Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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How / when to talk to children about PP

Good morning ladies! I have a bouncy 5 3/4 year old boy, whose current topic of enquiry at bedtimes seems to be how *exactly* he got out of my tummy. If I say so myself, I think straightforward answers about doctors and incisions are working well for me. But I am wondering about how/if to introduce the what-came-next bit, the PP, once the ickiness of c-sections has ceased to enthrall him. How have other mums handled this? It seems to me that you can't wait for him to introduce a topic he knows nothing about, but is 5 too early?

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My 3.5yo boy is seeing his friends having brothers & sisters at the moment and loves playing 'babies'. I have always been quite open "you lived in mummy's tummy for a while and the doctors helped take you out". He seems to accept that as his favourite story is Red Riding Hood where the wolf has his tummy snipped open to get her out! 🙂 I've also shown him the lovely photos the anaesthetist took of his c-section and moment of birth (surprisingly no gore!) as they are in his baby book. I've also told him that Mummy 'can't' have another baby (our choice) "because it might make me poorly" before the questions come. Since PP I've heard of mental health issues in my family history that have been never spoken about and brushed under the carpet and I'm keen for this not to happen. I don't really have a plan but just think I will try and choose age-appropriate language, not say anything that might distress or frighten him, introduce the concepts slowly and pick my timings as he gets older (e.g. When recreational drugs might be an issue to tell him that he is more at risk of psychosis with cannabis and explain what psychosis does to your mind then). Right now for example we are trying to teach him about the importance to Mummy of 'relaxing' and what this is (the funny book Five Minutes Peace works well here). 🙂


Dear Jane HW,

I completely agree with bluestarlady. My boy is six now & at school star of the week, because of his gross mind set. My son has ingredible emotional intelligence, I suppose partly because of mum's needs, but also because of my partner's caring nature. There have been occasions, where he certainly has been copying dad. For example my eyes had to be lazered after the Psychosis (I could not see my baby anymore), he was just over two, but helped mummy with the after care by putting in eye drops.

Daddy explains to our little man, when mum needs time out. We are trying to be matter of fact.

Wishing you all the best and I believe that mum's just know when the time is right to talk about our illness, -the question will arise eventually...

Sabine x

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