My blog about postnatal psychosis for World Mental Health Day

A service user blogs about her recent experience of postnatal psychosis

I am a Muslim Pakistani mother of 2. I am originally from Birmingham and got married and moved here 6 years ago.

I had my first daughter in 2017 and suffered from postnatal psychosis. I did not know what postnatal psychosis was. I thought I was going crazy. I remember the feeling as if it was yesterday, holding my daughter in my arms that I had prayed for and wanted so bad. I felt no attachment, no emotion, I just felt anxious, stressed and alone. I had all my family around yet I felt alone and could not express how I was feeling and was very scared.

This time round I gave birth to my 2nd daughter during the lockdown. I thought it would be good this time around as I would not have to be this perfect mother in front of family and relatives and just be me and bond with my baby. Although I did enjoy the quality time spent with my daughter the first few weeks, I did miss the adult conversations and having family and friends around to celebrate our bundle of joy.

I remember telling my mum what postnatal psychosis was and at first she did not understand. As I explained more she finally understood. I think it is a big taboo topic – mental health in our culture. However it is very important and should be talked about more.

At first I was ok thinking it would not be locked down for too long, however when days and weeks and months passed in lockdown my anxiety and low mood came crawling.

I remember being very anxious about staying home with two little ones while my husband went to work. I was questioning everything. Will I be able to look after both girls alone? Am I going to manage? I am very lucky to have an amazing husband who has stood by me and is helping me get through this.

Lockdown has been very difficult especially having a newborn and feeling isolated. Also we have missed out on Eid celebrations as we were not allowed family gatherings which was very difficult.

During this difficult time the Perinatal Mental Health Service has been brilliant. They have been a phone call away. It is an excellent service and has helped me throughout my pregnancy as well as being there for my postnatal recovery. I would highly recommend this service to other mums who may be struggling.

My husband has been excellent and has been my support system and has kept me going through this very difficult time. Also I have tried to keep in touch with my family and friends by phone and by WhatsApp as it really does help, especially when you are in need of an adult conversation.

I’ve not felt close to my community as we only celebrated Eid with people we love and the mosques were closed. It has been very difficult and the Eid celebration is something that all Muslims look forward to and start preparing for weeks in advance.

I look forward to doing things that I took for granted for example stay and play groups and meeting other mums, seeing family and friends.