Hannah’s story (Thirsk)
I had a straight-forward pregnancy and gave birth to my first baby after an emergency c-section in 2009.When I started having irrational, racing thoughts and very strange behavior my community midwife sent me to my GP. Things worsened and few days later, I saw a different GP who referred me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed ‘depression, postnatal onset’ & gave me medication. Frighteningly my condition quickly deteriorated. My condition became so bad I was sectioned in a general psychiatric ward, separated from my son and diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis [PP]. I had no history of mental illness and developing PP was a complete shock and extremely traumatic.
Mother & Baby Unit (MBU)
I spent two distressing weeks in the general psychiatric ward until a bed became available in a specialist mother and baby Unit. I was stabilised there on my own and my baby joined me ten days later. It was enormously helpful that even with a round trip of 60+ miles, my husband could visit us each evening. This unit has now closed.
After going home three months later, I suffered extreme anxiety and lost a lot of confidence which took time to rebuild. The medication made me very tired. Thanks to the support of a care coordinator and with a series of consultant psychiatrist appointments, I gradually improved.
What should’ve been a joyful time with my new baby was terrifying and extremely stressful, not just for me, but for my family too.
Investment is needed
I had my second child in 2013 and with a care plan in place I didn’t get PP again. With my second pregnancy I struggled to access mental health services.
My message to others is, with the right support – from family, friends and professionals – you will get better. We desperately need more investment to raise awareness and more MBUs.