Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Postnatal distress

“This study demonstrates the importance of the birth experience to mothers’ subsequent mental health… that low perceived control is associated with low satisfaction with birth, postnatal depression and perceiving the birth as traumatic”

“Breastfeeding and birth trauma were key areas with which women felt they needed support with but which was not easily available.”

Source: Women’s experiences of postnatal distress: a qualitative study

Postpartum Psychosis Emergency Room Guidelines

“You cannot assume that if she looks good, she is fine. Postpartum women are exceptionally good at holding it together and saying all the right things, in order to maintain control and put forth the illusion that they are fine.”

Source: Postpartum Psychosis Emergency Room Guidelines| | The Postpartum Stress Center, LLC

Falling through the cracks

Last week I attended the Australasian Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health Conference in Brisbane, where I presented my poster ‘Falling through the cracks; a lived experience of postpartum psychosis in NSW’. I was surprised and honored to receive a poster prize for ‘Thoughtful presentation of an area of perinatal mental illness of lived experience that requires greater support and advocacy’.

Falling through the cracks

 

Marce Conference Poster prize

 

Cynthia’s story

Cynthia Wachenheim was suffering from psychosis when she strapped her baby boy Keston to her chest and jumped from the eighth floor of her New York apartment.

My impression is that she likely had post-partum PSYCHOSIS, not post-partum depression, and, if I were a betting woman, I’d bet her doc missed it, and treated it with anti-depressants, which are known (by mental health experts) to make this type of psychosis WORSE. PSYCHOSIS, Elie.

Not depression, not anxiety, not sadness. PSYCHOSIS.

“This is not a crime, not an act of a selfish woman, not an act of evil,” Nowicki wrote. “it is an act of grave, grave mental illness that appears to have been woefully missed.”

Source: She had psychosis, so she strapped her 10-month-old baby to her chest and jumped.

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Hayley’s story

But more often than not, the stories of women who suffer from postpartum psychosis but do not to take extreme actions like taking the lives of their children or themselves are rarely told.

“I just could not rest, I could not sleep. I just got more and more manic, the thoughts really started to pick up and they started to race. I was like ‘what is going on? I’m just too happy’.”

Hayley said she started acting very impulsively. She was waking up at 4am and cleaning the house or exercising obsessively.

“I am doing this because if I knew the signs and the symptoms, I would have been put straight in the hospital and I wouldn’t have had to go through any of that,” Hayley says.

“It’s just temporary madness.”

Source: Postpartum psychosis: Could this illness be effecting you? Read this.

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Anna’s story

 Anna’s parents spotted the signs of her illness when her son was less than a week old. She was confused, believed that newspaper headlines were about her, and thought people who were tapping their feet were sending her secret messages.

Source: North Herts mum bravely speaks about the ‘psychotic episodes’ she suffered after birth of her son | Hertfordshire Mercury

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Babes + Picnics

” It started with smiles and laughter, sprinkled with a lack of sleep, then spiralled into mania, sleep deprivation, racing thoughts and delusions…my family sought emergency care for me and I was hospitalised with postpartum psychosis.”

“I am a mum, just like any other mum and I am grateful to be able to connect with Babes + Picnics to add another piece to my healing journey”

My story is featured on Babes + Picnics Australia as part of their Anxiety & PND Awareness guest posts supporting PANDA. Connecting with other mums helped with my healing and recovery and I gained some amazing friends too with our babies turning 5 this month! If you are a local mum, please reach out and come along to the Babes + Picnics Sutherland Shire picnic this week!

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Focus Group for Mother Baby Unit in NSW

Are you experienced a hospital visit as part of your treatment of perinatal mental illness in NSW? I am reaching out to see if you would like to be a part of the focus group for the following project. This is a very exciting paid opportunity to be part of the focus group planning the first public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW. At this time this opportunity is available to women who experienced hospitalisation as part of their treatment in NSW.

The first meeting will be held this month (August) which depending on everyone’s availability will hopefully be face to face, the location is TBC but they’re hoping to have it at where the MBU will be located (Newtown Royal Prince Albert Hospital). If travelling for meetings will be a problem please let Tracey (program manager) know as there may Teleconferencing options available. The intention is for the focus group to be an ongoing partnership with the planning team as the MBU is developed. However there is no pressure for you to continue if time commitments do not allow.

If interested in being having your say please get in touch with Tracey as soon as possible.

Seeking mental health consumers, peer workers and carers for participation in a focus group for the planning of a public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW

 

What’s the purpose of the project?

We are seeking the input and advice from consumers and carers for the planning of a Psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit. Mental Health-Children and Young People, NSW Health is currently writing a planning guide for a dedicated public psychiatric Mother-Baby Unit (MBU) in NSW. An MBU is a specialist mental health facility which accommodates pregnant women or mothers with their infants in times where acute psychiatric care is required.  MBU’s provide specialist care to empower the women’s recovery and support the development of an optimal parent-infant relationship.

 

Who are we looking for: female consumers, carers or peer workers who have had a lived experience of mental ill health during the perinatal period (pregnancy and up to 2 years post birth), including a psychiatric hospital admission in NSW.

 

What does it involve: Participants would be invited to participate in a single, small focus group for up to three hours at a venue in Sydney (to be determined). Participants will be involved in a discussion and asked to comment on questions, or express their views on the discussed planning guide. There will be no expectations for participants to read lengthy documents however a survey may be administered in addition to the focus group.

 

Are the consumers/carers paid: Yes, participants would be paid a fee of $30/hr

 

Contact Details: Tracey Fay-Stammbach, Program Manager Perinatal & Infant Mental Health, MH-Children and Young People, NSW Health.  Tel 02 9859 5330 or email tracey.faystammbach@moh.health.nsw.gov.au

 

Alice’s story

“She was convinced that she was communicating with her baby and the baby could communicate with her,” Barrett said. “The baby was part of her delusions and that is where the risk arose.”

Source: Antiques expert was restrained days before death, inquest told | Society | The Guardian

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Jessica’s story

I have heard of the baby blues, but this is something else altogether; this feels like the baby black and blues. This feels like oblivion.

People always ask me if I knew what was happening when I had postpartum psychosis. The truth is that I was painfully aware of what was happening. Until I started taking medication, and felt numbed, completely zombified, and lost two weeks of my life, I felt everything, and was utterly powerless to stop it or stem the irrepressible torment of my illness.

 The horror of what we went through cannot be denied, but I also want to share the tremendous love, growth and power that such a journey can engender.

The tremors of the psychotic quake still resonate throughout our lives three years later.

Source: Postpartum psychosis: ‘I’m a thing possessed, an animal. I am nearly sectioned twice’ | Life and style | The Guardian

 Read more of Jessica’s story on BBC Radio and her blog Mutha Courage.

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

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