I Had Post Partum Psychosis, Do Not Demonize Me by Anonymous
I just received this letter in response to the post My Postpartum Nightmare. The writer makes a very important point, which prompted me to clarify my wording in the original article. I also wanted to share her experience and insights with all of you.
Hi Mrs. Weisberg,
When I was studying in Israel around ten years ago, I loved Friday night Shabbos meals at your house! I just wanted to write in with a comment from the postpartum article you published.
“I would also like to tell you that many, many mothers have scary thoughts postpartum that they are going to hurt or even kill their babies. As a general rule, while extremely upsetting for the mothers experiencing them, except for the 1 in 1000 mothers who suffer from postpartum psychosis, these depressed or anxious mothers never follow through with their thoughts. You love your baby and he will love you. Your baby is safe with you.”
I am writing because I am an Eema who had Postpartum Psychosis- twice (after having both of my babies).
I never had thoughts of killing or hurting my babies. I never followed through on killing or hurting my babies (because I never had these thoughts). I reached out for help and fully recovered. I am so frustrated with the demonization of women who experience post-partum psychosis.
MOST WOMEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS ISSUE DO NOT KILL THEIR BABIES. THEY GET HELP AND THEY RECOVER FULLY!!!!! I am living proof.
According Psychology Today, only 4 out of 100 mothers with Post-Partum Psychosis kill their children.
It is very tragic- but it is still very rare-even for woman who experience PPP.
I don’t want to downplay the situation– any post-partum psychiatric issue is extremely serious (depression, anxiety, PTSD, post partum bipolar disorder, psychosis etc.)
And yes, woman with post-partum psychosis need to get immediate help. That should be emphasized- along with the fact that you can and do recover fully (meaning- many woman who have suffered from PPP do NOT need psychiatric medication for life- except for those whose first experience with PPP is a precursor to bipolar disorder).
Of course, it is really upsetting to hear about the rare, tragic cases. They are SO rare though.
It is so upsetting for me to read an article where women who have postpartum psychosis are weeded out like they always follow through on these sick thoughts beyond their control. I feel like you separated out mothers who have had PPP like they are untouchables.
I love my children, just like any other woman, and I recovered both times fully.
I am thankful I had my experiences because they made me a more sensitive person to those who are struggling in general or postpartum.
I can still have and raise healthy kids (BH, my babies might have been bottle-fed, but they are still attached to their eema).
Please please please watch what you put out into blog sphere that might perpetuate a myth and demonize PPP and those of us who had it.
Thanks for listening and hope this all made sense. I cannot proofread it since I have a sick child I have to take to the doctor now.
A Survivor of Postpartum Psychosis