So you ask, what the hell is Postpartum Psychosis???

Postpartum Psychosis is hell on earth basically, but I guess I could elaborate a bit more.
It’s a rare but serious mental health illness that can affect a woman shortly after giving birth. It affects 1 to 2 women in 1000.

I found that hard to believe at first as I had never heard of it, it was never spoken about at my midwife checkups or by the midwives or health visitors after having Kayden. I still have never met someone in person who has had it, other than the mums in the unit who was in there at the same time as me, but I was too drugged up and busy taking messages from god at the time to remember their names and faces.

The NHS describe it as a serious mental illness which must be treated as a medical emergency. If left untreated the woman can become very confused, deluded and may hear voices and have hallucinations. This can lead the to the woman causing harm to herself, others, even her baby! (Thankfully I never heard voices or had bad thoughts, this would have been so frightening)
Here are the symptoms of the illness:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions – thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
  • a manic mood – talking and thinking too much or too quickly, feeling “high” or “on top of the world”
  • a low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety or trouble sleeping
  • loss of inhibitions
  • feeling suspicious or fearful
  • restlessness
  • feeling very confused
  • behaving in a way that’s out of character

I had every single one of those.
No one yet knows what actually causes the illness, however it is more likely to occur if

  • you have a family history of mental health illness, particularly postpartum psychosis (even if you have no history of mental illness)
  • already have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • you have a traumatic birth or pregnancy
  • you developed postpartum psychosis after a previous pregnancy

That final bullet point makes the decision to have a second child incredibly difficult for me and Karl.

Yes we would be wiser and more prepared the second time round, We would have support from the moment I caught on pregnant from the mental health team. I could take medication during pregnancy to help prevent it, but this in itself has its own risks for the baby. We also need to consider Kayden this time round too! How would he cope seeing me like this? I may have to be taken away for a few months again, how would I keep him safe? What if I was worse the second time round? What if I heard evil voices like some women did, telling them to do evil things? However after reading posts on the forum on Action on postpartum psychosis  I do know that some have gone on to have more children and been fine, but some havent. Some have even had two children  and been fine and only ended up getting it on their third! Talk about playing a game of Russian roulette!

We talked about trying for another September 2017 when Kayden started nursery, however Karl finally plucked up the courage and asked me to marry him in the August after 10 years of being together so we have decided to put that on the back burner. (I think that was his plan all along :-P) I obviously said yes and booked the venue a week later. We get married on 6th July 2019 EEEK!

I seem to have waves of broodiness, but to be honest, sometimes, I wonder if I just want to have another baby to hopefully prove to myself I can be a normal mum, with a face full of make up on, at the local play area a week after popping it out, and having normal conversations with other coping mums about how the baby sleeps, eats and poos. Definitely NOT having conversations about how I can heal the world, save everyone for eternity and how I’ve been put on earth to send messages back from god!

I do sometimes feel like I failed at motherhood in the first few months. Why couldn’t my body and brain handle something so natural, what millions of mothers do daily? I do get an overwhelming feeling of jealousy sometimes. Especially when I see a new mum on the school run, getting on with life, just as she was two days before giving birth. But then I think how lucky I am. I have a beautiful healthy son, I am able to have children and I recovered!!!

Then other times I see a teeny tiny baby and think how I would go through it all again in a heartbeat to have another one, but like I said it’s not just me I need to consider. It was bad if not worse for the my loved ones around me.

Then Kayden decides to kicks off big time about me putting too much water in his cup for bed, then not enough, then in the wrong cup, which goes on for half an hour before sobbing himself to sleep. At least my mind is made up again…for a while anyway.

                                                                                                                                               (My sons face 95% of the time)

The day I got sectioned there was luckily a bed becoming free at the Leeds mother and baby unit that afternoon. If this had not been the case I would have been taken to A&E or a regular mental health ward where kayden would have not been allowed to stay with me. I truly believe that had this of happened I would not have bonded with my son like I did and would still be struggling today. I do remember though, that when arriving at the Leeds unit I wasnt that fussed about staying actually,  asking if I could stay in a Premier Inn instead and they could keep Kayden if they really insisted! I didn’t know at the time that I HAD to be there. I didn’t even know why I was there. I was the normal one. What was going on in my mind was real, everyone else was stupid for not believing what I was saying.

Even though my illness was caught quite a while after birth compared to some, there were definitely early warning signs.
Looking back I can point out many things which were abnormal. I became obsessed with social media, posting on people’s pages I hadn’t spoken to in years. I looked for bargains in the middle of the night on my phone while feeding Kayden . I would stay awake most of the night searching the internet. The night I want in to labour I placed an order on Debenhams site for over £100 for Christmas presents inbetween mild contractions. There were so many offers and discounts  to be had I couldn’t believe it. (The same offers which are constantly on throughout the year) but I needed to prepare for christmas right?

In the hospital after having kayden we had to stay for 5 nights as he had jaundice. I seemed pretty normal, ish. I put my make up on daily, walked around smiling at a few mums saying how cute their babies were.  I was so emotional about breast feeding as kayden wouldn’t latch on but everyone put this down to hormones. I only slept for 10 hours in the 5 days I was there.

Within a week of having Kayden my mind was racing. I began writing everything down, trying to remember all the  thoughts in my head. I talked for England at the speed of Usain Bolt. Poor Karl was knackered trying to keep up with me. But everything was soooo amazing I had to get it all out! I can remember being in the bath with a face and hair mask on thinking if I leave in on for ten minutes longer than in says then it will work ten times better. In reality I could leave one on for a week and still have eye bags big enough to put my shopping in.

As the days went on I became obsessed with getting Kayden christened. I have to say at this point that I not religious at all! I rang my mum up with excitement about how lovely it would be (She just rolled with it).
On the 23rd of November at 01:53am  while browsing the internet for absolutely fantastic must have deals I came across a Currys glitch on HOTUKDEALS.COM. For people who don’t know what a glitch is, it’s when a discount code knocks off more money than its suppose to. This particular glitch code was giving £30 off £30 spend. Well well well, hadn’t I hit the jackpot.

I first ordered Karl a Playstation year pass, only costing £7, get in! I then ordered 2 more, well it was a bargain! Then I knew my dad wanted call of duty for his crimbo box. ooo straight in my basket!  Heaters, who doesn’t want heaters in November? I’ll have 2 please.

  • Dustbuster check
  • internet radio check
  • New kettle check
  • New sat nav costing £79.99, why not? check

I want to take this moment to say sorry to the poor bastard at Currys warehouse dealing with my orders.
2 days later I received and email stating that the code was an error so they were unable to process my orders. Thank the man up above for that!
Any way you get the picture. I was on my way to well and truly going Johnny rental (Karls and my nickname for Mental, I thought it was a well known cockney slang until Ive just googled it)

I’ll leave it at that for now as I’ve banged on enough. I will do more posts about the day I got sectioned (that’s when is really gets messy) and a bit about my recovery.
Any feedback would be brill! And please share my blog! This illness needs to become a well known one. It needs to be talked about in midwife visits, and after birth visits. Families need to know what signs to look out for at what to do if they suspect something is wrong.

Help me do this please x

37 thoughts on “So you ask, what the hell is Postpartum Psychosis???

  1. Reblogged this on THE DEPRESSIVE DIVA and commented:
    I’m reblogging this post from the website, “Oh No, Mummy’s Mad,” about a woman’s experience with postpartum psychosis. It gives an insider’s look into the mind of a mother who has experienced this. Check it out!

  2. Oh my god this is actually brilliant! I too had Postpartum Psychosis…. love love loved your bit about the shopping. I had a mad spree on this site called Peppermayo and ordered one of everything they had. About 7 different water proof Bluetooth speakers, drink bottles, laptop cases one for my partner and one for myself even though we share the laptop. A record player for my partner?! I can laugh about it all now. I was so generous and I was entitled! I think it was about $4000 worth luckily they security check for anything over $200 so none of it went through that wasn’t even the worst of it but I can definitely relate. Thanks for sharing xx

    1. Its so comforting hearing about other peoples experiences. How are you now Elaine? Im so glad they cancelled my order too!. Its a very strange and shocking illness. The last thing you expect to happen when having a baby.

      1. Yes it is. I have read a few stories every now and then but most of the time other people’s experience’s of Postpartum Psychosis are quite different from what I experienced however your story is pretty similar to mine. I am okay I would say I am still in recovery but much more myself. My daughter has just turned one at the beginning of July and I’ve only really been able to function well since about November last year. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have imagined that anything like that could ever happen from having a baby. My daughter is soo perfect but she came at a great sacrifice. The worst part was having no insight into my behaviour which is why I can relate to your experience so much. I literally thought that everyone else was freaking out over nothing.

        1. I have recently applied for my medical notes from the unit. I think i’m ready to read about how bad I actually was. But I wouldn’t recommend doing that until your fully well again. It too me around 2 years to feel like myself again. However I don’t think you ever return to your old self, maybe because Im now a mummy or maybe because I dont ever fully trust my brain.

          1. It’s like you are reading my mind haha. I actually have thought of accessing my medical records often but I know I’m not ready for that yet and its super awkward because I was assessed by my colleagues. (I work in Alcohol and Drugs and we work closely with the Mental Health team). I too know I need atleast another year to be recovered but I also feel like I will never be the same again. I also think a lot about if I were to have another baby and I know I’m definitely not ready anytime soon but I just don’t know if I could cope with the constant supervision and scrutinising of behaviours like how would I even be able to be myself even though I know it’s for good reason.

  3. I’m finding it hard to put into words how inspiring you are to me. Being a mum is hard full stop so to do this whilst overcoming all the hurdles you have face is inspirational. The mental health services are so poor and a lot of it really does depend on your postcode. And it is ridiculous because we will all at some point experience situations with mental health. Keep promoting and spreading awareness. I am sure you are helping many xxx

  4. This was a very informative post on Postpartum Psychosis.. I struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of my 2nd child and I felt so alone, but its comforting to know I am not alone! So many women have similar experiences and its good to be able to feel like you have a tribe! Thanks for sharing and Congratulations on your engagement! Wishing you the best!

  5. First of all, thank you for sharing your story!

    Postpartum psychosis definitely needs more attention and more research done. I’d love to see more awareness as well thanks for helping raise awareness.

    And congrats on your engagement. I wish you happiness!

  6. I didn’t know this was a thing! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I had a traumatic delivery and a son in the NICU for 2 months. It had many of the symptoms you described, but not all. I, also, am struggling with the decision to have another. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone <3

  7. I’ve had two babies and have never heard of this – that’s scary that there is not more information out there – thank you for sharing your story!

  8. I had severe PND after 3 of mine, and had heard of Postpartum Psychosis. My symptoms were almost in the category of it and at some points I remember thinking that I would be better off being sectioned… however, I managed to regain control.

    The scariest aspects of my PND were thoughts of infanticide.

    I have no idea how scary it must have all been for you! Well done for talking about it. It is definitely something that needs more awareness.

  9. My goodness, I’ve never heard of this. It definitely needs talking about. Before the birth of my first my GP told me I had pre-natal depression – convinced baby was late because I’d be a terrible mum/that it doesn’t want to be my child etc. It was really scary, but disappeared the moment my daughter was born. Looking back it might just have been anxiety, and maybe fear of the unknown, but it scared me (and those around me). I never knew pre-natal depression existed. Just like, until now, I didn’t know that postpartum psychosis existed. Why are we not told about them?

    1. Wow, I have never heard of that either, so glad it went away quickly. I dont understand why were not told about these things either, maybe to not make us scared? But that wouldnt mean we would be more likely to get it, it would just help to women that do.

  10. Aw hun, I had never heard of this before. There are so many post partum mental health issue out there and I thank you for bringing awareness. Everyone thinks that being a mother is juts naturally for woman and easy but it isn’t

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience of Postpartum Psychosis. I have to confess, I only learned of it through TV portrayals, but have read up on it since and can only imagine how tough it must be on everyone affected. Much love.

  12. I had never heard of this condition until a couple of weeks ago when a friend of a friend sadly ended her life after her psychosis went undetected. So important to raise awareness of this rare but incredibly serious condition. You are incredibly brave. Being a new Mum is hard enough without having to deal with this.

    1. Oh gosh how terrible. It is so important to me to spread the word so in the future things like that won’t happen. It’s so sad

  13. Oh my goodness how scary but also how brave of you for sharing and educating us – I have a friend who suffered with this I think she is still struggling years down the line…

    1. Oh no how awful, it took me about 3 years to gain my confidence back. I still suffer with anxiety and sometimes low mood but can deal with it. I hope your friend has the support she needs around her. Feel free to pass on my blog and i can message her x

  14. I am so sorry to see that you went through PPP. It’s one thing observing a patient who was diagnosed with it, and another reading a first-hand experience of it. I also want to add that in some places, it is very disheartening that people think it is as a result of some sort of evil done against the person or it becomes a source of stigma for the victim and their family in the society. We definitely need awareness and support on PPP and other mental disorders xx

  15. I had severe PND with my second and it was so hard to manage while looking after my eldest, who was only 2 years old. I woke up in the night screaming and would hallucinate that the room was caving in on me. Then about a month or two later I was convinced my ex next door neighbour was trying to kill me and stalking me. I had never heard of post partum psychosis until recently but I am sure it effected me.

  16. Well done for sharing all of this. So brave. I must admit I didn’t know much about it before reading this so I’ve found it really informative. I suffered badly with PND so I can relate to some things you’ve mentioned. Looking forward to reading the rest of your posts when you share more of the journey you’ve been through

  17. I’d never heard about Postpartum Psychosis until I read about it on your blog. Thanks for sharing your experience. I can’t begin to imagine how tough it must have been for all of you

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