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:
- 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- a low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety or trouble sleeping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
- 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