Partner returning to work: Hi, Hope you... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Partner returning to work

abjr660 profile image


Hope you are all well,

My wife is currently at the stage where she is close to being given overnight leave from the mother and baby unit and I was considering going back to work, which I currently have leave from.

I was wondering what the community's thoughts were on when would be the ideal time to return to work?

Would you extend your leave as much as possible or would that be giving my wife a false impression of how life will be like when she comes home permanently?

What support have people typically asked from their employer?

18 Replies
Lilybeth profile image

Hello abjr660

Thank you for reaching out to the forum where you will find lots of support and shared experiences. Although it must be a difficult time for you, it’s good that your wife is receiving specialist care in the mother and baby unit and is well enough to be considered for home leave.

I had Postpartum Psychosis many years ago and was under mixed general psychiatric care. Like your wife, I did progress to home leave, gradually, one night leading to two and then a weekend until I was eventually discharged.

I wonder how long your wife has been in the MBU. When I first went home I was quite anxious, coping with routine and a new baby. At first I missed the ‘security’ of the unit where I had been for months without my son. So I think it depends on how your wife feels although after a few visits home, I was much happier and my husband was very supportive. This was just my experience and I’m sure other mums and dads will be here to share their experiences.

There are Insider Guides which might be helpful, for example, “Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners” at with personal experiences also on the page.

Take good care of yourself .... we are all here to listen.

abjr660 profile image
abjr660 in reply to Lilybeth

Thanks Lillybeth. Appreciate your response on this, it has been helpful, my wife was admitted 6/7 weeks ago

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer in reply to abjr660

Thank you abjr660 ..... Your wife has done really well to be considered for home leave after being admitted 6/7 weeks ago. I’m sure it has been difficult with restrictions due to Covid.

There is another resource “PP Soup” which was put together by a mum who suffered PP with input from other mums and professionals at with helpful clips and insight.

Please remember to take care of yourself too and if possible, talk to family and friends about how you are feeling, although at the moment I’m sure you’re looking forward to having your wife and baby home.

We are all here to lean on if it helps .... thinking of you.

EmiMum profile image

Hi abjr660,

I am sorry to hear that your wife was diagnosed with pp, but it is a good sign that she is going to be given overnight leave soon, progressively moving towards her discharge from the mbu.

I had pp in 2018 and like your wife I also spent some time in an mbu. My husband went back to work a couple of weeks before I was given overnight leave and the first leave we tried was over the weekend, stretching it by a day at each end in subsequent leaves as we gained more confidence.

Does you and your wife have other support at home that could be of help? Family or friends nearby that could drop in for a chat and to help build up her confidence. As Lilybeth says, leaving the safety net of the hospital can be very anxiety inducing, so listen to her needs and consult her in what she thinks would be most helpful at the moment.

I know my partner was signed off work on compasionate leave grounds, he was able to explain to some extent what had happened to us and his gp also gave him a letter to explain he had undergone an extensive period of stress, and recommending him to be off work for the time he was.

I hope that your employer is understanding and that the transition to home leave goes smoothly, but do not fret if you have to cut her leave short at any point in time, that happened to me, but then the next leave went better, my advice is to take it as it comes. Also, I had a couple of psychotic episodes at home before going to hospital, and it is something to be aware of, returning to the same place could bring back some triggering memories for your wife, just be very gentle to you both and take it a step at a time. All the best

abjr660 profile image
abjr660 in reply to EmiMum

Thanks EmiMum

Pikorua profile image

Hello abjr660,

thank you for sharing your post and a warm welcome.

Most of our dads have been heroes. My partner helped with my recovery and looking after our son throughout the time I was sectioned and when back in my own sanctuary and together with my baby. That was when emotional healing could begin as I was not in an MBU and not with my baby for more than 2 months.

I am pleased that there is a new transition within recovery for your wife and of course that she has been in an MBU.

Circumstances are diverse and I would look at some pointers before making a decission. Here are some suggestions purely based on my own experience

- Discuss your question with health professionals, you feel at ease with and trust. Reflect on progression of your wife's mental health within the MBU.

A care plan had to be put into place for coping mechanisms in my case and that included everybody, who was supporting us in managing our routine.

- Do I need a support network, especially if main carer goes back to work? My partner was part of my routine and a full time carer for 6 months until gradually integrating back into work part time. It is worth while to discuss options with your company, get OH involved and Union in order to figure out your rights with regards to your present situation.

- If your wife is well enough, involvement of decission making maybe important.

Evaluate together about coping strategies, routines etc, contact points etc.

- Integration back into the community is vital so that your wife does not feel isolated and that probably only in stepping stones, whether you are at home or not. After such a traumatising illness, for some women anxiety issues are quite an obstacle.

After 7 months I went to a massaging group with my baby and/or play groups. I could not handle other mums, but felt comfortable to talk to the Educationalists.

- Please, be aware, we are all different in our recovery, but it is vital to keep away from stressors. Meds plays a huge part, too and keeping ongoing appointments with psychiatrists, GP, care coordinator, health visitor and lots more. I felt always terribly overwhelmed and could not cope well, because of fear and anxiety.

I hope this helps a tiny bit, just to let you know despite our misery and desperation of experiencing PPP and the dreadful experience in hospital, it was my partner, who brought me back to light. My son is 10 now and we are a happy lot :-)

Take good care of yourself.

abjr660 profile image
abjr660 in reply to Pikorua

Thanks Pikorua

Hello and welcome abjr660. Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I'm sorry to hear you and your wife and been faced with this experience.I was diagnosed with post partum psychosis after the birth of my son in 2019. I spent 7 weeks in the care of a mother and baby unit.

While I was there my husband gradually returned to work and when I was discharged I had continued community support.

Unfortunately I became unwell again when our son was 8 months old. Due to this it was recommended my husband take leave from work to support me. Thankfully his employer was supportive with this.

He is still on furlough due to Covid 19, and I have returned to work part time.

I hope you have support to make the right decision for you and wour wife. I hope she continues to progress in her recovery.

Take care, Ailania

Thanks Ailania

Rob84 profile image

Hi abjr6660.

My wife was in an MBU just under 2 years ago and we started having gradual leave and periods at home probabaly after she has been there for 2 months.

I was fortunately in a position where I could continue my leave from work for a few week after she returned home permanently. I personally found she required alot of support after leaving the unit, continuing to recover from the illness, rebuild her confidence and for us both to get used to life with a new baby. I was grateful for the opportunity to take things very slowly and only start to even consider working again once things were more settled at home, and even then we had a couple of blips where I had to take more time off hence going in stages might be beneficial as it was for us. Obviously there are various factors at play, one aspect for us was a lack of familial support nearby which really limited our options in terms of my wife having an extra pair of hands and so on.. so it's highly dependent on circumstances I would think.

Best of luck and keep us posted.


Thanks Rob

Everyone's situation is so different, your wife may well be fine, but if you want to test the water ask if you can do a phased return where you gradually build back up to full time so that in the early days you're not leaving her for to long. Or if you can do some of your job from home try that so you're still around but giving her the space to get in with things and build her confidence. Alternatively take a bit more time off (assuming you can) but leave her for an hour or so and build up. I remember the biggest thing for my wife was the fear that the psychosis would return but also that she wouldn't be able to look after our baby because in the hospital she'd always had help on hand. Don't know if that helps but if you can find a way to ease in gradually that your employer will support it'll help, and most bosses will rather have some work from you than none so you have some negotiation power (hopefully).

Good luck, and congratulations on the little one

abjr660 profile image
abjr660 in reply to JackBruce

Thanks Jack

Lilybeth profile image

Hello abjr660

I hope your wife is continuing to improve so that she might be given the overnight leave you mentioned. It’s a big milestone so she has done really well with your support. It’s a good idea to talk to your employer perhaps about flexible hours or extended leave if needed.

Please remember to take care of yourself as it’s very hard trying to hold it all together at times. Try to talk openly to family and friends, or GP, about how you are feeling as you need support too. We are all here to listen ... take care.

Lilybeth profile image

Hello abjr660

Just wondering how you are and whether your wife has been given overnight leave? I hope your employer has been understanding about time off that you might need when your wife is discharged to continue recovering at home.

Take care .... I hope you have support for yourself.

abjr660 profile image
abjr660 in reply to Lilybeth

Thanks Lillybeth, I decided based on comments in this chat not to return to work yet and work have been ok with it. Wife has progressed and has started overnight leave. I was talking with the consultant on this and he suggested as the number of night leaves increase to transition back to normal life and work so that my wife can get comfortable with me not always being around (e.g. mixing between working from home and from office)

Lilybeth profile image

Hello abjr660

Thanks so much for taking time out to reply. Good to hear that work have been ok with you not returning to work just yet. It’s great news that your wife has progressed and has started overnight leave. I think that will be a good idea as the night leaves increase for you to mix between home and office, so that your wife can ease herself into coping when you are out working and slowly build on her confidence.

I wonder when your wife is at home, before being discharged, whether you could leave the house for an hour or less to see how she copes and talk about how it felt for her on your return? I relied heavily on my husband’s support and was always relieved when he came home! Gradually though as I settled more into a routine and continued recovery I thought to myself “I can do this” .... and with my husband’s support and reassurance from community nurses I did.

So happy for you that your wife has progressed to overnight leave and you can share precious times with your baby too. Remember to take care of yourself. We are all here if you need us.

Pikorua profile image

Hello abjr660,

when dealing with unforeseen scenarios such as this traumatising illness and all its consequences it is such a relief that your loved one/partner/husband is keeping it together and actually able to make those tough decisions. Your skills are vital for your wife's recovery and subsequently will help her to become more confident again, about herself and in learning to take care of the baby.

As I mentioned in my previous comment it helps so much that you, yourself have cushioned yourself. It was such a relief for my partner that the company was so forthcoming as I was unable to take care of myself for the first 6 months.

I am not sure who will be involved with the support network once your wife is back home, but in many cases it is a gradual process for team building, emotional scaffolding, trust and partnership, being mum and dad and so much more. It is a new beginning and leads to lots of joy if it is all about love and communication, but at a much slower pace, in my opinion. Recovery takes time.

The health visitor, GP, Care-coordinator, and my Psychiatrist were involved in my after-care establishing a care-plan and a gradual weaning off programme as I was on too many traditional medication with extreme side effects. Unfortunately my experience in a Psychiatric unit when suffering acute illness was nothing to be compared with the available facilities of MBU's at present, where mums can feel safe and receive expert help and appropriate care for mum and baby combined.

I can resonate with Lilybeth and I believe it is all about common sense and good observation (looking at coping mechanisms and triggers and obviously mood swings and meds), but also love and believing in your partner's/wife's recovery. Being overwhelmed and being surrounded by people with expectations may slow down recovery, thus day by day and living with the momentum had helped me tremendously.

Take good care, - your wife is doing exceptionally well!

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