Postpartum psychosis: A mother’s story | BBC Tomorrow’s World


We walked down this bare brick-walled corridor
towards the Mother and Baby Unit.
And Tom’s holding my hand quite firmly,
and I hear this baby scream, and I just drop his hand
and turn and run in the opposite direction,
because right then, I know
that what they do is they
find bad mums like me,
they collect them up, and then
they swap their babies for robots.
The nurse came out
from the ward as well.
“Come on in. Your baby’s already in
there, so let’s go and see her.”
And she said that at the time,
she was just terrified
and that her priority
was to get me into the unit
to protect my dignity.
I was completely convinced that they
were still watching me in the unit.
They had this black box on the roof.
And I thought the black box
was filming me the whole time,
recording everything I said.
I refused to eat.
I wasn’t really drinking.
They were then able to diagnose me
with postpartum psychosis.
I would sit twice a week with
the psychiatrist and he would say,
“Score how suicidal you feel
on a scale of zero to ten.”
And I’d be sitting there going,
“Nine. Nine. Nine.”
Over and over again.
The symptoms for postpartum
psychosis usually start
in the first couple of weeks post-birth.
I didn’t get diagnosed
with postpartum psychosis
until Bea was about five months old.
There were precious moments that I
should have been having, but instead
I was running around the house
worrying about murderous ninja social workers.
The most helpful thing to
my recovery in the MBU
was the fact that they nurtured
my relationship with Bea.
They have trained nursery nurses
and they that do things like splash play activities
or weaning classes or baby massage,
and they help you play with your kid.
And it probably sounds strange
that I needed help to play with my kid,
but I did! I did; I needed someone
to give me confidence
that I was doing it right.
The staff at the MBU did a really good job
of personalised care,
building-up trust
and understanding
you as a person
and what your interests are.
I am a complete pop princess,
and so they brought in a little music player thing,
so that I could plug my iPod into it
and listen to Beyonce loudly or Taylor Swift loudly
and bounce around the room to that.
That was again a way of like self-expression
and of finding yourself again.
For a long time, I felt like
I was a terrible mother
and it was really the Mother and Baby Unit
that changed my thinking on that.

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