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Take action for Postpartum Psychosis

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My best friend Adam and I are raising money by taking part in a skydive on the 12th January in aid of Action on Postpartum Psychosis and every donation will help. Thank you in advance for your contribution to this cause that means so much to me.
This is a charity close to our hearts and together we can make a difference.

In December 2019, I got my positive pregnancy test. I was absolutely over the moon. I had a very relaxed 12 week, scan, normal midwife appointments and then- Covid struck in March 2020. I had to shield from work like most pregnant women, and life was very unusual. My pregnancy was fairly pleasant, though. I would obsess over statistics of things going wrong, I developed severe OCD where I would not sleep with the fear of something bad happening and having no control. I was told it would get better after I gave birth and to seek help if it didn't. But overall, I did not have any complications.

I gave birth to Grace in August 2020, weighing a healthy 8lb 1oz. From the moment I was handed her on the operating table, I knew I didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I didn't really feel anything at all. I remember thinking "Where is this rush that they all tell you about?". That was just the start of it for me. A lot of people don’t know this but I struggled immensely with PND, OCD and anxiety after having Grace and PPP. A mixture of the general Covid restrictions changing everything, quite a traumatic time after the surgery resulting in a haemorrhage. I knew I had PND, as I recognised symptoms of past depression in myself, and I knew what the baby blues were, but it just kept getting worse and worse. I started with hallucinations, paranoia, I didn‘t know what was reality and what was in my own head. I had never heard of PPP until I had Grace. I didn’t trust anyone, I would tell my Daughter’s Dad that I had poisoned Grace with my breast milk, I would wake in the night convinced she had been taken. I didn’t want to be with her as I thought I would harm her, but was scared of harm coming to her without me as well.

I was so low. So low in fact that I didn’t think I’d see Grace's first birthday, and not only did I see her first birthday and her first steps. She is now 3 and a half, she starts school next year and she is so funny. I’m not ashamed or afraid to say anymore that I had a really really bad time. I was embarrassed, but I want to be the voice for other parents who are going or gone through what I did. I found it so hard and so isolating, I felt so horrible for feeling the way that I did despite having a healthy little girl.
Post natal mental illness is so terrifying and at the time you don’t see any kind of light after dark, everything is just tunnel vision and I’ve never felt sadness and fear like it. The sadness of not wanting to be here and not enjoying this motherhood dream that everyone talks about, not enjoying anything in life, feeling like a burden and like you’re not worthy of being a parent, but honestly, it DOES change. I don’t know when it happens and I don’t know how it happens, but one day things just click. You feel different. It doesn’t happen over night but it feels like it does. But it’s gradual. I can’t imagine ever feeling the way that I did last year. The way that I did on the ward when grace and I were admitted at 3 weeks post partum- I was too ashamed to tell anyone so I made out I was having the best time in my newborn bubble when really I was on a ward with my screaming baby and I just felt no hope. The nights I sobbed into Grace's arms apologising to her for being that way. I was admitted to hospital multiple times, given sleeping pills, anti depressants, a right cocktail just to try and get me through. Crisis teams, the Psych teams, Perenatal nurses and my Health Visitor did weekly visits but nothing seemed to help. But we made it.

And here I am, sharing my story again and this time raising money for APP. I work on Derby’s Mother & Baby Unit as a Support Worker and Adam is one of the wonderful Mental Health Nurses there, and we are so excited to be taking this plunge.

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can affect someone soon after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 1,000 mothers after giving birth.
Symptoms usually start suddenly within the first 2 weeks after giving birth - often within hours or days of giving birth. More rarely, they can develop several weeks after the baby is born.


Symptoms can include:

hallucinations – hearing, seeing, smelling or feeling things that are not there
delusions – suspicions, fears, thoughts or beliefs that are unlikely to be true
mania – feeling very "high" or overactive, for example, talking and thinking too much or too quickly, restlessness or losing normal inhibitions
a low mood – showing signs of depression, being withdrawn or tearful, lacking energy, having a loss of appetite, anxiety, agitation or trouble sleeping
sometimes a mixture of both a manic mood and a low mood - or rapidly changing moods
feeling very confused

More information about Action on Postpartum Psychosis: Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) is the National charity for women and families affected by Postpartum Psychosis (PP).
PP is a severe mental illness which begins suddenly following childbirth.
We run an award-winning peer support service, develop patient information, offer training to frontline health professionals, facilitate research and promote greater public awareness of PP and campaign for improved services.

Thank you for reading my story.
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Donations 

  • Meg Clarke
    • £10 
    • 3 mos
  • Terry Maskrey
    • £5 
    • 3 mos
  • Alison Leivars
    • £5 
    • 3 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £5 
    • 3 mos
  • rahul gandhi
    • £20 
    • 3 mos
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Organizer

Emily Sian Lawrence
Organizer
England
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
 
Registered nonprofit
Donations eligible for Gift Aid.

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