Alternatives to MBU

Hi everyone,

I had a very bad experience in Mother & Baby Units, and I really don't want to go back if I become ill again. What are the alternatives? (I live in Newham, London)

Also, what is the best way to find out about state benefits like child tax and working tax credits to help with childcare costs and also caters allowance? There may be other benefits our family are entitled to if I fall ill again, which would certainly help with lost income and increase childcare costs.

How do I find out whether I can switch to sick leave if I lose my capacity to care for my baby while on maternity leave. I get 19 weeks full maternity pay, 26 weeks full sick pay, and now there is shared parental leave so my husband could take up the reminder of the 12 month statutory leave if necessary.

4 Replies

  • Hello Jessi_D

    Thanks for your post. I'm sorry to hear you had a very bad experience in the MBU. I'm not sure what the alternative would be as they are specialist places for mum and baby. Perhaps other mums here can be more helpful.

    I think Citizens Advice Bureau is a good place to ask about benefits and sick leave entitlement. I have been in the past for various info and found the team very helpful. The receptionist can signpost you to a person who can guide you through the most up to date info to consider.

    Best wishes.

  • Hi Jessi_D,

    I too am sorry to hear you had bad experiences on the mother and baby unit.

    I recently had my second child (he's 4 months this week) after having PP in 2012. My plan was to go to the MBU if necessary as I didn't want my 3 year old to see me terribly unwell, but it was seen as a last resort really. The hope was to be managed at home if possible on the assumption that if I became unwell it would be caught very early and be much less severe. I took (and am still taking) a low dose of medication that could be quickly increased to the dose that helped me first time round if I started displaying symptoms. I was also lucky that my parents live nearby and I could have gone and stayed with them so my older son could be at home and have as much normality as possible. Luckily I stayed well.

    One thing I did, I don't know if it's something you would consider, was to visit the MBU while well. This was suggested to me by the mental health nurse I saw during pregnancy, the aim being to reduce any anxiety I might have about ending up there again as I wouldn't just have the associations of the illness. I did this towards the end of my pregnancy and was pretty nervous but I was glad I did it. It seemed much smaller than I remembered (I guess as it had been my 'world' for a month) and I saw a couple of members of staff I remembered, and I could see it as the safe place it was rather than just that strange place where I lived out the scariest days of my life. I was told, and this is what I did, to go and see it then say goodbye and walk away in the hope I'd never see it again.

    It's something to consider anyway. I do think an MBU is the best place to be if you become unwell and it might help to see it and the staff in a completely different light as it were and put a few demons to rest.

    You can certainly discuss with your care team what your wishes are and discuss any options open to you where you live in terms of community services and being managed at home, if that's a possibility and something you'd be happy with.

    It's great you're trying to get as much information as you can around support available etc, I too wanted to be as prepared as I could be - to have everything planned for worst case scenario and then put those plans in a drawer and hope they'd never be needed but trust the people around me knew what to do if they were.

    Wishing you all the very best x

  • Great advice from Lilybeth and J-B!

    I'm so sorry you had such a hard time in the MBU. I think visiting the place while you are well is a brilliant idea. You could ask to have a follow-up/debrief with the doctor there to explain why they may have done certain things? I know it is hard to accept, but sometimes horrible decisions are made for the sake of our overall health (though I have no idea obviously if this was the case in your situation!)

    To access good information about the benefits etc, you could make an appointment with CAB advice worker theough your children's centre? They are really knowledgeable on all this - any of the support or play workers at the centre should be able to help you arrange this.

    Good luck!

  • Hi Jessi_D (from another Jessie!)

    First of all, congratulations on your second pregnancy! How far along are you now? I read over your previous post and so I know you have been carefully considering your options. You are doing the right thing, asking lots of questions, and getting prepared for second time around.

    Citizen's Advice is the one I would recommend for finding out about benefits etc.

    As for your question about alternatives. That is a difficult one to answer, as a mother and baby unit really is where the most specialised staff and treatment is for getting better. I can understand that you have memories of being terribly unwell there, and therefore it must feel scary to think of going back there.

    I experienced being unwell whilst in the postnatal ward (where I kicked a staff member - I'm horrified now looking back), I was then in a triage unit, a womens only ward and then a mother and baby unit whilst unwell with pp 3 years ago. I was so poorly that I couldn't go to the mother and baby unit straight away and had a pretty horrific experience whilst in the triage and womens only wards, separated from my son.

    I think JB-55's post is an excellent example of thinking about whether visiting whilst well could be a way to overcome fears. Like JB-55, I too have been back to the mbu I was at, since recovering. And it really did feel so different. I was asked back to have an interview about my experience. I saw staff members I recognised, and they were lovely to me. I saw the space in a completely different light, the decoration was actually much nicer than I remembered. Perhaps something to consider, going back to see it again? No pressure, whatever feels right for you.

    Lots of love,

    Jessie xx

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