Trigger warning! Mentions extremely upsetting psychosis episodes
My Journey through Postpartum Psychosis: Overcoming Darkness to Find Light

My Journey through Postpartum Psychosis: Overcoming Darkness to Find Light

A Perfect Birth and Unexpected Challenges

 The 21st of February, 2021, will forever remain etched in my memory as a day of pure bliss and anticipation. That day my daughter was born, and it seemed for a moment that the stars aligned to give our wee family a blessing.
My labour was surprisingly smooth, and I soon held my precious daughter in my arms. I found myself marvelling at the miracle of life as I gazed on her through tears of joy.
The profound sense of fulfilment I felt that day soon gave way to other much darker and disturbing thoughts, thoughts I could not foresee or control. A terrifying and under discussed illness had begun to ravage my mind, as it does to one in a thousand new mothers. That illness is called postpartum psychosis.


Complications, Consultations & Denial

 As the initial euphoria of childbirth waned, I began to feel an inexplicable fatigue and weakness. After a few days at home I was readmitted to the hospital with issues related to blood loss, symptomatic anemia, they called it. But it wasn’t just the physical toll that caught me off guard. It was the unexpected panic attack that it caused. My heart raced, my chest tightened, and a cloud of dread descended upon me. I was haunted by a sense of impending doom, a stark contrast to the joy I had felt just days before.
 The maternity ward bustled with activity, a symphony of life unfolding all around me. The nurses and doctors moved with purpose, tending to countless needs of other new or expectant mothers. During this time my own actions were becoming erratic, unusual and concerning to the nurses on the ward and they referred my to the psychiatric team for review. Amidst the whirlwind, a compassionate consultant took a moment to express their concerns and she spoke of postpartum psychosis, a condition that could cast a shadow over my newfound motherhood. Dismissing her words I clung to the belief that such a fate was reserved for others, not me.


Nightmares and Descent into Darkness

 Nights became a haunting experience, a time when my mind seemed to betray me. Nightmares would envelop me in a suffocating embrace, vivid scenes of my baby slipping away into the arms of heavenly angels. Sleep soon became impossible, and I found myself locked in a battle between exhaustion and fear.
 Desperation drove me to check my daughter’s breathing incessantly, convinced that each breath might be her last. I’d rouse my two-year-old son from his peaceful slumber, seeking solace in the skin-to-skin contact that had once brought me comfort. The rational part of me knew this was far from normal, but in those moments, reason was a distant companion.


The horrors of Psychosis, and importance of an accurate diagnosis

 The breaking point arrived in the silent hours of a sleepless morning. My mind, a maelstrom of thoughts, whispered words that shocked me to my core. I turned to my husband, my voice trembling as I asked if it was time to suffocate the baby. His eyes widened with concern, and in that moment, I knew the gravity of what I had just uttered.
 He didn’t hesitate. My husband reached out to the crisis team, a lifeline put in place by the consultant before my release from the hospital. In my darkest hour they were a guiding light to my panicked husband. Their response that night was swift and reassuring, confirming my diagnosis of postpartum psychosis, one my husband had been completely unaware of until that call. They implored him not to leave me alone and advised strongly against me being alone with our children.


From Darkness to Light

 With the dawn of a new day, my reality was forever changed. An official diagnosis had been made – I had postpartum psychosis. That illness, which until then we had never heard of, seemed both alarming and terrifying. My husband told me later that the was comforted by reassurances that it was treatable, but he was also told that it was a medical emergency requiring a swift intervention as it was just as serious as a heart attack. Accepting this truth was a pivotal step on the path to healing and recovery.
 Looking back, I am humbled by the strength it took to confront the shadows that threatened to consume me. My journey through postpartum psychosis was not a battle fought solely by me; it was a collective effort, aided by my devoted husband, family and the unwavering support of healthcare professionals.
 My story stands as a testament to the importance of seeking help, even when skepticism or denial clouds our judgment. Today, as I hug my daughter, and laugh at her sassy attitude, I find myself filled with gratitude that my journey led me back to the light. It serves as a reminder that even in the depths of despair, there is hope, healing, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.


To hear more about Tara's story check out her episode on the Tay Does Life Podcast - Click Here

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Tara's favourite notebooks inspired by the home she loves

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