My son, 5 days old, was asleep. Desperate, I willed myself to do the same. Unnaturally, since labour, I had not slept. Something was wrong within hours of his birth - I wasn't myself. Following days of restlessness, extreme mood swings, anxiety, fear, paranoia, excessive note taking and thoughts of suicide, a switch flipped in my head that night. I stood up exclaiming “It’s happened, it’s happened!” Full of terror, I paced around, out of reach culminating in screaming loudly before passing out in my husband’s arms. I believed without doubt I was dead and in hell. Admitted to a psychiatric ward for 3 weeks, separated from my baby, the delusions worsened. I was in hell for eternity, one moment I’d killed my baby yet the next he was still alive. My mind was chaotic. The fear, anguish and confusion were inescapable.
I recovered but was left with 15 months of numbing depression. Once well we wanted to give my son a sibling, a difficult complex decision. The subsequent pregnancy was an anxious one full of “What if?”s. It was with tears I made the decision to take prophylactic anti-psychotics from week 33. Yet it proved the right one. After my second son was born, I was the mother I always dreamt I would be.