This October, mum of two Laura Walton is taking on a massive Miles for Mums and Babies challenge - running 50 miles in a month for APP. Laura admits she is not a runner – saying she hasn’t run since before her wedding in 2014! But she is keen to take on this challenge for APP to help raise awareness and funds.
Laura is passionate about raising awareness of postpartum psychosis since she herself was diagnosed after the birth of her first baby, Katie. Laura had worked in childcare for nearly 20 years and felt like there was nothing she didn’t know about babies and children – but in all her years of working with children and parents, she had never heard about postpartum psychosis.
After her baby was born, Laura says she just didn’t feel right – ‘everything felt weird’ - and she could hear voices in her head. She became obsessed with the idea of her baby getting ill or dying and felt she had to stay awake to keep watch over Katie. After 10 days with no sleep, her husband took her to hospital where, even though she shared exactly how she was feeling, her symptoms were not recognised as PP and she was not admitted. As is often the case with PP, things got worse quickly, and Laura ended up being sectioned, with six police officers involved. After being separated from her baby and held overnight in a room in the hospital, finally she was admitted to Leeds MBU. This was two hours away from her home and family, but it meant she could be together with her baby. Her husband and mother visited every day, spending hours travelling to and fro. Laura spent more than three months in the MBU, then was cared for by her community mental health team at home until she fully recovered.
Her journey to recovery was long and challenging, but after four years she felt well enough to be able to try for another baby – fully understanding that PP might come back, but she felt prepared for this and wanted to try. As soon as she got pregnant, she started to feel early symptoms, so quickly accessed support and suitable medication, which kept her and her baby healthy throughout the rest of her pregnancy.
Laura is challenging herself to run 50 miles this month because she wants everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PP, and to know how quickly it can affect new mums and mums to be. She says:
‘When I was ill, no one ever told me or my her family that I would get better – it was terrifying to think I might never be myself again.’
Laura is now back to the person she was before. She very aware of what can affect her mental health and is mindful about looking after herself. She’s studying counselling and wants to do more to help understanding of mental health, particularly in new mothers.
She plans to celebrate completing her final mile with a party for all her family and friends at the end of the month.
To support Laura’s 50 mile challenge, visit her GoFundMe page here.
Thank you for your support Laura!