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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Question about Postpartum Issues

Please share your experiences and/or knowledge about whether postpartum depression or psychosis can go on into the first few years after giving birth if untreated or unrecognized.

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Hi VTNancy

Have you experienced / are you experiencing postpartum illness? I hope you’re ok.

You can find more information about PP on the APP website app-network.org/what-is-pp/

PP is usually a psychiatric emergency requiring hospitalisation and the ‘postpartum’ period refers to the first 12 months after childbirth. Left untreated or unrecognised I don’t actually know how long the symptoms can last for. If you or someone you know is currently suffering, it’s important to seek help and treatment.

Best wishes

Jenny x

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I have observed my daughter-in-law becoming more and more depressed and anxious since she gave birth in March of 2017 to her first child. She had signs of highs, lows and OCD tendencies before becoming pregnant. She is an avid perfectionist. In the last several months she has become increasingly angry and delusional in her perceptions of many circumstances. She repeatedly says no one hears or understands her. I recently heard a radio program on postpartum issues, so I've been exploring the possibilities. Since she gave birth almost two years ago, I'm trying to determine if postpartum issues are possible.

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Hello VTNancy

I'm sorry to hear of your concerns about your daughter-in-law. I had PP twice which struck in the very early days after my children were born. Has your daughter-in-law been reviewed by her GP recently? Perhaps during a consultation her GP might offer a referral to a mental health team as not feeling heard or understood is very stressful? I had delusions which no one else believed and remember how frustrated I felt.

In the link given earlier you will find shared experiences from mums who have been through this awful illness and fully recovered. I hope you can encourage your daughter-in-law to seek the help she needs.

Take care.

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Hi VTNancy

I’m sorry to hear that. Does your daughter-in-law recognise things haven’t been / aren’t right too? Would she agree to see her GP?

I’m no expert but there is a whole range of postnatal/postpartum mental illnesses - if it started in the first year after birth it would be classed as postpartum I think.

I hope she’s able to get some support, she’s lucky she’s got you looking out for her, so many women just suffer and think it’s normal I think.

Wishing you all the very best x

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Hi!

Speaking from personal experience of PP when my daughter was 2 weeks old, the depression I had afterwards lasted 7 months in total, but it can affect women for much longer than that. From speaking to many of my friends and friends of friends they have been sure they have had postpartum depression for many years after childbirth but not formally diagnosed or treated.

Psychosis is usually an acute psychiatric emergency where being sectioned is necessary to protect her and her childs safety, so to me it sounds like it may be postpartum depression and these features she is displaying may be her reacting to how she feels. Have you asked her how she feels? Encourage a GP appointment who can help diagnose and offer best support.

I hope she begins to feel more like herself soon x

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Hello Nancy . It’s clear you are worried about the symptoms you describe and you have some helpful replies . I also would urge getting the mental health team on board ASAP maybe through the GP or if more urgent through Aand E . With depression there can be psychosis also and it will need a specialist to give you advice . PPP does take turns this way and that especially with added life’s dresses, extreme tiredness etc and depressive symptoms can mask other issues . In all cases ( apart from getting the best available psychiatric advice available) I believe very much in looking after yourself , getting rest and sleep where possible, eating healthily, having fresh air and exercise and using distraction to ease minds ‘ stresses. It’s very important to get a diagnosis to further treatment options and st least to know what you need to deal with in the first instance.

With my best wishes for a good outcome . I’m sure things will improve!

Denise x

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Thank you all for your kind words and input. The sad truth is that I have become hated and an enemy in the process of trying to help my daughter-in-law over the past several months. She sees so many things in such a distorted, delusional way right now. She lashes out to anyone who attempts to challenge her words, behavior and/or asks her if she should consider getting help. How do you help someone who is in that state?

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Hello VTNancy

I'm sorry that you have been worried about your daughter-in-law over several months. Can I ask how your son copes with his wife's behaviour? I think if he is worried he could go to his GP for advice and could possibly arrange a home visit? Take care.

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Dear VTNancy,

I am so sorry that your daughter in law is suffering and you too as a result.

I can imagin that you are worried for the whole family, it must be very difficult for you especially if your attempts to help are rejected. My daughter suffered with postpartum psychosis, it came on four days after the birth of her baby, thankfully she is better now with the help of a stay in a mother and baby unit, medication and support. If it is that your daughter in law is or has been suffering PP, she may find it difficult to accept that she needs help. You have had some good replies from mothers on the forum and maybe, as others have said, help can be gained through your son.

I hope that things get better for you all soon and that you can enjoy your precious grandchild without worry.

Best wishes

Judith

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Hello Nancy,

I am so sorry that your daughter in law is struggling. Family dynamics are not easy.

When I got very poorly in the first 2 weeks, involvement of loved ones were at my home beside the crisis team before I was sectioned in Summer 2010...My partner explained that I wanted my surrogate mum and my partner's dad & he fulfilled my wish...

My mum, who came from abroad could not support my partner, when I got sectioned, she left after 2 days. It was my partner who visited me every day twice in hospital and looked after the baby with the help of his mum and dad.

I did not always receive appropriate treatment and suffered, because of unreasonable behaviour by members of staff and patients and ongoing seclusion. After 39 days in a mixed gender hospital, my partner got me back...I was more of a vegetable and pretty much out of action for another 6 months.

My partner and I both experienced PTS.

My partner was my full time carer. Even nowadays I must say it is my partner only, who actually can assess and evaluate my chronical mental health condition best, as he is living with me day in day out.

In my opinion, if your daughter in law is struggling, she will only approach the once she can trust...In my case, despite carrying on with the daily routines for my son and partner, I was continuously in emotional pain until I found APP and mums, who can share compassion.

I know you do want to help, but your daughter in law is the only one, who will decide her path of recovery.

If your son is approaching you and ask for support, than your daughter in law has got to have a voice, too. My surrogate mum always has been my mentor and l listened to her, but she has been a long term friend and a former working colleague of mine...

At the end I only survived, because of my partners devotion and love!

Dynamics will evolve, but I believe professional help as suggested above will be the first step forward for your daughter in law.

Look after yourself...

x

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