In unit with PPP

Hello, I have a real problem , my son is the father of two delightful girls , their mother and he separated five years ago and he has always has remained a major part of his girls lives, their mother has always had a very strong bond with her father to the point he was there every day from 8 in the morning to 8/9 at night and she did nothing without the approval of her father, this is the main cause of their breaking up, anyway he passed away just four days before she gave birth to her third child which was the result of a one night stand and she has given the baby up for adoption, we were notified a month ago that there were concerns over her behaviour and concerns from the childrens school , anyway the long and short of it a week ago whilst on holiday (with the girls) that she had been found wandering the streets, no purse no keys and totally Unaware of what she was doing she has been sectioned and they are now suspecting she has PPP although there may be other underlying problems, we are beside ourselves with worry this girl has NO family whatsoever and NO friends she has alienated every single person she has ever been friendly with at any point, the only people she has are my son and myself and husband we have taken over care of the girls and we are the only ones visiting and keeping in contact with the Unit she is in, I just don't know what to do, sorry for rambling but I am at my wits end here and don't know what the eventual outcome will be , how can I leave my grandchildren in her care after release from hospital I am scared if she is depressed she could self harm ,there is already a family history of suicide (both brothers) just don't know what to say or do just want someone to say they have had similiar circumstances , :( :(

19 Replies

  • I have pp. I am a single mum of 4 children and have looked after them on my own the whole time. With some support from my ex mum in law. My children have been fantastic I have been in hospital with self harm injuries but I would never hurt the kids. Ever. They are the reason I'm still fighting to get better.

  • Has your ex husband used PP against you in anyway with regard to kids?

  • No he has done a runner. We haven't seen him for nearly a year now.

  • Hello KarinG

    Thank you for coming to the forum at such a stressful time for you and your family and sharing the traumatic story of your daughter-in-law who possibly has PP. It is very worrying but if she has been diagnosed with PP it is only a temporary illness and she will fully recover, as we all have. With good care she will go on to be a loving mother to your grandchildren. It does sound as if she has been suffering in silence for a while ......

    I had PP twice many years ago and I'm a grandmother so I understand how precious your grandchildren are to you and your concerns. One of the traits of PP is odd behaviour due to the psychosis and delusions. I've read from my notes how difficult I was for my husband and family at the time.

    Your daughter-in-law will need all your support and patience as she tries to battle her way through to recovery. There are APP Insider Guides, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Recovery Guide for Partners" which might be helpful information about what to expect. There is also a post here from a grandmother whose daughter suffered PP a few years ago and describes the journey so well,

    Try not to despair ..... your daughter-in-law is in the right place to receive the care she needs and your treasured grandchildren have your loving support. I was in general psychiatric care during my PP episodes. It sounds as though your daughter-in-law might also be understandably affected by the loss of her father and also giving her third child up for adoption.

    Take good care of yourself as this is a distressing time for everyone. Please keep writing here if it helps you .... there is no one here to judge or offend.

  • Hi karinG

    Thank you for coming to the forum.

    PP is a devastating and scary illness, however with the right treatment and support your daughter in law will get better. As lilybeth says, she is in the right place - I hope they are able to confirm a diagnosis and that she is responding to treatment.

    It sounds like she went through an awful lot of trauma in the days surrounding the birth, losing her father and then giving up her baby for adoption. It is great that she has your support, keeping in touch with the unit and looking after the children.

    I can understand your concerns, the fact that she was on holiday with the girls when her illness got really bad must have been an awful shock and very scary, but I don't think there is any reason to think that your grandchildren wouldn't be safe with their mother once she is discharged. When she is ready, she will most likely have some leave of increasing amounts of time before being discharged and will then continue to be under the care of health professionals who will monitor her recovery. I'm sure having her family around her will be a very important part of that recovery and she will need all the care and support she can get. I'm sure your love and understanding will help immensely if you feel you can provide this, it is a very lonely and isolating illness.

    My advice would be to try and take things a day at a time. I'm sure as you see her getting better your concerns will lessen - remember that whatever behaviour she has been displaying is the illness and not her.

    I hope you can all lean on each other at this time and that things start to improve soon.

    Very best wishes, J x

  • Hello KarinG

    Just wondering how you are coping? I hope the replies here were helpful and that your daughter-in-law has received a diagnosis. Mental illness is very stressful for everyone but I'm sure she is very well supported by you and your family.

    Best wishes.

  • It seems like the problems predate the birth of baby who was given up for adoption ,so no one can give me a definitive diagnosis I have had the run around from one nurse to next all asking for background info so much so that I wonder if the left hand really knows what the right is doing .she is still very confused but the crying fits seem to be improving not sure where we are going from here tbh

  • Hello karinG

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. Is your daughter-in-law still in a mental health unit in the UK? I'm sorry to hear you don't seem to have had a definitive diagnosis but I suppose the staff need to have all the info so that they come to the right conclusion, although I appreciate it's very stressful for everyone.

    I'm so sorry your daughter-in-law is struggling with loss it seems. I'm sure you have been in touch with professionals for advice and I hope other mums here might be able to give you advice of where to go from here.

    Take good care.

  • thank you its been very hard, she has no family whatsoever and it all seems down to me at the moment, I just wish that someone could say X is wrong and it will take Y time to recover, everything is so up in the air

  • It must be such a challenge for you, coping with your grandchildren too. Your daughter-in-law is very fortunate to have you to speak up for her when she's not well enough herself. It's awful to have a mental illness and she must be very confused. Recovery can take a while so please take care of yourself as this must be a very stressful time for you.

  • It is very stressful and it is affecting the family it's not just the person who is ill who feels the effects it has a knock on effect on everyone

  • Hi karinG,

    I'm sorry to hear that your family is going through a difficult time. Like others here, I had PP in 2009 and I know what a devastating time it was and how the whole family is affected. If it seems difficult to get a diagnosis, I am picking up from your posts that this could also be because she has no other family and with the loss of her father too, that may have had quite an effect on her mental state as well as the adoption.

    It is fantastic that you are there for your grandchildren and I hope you and your husband, together with your son, are also getting the support necessary for that. It may be that you can lean on each other but never hesitate to contact others if you need it, perhaps a friendly GP or local childrens centre could signpost you to other sources of support if you need it.

    If you are in the UK, there is a second opinion service offered by APP which might be useful in getting further information, the link is here:

    A referral from GP or psychiatrist is needed and might be something to consider to help you get further answers on diagnosis and moving forward. I agree that once you have a diagnosis, it seems easier to know what to do next as the unknown is hard isn't it (this was certainly the case in my family's experience). As Lilybeth says, recovery can be a long road but it is one we have all travelled and I hope that the information on this site will be helpful to you. Take care, we are all thinking of you and wishing you and your family the very best, xx

  • Hello again things aren't really getting much better and I have a question or two that maybe you can answer ... Does ppp only strike AFTER baby born or is it possible to have onset of symptoms around 4 months in pregnancy this also predates death of father by five months ..also would sexual overtures to people on the unit be a symptom and also incontinence I feel there are more issues here than pp but I am not a health professional any pointers gratefully received

  • Hello KarinG

    Sorry to hear things aren't really much better with your daughter-in-law; it must be very hard for everyone. PP does strike in the first few days or weeks after baby is born. In my experience I wasn't psychotic four months into my pregnancy. That's why it was such a shock, happening out of the blue, as I was so looking forward to our first and second babies. There is a mum on the forum who suffered psychosis when she was a teenager so it can happen separately but is very difficult to recover from.

    As mentioned in the Insider Guide "Recovery after postpartum psychosis" under "Coming to terms with shocking or traumatic behaviour" there is a paragraph listing how some women behave in ways that are really out of character. It does mention how women can be over familiar with strangers. I didn't experience incontinence. One of my embarrassing memories was not having hand / eye co-ordination when eating, i.e. if soup was served in the unit I would miss my mouth and spill it all over my clothes! Unfortunately, although I did have a change of clothes, the nurses didn't change me as they were busy. I was very uncomfortable sitting in stained clothes until my family came to visit at night to help me, as I couldn't help myself at the time.

    I'm not sure there are any pointers here for you but perhaps other mums will have advice. You are doing very well to offer support to your daughter-in-law. Can the care team offer you any support? Take care.

    Best wishes.

  • Thank you I will do some more reading although at this moment time to myself is quite hard to find 😟

  • I'm sure it's very hard to find time for yourself when you are also caring for your grandchildren and supporting your daughter-in-law. Do you think the second opinion service might be able to help as suggested earlier?

    Try to have five minutes at least to yourself for a break.

  • Update : three psychiatrist three diagnoses schizophrenia ,schizoaffective disorder and one PPP having gathered information from school it seems problems first arose back in 2015 ☹️☹️ She has been in the unit 7 weeks and the medication she is on hasn't improved her illness they have now also added anti depressant , no capability to retain information no ability to make any rational decisions , child services are pushing for the children to visit yet her psychiatrist is advising against it for at least another few weeks I am at my wits end , just wish I could see some end to this 👍🏻☹️👍🏻👍🏻

  • Hi KarinG

    I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter in law is still really unwell... it sounds so awfully stressful, managing your grandchildren's access to their mother as well. It just sounds like she is going through the hardest time. And I'm sorry there is such confusion around her diagnosis too, that must be so frustrating. I too wondered whether Ian Jones second opinion service may help though I'm not sure if her care team feel it's needed? It sounds like she had particular difficult situations in her life that may have triggered the illness too (the adoption) and that she was struggling even before that?

    It sounds like you are being amazing, supporting her even though your son is no longer in a relationship with her, and supporting her children. I do hope you're able to look after yourself too.

    She will get better, she will come through this even though she is so unwell now. I wonder if you have looked at other groups too that may be able to direct you to more support / advice than what we know of, such as Bipolar UK or Rethink? They may have some helpful information for you too.

    Take care, keep writing whenever you need to X

  • Hello karinG

    Sorry things are very difficult for you. Can your daughter-in-law's psychiatrist refer her to Prof Jones' Second Opinion Service? I really think he will have the definitive answer and can offer advice regarding her treatment. I'm sure it must be very frustrating for you but if your daughter-in-law does have PP she will be unable to communicate her thoughts and feelings in a meaningful way, especially if she is not on the right medication. Medication didn't work for me and I was given courses of ECT but I did have proper diagnoses of PP following my sons' births.

    I'm sure the psychiatrist might be right about your grandchildren visiting but I wonder whether seeing them might lift her mood ..... then again it might be upsetting for her? I can see how weighing everything up is so draining for you.

    I hope you have some support for yourself too. Take care, we're here to talk.

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