Partner is pregnant and worried. - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Partner is pregnant and worried.

alistairjlewis profile image

Hi, my partner suffers from bipolar and has recently got pregnant. We are really happy but very concerned about what could happen. We are trying to weigh up if we should have the baby or not as my partner already has 2 boys and we don't want them to be affected.

Has anybody felt the same way?

9 Replies

Hi alistairjlewis

Welcome to the forum and thank you for posting. You must have so many mixed emotions right now, I’m really glad you’ve reached out here and hopefully you’ll find some helpful shared experiences.

I had postpartum psychosis after the birth of my first child in 2012 and went on to have a second child in 2016, fortunately without recurrence of PP. It was a really difficult decision, whether to try for a second child knowing there was a high risk of having PP again. My main concern was the effect on my older son if I was poorly again so I do understand that fear. Family planning and those decisions are so personal and can be so difficult with all the potential risks and factors to take into consideration. Everyone’s experience is so different and unique to their circumstances – you both have to do what feels right for your family but looking for information and shared experience to help with that process can be really important I think. Was your partner unwell after her previous pregnancies? Have you discussed things with your partner’s GP or psychiatrist at all yet or is it very early days? If you’re in the UK you should have access to support from a perinatal mental health team.

Sorry if this is the kind of information you already have and are already weighing up, but I wanted to share APP’s insider guide for planning a pregnancy when at high risk of postpartum psychosis, just in case any of the information is helpful: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Sending you both very best wishes,

Jenny

Koala2021 profile image
Koala2021Volunteer

Hi alistairjlewis

I have just recently had my second child 16 years after my first which I experienced PP with.

Fortunately I didn't have a reaccuring episode and followed the care plan given to me by Perinatal Psychiarty this time round.

I understand how the worry of mental health episodes can take the excitement away from pregnancy and growing your family, also making you question if its the right idea.

I'm sure with safe planning and speaking to the right medical professionals you can both find the right thing for your family. There is no right or wrong with this. I found great support through this forum with my second pregnancy.

Warm wishes

Koala

alisonrw profile image
alisonrwVolunteer

Hi alistairjlewis Welcome to the forum and thank you for getting in touch. I'm glad you've found APP. I can share some of my experience of my pregnancy with my son with increased likelihood of experiencing postpartum psychosis if this would help.

I've struggled with my mental health for many years now and around 10 years ago low mood turned into a full break with reality. Since then I have experienced relapses which I believe are related to a mixture of low mood, tiredness/inability to sleep and hormone changes. Although crisis has become briefer for me now, with my history and the ongoing nature of my mental health struggles I was concerned about pregnancy and how the hormonal changes might affect my mood and mental health, including the increased likelihood of experiencing psychosis after giving birth. I was also concerned about what could happen and whether having a baby was the right thing to do.

When I became pregnant I received support from a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Team through the NHS. Having been in hospital before and in and out of care of various community teams over the years I would say my experience with the perinatal team was very good. I spoke about my concerns to my midwife and she offered a referral which I accepted. We made a care plan and I had regular meetings with those involved with my care. After I gave birth I started medication in hospital as I was experiencing early signs and continued to receive support from the perinatal mental health team at home.

I found information on the APP website very helpful including the insider guide Jenny has linked to in the post if you haven't already accessed this. Wishing you all the best and please write again if it would help - there is great support on this forum

Thank you for the responses, means a lot knowing there's other people out there... Can I ask what you wanted from your partners through the process? I feel like it's a struggle trying to understand what I should and shouldn't say... Always seems wrong 🙈

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello alistairjlewis

I’m sorry I don’t have any experience to share about bipolar but there are many women of courage here, like your partner, who face this challenging illness. I wonder if you are in the UK whether she might find support from Bipolar UK via the e~community there at bipolaruk.org.

I had Postpartum Psychosis twice, many years ago and recovered. It’s very difficult for partners to know what to say, my husband was the same as my first episode came out of the blue, like many here. There’s a brilliant blog written by a mum who suffered PP, with input from other mums and professionals, described as a nourishing mix of all things Postpartum Psychosis ....”PP Soup” at ppsoupdotcom.wordpress.com. One of the clips is “What to say to someone who has Postpartum Psychosis” and although it’s not relevant to your partner, it does have ideas of what partners might say. There’s reference to Ben E King’s words”Stand by me” which is all you can do really.

I don’t know whether you have read any of the personal stories under the link which Jenny gave here? Charlotte’s Story is there .. diagnosed with bipolar and became pregnant at 25. Tells of her experience throughout pregnancy and recovery. There is also an article there from Bipolar Pendulum Magazine next to it so these might be helpful.

It’s not easy to say the right things all the time but as long as your partner knows you are by her side I think that will be very reassuring. Wishing you all the best. Thanks for writing .... that alone shows how much you care. We are here listening and to support you. Take care.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello alistairjlewis

I just wanted to post the correct links for your partner which are bipolaruk.org ....... ppsoupdotcom.wordpress.com

I’m sorry these looked incorrect after posting earlier. Best wishes.

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi alistairjlewis,

So glad that you reached out here with such honesty and openness. I had pp in 2018 and went on to have a second baby in 2021. I also got a diagnosis of BP1 not too long ago.

This must be a time of a lot of tension and anxiety for you both, it is a lot of things to take into account and a lot of conflicting feelings. It helps to talk things through not in a way that either of you feel forced into expressing thoughts and opinions you don't want to, rather listen with all your attention to what the other person wants to say and offer them support and compassion as opening up leaves you vulnerable. It is really important for a mum to feel that whatever may be going through her head at any point in time her partner has her back. And viceversa.

I did not have pp with my second baby, as it has been other mum's experiences in this forum I had good support from the perinatal mental health team during pregnancy and for the 2 years post partum. I did experienced some depression and anxiety 2 months after birth in 2021 and it was caught up and dealt with very promptly. I did not need to go to hospital and did not affect my functional day to day too much.

Take good care, hope writing here is of some help to you

Hi alistairjlewis

Welcome to the community here at APP and I’m really glad you have found all the replies helpful and supportive.

It’s understandably an anxious time for both you and your partner. At times like these it can be really hard to know how to say the “right thing” and I guess I wanted to reassure you that it’s absolutely ok to have your own worries and fears. A trusted friend and the forum here can be a good opportunity place to share openly how you’re feeling.

I had PP in 2005 and a second child in 2011. I’d say what I needed from my husband was a willingness to listen to my concerns and to “chew over” the treatment options together. The many mums I’ve known who didn’t go on to have PP a second time often opted to take medication towards the end of pregnancy or immediately after birth. If your partner hasn’t had PP before this might be a difficult choice for her and you too. Weighing up the risks and benefits together with a perinatal psychiatrist is invaluable, and if you are UK based your midwife should refer you to support throughout pregnancy and beyond with a specialist perinatal team.

Always here to talk things through with you, and we do have a partner’s peer support project where you can speak to other dads/co-parents. The project offers 1-1 calls and/or a Zoom group for partners. Feel free to drop us a line app@app-network.org if you would be interested in this.

All the best

Naomi

Hi there, go for it! Just be as prepared as possible. I have Bipolar type 2 and have three children. I had PP after my first, but with support from my mental health team I went on to have two more, both without PP. you can’t rule out it happening but anything could happen in life, so why live in fear? Xx

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