"I worried about the stigma – would other parents think differently about me, or not want their children to come and play if they knew about my experience of PP."
- Managing questions about your experience
- Your feelings
- Talking to your primary school-age children about PP
Managing questions about your experience
With other parents
You may feel completely recovered by this point– or you may still feel that PP has an impact on your family and sense of identity. It’s your decision whether to talk about PP or not
It can feel good to be an educator. If you’re not sensitive about your experience, then others will think there is nothing to be concerned about. Some mums start conversations by talking about their volunteering work with APP or fundraising activities.
With the school
Some people find it helpful to tell their child’s school about their experience of PP. This might be particularly helpful if you are managing an ongoing diagnosis (for example, of bipolar disorder).
"The primary school had excellent support for children of unwell mums. They were very understanding.”
You might find it helpful to write an email first and include links to the APP website for information about PP. Or you might prefer to chat to a staff member face to face. Some people found it easier if their partner came with them.
You may not want to tell your child’s school. It’s totally up to you.
Lots of mums feel guilty, even though they know that they are not responsible for the illness, or the impact of the illness on others. Try to focus on how far you have come. It might help to write a diary or find other creative ways to express yourself.
We all learn to live with complicated emotions. Some difficult feelings never go away completely. Lots of women say that using trauma for positive ends can help. For example, you can volunteer with APP in lots of ways.
- helping women who are in an earlier stage of recovery,
- helping with a research project,
- organising a fundraising or awareness raising activity,
- campaigning or using experiences to train healthcare professionals, or
- advising on research panels.
“ I found eventually that the sense of loss I felt about missing his first months, began to co-exist with pride at all I’d achieved since.”
Finding extra support
If you need more support, it might be a good idea to talk to your GP. They may be able to refer you to counselling or additional groups. Mind has some good info on talking to your GP about mental health – including making yourself heard and overcoming barriers.
If you can afford it, you might consider private counselling. The counselling directory can help you find someone to suit you. Counsellors are all different, so if you feel that you are not getting what you need from one, change to another.
"Through APP I have met other mothers who have been through similar experiences and even joined their peer support network as a volunteer hopefully giving strength and shared experiences to other people going through PP.”
Talking to your younger/primary school-age child about PP
Most parents we spoke to agreed that it’s useful to plan an approach so you and your partner know how to respond when the situation arises. If you are pregnant, you may need to talk about it a little more.
Here are some approaches and phrases other people found helpful.
- Simple language is still important. You might want to explain a little bit more about your feelings as well as the facts.
- I had something called postpartum psychosis. It just happens to some people, we don’t really know why.
- My brain was jumbled up and not working properly, I thought things were real that were not real.
- It was all worth it though, as otherwise I wouldn’t have you.
- Mummy has an illness that makes her feel too excited sometimes and too sad sometimes. The medicine and the hospital make her feel better.
- Give your child the opportunity to ask questions.
- Use leaflets and stories to help.
- If you are having another baby, help your child to understand and talk about their feelings. Let them know that it’s ok and normal to feel sad, scared or worried if their Mum becomes ill or is in hospital. Some parents have found it helpful to use mood cards to help children talk about their emotions. The NHS has some information about talking to children about their feelings