Diagnosed in March 2014

Hi all. I suffered from pp quickly after the birth of my first son in March this year. Completely out of the blue, I've had no history of mental illness.

I didn't sleep and was v elated then anxious, I was admitted to a psychiatric unit when he was 13 days old, I can't imagine being apart now but I was so out of it then. I was in there for three weeks and was prescribed aripriprizole. I think I've made a full recovery, no anxiety or depressive symptoms now. Just can't wait to drive again, my consultant needs to write to the dvla as I've been stable for three months.

I hate the name pp, it doesn't suit my symptoms. I didn't hallucinate but did think I aw dreaming at times which I guess is the same.

I'm worried about it happening again if I have another child but consultant is confident that it won't b as bad - any mums in here that had a second child?

Anyone from North West uk?

9 Replies

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  • Welcome to the forum.

    Great to hear that you got through pp fairly quickly. I too was lucky to have a quick recovery after being hospitalised for only a week when my son was 6 weeks old.

    There's many of us here that have gone on to have subsequent children. Some don't have a reoccurence of PP at all. Many like me do go on to have another episode. However this time we were prepared. If I'd chosen to take meds straight away I probably would not have had any symptoms. However my brief episode of mania (not even noticeable to others) was quickly brought under control within a couple of days of me noticing my thoughts racing.

    In regards to the name Postpartum Psychosis. Hallucinations can be a part of it but I personally didn't have any either. Psychosis is more to do with a loss of touch with reality not necessarily actual hallucinations but just not being able to reason in the same way. As you were lucky to be hospitalised so quickly Postpartum you may have only just skimmed the surface. Often the longer you go undiagnosed the worse the symptoms become.

    You may also be like me and prefer to think of it in your own terms. For a while I'd descibe it as postnatal mania especially when I was talking about it with friends/family. Psychosis does sound very scary. As time has gone on I've come to accept pp as my diagnosis. My first episode was definitely more than just mania. I also believe that we need to take away the stigma that comes with mental illnesses.

    This forum is a great place to share and to ask questions.

  • When the time comes to have another child if you choose the key is to have a good care plan in place & make sure you, your family & friends and health care professionals involved in your care are aware of any early warning signs of any kind of deterioration of your mental healtogether so you can get best possible treatment immediately if anything does happen.

    I had my 2nd son last November & was diagnosed with my 2nd episode of pp 2 weeks after. Throughout the 2 weeks leading up to this I together with my mum & husband told the midwives I wasn't sleeping enough but got fobbed off. When my baby was 8 days old I hald a mental health assessment & managed to convince the nurses as well as myself that I was fine & sleep deprivation was just down to breastfeeding a very hungry baby.

    It took 27 days from being prescribed olanzapine for me to be offered a space in the mbu I'd been in with my 1st son in the summer of 2011 & I was eventually discharged from there 21st Feb. I feel strongly I should have seen a perinatal psychologist during pregnancy, should have been in mbu much quicker & possibly prescribed preventative medication at the end of my pregnancy.

    Although I feel let down by the home treatment team I received excellent care once in the mbu & have had really good care & support from cpn & support workers since discharge & with the support of family & friends am making a good recovery. I think once the dvla get their act together so I can get my license back I'll be feeling even better.

    Like you I never suffered hallucinations etc with either episode, even my cpn has said she thinks what I experienced was more like manic episodes than pp. 1st tome round I felt ashamed & embarrassed at 1st but I'm now very open about what's happened to me in the hope I might be able to help others.

    So glad to hear you're doing well now. I hope all of this hasn't put you off having more children in future, just want you to be prepared. I was still seeing a psychiatric nurse at my local surgery when we decided to try for another & sought his advice at this point. Unfortunately I don't think he had sufficient knowledge of pp as during pregnancy he told me he thought I was no more at risk than the general population of getting pp this time. When I was diagnosed the psychiatrist told me I'd had a 1/3 chance of getting it & subsequent family research on internet came up with a 50% chance.

    Like BronSyd mentions there are plenty of mums on here that have had more children without a repeat episode, so there is a reasonable chance you wouldn't have a further episode but from my experience I think it is essential to be prepared for a repeat episode just in case.

    Take care & fingers crossed we'll both be back on the road again soon :)

  • How long have you been waiting for your licence? Ive been waiting 6 weeks and keep chasing the consultant as she hasn't completed the form yet. I too will feel much better when I can drive again, I live in a remote village. Can you still breastfeed on Olanzapine? I'm on Ariprizole and will be for another year or so, my son sleeps well so that helps with the guilt that I can't breast feed on the medication. How crap that you were fobbed off even though you had PP previously. I'd describe me as more of a bipolar episode in the manic stage too. Yeah I'll keep my fingers crossed too!

  • Hi Sally, I sent all my paperwork off to the dvla in April & am still waiting for them to contact my psychiatrist. As of mid May I've met criteria to drive & psychiatrist is ready & waiting to give the green light. My cpn even phoned the dvla about a week & half ago & suggested to them that the psychiatrist wrote to them with all the info they would need but was told we have to wait for them to send the proper form .... all very frustrating! Like you I live in a very remote area so driving is vital for my independence & freedom .

    I've always been told I couldn't breastfeed on olanzapine which has been devastating for me.

    Fingers crossed for both of us getting back on the road again soon & continuing our recovery. All the best xx

  • PS. I know that you need to be stable for 3 months but I was advised that I could apply 8 weeks before x

  • When the time comes to have another child if you choose the key is to have a good care plan in place & make sure you, your family & friends and health care professionals involved in your care are aware of any early warning signs of any kind of deterioration of your mental healtogether so you can get best possible treatment immediately if anything does happen.

    I had my 2nd son last November & was diagnosed with my 2nd episode of pp 2 weeks after. Throughout the 2 weeks leading up to this I together with my mum & husband told the midwives I wasn't sleeping enough but got fobbed off. When my baby was 8 days old I hald a mental health assessment & managed to convince the nurses as well as myself that I was fine & sleep deprivation was just down to breastfeeding a very hungry baby.

    It took 27 days from being prescribed olanzapine for me to be offered a space in the mbu I'd been in with my 1st son in the summer of 2011 & I was eventually discharged from there 21st Feb. I feel strongly I should have seen a perinatal psychologist during pregnancy, should have been in mbu much quicker & possibly prescribed preventative medication at the end of my pregnancy.

    Although I feel let down by the home treatment team I received excellent care once in the mbu & have had really good care & support from cpn & support workers since discharge & with the support of family & friends am making a good recovery. I think once the dvla get their act together so I can get my license back I'll be feeling even better.

    Like you I never suffered hallucinations etc with either episode, even my cpn has said she thinks what I experienced was more like manic episodes than pp. 1st tome round I felt ashamed & embarrassed at 1st but I'm now very open about what's happened to me in the hope I might be able to help others.

    So glad to hear you're doing well now. I hope all of this hasn't put you off having more children in future, just want you to be prepared. I was still seeing a psychiatric nurse at my local surgery when we decided to try for another & sought his advice at this point. Unfortunately I don't think he had sufficient knowledge of pp as during pregnancy he told me he thought I was no more at risk than the general population of getting pp this time. When I was diagnosed the psychiatrist told me I'd had a 1/3 chance of getting it & subsequent family research on internet came up with a 50% chance.

    Like BronSyd mentions there are plenty of mums on here that have had more children without a repeat episode, so there is a reasonable chance you wouldn't have a further episode but from my experience I think it is essential to be prepared for a repeat episode just in case.

    Take care & fingers crossed we'll both be back on the road again soon :)

  • It's a shame that your care team weren't as informed as they could have been. My understanding is that the treatment protocol is to take medication as a preventative or at least so that it has a chance to build up in your system so pp doesn't present as severely. I elected for that not to happen. Although as I said I was quick to identify that I was heading towards mania at a very early stage. My psychiatrist found a place in the MBU within 2 days of me presenting however I chose to stay home which worked well with support from my husband.

  • When the time comes to have another child if you choose the key is to have a good care plan in place & make sure you, your family & friends and health care professionals involved in your care are aware of any early warning signs of any kind of deterioration of your mental healtogether so you can get best possible treatment immediately if anything does happen.

    I had my 2nd son last November & was diagnosed with my 2nd episode of pp 2 weeks after. Throughout the 2 weeks leading up to this I together with my mum & husband told the midwives I wasn't sleeping enough but got fobbed off. When my baby was 8 days old I hald a mental health assessment & managed to convince the nurses as well as myself that I was fine & sleep deprivation was just down to breastfeeding a very hungry baby.

    It took 27 days from being prescribed olanzapine for me to be offered a space in the mbu I'd been in with my 1st son in the summer of 2011 & I was eventually discharged from there 21st Feb. I feel strongly I should have seen a perinatal psychologist during pregnancy, should have been in mbu much quicker & possibly prescribed preventative medication at the end of my pregnancy.

    Although I feel let down by the home treatment team I received excellent care once in the mbu & have had really good care & support from cpn & support workers since discharge & with the support of family & friends am making a good recovery. I think once the dvla get their act together so I can get my license back I'll be feeling even better.

    Like you I never suffered hallucinations etc with either episode, even my cpn has said she thinks what I experienced was more like manic episodes than pp. 1st tome round I felt ashamed & embarrassed at 1st but I'm now very open about what's happened to me in the hope I might be able to help others.

    So glad to hear you're doing well now. I hope all of this hasn't put you off having more children in future, just want you to be prepared. I was still seeing a psychiatric nurse at my local surgery when we decided to try for another & sought his advice at this point. Unfortunately I don't think he had sufficient knowledge of pp as during pregnancy he told me he thought I was no more at risk than the general population of getting pp this time. When I was diagnosed the psychiatrist told me I'd had a 1/3 chance of getting it & subsequent family research on internet came up with a 50% chance.

    Like BronSyd mentions there are plenty of mums on here that have had more children without a repeat episode, so there is a reasonable chance you wouldn't have a further episode but from my experience I think it is essential to be prepared for a repeat episode just in case.

    Take care & fingers crossed we'll both be back on the road again soon :)

  • Hi Sallyhudson,

    Great to hear from you and I too, am glad you've found the forum. There's nothing quite like airing your experience/worries/questions with others who know exactly how you feel.

    Your question will resonate with lots of us here on the forum. It is one of the most common dilemmas having experienced an episode of PP...should I risk it happening again by having a second baby?

    First of all, I'm so sorry you had such a frightening experience, my PP episode was also out of the blue and it was such a shock. I can relate to your feelings about the name and dislike of the diagnosis. I spent my whole first year, after recovery questioning whether or not they got it right. I still find myself now sometimes describing it as a mild case of PP as I too had no alarming hallucinations or delusions, just mania and extreme anxiety. This is often the way if they catch it early before it becomes a full blown psychotic episode.

    My episode of PP came in 2005 after the birth of my daughter and am happy to report I went on to have another baby three years later and had no problems at all second time around. I was very scared it would all happen again and I spent a lot of time preparing myself mentally in case it did. Accepting it may happen again was key for me, rather than spending my whole second pregnancy in constant fear. This wasn't easy but somehow it was easier to make peace with it rather than to fight it.

    With lots of advice and close care from my perinatal psychiatrist, I decided to have medication on standby but not take it unless I needed it. The psychiatrist came to see me three days after my second baby arrived and then weekly after that to make sure I was o.k. I was very conscious that getting good sleep was a key factor in staying well and again, I had to work hard not to fear insomnia. My husband helped a lot at night time and we had lots of help and support from friends and family so I could rest as much as I could during the day.

    It's a very personal and individual decision, having a second baby. The desire to give your son a brother or sister goes head to head with the fear of it all happening again. I understand completely and I remember all those conflicting emotions so well.

    Whilst I felt like myself again after about six months of having PP, the complete recovery for me took a lot longer. I guess the psychological recovery, accepting what had happened and even contemplating another baby took a few years. Go easy on yourself, it's early days still, take as long as you need to to rebuild your confidence and get back to your old self.

    We are all here to chat to so feel free to write whatever comes to mind whenever you want to.

    All the very warmest,

    Anna

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