(Closed) Any mothers/ soon-to-be with a mentally ill family member?

posted 6 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
3626 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I have no experience with this at all, but I’ll bump and just add: make sure she’s never alone with the baby, of course, but make sure YOU are always in the same room and probably within arm’s reach of the baby while she’s around. Good luck!

Post # 4
3776 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2004

As a mother and someone with mentally ill in-laws, I make it a practice to not take my children around mentally unstable people.  I have had to learn from my own mistakes here, but looking back it makes perfect sense thaI you don’t take children around unstable people, family or non family.

Post # 5
734 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Well, I’m not pregnant but I have some mentally ill in-laws (if they even deserve to be called that… personality disordered, psychopathic) and I already know that I wouldn’t have my kids around them.

My Future Sister-In-Law had her kids around them somewhat frequently and although she tried to enforce boundaries, they slowly, but surely, weaseled their way into controlling the children until she finally had to cut off contact. She wishes she had done it sooner.

I would never have my kids around them.. even if I was around. I don’t know how severe your sister is or what her condition is, but if its one that makes her very manipulative – watch out… Even if  she doesn’t do anything to the kids I really believe that its harmful for them to see behavior like that unless you explicitly tell them that their aunt is sick..


Post # 6
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I am not pregnant or even TTC at the moment, but my husband and I would like to have kids at some point. My little sister is schizophrenic.  She is currently stable…ish. She is not as well as she could be, because she is still erratic with her medication, but she is MUCH BETTER than she was when she was at her lowest point, when she was completely delusional, having audio and visual hallucinations, terribly paranoid…we had to committ her to a hospital for almost a year (“luckily” she had a psychotic episode in court when my mom went to try to get guardianship over her, so the judge saw it first hand and gave guardianship to my mother, who promptly got my sister to a psych hospital).

 I also have 6 neices and nephews…… and even through all my sister’s ups and downs, my little sis has never been kept away from the kids (except at her lowest point when she was in the hospital–although once she stablized, they visited her several times in the hospital).  Now, she hangs out at my older sister’s house at least twice a week, and my neice and nephew are there as well.

I think it’s good for kids to undnerstand mental illnesses exist, and there are things we can do to help, but there are still good weeks and bad weeks. Of course, their mom (my sister) is a marriage and family therapist, so she may be more equipped than most parents to help her kids deal with my sister’s ups and downs.

So I would say….don’t make a blanket rule–just see how your sister is doing that day, and then decide if she can handle being around the kids. If she’s having a good day, then I think you should definitely include her in your future children’s lives. =)


Good luck!  I know it’s hard…I deal with it, too.

Post # 7
734 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@BookGirrl:  I agree with that. Again, it depends with what mental illness we’re talking about here… but you’ll have to make your own decisoin. Schizophrenia? Could be okay depending on the day and could be helpful for the kids to understand mental illness, but I’m just saying I’m strongly against having kids around people with some kind of personality disorder. Its dangerous for them, mentally speaking.

Post # 9
2433 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m not pregnant, but I just wanted to comment as I also have a sister with bipolar disorder. For those who don’t have a sibling with severe mental illness, it is hard to understand just how difficult the situation actually is. 

Have you ever read the book The Normal One? I read it several years back, after my oldest sister recommended it to me. It was validating to know that others who have siblings with severe mental illnesses experience similar struggles. Thought it might be something you’d want to check out. 

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