Action on Postpartum Psychosis
1,952 members1,306 posts

Has anyone who has been diagnosed with pp went on to have another member of their family develop this illness?

I was diagnosed with pp 14 years ago. The onset was immediate after the birth of my daughter as a result I was sectioned 3 weeks later where I remained in hospital for a period of 3 months. Today I am glad to say I am fully recovered and the bond my daughter and I share is inseparable.

Now one of my sisters is pregnant with her first child and although I am overjoyed for her, my anxiety levels are through the roof!!! I have 2 sisters both were only 16 when I was ill they were "sheltered" from what occurred during my time of illness, when they look back on that time they know I was seriously ill yet don't really know much about it.

Normally my sister and I are really close but I feel guilty for not fully arming her with the truth. So now she knows that what I had is called Postpartum Psychosis and I have insisted she tell her midwife as well as doctor of the family history. I haven't went in depth about my on personal experience with her as I want her to try and enjoy what so far has been a stressful pregnancy. She has been told by her doctor there is only a slight chance of her developing pp and the only advice is to make her partner, family and friends aware that after the birth if she starts acting odd or having strange thoughts contact the doctor????

I pray that my sister does not develop pp and luckily my mum (The main support throughout my illness) and I will be watching over her. Sadly what should be a happy time has brought back a lot of sad memories for me and I have to keep remembering because it happened to me doesn't necessarily mean my sister will have to go through the same thing.

If you share similar worries or have had other family members go on to develop pp your responses would be welcomed

Thank you (sorry for the long post)

3 Replies

My aunt (my mum's sister) had post partum psychosis, but i was never told about it (or if I was I don't really remember, it wasn't something I even considered could happen to me). But I have a strong genetic loading as there is also huge amount of mental illness on my dad's side- my dad has bipolar disease, my aunt and gran shizoaffective disease.

My aunt has two daughters and she felt so ashamed so never told them about her illness (she is long recovered like me). Luckily her daughter did not have it with either daughter. However, I think it's still best to be aware of the possibility, not to frighten someone, but to be armed with the information so people can look out for the symptoms. But I bet your sister will be fine, don't worry too much.



PP struck me twice, the first almost 38 years ago. Thankfully my sister had two children without any illness following their births. My family witnessed my depths of despair on both occasions but as with Joanna's aunt, the 'shame' of such an illness forced my family into silence.

I think that's why the APP research findings will be invaluable as some years ago I took part in this along with my sister. We both had blood tests to determine if there was something in my 'make up' which wasn't in my sister's. I

As Joanna said, don't worry too much I'm sure your sister will be fine. I can understand it is sad for you to look back but just think how far we have all come. We're all here to help if we can.


Hi ssteel,

Yes it can be a worry with a close relative & pregnancy after you've had PP but I think it all looks pretty positive really.

On our website it says, "If your mother or sister had postpartum psychosis but you have not had any mental illness, your risk is around 3 in 100 (3%). This is higher than the risk in the general population. It is still much lower than for the very high risk groups" - so a sibling wouldn't be classed as high risk at all.

I think it's great that you've made her & others around her aware of PP & what to do if things don't go to plan - just knowing that it exists & can happen would make all the difference. It's also good that you've insisted she tell her midwife so it'll be in her notes.

I can fully understand the memories & emotions it's bringing back, it's a lot to deal with & really hard even after many years. I guess it'll help to try & focus on all the positives & your lovely new niece or nephew though. I really hope the anxiety & memories ease up soon!


You may also like...