How do you deal with self pity and frustration during the recovery process. I had my PP episode/hospitalization in April of this year. I have had 2 car accidents and my son just broke his leg because my husband fell with him on the stairs. I feel like bad things keep happening. I know it could always get worse but I see other moms that dont have to deal with the trauma of PP and I feel very jealous. I still have bonding issues with my son and that is another frustration.

13 Replies

  • Hi, sorry to hear about your accidents and it sounds quite normal to me that you would feel sorry for yourself with all that going on. I too felt frustration about my PP and the bonds that I perceived other Mums had that I didn't. I started writing in a little notebook each night the 3 things I had enjoyed during the day and 3 things I had achieved (they could have been small things like playing with a toy with my son or meeting a friend for coffee). It made me appreciate the good things going on in my life to put the bad things in balance (I also had a car accident where I was worried I was going to be charged by the police). I still use this notebook now as a working mum when I feel that I am super busy but not achieving anything. I personally found that as my son got older the bonding 'issues' reduced as we could communicate more with each other so I promise it will get better for you. I hope things start to pick up for you soon and your son recovers well from his accident. Sarah

  • I do the '3 favourite things of the day' too. We do it as part of my son's bed-time routine, we each have to say our 3. It's a lovely way to finish the day on nice things (even on days when it's really hard to think of any!). Writing them down in a notebook is a great suggestion when they're too little to join in :-)

  • I second that the bonding definitely improves as they get older - you will continue to get better and as your baby turns into a little boy and shows you his love.

    Also, it's pretty natural to feel sorry for yourself. That too will improve over time. My PP was followed by severe depression. Unfortunately self pity is a natural part of that. Besides, it sounds like you've had a lot to deal with!

  • Hi atrautman,

    As others have said, it's completely natural/ normal to feel sorry for yourself when you have a run of bad luck. And PP certainly feels like bad luck as you are in recovery and able to move on, it's a good way to try and square it to yourself, as otherwise I know for me it made very little sense. I know that I, like mentioned in other replies, tried to celebrate the small things and try not to dwell on anything too negative. Like you say, it could be worse and I used to reassure myself with this too. I still do if I'm having a bad day for whatever reason to be honest!

    Do you have many other Mum friends, either people you've met since you've had your baby or people with kids who you knew before? I found that having a mix of these two types of people in my life really helped; although some know you very well from before being a parent, some Mums I met after having children were more the kind of people that I could just do baby stuff with, whereas my "before" friends were for both kids stuff and just being me, independent of baby. Then really naturally, and positively, some of the new friends turned into people that I would talk to and be friends with independent of the kids - if that makes sense. It gave me a sense of achievement that as well as being a Mum, I was a person in my own right and could continue that part of my life too.

    I hope things get easier for you and you move on from this spell of bad luck soon. Take care, x

  • Hi spannerb,

    My friends have helped me tremendously through this time! One of my best friends had a baby two weeks before me and developed severe ppd. So we have really supported each other. Its still hard for me to relate to others that havent gone through psychosis. It has changed me as a person. I know someday ill be glad for this experience and I cant wait for that time to come.

    Thanks again

  • Hi atrautman, that's so good to hear that you have that support in place. I know that it's hard at the moment but I hope that the info and stories you're reading on here are helping you through. Take care, x

  • Hi atrautman

    Just wanted to echo what others have said really - you are really justified in feeling how you do, it sounds like on top of PP you have had a run of traumatic events. How is your little boy now? Did he have to have a plaster cast on his leg? Hope he makes a good recovery soon.

    I think part of what you're describing is a sense of 'why me?' and I think we've all felt like this at times. Out of the thousands of women who don't get psychosis, why did we have to be the ones to experience it at a time in life when we were expecting so much contentment and joy. It really isn't fair, and it's indiscriminate too so we find that PP affects women from all backgrounds, in all countries, in all kinds of circumstances. I think it's really natural in this early stage still to feel like you just wish it hadn't happened and you can't really imagine that place where you might feel 'glad' that it did.

    I think even for me, 9 years down the line, I can see all the things I've learned about life, the love of other people (especially mums and families on this forum, and good friends like yours too) and myself - but I still wish that PP didn't have to happen to anyone, myself included. I hope for a time when my kids are thinking about having babies of their own when there will be better testing to identify their risks, and really clear clinical pathways to support them in taking decisions to prevent becoming unwell. Maybe within a couple of generations, nobody will be hit 'out of the blue' with PP - that would be a real triumph for research into the causes and genetics of this illness.

    For you right now, I think it's really totally OK to be sorry for yourself. Allow yourself to grieve and even to be angry that it happened to you. So many emotions are a normal part of recovery from PP. You might find it helpful to read other families' stories of recovery in our Insider Guide here:

    Thinking of you lots

    Naomi x

  • Hi Naomi,

    Thanks for your encouraging post. Im so happy for this forum im glad jennifer moyer told me about it! My son is doing fine in his plaster cast it doesnt seem to phase him a bit!

    I have read the stories from other families. They helped in knowing im not alone. I also read a post where the lady went in detail even more with her experience and explained her delusions in detail. I was so shocked to read how her delusions were similar to mine. I even exclaimed to my husband ...Facebook was part of her episode too! Im going to eventually write down my story. Its important for me to remember what I went through in the hospital. I also think it will be very healing. I hope to someday make more awareness of pp here in the states and help with the isolation a lot of women feel. It is hard though since pp is so rare. I was the first patient ever in the psych hospital I was at to have pp. Thanks again for your support :-)

  • Hi atrautman

    Really glad you have found the forum too. It's so important for us to hear stories of women from in other countries who have different experiences of treatment too. So many of the staff at the psych unit will remember your story and will have been touched by your recovery too. I met a nurse 9 years later who had known me in the psych unit and she has now become a specialist perinatal mental health nurse! You are so right - your story will have such meaning for other mums and families and I'm glad that even in the pain of recovery we can encourage each other.

    Warmest wishes

    Naomi x

  • I've found saying grace (a prayer of thanks) before meals makes me less self pitying. My son as he's grown older expects me to have something to say thank you for so that holds me to account. Even on a really bad day I can be thankful his daddy has come home from work to be with us.

  • Or on one occasion I said thank you that we could all go to sleep and Have a rest - my son didn't understand my full meaning but still said a loud "amen"

  • I really love people's ideas they have shared for bringing a sense of gratitude into each day.

    I remember that like bluestarlady I had a little notebook that a friend gave me with a butterfly on the front. She encouraged me to put down 3 things each day that I had been able to enjoy or take a small moment of pleasure in with my little girl. I still have that notebook 9 years down the line and it's a lovely journal of me fighting against depression to find that bond, and to appreciate moments of connection in each day. Sometimes the entry was as simple as "thank you for my daughter looking up and smiling at me in the cot" and I remember thinking 'what a stupidly small thing, the rest of the day has been truly awful' but actually each of those moments is a precious record of your bond strengthening.

    I like jododo's idea too of building it into thank-you's at dinner time or bedtime. My littlest girl always asks for thank you prayers at bedtime and it's helping me again to rebuild my confidence and my bond with her and listen to the things that make her feel happy each day.

    Thanks everyone for your supportive and helpful ideas. It's good for us to know that we can have space too to allow ourselves to grieve, to be angry and to wish it hadn't been like this - but to find the joy despite the pain.

    Naomi x

  • Hi

    It is lovely to read this thread. Atrautman it really sounds like you've been through really tough times and such a run of bad luck - I'm not surprised you're feeling sorry for yourself, I think you'd be a bit strange if you weren't!

    Love the advice you have got here. I love the idea of writing down three things each day you've enjoyed / achieved. I was so inspired I've started doing it after I read it. I did do something similar in the midst of recovery / depression - but not so specific, I think it would have really helped me if I had. I would just try and write positive thoughts each day. As Naomi wrote I do have some short diary entries from just after the illness and I agree, looking back I see it as a testament of my fighting in any small way I could against the depression.

    Re bonding - as others have said I would definitely testify that it gets easier as they get older. I struggled quite badly with depression for over a year after my son was born (which is over 3 years ago now) and it was really as he got older and it was so obvious how much he loved me, that all my insecurities about whether he loved me, or whether I'd damaged him, stopped. I can say absolutely now that the illness has had no effect on our relationship or bond.

    And I remember very clearly watching other mums - breastfeeding, walking around happy and content it seemed, and just feeling so alone and weird and wanting so much another experience.... jealous would be the right word. I even feel a bit jealous now seeing mum's with young babies and wishing I had been able to enjoy my son more when he was that age, I was just mostly in the midst of depression and most days were just a long, dark struggle....and now also jealous of mum's having second babies without a second thought...

    for me it is good to acknowledge these more 'negative' feelings, seek advice and comfort from hearing others stories on here and knowing I'm not alone, and not to feel guilty about feeling them... but then also to really focus on the positives - the amazing relationship with my son, pride in what I have achieved in recovery and everything I went through, and enjoying the friendship I have found on this forum, and the passion I have found in wanting to spread the word about PP / APP and try and support other women who have been through it, as well as receiving support myself... I have been given so much through my experience of PP as well.

    Take care - you will most definitely get better, and sounds like you're doing amazingly well after such a short time. X

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