Pregnancy blog, 14/08/2018
Image credit: Adele via Instagram
In February 2018 Adele’s close friend Laura gave birth to a baby boy, Adele’s godson. Despite no history of mental illness and a “dream pregnancy”, Laura quickly began to develop both postnatal depression (PND) and postpartum psychosis (PP) after a difficult birth.
She wrote about her diagnosis and recovery for Clemmie Telford’s blog ‘Mother of all Lists’, describing it as “the worst time of her life”.
Laura begins her account with, “This week my baby turns 6 months old and I feel like it’s an achievement in more ways than one.” What follows is an incredibly open and frank description of what life is like with PP, which affects 1 to 2 in every 1000 new mothers.
There are many different symptoms of PP, but Laura specifically talks about “mania, mood swings, insomnia, delusions, paranoia, anxiety, and severe depression with a lovely side order of psychosis”. One delusion even led her to believe that her husband had kidnapped their baby.
‘Something’s not right with me, I don’t know what it is but I’m not ok.’
Before going into hospital for two weeks to be treated, Laura experienced intense confusion, anxiety and escalating dark thoughts.
However, with a lot of support from her husband, friends, family, healthcare professionals and medication, Laura explains that she is “recovering more and more each day” and feeling like herself again.
She says that the more she talks about it, the better and stronger she feels, and encourages other mums to break the stigma and not to hide their illness from their loved ones.
‘It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it’s a chemical imbalance, an avalanche of hormones and it is NOT your fault.’
Support for postpartum psychosis (PP)
Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency. If you think you, or someone you know, has it get help as soon as possible. Call the GP and ask for a same day appointment, or go to A&E.
Any woman can get PP, even those who have never had a mental illness before. However, women with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are at higher risk.
To speak to others who have experience of PP, or for extra support, visit the Action on Postpartum Psychosis website. They are a national charity for women and families affected by postpartum psychosis (PP).
Find out more about postpartum psychosis (PP).
It’s natural to feel a bit stressed or anxious when you’re pregnant. If you are struggling with these feelings you may need help.
Pregnancy can be emotionally challenging, but there are things you can do to cope with any anxiety or stress.
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Catherine shares her experience of postpartum depression and being part of the BBC documentary ‘Mothers on the Edge’.
Tommy’s Midwifery Manager, Kate Pinney, praises tonight’s BBC documentary ‘Mothers on the Edge’ for highlighting the difficult issues for women experiencing and recovering from postpartum psychosis.