my mother bi-polar how do I cope during my pregnancy? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 09-14-2006, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi - I am 33 years old. I am pregnant with my first child. My whole life I have raised my mother. When I was 18 I hospitalized her for the first time and learned what would have been helpful to know all my life, my mother is bi-polar. A year and a half ago I got my mom on disability and medicaid. I manage a lot of her paperwork and some of her finanaces.

Everytime I have a major life event - good or bad, my mom goes into a manic cycle. I have been told my mother has an extreme case of bi-polar as she can sustain manic periods for months. Textbooks say it is impossible, but I have a real example here.

I can be calm and loving to my mother when she is far away. (She lives 6 hours away). When she is live in front of me, I have a much harder time. Since becoming pregnant, I have been learning how I need to take care of myself and not stop my life for her all the time. I have had a tough pregnancy and self care has been imperative. Since I have been paying less attention to my mother, she has gone into one of her worst manic cycles ever. She has been manic since mid-July. She is putting herself at major risk of financial ruin, she may cause herself to loose her medicaid and disability and more.

I am accepting that I cannot stop her. She is bound and determined to do this to herself and I have to let her. I don't even have a choice, I can't stop her. In the grand scheme of things, it is good, I need to take care of myself, this baby and my family. I need to fully accept this.

Now to my dillemma. I have become very ill, upset maybe even panic attacks that take me days to come down from when my mother has gotten to me during my pregnancy. I have had to come up with ways to insulate myself from her. Less phone calls, no visits, etc. Now my mother says she is planning to come here. I know I am not capable to taking care of myself and seeing her in person. Maybe if it was for an hour, but let's face it, she isn't going to come here and think I will only see her for an hour. As she is manic, her energy is unending.

Can anyone think of any excuse that might get her to stay away? I have tried telling her that my midwives don't want me getting upset, don't want me doing anything stressful, don't want me traveling or having visitors. None of it sinks in with her. She isn't capable of hearing anything right now.

So what do I do if she shows up? Do I try hiding? I did that before and it didn't work well. Do I call the police? What can I do?

I just know that I love her and I love me and I love this baby. For me to take care of me and my baby, I need to not see my mom right now.

Help?
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#2 of 13 Old 09-14-2006, 07:17 PM
 
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I think you might have to call the police. I don't know your mother, but my experience with people with bipolar disorder in the manic phase is that they CAN'T/DON'T listen. They just don't. They can't help it and nothing gets through. It might sound mean, but you might consider a restraining order ahead of time so that you might not have to deal with it when the baby is here.

This very special time is just for you and your baby and whomever you choose to share it with. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this.
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#3 of 13 Old 09-15-2006, 12:51 PM
 
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Oh Mama to Be, I'm so sorry that you're having to deal with this. What a tough situation!

You didn't mention whether you have siblings of whether your mom has a SO. If she does have other family, it is time for *them* to step up. You have cared for your mom far too long and this is your time...*your* family's time. For the remainder of your pregnancy and the months that will follow, your family should step in and take responsibility whether they want to or not. I realize this isn't as easy. I'm in a similar situation and I have had to gather my family together and say, "My health and my family are my priority. I am willing to do x,y,z but no more. It is not my sole responsibility to take care of this family member." In your case, I would further add what will happen if your mom continues to bother you. She could be involuntarily committed for a 92 (?) hour period. You could call the police. You can contact a lawyer and discuss other options.

I would also, as best you can, warn your mother of the consequences she will face if she can't respect your need for less stress and the need to concentrate on your family. I know how impossible it is to talk to someone in a full-blown manic phase...like talking to a wall. But, at least you will have informed her. Perhaps writing a letter and putting it in a prominent place that she will see so she can "remind herself".

Finally, block her phone calls, refuse to answer your door and realize that you have a been a wonderful daughter and have every right to have this time to take care of you and your family. And, my fave suggestion, try seeing a counselor that can help you deal with the stress of this situation.

I wish you the very best, mama to be Keep us posted!
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#4 of 13 Old 09-15-2006, 03:23 PM
 
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I am so sorry you have to go thru this!

I completely understand as I had panic attacks when dealing with my bipolar father during pregnancy and almost lost my baby. I was also 33. :-)

Luckily, my father lives far away, so after the initial time together, I didn't have to see him. But the damage was done.

You literally risk your babies life by having to deal with the stress of your mother.

Somehow you have to get it into her head that you can have NO visitors.....under doctors orders. Let her know that if she comes, you will not open the door for her.

Your other family members have to step up now, like a pp said.

Please, please, please, keep thinking of yourself and your baby and be willing to make your mother angry in order to protect you and the baby.

good luck!
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#5 of 13 Old 09-17-2006, 04:31 AM
 
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I too am sorry you are having to deal with this. I do believe that in life we are given opportunities to learn and maybe this will be the point for you where something really changes for you, for her or for both. I really dont know. I hope you can find a good therapsit to help you.

As a bipolar person myself who also took care of mom who was undiagnosed i can understand. Days after my first childs birth, in the middle of ppd and lack of sleep my mom couldnt help ME--- instead she came and complained about my father.
You sound like you will do the right thing.
Maybe there is someone- a neighbor who can help if she does show up?
Is she not on meds?
Know that you are not alone
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#6 of 13 Old 09-17-2006, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother has lots of brothers and sisters. They have all allenated her and don't want to do anything with her. Some of them are mentally ill too. My grandpa is 84 in poor health and does a lot to take care of my schitzoprehnic (sp?) grandma. No one wants to help me. My mother had a friend who used to help and she died. I wish she could intervene from beyond.

I have called the police and sent them to her house. She has sent them away. They know exactly who she is. They think she is just stable enough to not take her in. They are also hesitant to take her in because they know she will need to be taken in again and again and that is a lot of work for them.

There are no social workers in Michigan any more. So she has no one like that to rely on.

I think the idea about no visitors and the letter is a good one. I will mail that. Maybe even mailing the same thing for several days in a row.

One reason she wants to come is that people have given her gifts for my baby that she wants to deliver. I have decided I will also give her permission to use my fed-ex account for a certain amount of money to mail things to me fed-ex. I probably don't want the things, but if I have to pay $100 to keep her from coming here, that is worth it to me.

Thank you all for helping me to remember to take care of me. I really appreciate this advice you are giving me.
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#7 of 13 Old 09-26-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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If she does show up, I would send her to a motel. Come for a visit, fine, it's time to leave, here's a hotel room at blank, you can come back to visit tomorrow after lunch (just and example).

My first cousin's mom is schizop, she follows him everywhere all growing up after the laws changed and she could release herself from the institution. She won't take meds, so she is how she is. She moved every time he moved and she lived a few streets over until his wife made them buy a condo in a gated community. She would stop by daily, many time a day and bring him donuts from the shop she worked at.

It started for her after my cousin was born. Prior to his birth she had lost a baby boy when he was 2 months old from SIDs, I just learned this in the last 2 years (they were both smokers in the 60s btw). To me the lost of a child is enough to send someone over the edge regardless of their prior mental status. My uncle learned later that she had signs of schizop in her teen years but no one told him when they were dating. I had no idea my poor Uncle had been through so much, he never did re-marry and he raised my cousin on his own with the help of my grandparents.

My cousin's wife was really worrying the family a few years back b/c he was having paranoid dellusions that the gov't was out to get him and watching him. When I've seen him, which is rare due to the live so far away, he does not seem fine. We were a bit mifted as schizop usually developes in someone's twenties or it isn't going to develop -- my cousin at the time was in his mid to late thirties. My mother has not heard anymore about this since 2004 that I know of. His wife will not have children, partly due to the mental illness factor and partly b/c she has enough nieces and nephews from her many siblings she just seems content with that. My cousin really wanted children, she is older than he is and it's too late for her to change her mind -- sad.

I just wanted to give you some hugs and support. If your mom's entire family is suffering from mental illness, you need to take care of yourself and be sure someone is watching out for you -- many mental illnesses are genetically linked. And getting help early can many people lead perfectly normal lives, I know a few people who are schizop on meds and lead normal lives now, but dx was hard to get b/c as teens many thought they were on drugs even their parents.

It is hard to tell family, especially your mom, to stay away. I don't think there is an easy way to do it and she may not even hear you if you do given her state. I'm surprise there are no social workers for her in the state anymore, that just seems so wrong. Someone needs to be looking out for the well-being of adults who are mentally impared by mental illness. Especially when her siblings are in the same state of mental illnesses all around.

I don't think giving her access to your Fed Ex acct is wise, she could go manic and mail stuff all over the world, depending on what sort of manic person she becomes.

I don't think there is an easy answer. You love her, but she really can't be around you right now as she is toxic to you.
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#8 of 13 Old 09-27-2006, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks all for your good advice. I will let you know what happens as pregnancy progresses.
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#9 of 13 Old 09-27-2006, 06:05 PM
 
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Don't have any advice just wanted to send you a hug. My mom has Borderline Personality Disorder (lot of people compare it to Bi-polar, but it's different) I was 33 for my pregnancy with my first and it was so hard to deal with my mom. Something about pregnancy brings up all the emotional issues of your own childhood.

Please continue to take care of yourself.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-09-2006, 06:46 PM
 
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All of this talk of being 33 and dealing w/ a bi-polar mom----I can relate. I am 33--already have 2 children, but am currently dealing w/ the fact that my mother is an unmedicated & in denial , bi-polar.

At holidays--or times of stress, it comes out---she was living w/ us for the second 1/2 of the summer and it wiped me out--I am at apoint now where I do not take her calls--have no intention of seeing her--she lives with-in 40 minutes----but I am done.

My family (husband & sons) is too important--I can't deal w/ her now. It's someone elses's turn.

Good luck---and I know it's got to be hard.
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#11 of 13 Old 10-12-2006, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mother announced recently that she is planning to come to Wisconsin and stay with others while she stalks me and waits for me to have this baby. I said you are not coming to my birth. She gave me all this bullshit talk and I said no you are not coming to my birth. Then I will be there right after. I am birthing at home. I have a dream team of two midwives and an assistant attending my birth. My friend is coming to take photos and my partner will be with me all the way. I am positive I cannot give birth with her anywhere near me. She really has a way of making me not feel love toward her, but hate instead. I have asked a friend to be on watch for her to keep her away from me. I have also given her photo to our doula. Why does she have to rob me of every good life experience. she so often interfears with any major event in my life. I very much regret letting her know I was pregnant. I would really like to have her not even know when I give birth. I will not tell anyone when I am in labor.

ghghghghghhaghghghghghghghhgghhg
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#12 of 13 Old 10-12-2006, 01:06 PM
 
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Is she not on meds?
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#13 of 13 Old 10-14-2006, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes she sometimes takes meds. But she has been manic for 3-4 months and not always taking her meds. She doesn't think they will help her a lot of the time. The root cause is that she doesn't want to be mentally ill so she spends a lot of time denying it.
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