Episode #9: When your mind is not your own – One mother bravely shares her experience with Postpartum Psychosis
“I felt that my daughter wasn’t actually my daughter”
Right off the bat, I want to let you know that the conversation in this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV is different.
On this program we talk about many topics that are taboo, but postpartum/ postnatal psychosis is something we really don’t talk about.
Today Liz, a mum of boy-girl twins, and GP, is going to change that.
Liz very bravely shares with us her experience with postpartum psychosis after her children were born. She delves deep into how it felt and looked for her and why she had to manage her two years of psychosis alone.
I feel incredibly privileged to bring you this conversation. Not only because it is very personal for Liz, but because it gives us a first-hand insight into the mental health struggles mothers can experience, and so often don’t talk about.
I hope we can all take from Liz’s story the reminder that we must look out for ourselves and each other during motherhood. Always.
Please keep asking mothers if they are ok – some mums’ struggles are so internal that we have no idea what is going on inside them.
In this episode of The Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV you will:
- ✓ Learn about postpartum/ postnatal psychosis and how it can manifest.
- ✓ Be intimately privy to Liz’s thoughts and feelings during this time.
- ✓ Discover how to support yourself if you are experiencing postpartum mental health concerns.
- ✓ Understand how to ask for help, and help others.
Hear the full episode. Simply click on your favourite podcast app below.
Or hit play and watch the full episode on YouTube.
- Just because you wanted to a baby doesn’t mean you MUST love being pregnant, or enjoy it Podcast [10.20], TV [9.50]
There is no right way to be or feel during pregnancy. It is what it is for you, and you feel how you feel. And that is OK.
“It is ok to speak up about how you feel in pregnancy, even if it is not what society wants you to say”
- Ensure you find professionals during pregnancy and motherhood that have your best interests at heart, and truly hear you and your needs Podcast [6.56], TV [6.26]
If the professional you are seeing does not resonate with you, or has different values or beliefs, PLEASE find someone new.
“She said: It was my own fault I had postnatal depression”
- Mental health is as important (if not more important!) as physical health Podcast [13.13], TV [12.43]
- Liz felt a slight onset of postpartum psychosis almost as soon as she brought her children home Podcast [18.10], TV [17.40]
“I still loved my daughter… I had very mixed feelings in me”
Psychosis is defined as losing touch with reality.
Postpartum psychosis is: a severe mental illness. It usually starts within the first 2-4 weeks after having a baby. Symptoms vary, and can change. They can include high mood, depression, confusion, irritability, decreased need for sleep, hallucinations and delusions. There are very effective treatments available.
Postpartum psychosis is not: a mother who has become crazy or “psycho”. Or is running around the streets wielding a knife, or any other such nonsense.
- You don’t have to be in the grips of psychosis to have thoughts about harming your baby Podcast [23.10], TV [22.40]
Many mothers can relate to fleeting thoughts about doing something that will just “stop the noise”, but would never act on it.
- Sometimes pharmaceutical medication is the first thing you need to get you on a path to wellness Podcast [24.30], TV [24.00
There is incredible stigma associated with pharmaceutical medications in motherhood. However, in situations like Liz’s, and other severe cases, finding a suitable medication is an excellent first step. If the mother is OK with it.
“Suddenly everything changed. It was like a magic pill”
- The importance of speaking up and sharing your thoughts and feelings with family, friends or professionals Podcast [27.25], TV [26.55]
Speaking up is a major part in supporting yourself through your motherhood journey, and also to allow others to support you.
“I really wish I had told someone about it years ago”
- Liz shares her advice for mothers who may be struggling with abnormal thinking or feelings they don’t want to share with anyone Podcast [31.50], TV [31.20]
Liz tells us how she brings up the topic in her practice with mothers who are struggling. And how this is a way anyone can bring up a topic with mothers too.
- Liz reveals her silver linings of going through her difficult time Podcast [34.40], TV [34.10]
Hint: there are many!
- We must start motherhood conversations. We must be the first to say how we truly feel Podcast [37.59], TV [37.29]
We must squash the taboo around mental health in motherhood.
“We are afraid that our thoughts and feelings will label us as a bad mother”
If you have concerns about your mental health, or are just not feeling yourself, please speak up.
Please please please!
I would love to hear from you
What insights did you have when you watched this episode?
How could these potentially change your motherhood experience and life?
Leave a comment below and tell us about it! Many mums come here to find support, and your experience or story may help one of them.
Who is one person that would benefit from watching this episode? – Share it with them through the icons at the top of this article 😉
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Mentions In This Episode
Liz is a keen and very accomplished long-distance runner. Our conversation started on a long training run and I am so honoured Liz shared her story with me, and now with you.
Starting conversations about our journeys in, and through, motherhood are of utmost importance to squash the motherhood taboos, and support each other.
Thank you, Liz!
Mental Health Support Services
If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.
If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.