PP and my mum : My mum had postnatal... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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PP and my mum


My mum had postnatal depression with me in 1998 and postpartum psychosis with my sister in 2002. She hid it from midwives and medical professionals as long as possible as she didn’t want my sister or I to be taken by social services. She eventually got help but was not sectioned.

My midwife is ADAMANT that my mother would have been sectioned but speaking to my mum she said as she had a good support network at home from my dad and her mum; she stayed at home but sectioning was considered.

I am 22 years old , 9 weeks pregnant and frightened to death this is going to happen to me. Speaking to my partner and explaining this can run in families (my mums mum had this too) his first response was along the lines of “well who is going to look after our child because I’ll be at work” and “I don’t want our child to be taken by social services”. This makes me feel terrible and honestly make me feel like crying. He’s asked me before when I’ve been crying or upset because of hormones and symptoms how I’m going to cope with this baby. I feel guilty already for being pregnant despite the fact it was all planned. I don’t think he understands.

I’m not oblivious to mental health. I’ve had low mood and anxiety in the past. I’m a paramedic by trade so no stranger to mental health crisis. But equally I’m so scared and anxious for myself, partner and baby.

I’d love advice and support from people who’ve had this run through their families as well, thought they’d get it but haven’t and people who have had it but beaten it.

Thanks so much

15 Replies

Ppp happens when progesterone drops dramatically after giving birth, if you have some natural progesterone cream with you you could possibly avoid ppp

Thank you! I will look into this. I know my sister was a traumatic birth, she was 10lb and two weeks late. My mum passed out a lot during the birth and can’t remember most of it. But she says her symptoms started before the birth as well.

They tend to induce you if your baby is late in UK at least they do in my area up north , my sister had ppp then developed bipolar disorder, it's good that you don't have bipolar in your family just ppp , it's really important that you relax and enjoy your pregnancy , codliver oil capsules - just one a day can.help you make serotonin which is very calming for you and your baby I think you you will be fine but do look into natural progesterone cream


Hello Pregnant22,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your pregnancy. I’m sorry you’re feeling so anxious but you’ll find lots of support and shared experience here :)

There is a lot of really helpful information on APP’s website, including FAQs (app-network.org/what-is-pp/...) and insider guides. The insider guide for women at high risk of PP and planning a pregnancy is a really good resource - app-network.org/what-is-pp/... The guide for partners may be helpful too, I’m sure it’s an extremely hard thing for a lot of people to understand...

I had PP in 2012 after the birth of my first child, completely out of the blue. I went on to have another baby in 2016 and knew the risk of having PP was around 50% due to my previous experience. It was an anxious time but knowing the risk means you can try to plan and prepare - there are lots of threads on here about pregnancy when at risk of PP and you can also put key words into the search.

In response to LilyoftheValley's reply about hormones being the cause of PP, we need more research to understand the causes of postpartum psychosis, and we suspect that hormones do play a part, but they are definitely not the sole cause for postpartum psychosis. From the research that has been done, and also from hearing many people's stories, often a mixture of things can cause it and this is different for each person. We often describe it as being a 'perfect storm' for someone, with a few factors all contributing. Having a close relative who has had PP does increase the risk, but as I’ve said, knowing that risk puts you in a good position to plan and put support in place.

I hope this helps and I’m sure you’ll get other replies. Look after yourself and please write here any time :)

Best wishes,

Jenny x

FitelVolunteer in reply to Jenny_at_APP

Hello Pregnant22,

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I too echo Jenny's comments above and personally found all the resources on APP's website really useful and have helped me along the way massively. I experienced PP in 2016 following the birth of my daughter, this was completely out of the blue for me too, I wasn't sectioned but did spend some time in a mother and baby unit in order to aid my recovery. I wish you all the best moving forwards and hope that that you take comfort from all the shared experiences and women on here and APP are always here to support you.


Hello Pregnant22

So pleased you have reached out here as you will find lots of support ....... congratulations on your pregnancy.

I’m sorry you are so distressed at the thought of having PP but I think that in knowing your family history, your care team will be aware and reassuring as you progress in your pregnancy. I’m sorry your partner’s comments have made you upset. I think today Social Services are all about keeping families together so try not to worry.

Although there is some pressure with Covid restrictions, as I’m sure you have found in your profession, maternal mental health has moved on so much. Staff are so much more prepared and can agree a care plan with you and your partner nearer the time of delivery of your baby. Also there are now specialist mother and baby units which didn’t exist when I had PP many years ago, out of the blue. So you will be well taken care of.

Try to think of the joy a baby will bring ..... even though many of us here had PP out of the blue we recovered and have had so many happy family times since.

Thinking positively, you might not have PP at all so although it’s good that you can talk openly with your mum, try not to think too far ahead and try to enjoy your pregnancy. We are a very unique and loving band of mothers ....... here for you if you need us ... as you have been in your profession. Stay safe and take care.

Thank you everyone ☺️ I do feel much better after talking to my family and reading your comments. Hopefully I will get through it. I agree too I am worried about lockdown as I’m finding myself depressed with not being able to do things I enjoy. My workplace hasn’t got me an alternative role yet. I might feel better when I can focus on work☺️ Thank you again everyone!

LilybethVolunteer in reply to Pregnant22

Hello Pregnant22

I’m glad you feel much better after talking to your family and the comments here. I hope you will soon find a role to suit you at work. Please keep talking to your mum and family about how you are feeling, or to your GP if you feel low in such challenging times. We are al here too :) Be kind to yourself.


Hi Pregnant22,

Congratulations on your pregnancy, I am sorry that your family history has become a source of anxiety. I had pp in 2018 after my little girl was born and like you, I have a family history of pp but I didn't know it at the time. We believe now (after my own experience) that my mum had pp after the birth of her first baby, she was not hospitalized but was treated at home by her sister who was a psychologist and her midwife. This was more than 50 years ago and in a country where mental health still today is very much taboo.

Like Jenny mentions, knowledge is very powerful, it allows you to plan and have the best support in place for when baby arrives to be able to better prevent pp.

When I had pp I was an inpatient in a mother and baby unit. These are wonderful places where mothers suffering from mental illness can recover together with their babies. They are staffed by a range of professionals specialized in perinatal mental health as well as nursery nurses which will help you on every aspect of looking after baby. These places make it possible for mum and baby to stay together encouraging bonding and helping with recovery.

I can understand your anxiety towards becoming unwell, and I am sorry your family history puts you at more risk than the general population. But the prognosis of pp is very good, mums go and make full recovery, it can be a long process but we all go on and lead full lives after it.

The guides that Jenny mentions are very helpful in understanding more about this illness. They were a life line for me while I recovered.

I wanted to finish by saying that on the point of social services, always the priority for them is to keep the baby with the family. Social services was contacted when I suffered from pp and the possibility of removing my baby was never mentioned. I was also sectioned at the time.

Take good care, you will find plenty of support here in this forum from mums that were at risk of pp but didn't suffered it and also from mums that went through it and came the other side.

Sending you enormous hugs, take good care


Hi Pregnant22,

Congratulations to you both. Pregnancy, as well as excitement, can bring anxiety. As you have prior knowledge of your mums history that is a bonus as it means you can plan for eventualities. I had PP in 1998 and had two further births after that. As I was at risk due to having PP previously I saw a consultant psychologist and had a care plan made out so that all my wishes were known should I become ill again.

I think you would feel more reassured it you were able to talk about your concerns rather than your midwife brush it off. As you are classed as more at risk could you ask your gp or midwife to refer you to a perinatal mental health team?

All being said, at risk doesn't mean you will be ill. I was well after my 2nd and 3rd births and I think being aware of my previous illness and how it manifested last time meant that I stayed well. This prior knowledge helped me 2 avoid certain triggers and also call on extra support when needed

I wish you all the best and hope you can ease some of your worries so that you can relax with your pregnancy.

Teresa x

Hello. It sounds like an anxious time. Perhaps your partner is a bit scared by mental health issues, but hopefully he will be taking part in caring for baby!

Several things are in your favour- firstly that you know about the condition, so if it does happen, you will know to get help straight away.

Also, your mum understands the condition, even though your partner doesn’t.

Loads of people have this and are not sectioned. I have no idea what your midwife is talking about (unless she is referring to specific incidents).

I was taken to a mother and baby unit and not sectioned (until I started refusing the drugs). I think that is what happens to most mums with this condition, and your midwife is alert to it so they may be able to ‘book’ in case you need it.

On the unit they have CPNs, nursery nurses, psychologists and a consultant psychiatrist. When I went home I had CPN visits for a while.

You can actually start some treatment for this during pregnancy. For my second pregnancy I had olanzapine for the last 8 or 10 weeks and had a normal delivery with absolutely no drama and cared for my baby at home, with CPN visits.

Mine were born in 2006 and 2009.

I am just a bit concerned that your partner thinks coping with the baby will be down to you. Isn’t the question ‘how are we going to cope with this baby’. But you will. You’re asking all the right questions. 🙂

Hello there. I had PP with my first child in 1988. It was a bolt from the blue but I did recover. I also went on to have two more children without experiencing it.I wanted to reply to you as when my daughter was expecting a baby I was a bit concerned , like you say, it can run in families although I have to say my own Mum did not experience it. Anyhow, we talked about it and her husband said that I would have eyes on my daughter like a hawk! And I did. I was able to step and be her driver and helper as she had a caesarian and could not lift or drive. She did not experience psychosis. I was very fortunate to be able to support her on a daily basis.

For myself, when I had my second and third daughter the post natal period was very much discussed and I researched and found out as much as I could. I liaised with three specialists in the field and I looked into Mother and Baby Units just in case. I also had a support plan in that my own Mum would come and look after me for two weeks after delivery.

I think forewarned is forearmed. Be prepared and keep communicating about your fears and anxieties. Look into ways to care for yourself and be kind to yourself. There will be lots of good advice from this site and also the APP site is very good indeed.

Take care in the meantime, Helen


Hi Pregnant22,

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

My name is Ellie, I had PP in 2011 after the birth of my son.

I'm sorry to hear you're feeling anxious about getting postpartum psychosis because your mother and grandmother had it.

It's really natural you are worried about it, and it's true from research they think there does seem to be a genetic link with the risk of PP, but your risk is still very low and I say this more to reassure you! The information about your risk is on our website, under FAQ and the question 'who is most likely to get postpartum psychosis':


On there it explains that if one of your relatives (a mother or sister) has had PP then your risk is 3%, slightly higher than the general population but still a very low risk, and much lower than other 'at risk' groups (for example, if you have a personal diagnosis of bipolar or had a previous psychotic episode).

I'd really recommend that you speak about your concerns with your midwife, and how worried you are feeling, and also explain to them that you have had low mood and anxiety in the past, so they are aware. As others have said, services will really want to support you, and if you do end up really needing mental health support there are specialist perinatal mental health teams who can support you in pregnancy and afterwards too, so you won't be on your own.

I do hope that this reassures you a little, and that the information is helpful.

Do take care,


Hi Pregnant 22 and many congratulations on your pregnancy. Your post really post struck a chord with me. I was sectioned with PP in 1982 following the birth of my daughter. I was very concerned that she would be at increased risk of developing PP following childbirth when she announced she was expecting last year. However I'm delighted to confirm that she safely delivered a beautiful son 6 weeks ago and is absolutely fine. So I am a very happy, relieved and proud Gran. It's good that you can talk about it with your Mum, I found it very helpful chatting to my daughter.I certainly understand your concern and good that you can express your fears and reach out for support and guidance. There is a much greater awareness of perimental mental health these days and far greater support. Anyway, I wish you all the very best. Vee x


Hi Vee82

Congratulations on the birth of your treasured Grandson ... so pleased that your daughter is fine and you are happy, relieved and proud :) Stay safe x

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