Jane, a grandmother, tells her story:
(many grandmothers have said similar things)
My daughter rang me with a plea to come up (we live in different cities) or, she said, “something awful might happen”. When I arrived the next day I found a very sick daughter who wasn’t able to cope with the day-to-day duties. I found the next 12 weeks very stressful trying to fit in with an active family with lots of work to do. I took over the duties each day but there were many times when I was questioned about what I was doing. I was just trying to keep the family together. My daughter didn’t talk to me much and she also got cross because she didn’t like the way I did things.
I was not told anything by the Mental health team. One day my daughter took off in the car. I rang the Mental health team and they thought she might want to take her life. They rang the police and we all went out trying to find her. We thought she might have gone to the beach and thats where we found her. That was the worst day.
My daughter realised she needed me but she wanted me to be invisible. She didn’t want me around except to cook meals and look after Holly. I spent most evenings in my bedroom after I had put Holly to bed. I would not wish this illness on anyone. I didn’t know how to look after someone with a mental illness but I had to. We all wanted my son-in-law to be able to keep going to work. Even though it was hard at the time I am now thankful I did go and help. My daughter is now grateful for what I did.
Take care of yourself too
Mood and anxiety problems often run in families so it would not be surprising if you too struggled with some of these issues as well.
- You need to look after yourself while not burdening the new mother with your worries.This does not mean hiding important things from her.
- It may bring back issues that you have hidden about your own parenting. Some women recognise their own past PND when seeing it in their daughters.
- You may find that you need your own counselling to deal with some issues. It is never too late to seek help and you may find that you can be a better parent and grandparent because of it.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – https://www.grg.org.nz/