If when you first met your wife/partner she knew that she had arisk of PP, would you have wanted to know at the v start of the relationship?

I have been chatting to a guy I met on the internet since late November. We have met 3 times as friends since early Feb. We have been in a 'relationship proper' since last week. I know from his dating profile that he wants children. He doesn't yet know that I have Bi-polar type two( the milder version). I am thinking of telling him about the BP tomorrow when I see him.

We are obviously not at all at the 'lets talk about marriage and kids' stage. Do you think he would be best to know about risk of PP now, at the start of our relationship or should I leave that for when/if we ever decide we are sure we are serious about spending our lives together?

Would really appreciate your advice.

Thank you so much

k

PS please forgive me if this sounds a little ridiculous to be even thinking about this issue. That is not how I intend it. I appreciate that others on this site have much greater and more painful concerns.

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  • Hi Keb002

    Please don't feel that your concerns and thoughts about your future risk of PP are less vaild or indeed less scary than for those of us who've already done the kids bit!

    In fact, I think you are at potentially one of the most difficult stages - you have an awareness of the risk of PP and you know that this is something you need to and want to consider when taking the important step of starting a family. Honestly, all credit to you for wanting to engage with these thoughts and give yourself time to weigh it all up.

    I guess in terms of a new-ish relationship, it's the same issues as for everyone around disclosure of mental illness. It's such a very personal decision for each person and every relationship when, and how you talk about your diagnosis. There is a really moving blog about this on the Time to Change website here time-to-change.org.uk/blog/...

    However I do think we are beginning to change in UK society - there's no guarantee that a romantic partner won't run for the hills when we disclose a mental health problem, but I reckon it's more likely nowadays that the person will be genuinely interested, probably have some questions and be happy to go with you on a journey of gradually explaining your illness and how you live with it day to day.

    In terms of the PP risk - again it's going to be so personal to you as to when you feel this is right. I would hope it shouldn't be a deal breaker for someone who is getting to know you and love you. But I guess my personal gut feeling is... talk about the bipolar diagnosis first, how you got it and how you live with it. The PP conversation might be one for when you start thinking and talking together more definitely about 'doing the baby dance' (ahem...)

    Hope this helps, and it's really great chatting to you to get an insight into how it would have felt for me first time if I'd known I was at risk of PP.

    :-) N

  • Hi again!

    Here's a whole page of resources on talking to a romantic partner about mental health

    time-to-change.org.uk/blog/...

    x

  • Thanks for the link Naomi, it's really useful x

  • Hello there, I just wanted to let you know my thoughts on this one. I had my episode of PP in 1988. I have a beautiful daughter from that marriage. The marriage did end in what I would describe as a positive way. I met my current husband a few years later and I said to him from the start that I was not going to get married again nor would I want to have any more children. Theatres, cinemas and nice dinners would be fine!! I felt I did want to let him know at the start of the relationship. Well, we did go on to get married and the great news for me is that we had two girls and I did not experience PP on these occasions. I did take preventative medicine immediately after delivery and I had a really good plan in place should I show any symptoms. Hope that is helpful and please don't feel that your question is in any way ridiculous. I am all for 'forewarned is forearmed' and the more that mental health issues are brought into the light, the better for everyone. I do wish you well.

  • Thanks for sharing this Helen, it's lovely to hear such a positive outcome :-)

  • Hi Keb2002,

    It`s great that you are thinking about possible risks in the future. Being aware of this and being prepared for any potential problems in the future will make health professionals very aware of the risks for you and can hopefully be ready and prepared and can hopefully avoid problems or give you prompt treatment.

    I can understand it`s difficult to know when and what to say about mental health diagnosis to new partners. I have met some really nice people who I got on so well with and when I told them I had PP and have Bipolar,they did run for the hills!

    From my experience if it crops up in conversation I find it best to talk openly about it. I think if they run at this stage they are not worth it. I think it`s important to make it clear for example in my case that being able to hold down a responsible job, run a home, and bring up a child on my own it shows that I manage my bipolar well and live a fulfilling and functional life.

    I`ve met a lot of people in the past who don`t understand and think I must be "unstable" to have this diagnosis. I have proved these people wrong.

    I am now with someone who has got to know me and I`m really happy with him. He hasn`t run to the hills yet! and I`ve been completely open with him about my diagnosis from the start.

    It`s difficult to know when is best to talk to a new partner about the risk of PP in the future, The way I try to look at it is enjoy getting to know each other and make the most of the happy, dating stage and when you feel more comfortable with each other you will feel more at ease about it and hopefully he will be supportive.

    Best of luck and well done for thinking about future risks in advance. Hope reading the blogs about other people`s experience helps.

    Sarah x

  • Hi KEB002,

    Having read the other answers to this, I think the "forewarned is forearmed" approach is a good one. Personally I didn't have any of this as my episode of PP came out of the blue. What I have experienced is the "aftermath" of it if you like, both with existing and new friendships. There are clearly some people I know and have done for a long time who are much more comfortable sort of glossing over it and not really talking about what happened in the early days after my son was born. But there are others who tentatively ask and then as I tell them my experiences (which I believe is so important to raise profile and awareness of this awful illness), they've been quite surprised and receptive to knowing more. Almost a "oh, I didn't think you'd want to talk about it". And I'm not saying that for some people, that is their way of dealing best with it, but I am open in talking about PP and with the benefit of a few years down the line, it's not something I find difficult or too traumatic luckily.

    New friends have been broadly positive in their response, mainly because newer friends are a lot of people I met through having my son, so it's an integral part of it I suppose. I met a few Mums at my local baby group and inevitably the conversation got round to birth experiences and early days at home. I just took a deep breath and told them what had happened and there are 2 people in particular I am now lucky to call really good friends, and that's practically the first thing they knew about me!

    I think it's really positive you're thinking about this and how best to handle it and hope it goes really well for you. And if not, he's not the right man for you! Take care

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