Postpartum poems

Hello - I wrote these for my blog back in March but not sure if I ever shared them here?

Might be of interest to some of you, but apologies in advance for the terrible, navel-gazing, poetry!

"

Written in a fit of poetic splurging during The Boy's naptime earlier today. If there is any rhyme or reason to this, they represent Illness, Recovery and Parenthood. Be gentle.

Psycho world

The world is spinning away from me.

I hear voices I recognise, see faces I know,

But the harder I look, the more intently I hear,

The further and further they go.

The world is spinning away from me.

I've lost my grip on everything.

All that I know, all that I ever knew,

Has disappeared into a box marked

"Nothing".

The world is spinning away from me.

The fear takes control of my head,

If I open my mouth, or reach out my hand,

I'll know for sure I am dead.

The world is spinning away from me.

The safest place to be is inside my head.

The best I dare hope for, the best case scenario,

Is that this is Hell and Earth continues on in my stead.

But slowly, so slowly...

The world begins to come back for me

The drugs gradually do their work.

Allowing my mind to realise

This was life after all,

A hellish, dark, tortuous pit,

But specific to me and my worst fears,

And - thank goodness - not the end of life as we know it.

Survival

Nothing and no one can touch me now.

I've been to the back of beyond

The bottom of the pit

The arse-end of society.

I lost my dignity, my humanity.

But - guess what?

Life is not a one-shot game

You are allowed to fail.

Allowed to go back to the beginning

And start again.

The confidence that comes,

When you've reached the bottom

And survived.

Is unbeatable.

The knowledge that this gives,

The peace that comes from knowing

How futile keeping-up-appearances can be.

Is unshakeable.

Who can touch me now?

I'd like to see them try.

Come at me with words, deeds, targets, tests...

All of it matters less

Than the beauty of

Survival.

Parenthood

It's not about who you become

How life changes

What it teaches us.

It's about the new person

You have introduced

Into the mix of life.

It's not about you any more

Your hopes and dreams fade

Into your tiny bundle of EVERYTHING.

It's about all of them

From their most basic need

To their most incredible dream.

It's everything for them,

Your unspoken word and

Your every waking thought.

It's parenthood, you see,

The circle of life if you like

-

And you won't mind one bit.

13 Replies

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  • Hello KatG

    Hope you are well. Your poems are so descriptive of the stages of psychosis ..... survival ..... and the icing on the cake, our eventual 'reward' for all we endured, has to be parenthood.

    Take good care of yourself.

  • Thanks for sharing! I particularly like survival! The experience of pp and ppd totally shook my confidence but three years later I'm back from the arse end with a vengeance! Thanks

  • Hi there KatG thank you so very much for your poems, they capture so much of what I've been feeling this past year since experiencing PP a year ago. I only found this site on Friday night, the night before my daughter's 2nd birthday party. I wish I'd found it sooner, but am just so so grateful that I've found it at all. I love poetry. I keep getting sucked back into worries and fears and keep trying to remember that light can flood all these out - and your poems have really helped me to remember that. Our daughter is so wonderful, I am so very grateful for her and am so very proud of her. I will keep reading your poems. I've written before in the past but haven't had the guts or found the ability to write about pp. I've had early ideas of a song about it. I think your poems may help me write it. I had psychotic episodes before having our daughter, my partner and I thought about whether we could have a child for 7 years and were advised by amazing health professionals that we could go for it. While pregnant the risk of having an episode seemed some how remote, we were so elated by pregnancy. We took so many precautions against having an episode but when our daughter was 9 months I had pp. It was so much worse than the episodes I'd had before, shattering. And I've felt afraid of so much this past year. I feel like your poems have given me something incredibly valuable - they've reminded me of what I know in my bones and given me a lot of hope - I'll keep reading them for their light xx

  • Aw hi Jen thanks so much for reading my poems, and such a lovely comment. Lily beth is absolutely right, it means ever such a lot to me that they have "spoken" to you as such.

    Feel free to set them to music!! :)

    I'm sorry you experienced PP, but rest assured we are all here to help and support you. My illness came on almost immediately, so I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to have it hit you 9 months after delivery.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery - always here to chat anytime.

    X

  • Hello Jenskygazer

    I also think that KatG.'s poems are brilliant at capturing our thoughts and feelings during our PP and surviving the trauma of it all. I'm glad you found the forum and hope you will find support here if and when you need it, or whenever you just feel like a chat. It's just so nice to share our experiences with other mums who really do understand isn't it?

    I'm sorry to hear that you have felt afraid of so much this year, fighting PP does take so much of our energy and it's hard to find our feet again. Writing poetry and verse can be a good 'tool' in recovery, just thoughts in our head can be a comfort when written down. During my PP I wrote poetry but this was years ago and so wasn't kept. I would have liked to know what my thoughts were at that time as I wasn't communicating with family or anyone at the time.

    Thanks for posting ..... I'm sure your daughter is a delight. I think KatG will be very proud that she has inspired you.

    Take good care of yourself ...... there is always hope and we are here for you.

  • Thank you so much Lilybeth, you're right, writing down thoughts can be a huge help and I find poetry very powerful. One year on from my episode I can't believe all the things that have happened, while I still feel fears I feel so much stronger than I did and actually I think it's learning to live with those fears and see their falsity that helps. I used to find CBT 'exposure' therapy, where you say your fears out loud and face them so very very horrible. But now I find life is the exposure, and it can change so quickly from being frightening to being very very beautiful. I really appreciate your post, thank you for it, it's so good to hear from someone who has been there and who has travelled the path out

  • Hello Jenskygazer

    You're very welcome ..... are you still under the care of a medical team? I had CBT but only talking one to one; telling a complete stranger my thoughts was helpful as she could make sense of them.

    I think in the early stage of recovery the realisation of what we went through can be quite frightening and very out of character. Rest assured your confidence will build and you will feel more able to tackle the ups and downs after PP. If you have had time to look around the site, have you come across the APP Insider Guides, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and there is also one for partners? You might find some of the comments helpful.

    You will find lots of support here from other mums who are at different stages in their recovery and also mums, like me, who have fully recovered. When I came across APP some years ago it made such a difference to how I felt about myself and I hope it will do the same for you.

    Take good care of yourself.

  • I can heartily recommend APP's recovery booklet! X

  • Hi KatG and Lilybeth, thank you so much for your messages, they mean a great deal. It really has been incredible finding this forum. I've felt quite overwhelmed by it the past couple of days, I think because it has put a lot into perspective for me but also confronted me with a lot. It's amazing to find a network of such strong, experienced mums who have all been there. Thankyou, thank you and thank you again.

    Jen xx

  • Hi jen, that's so wonderful to hear. It has been so crucial to my full recovery as well, and continues to be. Never hesitate to continue writing and replying, it's great to have you here!

    X

  • Hi jen

    I'm so glad you have found our comments helpful. I felt the same when I had the good fortune to find APP ...... So many things I had wondered about for years were answered and all the interactions with other mums have been really helpful. For me this is the only place where I can discuss my PP with mums who understand and never judge.

    Take good care of yourself and keep in touch if you can.

  • Thank you all, just seen your replies. Yes, I am finding that questions are answered here. It is so good to find a place where mums understand straight away. KatG, I've been really struck that yourself, and other mums, use exactly the words I've been thinking of for a year to describe your experiences. I wish I'd found the site sooner, but in other ways I think actually finding it a year on, after having found out some coping mechanisms has really helped. My brother had ME for 7 years and we always said you have to find your own way out of it and find what helps for you. I think that's true of this too, in a completely different way of course, I'm finding out each day little things that help and putting them all together and feel so much stronger for it. Years ago when I was studying philosophy I read about Lukacs saying that everything is a process, that we are all in 'a permanent state of becoming'. He was talking about economics. Now I think I feel that in every bone of my being. Thank you again xx

  • Hello jenskygazer

    I hope you are feeling stronger day by day and your confidence is building.

    We are all here for you to lean on.

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