My experience: I saw Louis Theroux doc... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

2,966 members2,096 posts

My experience

Ochre profile image

I saw Louis Theroux doc last night and it brought it all back.

It was 2004 and my third child, I was sectioned but they couldn’tfind a place on a mother and baby unit.

I was cared for at home by my mum and husband. It was awful, I’m angry I couldn’t have been in a unit, my kids were with my cut a long story short my husband had a breakdown afterwards and we split up. We had a good relationship and I don’t think this would have happened if we’d had more help...

15 Replies
Ted15 profile image

Hi Ochre,

I watched the documentary this morning and it brought memories back to me also. Like yourself I was not admitted into a MBU but I was admitted into a general Psychiatric unit. I feel angry about my experience and like yourself, my marriage also broke down 6 months afterwards. I gave birth to my daughter in 2004 so similar time to yourself. It's nice to hear from others who have had similar experiences with pp and can understand and relate with one another. I hope your well and thank you for sharing on the forum.

All the best x

Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Ted15

Wow, so similar! Yes, it’s been a long journey. Psychotherapy really helped me get through and continued for 10 years! Xx

Revans86 profile image

Hi Ochre, nice to meet you “virtually”.

I’m so sorry to hear you too had PP. I had it in 2016.

I watched the documentary as did many others I’m sure. So sorry it’s brought back memories, it’s an awful awful illness isn’t it. It was a hard watch.

Gosh, to be cared for at home when so poorly must have been awful for you. I can’t imagine. I do remember on my discharge from the MBU feeling that was a very hard journey to recovery still. It’s a long journey.

As you’ve described PP can sadly have far reaching impact. I’m so sorry to hear it affected your marriage too. That’s awful.

I really hope the programme helps people access help if they’re struggling. And that any mum /baby who needs an MBU will be able to access a place in good time, exactly when they need it.

Thinking of you, and sorry again it’s brought up tough times. Xx

Sorry you didn’t get the help you wanted and needed

Pikorua profile image

Hello Ochre,

I am so sorry about your experience...I certainly do believe, that MBU's play a vital part to help and support mums, babies and their families as a unit. We have been so unfortunate that we could not receive suitable treatment. I share greatest compassion with you and loads of mums on this site, who were in a Psychiatric Unit and not MBU.

I have had PPP in 2010 and was sectioned. My partner had to take care of me. My recovery was fairly slow. Luckily in the past five years MBU's have expanded and mums receive much better support and care.

I have my view point in the way how this documentary by Louis Theroux tried to raise awareness about PPP. I believe the wider audience has been extremely cushioned, whereas mums with lived experience on this forum would be able to give a hollistic picture of experience.

However, I am grateful that mental health challenges for mums is coming more to the foreground via social media...

I have tried to forgive and turned my "horrific experiences" into positive energy. I avoid the word hate and anger...APP has been very therapeutic, especially the forum on many levels.

I journalise, listen to guided meditation, practise Yoga, the mindfulness of breathing, Reiki etc...

Take care of yourself and hope you will find inner peace.


Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Pikorua

Yes, I want to get in touch with the programme makers, I feel there needs to be a follow on were they talk to women who have made a full recovery but can put into words their experience xxx

Hazello profile image

Hello Ochre,

It sounds like the documentary brought back a lot of really difficult memories. How are you feeling?

Have things changed a lot in your life since that time, have you managed to make a recovery?

I am planning to watch it too but i know I'll probably get a bit tearful and mull over my memories of PP from 2016. However I'm also finding it reassuring to see how far I've come in general, and try to remind myself of that on the more tricky days.

I'm very sad to hear your marriage suffered. My husband has found my illness very difficult and although i was in a MBU it was only for 4 weeks and I think he found the next almost 2 years of depression and anxiety really difficult to cope with, and very isolating. It's such a life changing illness and sadly the support is not always there for women and families. Good that awareness being raised through documentaries etc and services gradually improving. I was at a conference yesterday and a lot of the changes planned (in Scotland) were very encouraging.

How old are your children now?

Best wishes


Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Hazello

Sorry replying to you twice! My youngest is now 15! I have two others 22 and 19. They have all been amazing. My eldest is even using my experiences in her work at art college. I think psychotherapy over 10 years after that really hepled me understand what I experienced and also cope with what happened to me as a

Hazello profile image
HazelloVolunteer in reply to Ochre

Hi ochre I'm so glad that psychotherapy was helpful to you. Wow 22, 19 and 15, my wee one is 3 and teenage years and onwards seem so so far away but i bet that it'll arrive before i know it!

Must be amazing when they get older and you can begin to not have to "parent" them so actively and be able to treat them more like equals in a way. They also have their own lives now. Though is that also quite tough as a Mum?


Hazello profile image

Hi Ochre, just wondering how you've been doing since you posted.

I have now watched the documentary too and found i could relate to both Barbara and Lisa. In a way as hard as the time in hospital was i felt kind of safe there and found it so hard being at home alone with my baby- i felt so sad for Lisa having all 3 children to look after when she was clearly feeling really low and not herself.

Thinking of you.


Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Hazello

Hi Hazello

Yes, feeling safe was the mist important part, I so wish I’d had the mother and baby unit...I do feel let down. I keep meaning to contact Louis Theroux somehow to comment on the programme! I definitely feel there ought to be a follow on talking to women who have come out the other

Hello Ochre

Like you, and I’m sure many of us, the documentary brought back painful memories. I was sectioned and spent 8 weeks in a general psychiatric ward 37 years ago. It is good to see awareness raised and that support services appear to have improved. I had no after care or follow up and struggled to cope with the feelings of shame and guilt and the crushing depression which followed once I returned home.

I discovered this wonderful forum about 4 years ago, it was so wonderful to be able to finally ‘talk’ about, and share experiences with others who understood. It enabled me to finally come to terms with the nightmare of PP. Better late than never!

My very best wishes to you all. xx

Ochre profile image
Ochre in reply to Vee82

Hi Vee

Wow, 37 years ago. Yes I am happy this forum is here. Nothing like that in 2004 for me and obviously not for you either! I’d never even heard of it before I got it! Xx

Sorry this is an old post .But I watched the program myself. I was sectioned and put in a general psychiatric ward and then after 10 days went to one of the mother and baby units in the documentary. I did not have a good experience there (Bethlem). I know things have moved on in the last 10 years and when I was in there the perinatal psychiatrist was very defensive. But only when I recovered and had outpatient appointments did she admit there were failings in time time I was in there. All temporary staff, no parenting classes, I was basically left alone with little care and the staff laughed at some of the ill women. I know lots of people have amazing experiences in mother and baby units but back then I did not. (Although it was way better then the general psychiatric until where I was separated from my son, but still).

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to JoannaBrooks

Hi JoannaBrooks,

Thanks so much for sharing your experience of the mother and baby unit. I agree, MBU's definitely much better than general psychiatric wards if people have pp and have to be hospitalised. I have spoken to so many women who are traumatised from their time spent in a general psych ward when they were unwell.

I'm sorry though that your experience on the MBU wasn't great either. As you say, I think if a MBU has a shortage of staff, and they have a lot of temp staff who aren't properly trained or recruited specifically to provide the specialist care that women need on the MBU, then the care can really drop. It's good that the psychiatrist acknowledged to you that the care wasn't great when you were there, and that there were problems with shortage of staff etc.

I was on a MBU and was lucky I received really good, kind support from the staff there, I always emphasise when I give talks about my lived experience that kindness and empathy is the most therapeutic intervention staff can do.

Take care, and thanks so much for sharing your experience,Ellie

You may also like...