, keep showing her your love. It sounds to me you are being an amazing rock of support and if you keep going, you will all get through this tough time and things will settle down sooner than you might think. Don't give up! With all my love and best thoughts for you all

    H xxxx

  • Hi Helen, I'm so sorry you had to go through this!! I am glad you're recovering. It really helps to hear from you, especially about having your other children to keep you grounded during your rough time. Thanks again for taking the time to reply. It means the world to me!

  • Sounds like u doing all the rite things by just by begin there just watch out for any unuasaul high this could b a warning signs of her crashing into a low

  • Thanks for the heads-up. I know there will be ups and downs in the coming weeks/months. It's good to know that an unusual high may lead to a bad low. Ugh. This illness sucks.

  • Thank you all so much!! It's really good to hear from those of you that had to suffer from this terrible illness. So many things are spot on to what I am seeing with Abby (d-i-l).

    First off, Jack is doing great. He's an excellent baby, very sweet, and smiles more each day. He's growing good, although he does have a cleft palette for which he's being referred to either Milwaukee or Madison soon, not sure yet what treatment he will need, but possible surgery at 6 or 12 mos.

    Abby seems very sensitive to his needs, I think she's bonding with him much better now than she was the first few weeks of his life. There were days where she was terrified of him and refused to go near him. She was 100% fine with letting Tim (our son) do all the baby care at that time. She knew she was suppose to care if he was crying, but in her state, she just could not care. Then there were times where she was convinced he was dying, so she'd constantly wake him up. She was convinced the formula was contaminated, we'd assure her it wasn't, then it was the water that was bad, if not the formula or the water, then it was the bottle. We encouraged her to feed him, to help with his care, but in her mind, everything was contaminated so she'd resist as much as possible, even if it meant he didn't get the care he needed. No worries though, towards the end of her stay at home, we had 2 people with her and Jack, at all times since she had quit sleeping, eating, and drinking. Looking back, I really don't know how we did it, but I can see how far she has come. I remind her of that daily, when she starts getting down on herself.

    When she's holding him while he's sleeping, she looks "lifeless". I know that it's probably the side effects of the meds, but she loves this little guy. She just needs reminders to support his head. I hate having to remind her of the little things since she gets down on herself for needing the reminders. She is doing her best, I know this.

    When she starts in with her "off the wall" thoughts, it seems if we let her keep talking that way, she gets more upset. Lately we've just been giving her reminders like, "You know that isn't true.", very gently and reassuring. I want to validate her feelings, since to her they are real! But at the same time, when I validate her feelings and allow her to talk about them it just seems to make matters worse. I hate not knowing what to do. Her psychiatrist tells her to suppress these thoughts when she has them, so we've been gently reminding her that her off the wall thoughts aren't real. I just pray that this is the right way to handle it.

    She's very anxious to get back to her real self. She did drive yesterday (yikes!!) to the gas station and to the grocery store. I'm glad we live in a small town, too small for even one stop light. :) I had been discouraging her from driving but since I wasn't at the house, I wasn't able to prevent it this time. She did okay though, but I hope it will be awhile before she drives again. I know it's important for her to feel in control of at least some small part of regular life. I know that it will help build her confidence. And building her confidence back up at this point is very important.

    One thing she absolutely hates is having us help her so much. We've always helped the kids. It's what we do. And she hates it. She feels so guilty, so much shame for needing help. I can't seem to find the right words to assure her that we don't mind helping. She's not just my daughter-in-law, she's my friend. And right now, my friend needs help.

    I haven't been able to find any support groups in our area, but it's pretty rural around here. With as many appointments as she already has every week, (social worker, RN, psychiatrist, psychologist, and baby drs) I see how that drains her, and as much as a support group may help her, I'm hesitant to add one more thing for her to do. We can all talk til we're blue in the face, but I think if she could hear it from another mom that had this illness, she would respond very positively. She feels so alone. And she's right, she is alone with this, even though we're with her every day. We haven't had to go thru what she's dealing with so we don't truly understand it the way she does.

    I can't thank all of you enough for responding. This has really been an education and will continue for some time. I'll be checking out the links that you have shared. I want to get her parents on here as well so they can get the info they need. So far it's been the blind leading the blind. I am so glad I found this site!!

    I hope we all have a great day! Thanks again. :)

  • distraction and if the distraction is the girls so b it people often worrie about leaving there children wiv them she would never hurt them and begin wiv her kids belive is helping her massivly this is how she will overcome everything because she knows she has this will keep the figth in her and wen u leave the kids judge wat kind of day she is having and always be honest and open about everything that is happen even the littlest things I overcome postpartum aniexty and ocd without meds because i had to i also relise this aint easy on family around just make sure u have time for u to rechatge your battery has it very mentally and emontionally draing for those who are providing support to gud luck with everything

  • You're so right!! I'm really in awe of you that you beat this w/o meds. You must be incredibly strong! Good for You! :)

    You're also very right about making sure the care givers take care of themselves. In the beginning, we were all so focused on taking care of Abby, that we forgot to take care of Tim, her husband. It wasn't until he was leaving for work one day that I saw the tears in his eyes and I realized how big of a mistake we had made, not taking his needs into consideration. As his mom, it about broke my heart. I made arrangements that night for a buddy of his to take him out for a beer or 2 after work. Caretakers, beware!! If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else. ;)

  • Hi Grandma-lady

    I have just been catching up on this thread, and don't have anything to add to the brilliant responses you've had, but just wanted to say I was really moved by your post, by your love, care and support you're giving your dil, it really sounds like you're doing all the right things, but its a real tough, traumatic situation to be in. She will get better though, this is definitely temporary.

    I hope you find the links Andrea gave helpful, I would really recommend the ppsoup blog post she gave a link too. I had PP in 2011 after the birth of my son, and what Andrea has written about the kind of things to say/do described exactly what helped me, or what I would have wanted to hear.

    Take care, I will be thinking of you and your family X

  • Hi Grandma-lady

    You sound like such a sweet lady, your DIL is lucky to have you.

    I had PP 2 years ago and during the worst moments, with paranoia etc, my family unfortunately (through no fault of their own) made things worse. They were all saying different things, keeping things from me, crowding me and confusing me. The stimulation from having them all in my house at once, with so many opinions on how I should be looking after my baby and myself just aggravated the situation.

    It wasn't until my MIL came to stay (after I'd been released from the psych centre) that I felt I was actually getting the emotional support that I needed. She was very calming. She kept her opinions to herself, she sat back and quietly observed (while not making me feel as though I was being watched) and gave me positive reinforcement, telling me I was doing a good job and that she could see the bond with my baby developing. She helped me get some confidence back. This was exactly the support I needed and it sounds like that's exactly what you're doing. I wish your daughter all the very best, please tell her that she'll get through this. I was lucky and recovered within a few weeks of being back home. I only needed medication for a couple of months afterwards and have been fine ever since.

    Let us know how things are progressing

    xoxo

  • Thanks again for all the replies and support!!

    She's had 2 really good days in a row. She's not over it by any means, but just seeing her smile and laugh again is so wonderful! I think I needed that as much as she did.

    This might be an odd question so I hope I can explain it correctly. I do a lot of observing, not judging, try to be very gentle in my actions, speech, etc. We're all still learning the triggers and avoid them at all costs, but mistakes are made and corrected. Last night we took dinner over to them, it was nice to have everyone together doing something we'd normally do. I notice when I'm quiet, she gets a bit paranoid, so there is a lot of eye contact and smiles which seems to help. I have noticed that when her and I are alone, she tends to break down a bit more. I'm not sure if I'm doing something to trigger this, or if she just feels more comfortable with me, that she can allow herself to really open up to me and doesn't feel like she has to pretend. For those of you that have gone through PP, did you have one person that meant well, but for whatever reason, just brought out the worst of the illness in you? Granted, she has been much, much worse!! She improves daily, I see this, and remind her how far she has come.

    If I am a trigger, then I may need to remove myself from the care circle. I do not want that, but right now, it's not about me, it's all about her and getting her well again.

    The conversation we had was sad, not disturbing. She is certain that something else is going on and we're just not telling her. Lots of assurance that this is not the case, reminders of how she completes our family, we love her, and are going to do everything possible to help her through this. We spoke of the girls, making sure that having them there is not overwhelming, that she can still care for them w/o compromising her self care. Jack is doing great, up to over 9lbs now and smiling so big!! Once she got calmed down, she asked how she was suppose behave. She knows something happened to her, she refers to that time as her "dark time". She remembers some, but other parts are gone. She's concerned that if she's in a social situation, she's not going to know how to act. We talked a bit, validating her illness, how it has changed her, recognized that it was only temporary, listed her improvements (driving, baking cookies, child care, etc.), and decided together, that she should just pretend that nothing happened and act like the "old Abby" until she can discuss it with her psychiatrist on Thursday. I highly encouraged her to be open and honest with her dr. about her symptoms. I stressed that if she approached her thoughts and feelings at this time as 'symptoms' and not 'her', that the dr can really help her to deal with the illness. She really responded positively!! So whoever it was that gave me that nugget of advice...Thank You!! Just getting other peoples' perspectives is incredibly helpful!

    We started making plans for next week, she's going to help me with some of my work. I'm encouraging her to come over and do some art/craft stuff for Valentine's Day. Also might try coordinating a visit with a friend of her's that had a baby 4 months ago, nothing serious, just a baby & mom hour or so. Her friend is nervous so I told her to just act like nothing happened, if Abby wants to bring up her illness, let Abby take the lead. Not sure if that's the right advice or not, I'll be there w/them for the first visit hopefully to ease everyone's nerves. The 2 girls met thru me, so it won't be anything out of the ordinary.

    Sorry I'm so long winded. LOL Thanks for putting up with me! I hope everyone has a good day today!!

  • Just read bin catching up your should a lovely ladie I don't think she paranoid I think it anixty this is how I was thougth everyone was up to something behind my back and yes she has a lot of trust in u to break down in front of u I had certain people your Defo not a trigger the worst thing u could do is pull away and card making is brill as I did it as well as teaching myself to crochet her confident self esteem will b everywhere and she will b a little different for a while but I know from all the wonderful support and encouragement she has she will get there

  • Hello Grandma-lady

    Thanks for your post. Please don't worry about asking any questions here however odd they might be to you. I have to say how much I admire your daughter-in-law for coping with all the ups and downs of recovery, supported by you and her family. It's very early days for her and she's doing so well to communicate how she feels. I think she probably feels more relaxed with you as you have built up a trust. Although this is all very new to you, she probably knows you understand her more than most.

    I had PP twice many years ago and my recovery took a long time but with good general psychiatric care and support from my family I eventually fully recovered. When I was in the grip of PP my behaviour was quite out of character and probably like your daughter in law I needed my 'carers' to have a lot of patience and understanding.

    Make sure your daughter in law takes time out from analysing what has happened to her in the months following your grandson's birth. I'm sure you will be fitting in some quiet time for her, even though you think she is better when talking to you. Perhaps an idea would be for your son and daughter in law to have lunch or dinner together on their own and you would be able to spend precious time with your grandson?

    I hope everything goes well with the Psychiatrist on Thursday. Just let your daughter take a day at a time, try not to plan too far ahead just in case she's not quite ready. Your son is probably upset to see his wife so poorly but it is only a temporary illness and she is trying so hard to be well for him and their son.

    Take care as this is a stressful time for everyone.

  • Rest assured she has quiet time every day, usually in the mornings when Tim is home with her. They did get out on a date night last week, and more will follow when his schedule permits. Things are pretty loose here, we take each day as it comes and if plans change, it's never a problem. We let Abby take the lead and it's usually her that wants to stay busy, especially in the afternoons when Tim is gone.

    What amazes me is how everyone has pulled together. The support we have been given is huge.

    Spending time with Jack is never a problem!! It feels so good to cuddle with a tiny one again! I definitely love being a grandma! With 3 grandkids now, I'm going to need a bigger lap!

  • Such a great exchange of information on this thread so not much I can add. I do want to say how awesome it is that your daughter-in-law is receiving such great support. My in-laws were amazingly supportive during my recovery. I still have a great relationship with them and their support has continued over the years.

    The one thing that would have helped me in my recovery is to communicate with another mother who had experienced postpartum psychosis. I did not get that opportunity until my son was 4 years old (internet was not so readily available during my experience). Recovery is different for everyone but your daughter-in-law may benefit from this forum or receiving peer support from a recovered mom. Just let her know there are moms out there that can be an encouragement for her through this difficult time. Sending hugs to you all as I can empathize with how difficult this time is not only on the mom but on the entire family.

  • Good Morning! Just wanted to give everyone an update. You've all been so kind, and I've been so busy that I feel like I was leaving you in the dark about how things have been going.

    Things are going very well, Abby is starting to talk about going back to work. She's still pushing the "get back to normal" thing. I know that is important.

    She told me that money is the main reason she wants to go back to work, but I reminded her that she still has about 4 weeks paid leave. Once that runs out, she may be able to go on short term disability and still have paid leave. If that doesn't work out, they do have money to live on from savings. And she knows that should all else fail, we'd help them out financially until she can go back to work. She wants to push it, but we decided she should let the doctors decide when she can go back to work.

    We had Jack's baptism yesterday with about 20 guests for lunch afterwards. Things went well but after about 2 hours, she broke down. Too much stimulation I believe. This was the first larger gathering that she's had to deal with since this all started. She and Tim left the party for about an hour while she gathered herself. It was pretty rough and my heart just went out to her. They left for home shortly after but when my husband went over to their house to drop off some forgotten things, she was calmed down, feeding Jack while Tim and the girls were playing a game.

    She's still taking her meds, is back to living life almost 95% "normal", although there is never a "normal" after one has a baby! :) Tim is still so supportive! Jack is doing great!!! Sleeping almost 9 hours straight every night, growing good, smiles All the Time! Is starting to coo and laugh, just so happy, he is just a blessing in every sense of the word. Abby and Jack have bonded great, he just smiles with his whole body when he sees his mommy and it warms my heart to witness that. The girls are still living at home and everyone seems to be doing great. I'm enjoying a break and am going back to my job today.

    I'm hoping once the doctors give her the OK to go back to work, it will be part time in the beginning, just to help her ease into the working world again. She is an area sales manager and has 9 stores under her watch. For those of you that have dealt with this, when you or your loved one, has gone back to work, was it part time or full time? I know I want to protect her, not control her, and I just love this girl so much! I trust the doctors to make the right decisions as far as her going back to work, but it's hard not to worry a bit.

    One of the best things that has come about is her and I are back to having great talks like we always did. We can be silly or serious or just regular in our conversations. It feels so good! :) :) :)

    I hope all of you are doing well. I know it will sound silly, but although we've never met, I do think of you all every day. After seeing Abby go through all of what she did, I know some of the struggles you face. Be well people!!

  • Hi

    Good to hear your update. Your daughter-in-law is so blessed to have you taking care of her so well and making sure she isn't overwhelmed.

    I'm glad you are helping her to try to not rush back to work, although it's the same for many of us, thinking about the finances. Hopefully she will be a little better in the next four weeks before she is due to return to work, although going on short term disability if possible would be a good idea. Her job role sounds very stressful so I hope her employer can reduce her duties for a while so that she is not under too much pressure.

    It took me a while to regain my confidence around people so your daughter-in-law did well to cope at your grandson's baptism. It sounds such a lovely happy family gathering. My first son was seven months old before he was baptised, so he looks like a 'big' baby in the photos, although he was only just over six pounds when he was born!

    When I felt ready to return to work it was a few years after my first PP (I had been in a psychiatric unit for six months before returning home). I found temporary part time work was a good way for me to ease myself back into work. My husband and family were very supportive. Similarly following my second PP it took a good few years before I returned to work, part time, as I had what seemed like an endless depression.

    Due to life experiences a long time ago I did return to full-time employment and coped very well. However, I have now returned to working part time.

    I'm sure your daughter-in-law feels very comforted by your good care and I hope she continues to improve. In the meantime we can delight in the love of all our grandchildren ........

    Take good care of yourself and thank you for thinking of us.

  • Hi Grandma it was so lovely to read your update. It sounds like your daughter in law is recovering amazingly and it's wonderful to hear she has such a bond with her baby.

    I went back to work after 9 months. We have quite good maternity leave here and I had enhanced pay with work so I was lucky. I was still quite unwell and did struggle going back to work but I managed it and I have to say it was important step in my recovery and developing my confidence. I hope that's helpful.

    Take care X

  • Ellie

    Thank you. It is helpful. Everyday we hope for bigger changes and clearly this is not going to happen and we must just learn patience and trust. there have been improvements but some days are better than others. I will certainly rejoice if our daughter is well at the end of 9 months and capable of leading a full life again.

  • Dear Grandma-lady,

    I think you are marvellous, courageous and extremely caring.

    I have had PPP in 2010. Unfortunately my mum could not cope with my circumstances at the time as she was also a full time carer for my dad and abroad.

    However, once I left the mixed psychiatric unit, the after care was very good. Nevertheless, I would not have coped without my partner, who had been my full time carer for the first 6 months.

    Close family members have been part of the traumatising experience of mums with PPP and often suffered in silence. Everybody involved needs help and support and it does affect everybody differently. When I was poorly I cried for my mum, but do not remember her being there. She wanted to stay, but left after three days. Everybody is copying differently and it can have a tremendous affect on everybody involved. Being open, transparent and communicating is very important. No blame, just pure love!!!

    Thus, it is very important that you also look after yourself and get some rest bite. I am so pleased, that you can write on this page and also get some sufficient advise on carers support.

    Best wishes for you and your family...you are doing just fine grandma x

    Sabine

  • Thanks for all the replies! Since I don't have any experience in dealing with this, all I can do is go by my gut feelings. Hearing how everyone else has dealt w/recovery and going back to work really helps me!

    I had a business trip yesterday and Abby went along for the long 8 hour drive. Lots of good conversation to help pass the time. On our way home we stopped at one of her stores and she jumped right back into selling & helping customers. Her boss was there so it helped everyone involved see Abby do so well. I had Abby drive through Milwaukee, a very large city with major freeway traffic. She did great! I think she was surprised that I asked her to drive, but I think we both needed to find out if she could do it. She travels a lot for her job. Had it not gone well, it was better to find out now than after she goes back to work and has to travel on her own. I suppose there will always be a bit of concern while she's still on the meds since they make her tired, but she did just fine for the hour she drove. After we switched back, she thanked me for stopping at the store, and for letting her drive. She said both things really gave her confidence a huge boost.

    It was a very long day for her, being away from Jack for 11 hours, seeing her work a bit, and doing part of the driving, but it was a taste of what her life will be like once she does go back to work. She was wiped out when we got home so she took care of the baby and I got the girls in bed. I think it was a good experience for her and for me too. Knowing that her confidence got a boost and seeing how she responded to the store, customers, driving, etc., I feel better too. lol

    I know it's early in her recovery even though sometimes it feels like it's been a very long time we've been dealing with it. I wonder at times if she isn't recovering too fast if that makes any sense? I just don't want her to be rushing things to get back to "normal" again. I don't think she is any more. I'm going to trust her and her doctors and do my best not to worry. I will encourage her to take as much time off as possible, especially since she still has some paid time yet. It's not only important for her, but for Jack, Tim, and the girls as well.

    Tomorrow they take Jack to the University hospital to check his cleft palate and see what the doctors recommend as far as surgery and treatment. It's a 4 hour appointment with 6 hours of travel time so it will be another long day.

    Jasa, you are very correct when you say it affects everyone, not just the patient. It's been very interesting to see how everyone in our circle is responding to the situation. Some have been wonderful, others can't deal with it much at all. I think it has really helped that we're so close and can keep an eye on everyone involved. We know when to call in reinforcements and who can handle it and who can't. So far, I think we're all doing quite well! I will say it feels Grand! to be back to work myself. I'm self employed so I can adjust as needed, but I have missed working.

    Thanks again for listening!! I hope everyone has a great day!

  • just catching up im so pls to read abbi is so much better than she was i know she would get there as she had such grt support and u know she will always reme wat u have done for her and im sure if she start to struggkes again she will let u know all the best of luck wiv everything

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