No Mother and Baby Unit in Wales

Hello all,

I've read a few things on this forum and it is fantastic. I have only been discharged 2 weeks ago from a Mother and Baby unit London. I am from South Wales. Its saddening to find out that the mother and baby unit was shut down several years ago.

I have written a blog as a way of personally processing what has just happened to me but I've made it public just in case it would help anyone who has been or going through a similar experience. This is my blog address theyoungwelshactivist.blogs...

If there is anyway I can help the campaign for there to be a Mother and Baby unit I would be happy to help in anyway.

Thanks

Dani

19 Replies

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  • Wow Dani!

    I've just read your blog and thank you so much for getting in touch.

    Your experience sounds horrific and so similar to mine and well done for writing about it so soon after having PP and for raising awareness.

    You are so right that Mother & Baby Units are vital in Wales and all areas.

    I live in North Wales and had PP 21 years ago following the birth of my son. I was living in Leicester at the time. I am from Wrexham and moved to Leicester to do my nurse training and moved back to Wrexham to be near my family when my son was 8 months old.

    My friend, Mark Williams set up a petition for Mother & Baby Units in Wales and Mark, myself and Charlotte Harding are campaigning for much needed MBUs. We handed in the petition to the Welsh Government in May.

    I spoke to the First Minister Carwyn Jones a couple of months ago and his response was very annoying! He said as PP is rare it is not cost effective to run a MBU. I explained that is is costing so much more to treat women is the wrong environment as recovery is longer and said that it is very damaging for mums and babies to be separated or to be travelling hundreds of miles to a MBU.

    I wont put everything in this message now as there is such a lot to let you know about but I will keep in touch.

    I share the same views about the crucial need for MBUs and for there to be more known about PP. I don't think PP is rare, there is little know about it but 1400 women a year in the UK is a lot of women. I also strongly believe that public education of PP is needed and it should also be part of the training for all health professionals so they are aware of the early signs to look out for.

    Also there is little known about APP (Action on Postpartum Psychosis) a charity which has been a massive help in my recovery and the recovery of so many. They provide useful information guides about recovery, guides for partners and so much helpful information and peer support. When I met a group of women through APP who had been through PP it was a huge help and a big part of my recovery.

    You have done amazingly well to go through all that and come out the other side trying to help others. I'm so glad you contacted us and I will be in touch. I can contact Charlotte who lives in Cardiff if you would like me to? Charlotte is the regional representative for APP for South Wales and I'm the rep for North Wales.

    The NCT are also campaigning for MBUs in Wales, I will keep you informed about the campaign. I will be in touch with Carwyn Jones again soon. I sent him my blog a while ago and think if he reads yours it may have more effect as you have recent experience of PP. Would you like me to send your blog to him? I really think he should read it to see exactly how crucial MBUs are.

    The link for my blog is goo.gl/Xp5Q8N.

    Thanks for writing and sharing your blog, it will help so many.

    Will be in touch soon, take care,

    Sarah x

  • Hi Sarah,

    Wow, you have done so much already for those who have suffered with this illness. I'm so glad you got in contact. I'm disappointed about the first ministers opinion that MBU's are not cost effective as there are lives on the line. If affects a whole family. It is such a scary time.

    I've read your blog, I find it so bizarre how similar experiences are. I can't imagine what you must have been through being sent home still very unwell and being at a ward for 3 weeks. You are a warrior woman! I only spent 4 days in one and my mental deteriorate dramatically during that time.

    If you believe the blog will help in any way then please do share it. I go to protests and get involved in campaigns when I can. I am willing to help in whatever way I can. My partner is wanting to raise awareness also. Please keep in touch.

    Take Care,

    Dani

  • Hello Dani

    I've read your blog and was amazed how well you can recall everything and have recovered in such a short time to write so well. It's such a shame that you had to go so far away from home to receive the specialist care of the MBU.

    If you have read some of the posts here, you might know that my two episodes of PP were many years ago, before MBUs, under general mixed psychiatric care. I can recall my delusions and psychoses but have no memory of how I came to be in an asylum in 1975 just before Christmas! Similarly in 1981 my memory is very sketchy as I again 'woke up' in a general psychiatric unit, without my second newborn son. I received ECT treatment after both traumas as medication had no effect. I have recently had sight of my medical records during these times and it was as if I was reading about a completely different woman, whom I felt so sorry for. I didn't know my diagnoses for years as my illnesses were not spoken about within the family and I felt very ashamed of myself. That was until I had the good fortune to meet Prof Jones and some of the APP team after responding to an article in the local newspaper. After sight of my notes following that meeting he was able to confirm that I had suffered PP all those years ago and instantly my mood and perception of myself lifted. Thankfully I eventually fully recovered and found my place again.

    I'm really pleased to hear you will be such a good support to Sarah in her fight for an MBU in Wales. As you say, it is a life threatening illness which needs more attention so that women have specialist care and are not separated from their babies. Welcome to this amazing band of mothers. :)

    Take good care.

  • Hi Lilybeth,

    Thanks for you reply. You're story has really touched me, thank you for sharing. I can't imagine how you must have felt. It sounds as if things have changed for the better in recent years, with still a long way to go.

    I feel very lucky to have been sent to a MBU so quickly. I had the support from the midwives in my local community who caught it very early on. I don't know how I can remember so much, my memory of is is so vivid. Its such a cruel illness, it makes you lose all perspective of yourself and those around you. It really saddens me to hear that for some, they are never heard.

    You sound like a very strong woman, having been through so much. I hope we can stay in touch.

    Thanks,

    Dani

  • Hello Dani

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I hope my story didn't upset you as I realise you are in the very early days of recovery although you write so eloquently.

    I hope we can stay in touch too. I'm sure it is such a relief to be at home with your family after such a traumatic experience. I hope you can find time to relax and recuperate.

    Take good care.

  • Thanks Dani,

    I'm so glad you got in touch and thanks for your help with the campaign. I will contact the First Minister this week. After the NCT event in Cardiff last week I want to contact him about his comments. It will be a massive help if I can send him your blog as it backs up everything we've been trying to get across. Like you say lives are on the line.

    How are you now? Hope things are improving. There's a guide on the APP website about recovery from PP which may be helpful.

    If there's anything we can help with we are more than happy to help.

    The NCT event last week was to bring parents and assembly members together to talk about mental health of new mums and what is needed as part of the new NCT campaign for MBUs. The Health Minister was also there and if it's ok I can contact himand send him your blog to show that this is still happening now which will be a great help for the No Mother & Baby Unit in Wales campaign. Also if it's ok I can send it to Mark Williams who set up the petition. It think the more people who read your story the better.

    I've made quite a lot of contacts on twitter with people involved with perinatal mental health. Lots of Consultants, GP's and many people affected by PP. To share your story with them would be fantastic but if you would prefer me not to I totally understand. A GP has just designed a Toolkit for GP's to help GP's to identify early signs and care for mums with postnatal mental illness. A group of us were asked to review the Toolkit and send our comments. The Toolkit is being launched on next Friday 22nd in London and I'm lucky to be going to the launch.

    Thanks for your offer of help. Sharing your story has helped so much and I'm amazed how you have put it into words so soon. It took me 20 years! Having said that it helped so much to write about it instead of it all going around my head!

    I hope you now have lots of time to recover and enjoy that special time with your family.

    Thanks again for your help and hope you now have chance to try to make sense of things, although none of it makes sense! It's a horrifying time and so glad you are home and able to concentrate on you, your family and recovery.

    Take care,

    Sarah x

  • Hi Sarah,

    It sounds like you are doing so much for survivors of PP. The event on the 22nd sounds very progressive and I hope it makes a difference. You can share my blog on Twitter that's not a problem. If it helps create awareness then I'm all for it.

    If you ever need any further help with your campaign I'll be willing to volunteer for you. Its not nice getting in touch with women who have been through the same thing.

    I really hope that positive changes take place soon. Please contact me if you need me to do anything else to help.

    Cheers,

    Dani

  • Hi Dani,

    Thanks so much. Charlotte Harding who lives in Cardiff has asked me to give you her contact details. Charlotte had PP four years ago and is campaigning for Mother & Baby units in Wales. She would love to be in touch with you. I will find out her email address. She is on Facebook and Twitter. I think on Facebook her page is called Recovery Mummy. Will be in touch soon with her other contact details. Also just to let you know Mark Williams who does a lot of public speaking regarding the mental health of Fathers, he has just set up a petition about Fathers being included on the NICE guidelines for antenatal and postnatal mental health. I will try to find the link for the petition. Mark is a good contact for your partner as you mentioned he is interested in raising awareness. Hope you're ok, take care, Sarah x

  • Hi Sarah, I'll try and get in touch.

    Yeah my partner has been writing things down himself and is thinking of writing about it in his blog. I know for a fact he will appreciate Mark reaching out to him.

    It would be great to follow you on twitter. What is your username?

    I will try and add charlotte aswell.

    Take Care,

    Dani

  • Thanks Dani, that's great my twitter username is @sarahdearden1 just to confuse everyone my name is Sarah Hayes, I got married two years ago and haven't changed my name on twitter. Mark would be really pleased to be in touch with your partner. On twitter his username is @MarkWilliamsROW and Charlotte asked me to give you her email address which is ck_harding@hotmail.com. I just tried to share your blog with twitter friends but could not get the link to work as I'm rubbish with technology! Will try again! Thanks, Sarah x

  • Thanks Sarah, I've sent Charlotte an email.

    I've also posted the blog on my twitter page if you want to use it.

    Cheers,

    Dani

  • Thank you Dani, I've tweeted with your link and some have already retweeted it! Thanks again, this will help lots of people x

  • Hi Dani,

    Thank you for posting and sharing your blog. You recall everything in such detail, I remember most of my experience too, it's such a terrifying illness.

    My PP was 4 years ago now, I spent a month in an MBU about 50 miles away, nothing compared to the 200 miles you had to travel. I agree MBUs are crucial. My sister suffered postnatal mental illness while living in America and was separated from her baby, it's so wrong...

    I hope writing everything down has helped you on your road to recovery, personally I've found writing things down and also reading others' stories so incredibly helpful so thank you.

    All the very best, J x

  • Hi J, thanks for responding to my post.

    Yes, I can remember most of it very vividly, I don't know if thats a good thing or not!

    Its so unfair that where you live depends on whether you get the right treatment. Every woman should have the same level of support. It really saddens me to know that so many women are seperated from their babies and don't get the right treatment. Its so scary. Even though it sounds as if the UK has come further than other countries, there still should be a MBU in every city (can you tell I'm an idealist?). Its such an important lifeline. 50 miles away is still too far.

    You're right, writing has helped me throughout. I wrote some of the content of the blog whilst I was in hospital so maybe thats why I could remember it so vividly.

    Thanks for getting in touch J.

    Dani

  • Hi Dani,

    That's such a shame there is no mother and baby unit in Wales. They are so needed for new mums that are struggling or have an illness.

    There should be more across the country let alone closing them!

    I'm glad you did get into one tho, I found it was a very help to me and my family

  • Hi Betty2014,

    Thanks for getting in touch. I know, when I heard that the MBU in Wales was shut down, I couldn't believe it. How can you shut down such an important facility?! Its mind boggelling. Luckily there is a group of people who are fighting hard for it to be reopened.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Dani

  • I have signed the petition and your blog is amazing, I hope that ladies going through pp read it and it helps to know that you will get better.

    My mbu was over 80 miles away but they were thinking about sending me to London which would have been 200 miles away.

    We definitely need more mbu and no less

  • Hi Dani

    Just to add to others' comments really, your blog and story is so powerful and it sounds like things are getting a good profile in Wales at the moment - although as you say, still some way to go.

    I had PP in 2009 after my first child was born, and spent time in a general psychiatric ward before a MBU place was found 30 miles away. Sadly that unit is now closed and I realise it was nothing like the 200 miles you went, but there really does need to be more MBUs. I had another child in 2013 and stayed well, it was such a relief especially thinking that there might not have been anything for me if I had needed it in my area.

    I too am hopeful that things are changing for the better now... but in the meantime, there are lots of us pushing to get there for the sake of other women and families. I'm sure you have seen the APP guides that were mentioned earlier, if not here is the link: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    All the best with your ongoing recovery and feel free to keep us up to date on here. Take care, xx

  • Hi Hannah, thanks for the comment. I can't believe how supportive people are on this site. It means a lot especially whikle I'm still adjusting to life back home.

    Thanks for the link.

    Dani

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