Help supporting a friend: I've just... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Help supporting a friend

Petrat profile image

I've just spoken to a friend who is in a MBU. She told me some things she's been experiencing and I guessed it was postpartum psychosis. She confirmed this. She's not told anyone else and told me not to. She's so ashamed and embarrassed. So I'm here, looking for advice on how I can support her. She's been suicidal and might be sent back to general ward. She's asked me to look after her baby if that happens as she's a single mum.

19 Replies
hgallo profile image
hgalloVolunteer

Hi Petrat, welcome to the forum.It sounds like you're being a great support for her. I had PP back in 2016 and was also in an MBU with my twin babies. Has she been in the MBU long? It took me a few weeks to come to terms with having the illness, sadly there's still a lot of stigma attached to the word 'psychosis.'

There's lots of useful info on the APP website about the illness that both you (and she) can look at when she feels ready. MBU's do try and keep mum and baby together wherever possible. In all honesty I was frequently suicidal when I had PP during the acute phase of my illness. The nurses will keep a close eye on her if she is (and she's open with them about it) so try not to worry too much.

Hopefully, she'll be able to stay with her baby in the MBU until she's better. And then she can work out what support she'll need after. Maybe they can help work out a care plan with her in the MBU? It's a scary illness but she will get better with time and support. Maybe give her details of the APP website and/or the forum. She can get in touch when she feels ready. she's not on her own in this and neither are you. Please keep in touch, x

Petrat profile image
Petrat in reply to hgallo

I have been trying to reassure her that the fact I guessed what it was shows that it is nothing too unusual and that it is an acute illness and it will pass. I'm not sure she's ready to hear or read up herself right now. I'm an approved foster carer so assured her that I can take the baby if needed and ressured her that I know foster care is an absolute last resort after keeping mum and baby together then family/friends care (which I would be in that case) I've called her again tonight and she's asked me to call tomorrow.

hgallo profile image
hgalloVolunteer in reply to Petrat

That's great to hear Petrat. I had good and bad days when I had pp but eventually the good days got more frequent. Stick with it, it sounds like you're being a great help to her x

Petrat profile image
Petrat in reply to hgallo

Thanks for your encouragement. We now have a WhatsApp group of concerned friends, not sure if any of them know the specific diagnosis so keeping that to myself. But it is good to share the load of her general support needs.

hgallo profile image
hgalloVolunteer in reply to Petrat

Good you've got a mutual support network. I'm sure she'll tell people when she's ready x

Hi

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator

Hi petrat

I’m so sorry to hear about your friend and that she is experiencing pp. It’s so good you’ve found us. I had pp myself in 2011 after the birth of my son.

It sounds like you’re being such a wonderful friend. I’m sure you’re already making such a massive difference by visiting her and just being there.

I thought of this blog post for you, what to say to someone who has experienced pp, written by someone who has ‘been there’. I think it’s got some great tips in there about what to say: ppsoupdotcom.wordpress.com/...

Do keep writing here whenever you need to. Your friend will come through this and get better. Do ask any questions

Ellie

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi PetratI am sorry to hear about your friend. I had pp in 2018 and I can sympathise with your friend about her reticence of talking openly anout her diagnosis, it is still early days so very normal to want some time to come to terms with it herself. While in the midst of it, it feels like nothing will be the same again, but this illness is very treatable and with time, support and medication, she'll be back to herself. I am glad to hear that you have set up a group, it helps to share the support. Take care of yourself

Hi. She’s lucky to have such a good friend.

Encourage her to take the medication. It’s to get her mind and body back in balance as the brain chemistry has gone haywire.

And keep phoning her for a chat. She might not remember that you called before, and she might repeat herself or she might be really low, but I’m sure the phone calls are really helping her.

Take care. 🙂

Thanks all.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Petrat

I’m just wondering if your friend is still in the MBU and whether she as been able to tell anyone how she feels? I am sure you have reassured her that there is no need for her to feel ashamed or embarrassed and if she could be open about how she feels, there’s a lot of support available.

Thank you for caring.

Petrat profile image
Petrat in reply to Lilybeth

She is still there, which is good in a way as social services were talking about removing her baby as she wasn't interacting with him but she's really making an effort now. I've discovered a few people know of her diagnosis and we have a WhatsApp group to co ordinate support (she has older children so we've been organizing Christmas presents etc) she's not allowed visits due to covid, not even from her other children :( my church minister is fighting for that to happen. All we can do is reassure her.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Petrat

What a great friend you are co-ordinating a WhatsApp group for support :) It must have been awful thinking that social services were talking about removing her baby, especially when she is recovering from such a traumatic illness.

It’s good that she is still in the mbu, although missing her other children. It must be very unsettling not having visitors, I’m sure her other children are excited to meet their new brother but I suppose the mbu have to weigh up the safety issues.

I think reassuring your friend that she will eventually be well will be encouraging to hear. I wonder if you have seen the PP Insider Guide “Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis” at app-network.org/what-is-pp/... which might be helpful for your friend to read?

You have organised a great support network for your friend .... we are also here to lean on and share experiences if needed. Stay safe and take care.

Hello Petrat,I am so sorry that your friend is so unwell. As Lillybeth has said what a wonderful friend you are, your reasurance will mean such a lot to her in her recovery.

'A friend in need is a friend indeed'.

Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and a happy, healthy new year

to you and your friend.

With a hug

Judithx

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Petrat

I hope your friend is slowly improving in the mbu. I think Christmas was different for everyone this year but hope your friend might have been able to see her other children, even if only via video call?

I’m sure the WhatsApp group is very encouraging for your friend and I hope you have support for yourself too. Stay safe.

Her girls were able to visit Christmas day which did wonders for her mood :)

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

That’s great news Petrat ...... such a good memory for your friend :)

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Petrat

Just wondering how your friend is in the mbu? I hope she will eventually be allowed home for an overnight stay with her baby and family. Stay safe.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Petrat

Thinking of you and what a great support you have been to your friend. I hope she is making progress supported by the WhatsAPP group. Take care.

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