Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Did anyone see 'Call the Midwife' epsiode 7, BBC1 last night?

It included a fictional PP story line set in the 1950's. What did you think? How did you think it was portrayed? Did you find it difficult to watch? It's available for a while here if you missed it:

bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b...

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Hi Andrea,

I saw 'Call the Midwife' last night. At first I did think the mother had traits of OCD, stressing over cleanliness, rather than PP? In my case I felt I wasn't good enough, The voice I heard told me I was a bad mother and commanded me to self-harm. So I did relate to the scene on the bridge, except my 'bridge' was a window ledge and I was alone.

I suppose that's how it was in the 50's, the stigma of mental illness even worse than in my first experience in the mid-70's. I do remember the stark surroundings of the asylum walls and I found the scenes of the mother being taken for ECT treatment difficult to watch. Mainly because at the beginning of my treatment I was so ill that I didn't know what was happening and relied on my family to agree what was best. So last night I did flinch when I saw the 'shock' administered although I have seen the process before. After a few treatments I remember having such a thumping headache when I came round!

Although fictional it was good to highlight a topic that was never mentioned in my ante-natal days all those years ago.

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I watched this last night and was sitting crying after experiencing this awful illness recently with my daughter.

Marilyn

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It must still be very raw for you Marilyn. I hope in some ways it was a release to have a good cry, and I'm so glad your daughter was able to stay with her baby for treatment. It's been encouraging to hear from you that 6 months in her recovery is beginning to strengthen.

Thinking of you and thank you so much for supporting and encouraging another grandmother in your position on your discussion thread.

Naomi

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Yes, it was difficult & upsetting to watch & brought back memories for me too. It was excellent & important that they included it though & I thought it was handled very sensitively. I was really pleased with how this difficult topic was portrayed & that it didn't add to the stereotypes, stigma, shame etc.

It was great that PP was recognised so early & that she got treatment so quickly - what excellent midwives! But this is obviously pretty unrealistic even today, as the route into care was/is far more difficult & took far longer to get correct diagnosis & treatment for most of us.

I found it really heartwarming that they showed a happy ending - phew! Although, the happy ending can take a lot longer than the 'condensed version' shown, sometimes years. I also thought they'd played down the horror, fear, nightmare etc. of PP especially in the early symptoms but there's only so far you can go in showing that detail & it wouldn't have been suitable to show anyway or to fit in the timescale.

Overall I thought it was a very good precis of PP's start to finish. It was very notable though & quite shocking how little has really changed since the 1950's regarding treatments, stigma, shame & awareness. It's shocking that mums are still separated from their newborns even today & that treatment is a Mother & Baby Unit is a postcode lottery. We've come a long way but there is still a long way to go!

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So glad this has been posted as was just logging on to ask the same question and see what other's thoughts were!

I have mixed emotions, at first I thought ah great they are helping to raise awareness of puerperal psychosis but, if I am completely honest, I don't know that I am happy about how it was portrayed and looking at a Telegraph review and the call the Midwife Facebook Page I just think it has got people talking but not always in a positive way (in fact I was rather riled by a couple of comments) and why did the BBC not mention anything after the programme about " if you think you are effected by any of the issues in tonight's programme..."

Everyone's experience of PP is different and we all have our own stories but I just don't know if it did us, or certainly me, justice.

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Andrea - I started writing before I saw your other reply - a lot more eloquently put than me and I do agree with a lot of what you say but still feel a little let down at the same time but then I guess anything that gets people talking and raises awareness is a good thing (gosh that is full of contradictions but hey, ho!)

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Hi Bramble7, I haven't seen the Telegraph review but I'll have a look thanks. I also haven't seen the dodgy comments yet either (luckily, as they can be awful & so ignorant!), I've only seen positive ones so far. I expected there to be negative comments - it just shows how far there still is to go. I'm sorry you felt let down, I usually feel that way when PP is covered in the media so I guess I expected less this time & although it wasn't perfect, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, I agree it's good to get people talking about it, well, it's a start & in time we can correct the myths & misunderstandings - sooner rather than later I hope!

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I have the episode on record but must admit both my husband and I have felt pretty nervous about watching it. I'm grateful for the advance warning that it features ECT as I did have this treatment myself for severe depression after baby #2 and it can be hard to watch.

It was a shame that the precis of the episode in the Radio Times described it as 'postnatal depression' and like others I would have loved to have seen APP contact details for anyone affected by the issue... but we can't have everything! It is very heartening that recovery was featured as so often media coverage sensationalises and focuses on the most tragic endings to PP stories.

I will let you know if we do feel brave enough to watch!

Naomi

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Oh how annoying they called it PND! I was really hoping they wouldn't. In the episode they called it Puerperal Psychosis & didn't mention PND which was good (unless I missed that bit). I think it's quite wise not watching it Naomi, you can download it from the Iplayer to watch at a later date if you want though.

Yes it was a real shame they didn't mention APP at the end or call it Postpartum Psychosis anywhere, but there are lots of links to us around on social media & everybody is helping there, so hopefully word is getting out there.

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Hi

I'm new to this forum but I've just watched the call the midwives as someone at work asked me today if I'd watched it as she knew I suffered from this over 11 years ago now.

I thought it was an abridged version of what it's like but overall wasn't too bad? I can't comment on the shock treatment as I didn't have that. However, I was injected with something to put me to sleep for some time and have about 6 weeks memory missing from this?

I'm pleased they showed a happy ending... I know this isn't always the case! I'm grateful that they diagnosed me quite quickly and I was put into a MBU for 3 months and slowly got better.

This is the first time since my illness I've ever looked up any forums and would like to offer any help/support where I can!:-)

Also, I agree that it's good that it's being spoken about slightly more as I'm not ashamed about it but I feel that if it was more understood then women wouldn't be so afraid to talk about it because as much as people say they don't judge... they do!

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