My True Story #No100

"Post partum psychosis isn’t anyone’s fault and science still doesn’t quite know why it happens.. but I’m not alone anymore, when I feel alone I remember that I asked for help." - Shannon

"My beautiful baby daughter was born in 2018, I was 23 and beyond excited and besotted. The birth was great - as great as labour can get I suppose! I felt liberated proud - and tired. She was a month early and needed a little help feeding with a bit of jaundice but she handled it well - and so did I.

The surge of love was beyond anything I had ever felt and still feel.

A few weeks after giving birth in the summer evening heat with my tiny newborn, a family member made a passing light hearted comment which would burn me to the core in an instant.

After a light bicker with my daughters Dad over small financial matters, a family member piped up with a completely innocent smile and said “..if you two don’t stop bickering I’ll have to take that little bundle as my own and keep her!” Everyone continued to talk, chuckle and coo over this comment and crowd around my baby girl in my arms...but within seconds a switch and been flipped. I swallowed hard and felt a concealed surge of rage and jealousy towards this person, my eyes burned and I held my baby a little tighter.

The feeling subsided later that night, but it came back. Time and time again. Little did I know this comment would turn the next nearly 2 years of my life into post partum psychosis.

Fears that I wasn’t good enough as a mum, fears that family were out to steal my baby when they took her for a walk to give me a break, intense nights of watching my daughter sleep for fear of her dying in my care in her sleep for hours whilst I hallucinated due to lack of sleep. I even had an ambulance called for me due to my erratic sleep deprived mumble talk. I could barely string a sentence together.

My “mother-cub instincts” were beyond what they should be, meaning I trusted NO ONE, not even the pram that held my child with her safety. I almost gave up at times and fantasised about suicide and how my daughter would be better off without me.

I searched for the former me before I was a mum - I was having a complete identity crisis and I was drowning in the midst of it all.

In the end, I told my mum and luckily for me she works in mental health and she had already been quietly watching and assessing me with the help of my daughters Dad, other family members and friends for some time.

When I finally knew something was wrong due to my bouts of paranoia and judgement from complete strangers (which at the time - I fully believed I was being watched and assessed by my neighbours and friends by my ability to parent)

I am getting the help I need. I still have days where I refuse to accept that something isn’t quite right but the bottom line is - I did it. I receive psychiatric help although it was hard to reach out.

Post partum psychosis isn’t anyone’s fault and science still doesn’t quite know why it happens.. but I’m not alone anymore, when I feel alone I remember that I asked for help. Although at the time it felt pointless it was the best thing I did.

I’m on the road to recovery. Without accounts like these on instagram, I wouldn’t feel as safe as I do now. Most importantly I want to help others. My messages are always open to anyone suffering or anyone who needs a friend.

We as women have this ancient perception that motherhood is rainbows and flowers and this “get on with it” mentality is embedded in us by society - but you know, I think we are finally moving on.

This does not define me. I am a Mother, but I am Human."

True Story told by Shannon @shannonclare7

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