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Don't know how to keep going...
I'm 31, in a long term relationship, and 8 months pregnant with my first child (due December 23). I have Persistent Depressive Disorder (or Dysthymia), Major Depression, Anxiety and a substance abuse problem (alcohol). It has been a very difficult pregnancy and dealing with it on top of my pre-existing mental health problems has left me feeling pretty battered, bruised and struggling to cope.
Then, about 2 months ago, my Mother had a severe stroke. She is only 53 and - prior to this - was active, independent and in perfect health. She has made incredible progress in terms of recovery but is never going to be the same. As such, she will likely not be able to live independently again (at least, not in the immediate future). I am grieving for the Mother I once knew and, as I prepare to become a mother myself, I feel this lost most keenly.
My parents are divorced and so the responsibility for her future care falls to my sister (age 29) and I. Despite the conflicted relationship I have with my Mother, I cannot bear to see her relegated to a residential facility. We are not in a position to fund private care, so it has to be my sister and I who look after her. She is still in hospital for the moment but we have been notified that she could be discharged as early as the 11th of November so we must make plans rather quickly.
The idea is for all of us (my mother, sister, partner, our new baby and myself) to move in together so we can share the workload of caring for my Mother at home. While I know that this arrangement makes the most sense, I am feeling so overwhelmed by the prospect that I am struggling to keep going.
Instead of spending these last few weeks preparing for my new baby, I am snowed under with responsibility and have so much to do. My Mother is the least organised person I know, and wading through her papers so I can get her finances (etc) in order as her Power of Attorney is a mammoth and seemingly unending task. Dealing with Centrelink to try to arrange a Disability Support Pension and trying to figure out all that she will require once she is home in terms of equipment, support and services (when the hospital will tell me nothing, and the social worker assigned to her case is impossible to get in touch with) is an absolute nightmare!
Honestly, I just want to run away, change my name, start again. Some days, all I do is lie in bed and cry. I feel so frustrated, so hopeless, so trapped. I don't know how to keep going. I need help.
I understand that your pregnancy must have been a very long 8 months and a very difficult one, trying to cope with your anxiety, depression and alcohol abuse which I am not going to bring the topic of alcohol into my reply.
It is not going to be easy for you to live with your mother, and by saying that I'm just putting her condition to one side for the moment, because you and her have had a conflicted relationship before, but due to her having a stroke which must be so horrible for her, and something which I never ever have, however as she has made good progress which is great, unfortunately she may become stubborn in how or what she wants to do which may conflict with you over time.
I say this because I have an elderly friend who also had a stroke, but he can still get on with life, but he is very stubborn and only wants to do everything by himself, because no one can it any better than he can.
This does become annoying because he won't accept failure.
I realise that you don't want her to go a residential facility or nursing home, but the social worker should have had more contact with you, because she could organise your mum to be housed where payment comes out of her pension, no upfront money if she can't afford it, however I'm only saying this because I'm not sure how mobile she is.
You have to remember that you are due to have a baby within the next month and looking after your baby is going to take a lot of your time, where you will be tired and exhausted, so conflict could happen if your mum wants something and your baby is crying.
If you can't contact the social worker then you have to see her doctor and ask what they suggest, but from what you have said that even before your baby is born, sorting through your mum's papers and before your mother arrives it's already a massive effort. Geoff. x
I agree with Geoff that the social worker should have looked into this more carefully, it is their role to check that living arrangements are made before they send your mother home if she is unable to care for herself and the family are not able to receive her yet. Quaintrelle, this is really important, as I am a mother of 2 (now grown up children) and was the daughter of a mentally ill mother who also had Multiple Sclerosis. She was always in competition with my then babies. It was not a good situation. My mother had lived her life, she had made the choices she had made. My babies were brand new humans who needed me. I had to put my health and that of my children above all else. And that meant that my mother had to rely on outside help from nurses who visited every day in her home. Please go see your gp, or whoever your support network or team are and get the support you need to see this through. But most importantly, you need to be well for your baby. This often puts daughters with needy mothers in a difficult place, because we are not used to making the rules. But becoming a mum kind of makes you get really protective over your baby, just like a mother bear over her cubs. And we women can be really resilient and dig-in hard when we need to. Motherhood has been one of the most powerful experiences that has shown me that strength that I didn't know was inside me. I look back now some days and wonder how I got through, but I did. This is a terrible situation, it is very sad that you have been placed in it. May I suggest that you call all and any help into action on your behalf. Wishing you and your baby well, and sending you cyber hugs.
You have made an incredible step in your journey to seek help and I applaud you for it. You have found this place for starters. One step. You've selected a forum where you feel your story will 'fit'. Another step. Even after writing your story down and sifting through your emotions whilst you did; you clicked on 'Post this reply' and not 'cancel.' Another small step. This is how we keep going, Quaintrelle; one step at a time; one day at a time. Focusing on just today.
You are going to be a Mother! I am so pleased for you. Congratulations! Your story has deeply touched me. It's helped recall I time I had when I was pregnant. When I would feel really down I hugged my baby belly and spoke to my child. It's an interesting thing talking soothingly to your unborn child about how bad your day is. You hear yourself speaking in this soft, calm voice - only for their sake - before you know it a smile will come, emotions will settle and you tackle your day again. Truth be told, Quiantrelle the bonding begins before they are born. You still have time to prepare. Try and be gentle on yourself.
I really feel for you and I can see by what you have written so far that it is overwhelming. You have a lot of stuff on board huh. Have you tried to call the BB Support Service? It's a great step towards easing your emotive state. This will help you with making decisions. The number is 1300 22 4636. Just in case.
You have mentioned that you have been diagnosed with a number of things; are you still in contact with your GP? A psychologist?
I am so sorry about your Mother. I have not experienced the mourning of a parent - on any level - but I think it is extremely valuable (for your sake) that you can identify that you are grieving for the Mother you once knew.
Try and rest and being pregnant your emotions will be all over the place just for that reason alone, so try and be gentle on yourself.
Hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. You are not alone 🙂
Forgive me - seems to be an element of OCD;unsure - that and tiredness maybe? I just couldn't leave that last sentence how it was. Sorry.
Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. As the replies above say, this is a good place to come and talk about your difficulties.
Congratulations on being a soon-to-be-mom. A Christmas baby. How wonderful. It made me remember when I was pregnant, feeling the baby move around, setting up a nursery, and generally trying to be prepared. The first baby is so wonderful and so scary because you have not done this before. New moms seen to get the hang of nurturing their babies quickly, it really is amazing.
I am sad to read about your mom's situation. It's very hard for all of you. Can I presume your sister has no children? Perhaps you can divide the tasks between you, with your sister doing the more physical work. I know sorting paperwork etc can be completely draining, especially at this time. I think the idea of moving in together with your family may work well for a while. It certainly reduces the worry and stress about your mom.
How do you intend to do this? Are you, or your mom, or sister, living in a house large enough for all of you? Moving house would be really stressful for you. It's difficult to offer suggestions when I don't know your situation.
If your social worker is so consistently unavailable can you contact her supervisor and ask for a different social worker? Be very clear about what is happening in the life of your family, especially your pregnancy. This is no time to feel sorry for the SW as you need help to manage this very difficult time.
I'm not sure if you are looking for specific papers for your mom, but if you have found them or you are only trying to put them in order, can I suggest you put them all in a box and sort them after Christmas. Your body is awash with baby hormones and this really does affect your ability to think clearly. And you are depressed. Also consider the possibility that your depression will get worse when baby arrives. I don't want upset you about this, I am trying to see possibilities given your already depressed state. Has this been discussed by your GP or baby doctor?
Can your partner take time off work when baby arrives? I think it is imperative you have someone living with you to help with those first weeks of bringing baby home. I did it on my own and it's no fun. You will be tired and need rest and babies always want feeding at the most inconvenient time. Your routine will revolve around baby.
Continue to talk to us please. We are always here to chat or offer ideas.