Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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In MBU and need time out!


i have been in a MBU for 4 weeks and my psychiatrist said he would prefer I did not have any time out at the moment. I have a 4 year old and 2 year old at home and DESPERATE for time at home. I feel well enough to have time out and he has no reason to detain me under the mental health act so has grudgingly agreed to a couple of hours at home at weekend, I live about an hour away so will not have much time at all. My dilemma is should I just stay longer at home or should I do what he says and literally have only about an hour. I would only stay out for the day and return at a reasonable time at night. Opinions and advice would be appreciated.

6 Replies

Hi Louise,

I know you must be anxious to see your 4 year old and 2 year old but I think you should take the advice of your Psychiatrist and go home for just a couple of hours. After all he has your best interest at heart and a duty of care to you and newborn.

I have no experience of being in MBU as they were non-existent in the early 70's when I had my first baby and PP. I did spend time in a general psychiatric hospital though, and then transferred to a nerve hospital where baby was allowed. After a while I was allowed home for one day at the weekend with baby. As this went well, I was later allowed home for a whole weekend with baby. This was a slow process and I was in hospital for six months but I'm sorry I can't remember how this time was divided between time in the psychiatric unit and time in the nerve hospital with baby.

I have to say that in such 'institutions' we are protected to a certain extent, in that we only have ourselves and baby to consider. So perhaps your Psychiatrist does not want you to have too much to deal with too soon and is easing you back into a routine step by step.

I wish you well in your recovery. Take care.


Hi Louise,

I've got to say I'd agree. Believe me I know how frustrating it is (I spent nearly 6 months in hospital in total), about 4 of the was in an MBU. I found when I first had leave it was actually quite difficult, I had sort of built it up but it was actually really hard and in the end I'd feel relieved to go back as I'd realise I wasn't quite as well as I thought I was. On a positive note you might experience the opposite and then you've got positive things to report back to your psychiatrist. At the end of the day they will want you, your baby and other children all to be as happy as's just a very hard slog! I'd go for the couple of hours, maybe negotiate and have two each day? But just see how you feel and be easy on yourself. Take care and I hope it goes well.

Vix x


Hi Louise,

I can understand how desperate you feel in wanting to spend time at home & getting back to some kind of normality. It's easy to underestimate how fragile we are at that time & forget that we've been through so much (I certainly did!) & that it'll take time to get back fully to how we felt before.

As the Lilybeth & Vix say, step by step, little by little sounds like a good idea. In my experience working with my psychiatrist & taking his advice worked very well. I found that although I didn't always agree with everything my care team advised, they were still open to discuss & negotiate things that would work best for everyone. I didn't spend time in an MBU but was treated at home after 2 weeks in hospital - in hindsight I really should have stayed in longer but I too was desperate to go home. I found the first couple of days home, especially the 1st, were difficult & pretty overwhelming - I even felt myself relapsing a couple of times, so for me, rushing home wasn't a good idea.

I think it's really important to keep communicating with your psychiatrist & if you agree that the first time will be a few hours, you need to stick to what's agreed. I'm sure after the first visit home this will be quickly increased & before you know it, you'll be back as a family at home again.

Go easy on yourself & wishing you a swift recovery. We're here for you x


Hey Louise

Just firstly wanted to say really sorry that I didn't see your post on 18 March wondering what to do about MBU bed vs home treatment team. I'm really sorry to hear that you did become unwell, and I know from personal experience just how hard it is to be in hospital while your older children are at home. It's heart-wrenching but you are doing the right thing. Patience is so difficult and it can feel very disempowering when the medics are taking it slowly, slowly. But it will, I promise, get better and your leave periods will increase.

A couple of hours will probably be right at this stage - maybe you could ask to clarify the timings so that you can have 4 hours off the ward (1 hour for travel, 2 at home, 1 to travel back again)

I found my visits with my baby and older daughters (no MBU bed) such a bittersweet mixture. Before you go home, you could spend some time in the OT room (if there is one) making some lovely pictures, cards or letters to tell your older kids all the things you love about them, how much you're looking forward to being all together - whatever seems right to put your feelings across so you can spend 2 hours just chilling together. It's very hard to get that balance of normal contact & reassuring your kids about all the disruption of an admission. It will get better Louise, you will get home. My eldest (5 at the time) was very sad at the end of each visit, but you know what, she was so resilient and is now a happy and outgoing 7 year old.

How is support going at home for your older kids? We had a brilliant school nurse arranged for us through a CAF (Common Assessment Framework) who did lots of fun and caring activities with our eldest.

Thinking of you & hope your leave at the weekend is a really positive time.

xx N


Hi. I had a similar experience to Vix. I thought going home was going to be much easier than it actually was and before my visit had finished I was begging to go back to the MBU. I guess it depend on everyones own situation and depression/psychosis. I didnt feel safe at home. I hope whatever you decide to do, goes well. Good luck x


Hi Louise,

Coming to this a couple of weeks later, I wonder how things are going for you? I too was incredibly frustrated by the slowly slowly approach my MBU consultant took. I was desperate to get home to "normality" but I did realise that things had change and I had to listen to the advice of others. I was on a section at first and didn't have the option of going anywhere. But the way I was dealt with in becoming an informal patient was really good, they showed me how far I'd come and how they could help me even more if I stayed - which did work, I promise.

I didn't have the added issue of an older child, so appreciate this must be hard for you and the rest of your family. But I did get leave agreed, at first only for short times to go into town with my husband (I lived 30 miles from the MBU, so home wasn't an option - and my husband was relieved I think, as the house was a tip!). Then my leave was increased and it became much more regular and for longer; first a whole day, then a whole weekend, then it would get extended by phone and we'd ring in to say how it had gone and discuss if I could stay longer. This was really great, empowering even that my husband and I were being "allowed" to be involved, as it should be really. I was also in hospital over the Christmas period and so with my husband being off work, could get the longer stays too. They weren't (understandably) keen for me to be on my own at home without him though and this didn't happen til discharge. So a pressure for family members too to have that responsibility I guess.

I know can't say that your MBU team will work in the same way but I hope my experience will give you hope that you will get there, you really will. As hard as it is, the professionals do generally know best and if you can be involved and discuss with them, together with your family, this should work well. Another thing that helped me during the week when my husband was at work was the Healthcare Assistants at the MBU who would take me and my son into town with the pram for a walk, or even just around the grounds of the hospital. This would be especially good for you in nice weather - for me it was in snow, but I still loved it.

Hope things are getting better for you, and by all means pop back and let us know and update if you'd like. Take care.


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