Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Does anyone know of anyone being misdiagnosed as having ppd/ppp?

Hi everyone. As I write, I am totally aware that I will sound as if I'm denying I was ill (because I had no insight, or was too ill to realise etc), but here goes. I think I was wrongly treated for having ppd, following the birth of my daughter 6 years ago. I was admitted to a MBU and stayed for six months in all, including being sectioned twice. I can honestly say, it was one of the worst experiences of my life. I know that I was unwell (mixed state, suicidal etc), but I don't think my illness was induced by pregnancy and birth, as I had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder already. I think, mainly, that I was treated (quite agressively, forced medication, ect, chemical coshes), because I didn't want to be a mum, once my baby was born. I kept hoping and praying that I'd end up resigned to the fact or maybe even liking it, but I realised that I shouldn't have had my daughter and that I didn't feel able to bring her up. But this belief was seen as a manifestation of my illness. In a way perhaps it was. I had wanted a child very much. I loved my husband very much and we seemed to have created a perfect family. But, I realised too late I couldn't handle parenthood. I wanted to give my daughter up for adoption, but my huband would not accept this (understandably), so I wanted to break off all contact with them both, so I wouldn't have to be a mum. Or a hands on mum anyway. But when I started planning my "escape", I was hospitalised. Of course, I got out eventually. Was better theoretically. But I still feel the same. I hate this so much and wish with all my heart that I could stop being a mother but I feel so guilty, I don't live with them now, but have regular contact. I know this is the right thing to do and I hate it. After 6 years it is no easier. We've had social services assess us, I still have contact with the community mental health team very regularly. I wonder, does anyone else have, or has anyone heard of this happening to anyone else? Sorry to be so negative, but I feel more dreadful every day and I hate hate hate this whole thing. I do love my child, but I don't want to be a mum.

8 Replies

Hi, Ihatethis

You ask if anyone else has had or heard of this happening to anyone else? The answer is YES. I experienced very similar feelings after my daughter was born 7 years ago. I felt I had made the biggest mistake in my life. That I could never and would never feel any different (bonding). Like you, I asked for my daughter to be adopted. I didn't want to be around her, or even in the same room as her. When she was just a few weeks old I used to hide in the greenhouse in the back garden and wouldn't even come into the house.

When I was told that I was depressed I didn't think I was. I told everyone so, and said I just can't do this, that is, handle the pressure of being responsible for a child. It felt like it was all too big a pressure, to the point that it was all going to explode. And it did, in that I was at high suicide risk and was hospitalised. And like you, hated it.

What I would say to you, is don't put yourself under pressure all the time. If you don't feel like you can be a mum, then that's okay. You can't make yourself feel something, or enjoy something if you don't. Your doing the right thing. Your child is safe and not coming to any harm, and you are incredibly honest for admitting how you feel. Just give yourself time (I know you will hate me saying this). But I know of many mums (who didn't have PPD/PPP) who admit to never really enjoying motherhood. I have also heard of mums who had PPD only bonding properly with their kids once the kids reach the teenage years. That they didn't enjoy the earlier years of parenting at all.

When I was on holiday last year in Spain I met a lovely woman who was with her daughter and grand daughter. I was away with my parents and my daugther, and when my mum confided in this lady that I had had PPP (depressive psychosis) she opened up and said her daugher had had a very rough time following the birth of her daughter. She had totally rejected the baby and gone on a bender for a few years. It was her way of handling how badly she felt for not wanting to be a mum. The nana had brought up the little girl for the first few years of her life. When her daughter finally met a lovely new partner, she was happy again, and gradually bonded with her daughter, but it took a few years. It didn't magically happen over night. To see this mum and her little girl playing on the beach, you would never have believed that she had absolutely nothing to do with the little girl during the early part of her life.

In your case, your lack of wanting to be a mum could be a sign of depression (that is still present) or could be that you just (as you say) don't feel you can handle being a mum at present. For that reason, give yourself time and don't be harsh on yourself. And don't keep putting yourself under pressure to feel you 'ought' to enjoy it if your not doing at the moment. Just try and go with the flow if you can.

Do you have support? Is there anyone your able to talk to about how your feeling without feeling your going to be judged? could the community mental health team make a referral to a psychotherapist? One that is there for you, not one arranged by social services to assess your parenting skills.

I'm here for you if you want to chat regularly, about how your feeling and how it is all going.


Thank you so much Bella. I can't see for tears now, your response is so thoughtful and is kind and non judgemental in a way I had not imagined. It means such a lot, I feel like facing the afternoon a bit more now. I'm sorry you have had similar difficulties too. I will write again another day, hopefully more positive. Seriously, thank you, thank you. xx


I'm so sorry to hear you feel like this. If it helps at all I felt/feel very similar. I maintain a normal life now...but it's hard, I definitely still have ambivalent feelings towards my family, I know I love the children but the 'bond' isn't really one other than formed from guilt and self preservation to be perfectly honest. I too demanded we gave our daughter up for adoption and felt very angry that he wouldn't agree. I was treated in a MBU and spent over 6 months in hospital including the acute wards. It's so hard, I know you're questioning the diagnosis...but it might just be that PP/PND when so severe really does destruct the bonding process. I know what I feel now with my daughter is incredibly different from what I felt after my son was born so I guess have something 'normal' to compare it to, but I guess when I left the life of being an impatient I never knew it would affect me for so long. In fact I'm sure it's always going to be a work in progress with my daughter, sounds awful. I can empathise its just so hard not to beat yourself up and the image of the typical 'yummy mummy' doesn't help things at all. I really hope you feel a little better, I'm working things through with my psychologist and I'm two years post birth now and I'm still working through it all and I think I will be for a long long time, do you have a psychologist? Sending a hug x


Thank you so, so much for your kind and thoughtful response. I wish you happiness and all the best. x


My darling Ihatethis,

I know EXACTLY how you feel.... My Nan has been looking after my daughter since she was 2 months old and she will be 7 soon, and although I have minimal contact, I just don't want to be a mum to her... the worst thing is, I'm pregnant again, and feel totally different about this one already!! I can't wait to do all the things I missed out on, and hated last time...

I've gone through phases of having Melissa to stay nights, and spending days out with her, but the bond just isn't there... I haven't seen her yet since I found out about the new baby, but am having her to stay tonight before taking her to my partner's mum's tomorrow. for the first time in years, if at all, I am actually looking forward to seeing her, and hanging out... I have spent the last 7 years denying how similar she is to me, and how much we look alike, purely because I just didn't want to accept that I am her mum... I'm hoping that the maternal feelings I am having now for the new one will start to release some of the anger and coldness I currently feel...

I'm here if you need to talk, as I totally get what you are saying!! <3

K x


Thank you so much for this, it means so much to me that you've shared your experience, and I wish you the very best. x


For the first time in over seven years, I have found some relief from reading your messages. Thank you so much. I'm not happy that so many other women have to suffer in silence, but I am happy that now I know i'm not alone with these feelings. I hope that makes sense and doesn't offend anyone x


I know just how you feel. Sincere best wishes to you. x


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