I was shocked how strong the memories came flooding back, which I had suppressed for so long.

For mums who have experienced postpartum psychosis (PP), becoming a grandparent in later life can be an exciting time. But it can also trigger memories and strong feelings about their own journey to parenthood. 

We talked to women about how they felt when they became grandparents after PP. Every experience is individual but there were some common themes.

Excitement and joy

The most prominent message was how positive the experience of becoming a grandparent had been:   

I was delighted to be a grandma, reading stories, singing lullabies and all the things I had wished to do with my sons.


I was able to get back the time missed with my own baby. I only had one child so was excited about being able to look after my granddaughter.


I was so happy to hold my grandchildren during their early weeks. I felt privileged when they stayed over and slept in a travel cot as I had missed out on the whole experience of being with my sons.


If PP has made you feel inadequate as a mother, becoming a grandparent can help heal some of the aspects of mothering which you may have missed out on.


Becoming a grandparent is reliving a time in life which was so cruelly taken away, but this time around is nothing but joy and delight. I felt so trusted. It’s sad in a way that I missed out with my sons, but I felt so privileged and proud to be a grandma!

Difficult memories

Alongside joyful times, some women did find becoming a grandparent resulted in anxieties and some feelings of guilt:

I found in the beginning I became emotional when on my own feeding the baby. I didn’t realise that this would be the case. I became aware that this was the actual time period that I had been separated from my baby daughter.


I experienced a lot of flashbacks and memories of my PP experience when my grandson was born. I felt overwhelming guilt at the neglect my son for the first few months of his life. I was able to give my grandson love and cuddles and kisses, but my son didn’t get that from me. I had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to go back in time and give it to him and it’s hard to know that I can’t.


What I experienced when I became a granny was overwhelming guilt and sadness about what my son missed out on when I was ill. Being able to give it to my grandson so naturally reminded me constantly of what my son missed.

Dealing with personal trauma

Unsurprisingly, becoming a grandparent can lead to some women revisiting feelings and experiences that may still be unresolved:


It's a lovely experience to have a grandchild. I am not sure if I have come to terms with my PP experience. When I revisit it, I still feel upset that it happened to me and I always ask ‘why me?’


Becoming a grandma just brings back memories of that trauma. I am grateful women today are better informed about this illness.


I was shocked how strong the memories came flooding back, which I had suppressed for so long.


In the midst of all the excitement of being privileged to be a grandma, I did worry for my sons and their wives.

In recent years, care for women who experience PP has improved greatly, especially in the UK which is leading the world in the development of Mother and Baby Units - specialist inpatient treatment unit where mothers with mental illness are admitted with their babies. This means that women who’ve developed PP in the past decade or so might not need to manage the same level of personal trauma or societal stigma as they become grandparents, compared to women from older generations. 

Help and Support

For women who are soon to be – or who have already become – grandparents, talking through feelings or concerns might be helpful.

Years ago I read an article in a local newspaper about APP, and my life brightened from the moment I made contact!


APP’s one-to-one support can put you in touch with another woman who has experienced PP and then gone on to become a grandmother. You can request peer support via this link.

Our forum

APP runs an online forum - our community of mums with experience of PP, are here for you, to talk about issues relating to PP, throughout your lifetime.

Thank you

APP would like to thank the grandparents who shared their reflections with us. Their experiences formed part of a collaboration with Bijan Sheibani – an award-winning director (Netflix’s One Day, The Arrival, Morning Song) - to research the transition to grandparenthood in women who experienced PP many years ago at a time when families hid the illness. The research informed Bijan’s newest play, The Cord, which was staged at the Bush Theatre in London in May 2024.