why get put in hospital: daughter in... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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why get put in hospital

Hodgson profile image

daughter in law in hospital with baby miles away as she can'tcope but comes through as normal she is alright one moment then goes to opposite . is it me as mother in law....my son has to keep working and he will not talk to me about this. He just says he is coping without his baby on his own in the flat alone while his baby is her mother in a mb unit miles away. they are married 2 yrs and wanted this baby very much. i am worried this problem is going to break up relationship with them being apart and he has limited contact with his daughter and she is in mbu and not on this planet

14 Replies

This is a very difficult situation for all involved but until your daughter in law 's health improves the Mbu is the best place for her & your granddaughter although I'm sure she & your son miss each other very much. When I was ill it was devastating being away from my husband but we got through it & having come out the otherside feel like our marriage could survive anything. Has your son seen his gp? My hubby has 2 jobs our gp was prepared to sign him off work completely but he didn't want that but was able to get a note from the doctor which meant he could reduce his hours at his main job when I was in hospital. I know it's not an option for everyone as sick pay can be tight but it's worth considering so he could have more time at the hospital. You want to support your son which is understandable but don't push him to talk, he'll open up when he's ready, probably when she's home & the worst of this is behind them. Just be there as much as you can for both of them & try to keep positive xxx I hope she's soon better & back with her family xxx from someone that's been there it gets better & soon they'll be able to enjoy their longed for baby xx

andrea_at_app profile image
andrea_at_appVolunteer in reply to kellbell

Yes, good points Kellbell, '..he'll open up when he's ready, probably when she's home & the worst of this is behind them.' Also, 'Just be there as much as you can for both of them & try to keep positive', - yes some positiveness from others is really important.

andrea_at_app profile image

Hi Hodgson, welcome to the site & I hope we can answer some of your questions at this difficult time. Firstly no, it's not you as mother-in-law, your daughter-in-law might seem fine at times but she's probably very ill & struggling right now. Remember it's temporary & she will get better though. Has she been diagnosed with PP & was it out of the blue? She's in the best place & she'll get all the care she needs to get better & the support she needs caring for her baby when she's ill.

It's a huge shock for everyone for this to happen & it's nothing like what you think motherhood will be like. It seems to take so long understanding what has happened & why, so I expect your family are busy just trying to get their heads round it & trying to get through. If you have any questions about it at all, do feel free to ask. Being far away can't help either , I guess you feel in the dark & too far away to help? When I was ill, one of the most important things my mum did for me was a daily phone-call every morning to make sure I was ok & to help me plan my day.

Has your son got friends nearby to support him & take him out? My husband says that going to work was his lifeline - it gave him chance to stop worrying about PP for a while & yet chat to colleagues if he wanted. You could always direct him to this site later to get tips & advice from the husbands/partners here. When she comes out, the practical help, (housework/chores/help with baby etc.) will be invaluable so it'll be good it they've got their own support network nearby.

You could download or pint off this personal experience for your son - it's written from a husband's point of view called 'Husband in a Storm' app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Also, there's this excellent 'Carer's Survival Guide': app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Lastly, PP didn't happen because of something that your daughter-in-law, your son or yourself, have or haven't done. It's such a tough thing for anyone to go through & especially difficult so early on in a marriage, but help is out there & we DO get through it. Try to focus on it being temporary, it'll take time but she will get better & be the same person she used to be.

Try not to worry & let us know how it's going. We're here if you need us x

Naomi_at_app profile image

Hi Hodgson

Can really understand what a painful and worrying situation this is for you. Often it seems that the needs of Dads to bond with their new baby can be missed when MBU's are far from home. I would really encourage you to talk with your son about him having some 'parental leave' or sick leave if they can manage this financially at all so that he can be at the MBU.

My husband and I had the opposite situation, where I was without baby in a general psychiatric ward and he was alone at home caring for baby. However, being together as a family for visits every day was encouraged by the staff and our midwife - so that we could begin to care for baby together, even though I was very unwell.

As others have said, the good news is that such hard experiences can indeed strengthen families - and my husband and I also learned that bonding isn't just those early newborn days, but grows as you recover. I know both our children almost feel more precious because we made it through such struggles in their first years of life.

Please do keep talking to us here, and look after yourself - I know for our parents it was a very helpless-feeling time after having so looked forward to becoming grandparents.


Lilybeth profile image

Hi Hodgson, Sorry for your distress but being in hospital right now is the best thing for your daughter-in-law and grandchild.

I can relate to Nelan as I was placed without my first baby in a general psychiatric hospital, apparently my mother said to staff, "She's not mental, she's only had a baby!!" As my PP friends have said, you will all get through it, just be there for each other. Please reassure your son that his wife will be home as soon as she is well enough to care for him and your precious grandchild.

One thing to be so thankful for - that your daughter in law is in a proper mother and baby unit, not isolated in an adult psychiatric ward. Even though ill, she will draw great comfort from her baby, they are together, bonding is unlikely to be a problem. I do think your son should try and find ways to visit her as much as he can, but when I was in the the same condition i REALLY did not want to see other members of my husband's or my family. Don't take this personally, It can just be that "being yourself" for the benefit of visitors is too much of a strain. You say she is "alright one moment and then goes to the opposite". That indicates that she has some insight into her illness and tries desperately hard to control it. She will recover.

It was very frightening for my husband, and I'm sure he was glad to have a job and not to be with me all the time I was in hospital, but regular visits did help us rebuild life not just around the baby but also around the nightmare we had both shared.

So many good comments above.

I visited my wife and baby regularly in the MBU, it was about 30 mins drive away, but still frightening because I didn't know what to expect each day. I was offered a 'doctors' note from the MBU but to be honest going to work was a bit of a life line for me, it allowed me some normality in a very stressful time.

As Caroline-p said, we too found that not having many people visit the MBU and only trusted people who will support and listen, helped not add further pressure on my wife.

There's no doubt it's a really hard and worrying time but always remember that it is temporary and it gets better.

Hi Hodgson,

Although being miles away in a Mother and Baby Unit your daughter in law and grandchild are having the best care in the right environment. They will get the Specialist help they need.

My partner had compassionate leave from work to have time with me and our son which gave him the opportunity to be involved and to bond with our baby. He was lucky he had an understanding employer and i understand it`s not the same for everyone.

I think friends are so important at this time and maybe your son can talk to others on here in a similar situation.

I had PP a long time ago and didn`t have access to information about PP and no-one with a similar experience to talk to. It`s so frightening and isolating and if my experiences can be of any help to you, please keep in touch.

At the moment at such a stressful time for you all you probably have so many concerns, however with the right help which your daughter in law is having in the MBU things will improve.

Hope things soon get easier for you all xx

Hidden profile image

Hi Hodgson,

I am sorry to hear that your daughter-in-law is poorly, Being in an MBU is the best place for her and your grandchild to be. I had a mixture of care both in an acute ward and in an MBU.

The MBU I was placed in was a 2 hour drive each way from our house. My husband used to drive down every night after work even if it was only so he could stay for an hour.

As caroline-p said, I also didn't want to see any of my family members apart from my husband and immediate family.

Please don't feel upset that your son can't talk to you about things now, for the moment he has just lost his wife to an illness that is devastating, it will take time, but she will get better. My husband also couldn't talk to anyone at the time about his feelings. He was also getting a constant stream of phone calls, texts and emails, whilst he was trying to juggle work, the commute to see me and our son everyday. It is very overwhelming and heartbreaking for everyone involved.

Please take comfort in that we have all been there, we have recovered and there is life after PP. My relationship with my husband is also so much stronger as we can now get through anything. If your son wants some advise and hope please direct him to our website.

Hugs to all of you at this difficult time. xx

Seek comfort in the fact that the Mother and baby are together - this could vastly speed up her recovery and prevent permanent damage being done. When you visit, ask the staff there to fill you in on the progress so you're not left wondering what's going on. It'll be quite difficult for your son or daughter-in-law to talk about it.

So many great comments and encouragement from others. This site is such a great avenue for support. I, personally, did not have the option to be in a mother/baby unit each time I had to be hospitalized. As a result, it caused much havoc in me and the lives of my husband and family. The wonderful bond I had with my baby was broken and my family had to struggle to come from far away to help take care of the baby while I was in the hospital. Being separated from my baby made me feel like I had done something wrong. If I would have had the option to go to a mother/baby unit, I believe it would have been ideal BUT living in the USA, it was not even available to me.

Please be reassured that your daughter-in-law and new grandchild are in the best place in the MBU. It is also really important that your son needs space to come to terms with what is happening, but that you are there for him when he needs you. It is such a huge shock to find that everything has not gone to plan, and that his longed-for family has been abruptly torn in part. He will need nonjudgemental support from friends and family, as will daughter-in-law.

She will recover, but it will take time; and their relationship will also need time to stabilise. When she is discharged, it would be ideal if he could take some parental/compassionate leave to support her and the baby and come to terms with what has happened to all of them. Don't feel rejected if you are not asked to help. They might need time together to cope with the healing process.

Can she take photos of her baby and keep them for him/get someone to send them to him? Don't assume that she can do this even if she comes across as "normal" for spells (I lost the ability to concentrate and couldn't even read a simple sentence). It is really, really important to keep him involved even if he cannot visit regularly, so that he is not isolated (and that she does not feel abandoned, as she begins to recover).

Also, don't expect too much of your daughter-in-law; she may appear well on the outside, but it will take a long time to recover from this awful experience.

My husband would have benefitted from a forum like this; providing advice from those who have gone through the experience.

Hope that things improve soon for you all.

Hannah_at_APP profile image

Hope things are improving for you Hodgson, although as others have said it does take time, bear with them both. My husband was incredibly strong and although he had some time off work, he also had a drive of nearly an hour every night to the MBU I was in for nearly 3 months. But SO much better than the general "local" psych ward which was just a nightmare, even though he was at home with our baby.

I know my in-laws didn't visit me in the MBU as they wanted to give me (and my husband) time and space for us to bond as a family in our precious visiting time and me not to have the pressure of visitors. I'd have loved to have seen them in hindsight and my own parents were there a lot which I actually found quite stressful. Family politics! One set are very chilled and the others, well, they're not!

There will be plenty of time in future for your to support your daughter in law (and son and grandchild) in different ways. They know deep down that you are there for them I'm sure. Hoping things get better soon.

Naomi_at_app profile image

Hi Hodgson

Just wondering how things are now that you are a couple of months down the line? Once your daughter-in-law is home she may value reading our recovery guide or having your son read this so he can get some helpful tips from other families.


Thoughts with you, hope the situation is improved from where you were in October


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