Don't know what to do

My daughter in law was diagnosed with PPP almost three weeks ago, just after the birth of our first granddaughter.

We are in the U.K.and they are in Australia. It's been such an emotional 3 weeks for us all. My son is just about coping with being a single parent and carer (his words) and is so missing his wife, who is still in hospital. We have managed to get flights out there in 2 weeks time. In the meantime we are working together via text messages to our daughter in law and 'phone calls with our son, usually to help calm and support him in the early hours of the morning when he's struggling to find ways to get the baby to sleep.

Our daughter in law is improving, but it's all very worrying and quite scary.

Any advise for when we do get out there. We have booked our own accommodation so that we aren't just another worry for them staying with them, but close enough to help.

I just want to make sure we get it right. I love my son and my daughter in law and want to help, but not interfere. I also don't want it to seem like we don't care or understand. It's feels like such a tight rope walk.

I just keep telling my daughter in law to take little steps, be kind to herself and how much we love her. It seems so little, but I don't know what else to do!!

They are such a wonderful little family going through the darkest time. Any advice for a struggling first time Nanna 👵 Thank you

14 Replies

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  • Hello Diptfordblue

    Congratulations on becoming a Nanna :) I'm sorry to hear about your daughter-in-law being diagnosed with PP. It must be a worry being so far from your son and his family. This is a great forum to 'meet' and share experiences so you will have lots of support.

    You are doing well to tell your daughter-in-law to take little steps, be kind to herself and how much she is loved. It might not seem a lot to you but it will be so comforting to her as she is going through such a lot at the moment. For many of us here we had never experienced a mental illness until PP hit.

    I had PP many years ago and fully recovered, as your daughter-in-law will. It's such a traumatic illness but it is only temporary and with good medical care and support she will recover in her own time. I'm not sure about care in Australia. Is she in a mother and baby unit? I was under general psychiatric care as there were no mother and baby units here in the UK at the time but I fully recovered.

    It must be a worry for your son seeing his wife so poorly after giving him the treasured gift of their first child. I don't know if you have seen the APP Insider Guides here "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners" which might be helpful to read, the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    It might also be reassuring for you to read a post from a few years ago from a mother whose daughter had PP, sharing her experience. The link isn't working for me at the moment but if you search in the box on the right hand side "A Granny's PP Experience" you should find it

    Do take care of yourself too as this is a stressful time for everyone.

  • Thank you so much for your reply. It's a help just being able to contact people who can point us in the direction of support. My husband and I are so worried about them. Our son has only been in Australia for 4 years and so has little in the way of support. My daughter in law was originally in a secure psychiatric until, but she was transferred to a private medical centre a couple of days ago. She said it was like coming out of prison and going to the Hilton! She has very much improved since the move, but did have a bad day yesterday.

    Thanks for the links I will check them out.

    I am glad to hear that you are well after PPP it's good to hear so many positive stories.

    Many thank xx

  • I'm glad to hear your daughter-in-law has improved since her move to a private medical centre. I think mental health care does vary ..... years ago I was sectioned to an asylum, without my first son, so I can understand your daughter-in-law's comment about the difference.

    Recovery from PP is very much up and down ..... some days are better than others but your daughter-in-law will slowly find her feet with good medical care. I'm not sure how much free time your son has looking after your grandaughter but there is also a short book "Husband in a Storm" with a good account of PP from a husband's point of view, app-network.org/wp-content/... which might be helpful.

    There is also a post from four months ago on the forum "Aussies and Newzealanders" giving info on a closed Facebook group to connect Australian and New Zealand women more personally as a supportive PP network. I don't know if your daughter in law might perhaps make contact when she is feeling stronger or your son might find reassurance there? In the meantime we are here to help.

    PP is a frightening illness for a young family but as Ellie said it is very treatable. Take care, I hope these links are helpful.

  • Welcome to the forum. I'm really sorry to hear that your daughter-in-law isn't well, and that they are so far away! That is so difficult. It sounds like you are being amazing parents though, and so thoughtful, for example booking somewhere to stay rather than staying with them so that they have space.

    I had postpartum psychosis out of the blue in 2011 after the birth of my son. It was hugely traumatic, and as you say, they are going through the darkest times. What you are saying to your daughter-in-law sounds like just the right thing, that is just what I wanted / needed to hear when I was ill. That people loved me, that I would get better but just take small steps, encourage me to be kind to myself.

    I wanted to tell you that PP is very treatable, and mums get better. I would even say it has given me something - a huge gratitude for my life. It deepened the relationship with my family, and some close friends who were really there for me. And amazing bond with my son who I give thanks for every day. And APP has given me this amazing community of fellow PP mums, and a new 'vocation' / job - which I love so much. I wouldn't have had any of this if I hadn't had PP. I say this to let you know your daughter in law will get better, and be fully herself again and maybe even, in time, may gain something from the illness.

    Lilybeth has already given you the link to the guides, which is great. I also thought you may find it helpful to read this blog by someone who had PP, and what support she found helpful when she was recovering: 'what to say to someone with postpartum psychosis'. I know that it rang true for my experience too. ppsoup.com/2016/01/26/what-...

    Take care, I really hope your trip to see them goes well, it sounds like you're being an amazing mum and mother-in-law. Thinking of you and your family

    Ellie X

  • Oh thank you so much! This is such a help just communicating with people who just ...... understand .... don't ask all the questions there are no answers to! THANK YOU and keep well!

    I had cancer some years ago and I know I am a different person since then, and I too think the illness gave me something positive, hard to understand unless you've been there. Xx

  • Ah that's great you've found the answers helpful...and that's so interesting and wonderful what you say about your experience of cancer, it's wonderful to hear you say it gave you something positive...I do think when we go through something so hard and traumatic, like a serious illness, it is definitely possible to transform it into something positive somehow...but its hard to explain it as you say, unless you've been there!

    Take care XX

  • Hello, as a husband of a wife who got PPP also two weeks ago after the birth of our son, I can relate to how he feels. Although my wife is now in a MBU very far away from my home I still visit every day. I think what your son needs is what I was given yesterday, a day of rest from baby and wife, I know it's tough from personal experience looking after my wife with PPP as she isn't herself (as I saw it in the first week - she wasn't my wife anymore) and also our son has been in and out of intensive care so just one day of him caring for only himself while you perhaps babysit or go see his wife for him this will help him get his mood in order and get some well earned sleep as there is no good that can come out of a partner who is worn down he will need to be refreshed and strong and that one day can give that to him. It's the hardest thing saying you will have a day off from baby and wife but in this situation it is what is needed. I hope this helps.

    Ryan

  • Hi Ryan

    I just noticed your reply on this thread. I'm sorry to hear about your wife, that is really wonderful that you are visiting her every day, even though the MBU is far away. She is in the right place though I know it's hard she is so far away and separated from you. I know personally how hard that is, my partner had a long journey to visit me too.

    I agree it's so important that the dad takes a break too, I remember my partner not visiting one weekend and staying with a friend instead, which did him the world of good.

    I just wanted to make sure you had seen the information on our website for partners, which you may find helpful to read: app-network.org/partners-2/

    Your wife will get better, and be herself again.

    Take care, and never hesitate to get in touch for any support or information

    Ellie

  • Thanks Ellie :-)

  • Thank you for your reply. My thoughts are with you and your family. I completely understand you needing a day off and fortunately my son's in laws are being amazing, they take their grandchild every so often for the night or through the day. So he's not totally on his own.

    I wish you all the very best for the future.

    Very best wishes

    diptfordblue

  • Hi Diptford blue, I was in a similar position 6 years ago. My daughter had her first baby in Sydney and became ill after 3 months. She was admitted to a pretty tough psychiatric ward at first and my son in law was left with a baby who had only ever been breast fed. After 3 days she moved to a wonderful mother and baby unit privately run by a charity. There seems to be a lot more private healthcare over there that is encouraged by the state. I went over immediately and my son in law was so relieved to have some support as your son will be. It's such a confusing time, comes out of the blue, and it's an illness most of us have no experience of. I'm grateful to this forum as I've learned a lot. I also talked a lot to the hospital staff as I was able to visit during the day when my son in law was at work My daughter seemed to find it comforting and reassuring to have me around to do ordinary Granny things!

    I went over a few times, staying at first in their flat and then renting nearby, like you, to give them some space My daughter recovered enough to return to ( admittedly very supportive) work after a year. She had her 2nd baby after 3 years, was on medication and experienced depression but no psychosis . They are back in the U.K. now with 2 lovely children and they all are on top form.

    Don't think I ever got my head around the health system over there but my daughter certainly got consistently good treatment, was able to see the same psychiatrist for 3 years.

    Hope you find this reassuring. We all found it helped being together, there on the spot rather than worrying hundreds of miles away. We talked so much, and I saw lots of my grandchildren!

    Best wishes xx

  • Hi there, sorry to hear about your daughter in law and that they are so far away. What you are doing already is already helping, I think it's amazing that you have taken time to understand the illness and join this forum for further help and insight. That in itself will show your son and daughter in law just how much you care and want to help and support them. I was diagnosed with PP November last year, 6 days after my baby was born. I had never heard of it and it was an utterly terrifying experience to go through. I was in a mother and baby hospital for a month and my partner visited almost daily as much as he was allowed. My mum visited while I was in there a few times and seemed supportive. However since discharge she has not been. I was unable to drive for 4 months and not once did she come and visit me and baby. It's like she thinks in our of hospital, I just be better now. She doesn't understand the illness and the time it can take to heal. My teenage daughter moved out of home while I was unwell and lives with my mum. So it seems all focus is now on her. It's very upsetting not to have her support. So it will be a real comfort for your son and daughter in law that although far away you are there to help, understand, love and support them. PP affects people in different ways and I'm learning from this forum that recovery is also different for everyone. But as many of the mums on here have, she will get better and will do so quicker with a good support network.

    Enjoy your visit and meeting your grandchild for the first time. Take care.

  • Hi Diptfordblue.

    Congratulations on the arrival of your grandchild. I understand what it's like as my younger sister was diagnosed of Postpartum Psychosis in April. We thought we had lost her completely. I had to join this forum and I must say that I enjoyed support from here.

    She is back! Miraculously, she's recovered. This past one month felt like a decade, though. But be sure that your DIL would recover.

    With the support of her family constantly reassuring her and guiding her to take one step at a time, she'll be ok.

    Now, when I tell my sister how she attacked me, accusing me of hurting her baby, during one of those horrible episodes, she's so apologetic. PP seems to want to change everything. It's a phase that would pass.

    Now, she looks after her baby and bonds better.

    Family support goes a very long way in the recovery process.

    I wish her a speedy recovery.

    You'll definitely come back here in no time to tell us about her recovery.

    Hugs and kisses to your adorable grandchild xx

  • Thank you so much!

    I think what you said really rang true. It's as if she's gone somewhere, she doesn't seem to be behind her eyes. That looks really odd written down, but I have the distinct impression you'll understand exactly what I mean!

    Everyday when I speak to her she seems a little more like my beautiful, funny DiL.

    I am positive about the future. I just can't wait to get there to at least help out with the practicalities, especially whilst she is in hospital and my son is caring fir both his wife and child, and getting used to being a first time Dad.

    I am very proud of the way way they are dealing with the situation though.

    With very best wishes to you and your sister and family!

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