The mother and baby unit is a significant distance away - I can't afford the travel - how do I visit my wife six my 5 week old baby daughter? SeparatedWhat financial help is there so families aren't separated? Also, what support mechanisms are in place for family members who have to deal with PPP?
What help is available?: The mother and... - Action on Postpar...
I am so sorry to hear the MBU is so far away. If you both have access to smart phones it might be worth thinking about some phone and/or video calls when you just can't make the journey? I will also look into any financial support available to fathers in these circumstances and get back to you later today.
Long distances to MBUs is sadly a common problem as we are poorly served really across the UK for equality of coverage, and there are fewer beds than needed. However - important research from APP shows that MBU really is the best for mums to speed their recovery and help them to have more confidence when they come home. (I can attest to this as I was in a local general psychiatric ward and it was not a great environment, I had to re-learn my mothering from scratch really when I came home).
Are you going to be the main carer for your 3 year old at home just now? I know it feels awful but it's really OK for you to focus on her, spend time reassuring her and let the MBU staff care for your wife and baby. Any separation from your baby daughter and wife will feel too long - but your bonding will be OK, honestly - it's amazing what happens for families reunited even after terribly wobbly starts.
We can offer you informal support on here to air your feelings & hear from others who have walked a similar path. Your local authority should also have a specific Carers Support webpage and contact numbers - let me know if you need any help finding this. As a first pass I would Google "Carers Support + your location". I know other fathers have found Citizens Advice Bureau also really helpful in terms of leave from work, benefits to cover the gaps and other legal rights.
Thinking of you. I know the admission is going to be very hard for you all today - but your wife is taking the first step today into recovery. You can ask any questions you need to on here about her treatment and we can support you in anything you need to ask about the staff/protocols etc on the MBU ward.
Here for you - it will get better.
This London-based service offer financial and practical support when one parent is an inpatient being treated for mental health. I would give them a call as even if you're outside their borough they may well know of similar help local to you.
020 8310 6570
It's such a difficult time & made more so with not knowing what help is out there & where to go for it. The financial support might take a bit of finding but I'm sure it'll be available somewhere - Citizens Advice sounds like a really good start & we'll do our best to find out about any other options available. citizensadvice.org.uk/index...
Also, have a read through this thread, there's lots of useful advice here: "Any tips for a husband/dad in the early stages of PP?" app-network.healthunlocked....
If you do get the chance to read it at some point, there's an excellent guide for carers here: app-network.org/wp-content/...
If you have any more questions come back & ask, I'm sure some of the partners here will be able to offer some great tips. As Naomi says, we're here for you & it WILL get better!
I was wondering if you have managed to find any help with the cost of travelling or accommodation near the MBU?
I know this would totally depend on the hospital & MBU your wife is in, but do you know if there is any charity accommodation nearby that would house family of patients? It might be worth asking at the Patient and Liaison Services Department (PALS) of the hospital & MBU.
I ask because when I was a patient at Kings College London for 4 weeks, my husband was provided a room by the Salvation Army who had a college nearby. They would provide rooms free of charge for relatives of patients in the hospital. Also, when my newborn son was a patient at Kings again (2 years later) we were provided room and board free of charge in the nearby Ronald McDonald House (my eldest son stayed with us also). Kings is about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from our home, hence need for accommodation.
Anyway, my thinking was that maybe the hospital your wife is at has charity accommodation nearby. The charities' remit, both Sally Army and Ronald McDonald House Charities, is to keep families together during inpatient stays.
The website for Ronald McDonald House is rmhc.org.uk. I know that technically the accommodation is for the parents of sick children, but I just thought that they might also help out partners and families of Mums in an MBU as well ????
One last thought: this doesn't help much with cost of travel but when I looked round the MBU at the Bethlem Hospital (in case I needed admission after my 2nd child) they informed us that partners were allowed to stay overnight for 3 out of 7 nights a week. Perhaps the MBU that your wife is a patient of provides a similar service for partners? It might mean you get to visit for a few days without worrying about travelling twice daily? Of-course that all depends on child-care for your 3 year old too.
I hope you are bearing up at this time - I think my husband got through this part (an incredibly stressful phase, but thankfully the shortest part of the illness) on autopilot and adrenalin. Thinking of you and your wife. Like the others have said, it will get better. PP is an awful illness, but it is very treatable.
Natasha, there is opportunity to stay at unit - went down today - but not long term- got house to maintain and daughter has to go to nursery - Investigating Civil Service Benevolent Fund for help - also established indefinite special leave with pay - frozen my wife catalogue repayments and liasing with social services
Visit was good - she's still poorly and in complete denial plus delusion and bipolar symptoms but it was wonderful
I'm bearing up cos I have responsibilities and an older daughter to care for - keeping me active and each day I achieve small victories
Also set up counselling through work so I can ensure the stress pressure boiler doesn't blow!
What's letting me down is the support network of medical professionals I put in place prior to birth of my new daughter as I had with eldest - they didn't really listen properly when I initially raised concerns - seemed to think it was a "domestic.....!"
Depending on the MBU they may offer support and advice. When I was in the MBU (B'ham) there was a 'carers support group' that my husband attended. he was also able to stay overnight sometimes. My suggestion would also be to start chasing up any support networks that she will need to be in place when she is discharged. My MBU was very well organsed and supportive but it came s a shock when I had to leave that environment. Good luck x