BBC Focuses on Postpartum Psychosis

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The BBC aired a program last night on BBC Newsnight on postpartum psychosis, featuring two mothers who had it and one father who lost his wife and child to the illness. This is such an important topic. All too often tragedies happen because people just aren’t aware of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and that it is a very serious illness requiring immediate treatment. So many thanks to the BBC for bringing more light to postpartum psychosis, and also to Action on Postpartum Psychosis, a UK nonprofit working to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer support to women who have had it around the world.

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. Katherine, after reading the article you linked, I have never heard PPP described in this way. What is the difference between what the first woman experienced and intrusive thoughts or other symptoms of PPOCD?

    • The difference is that with OCD’s intrusive thoughts they’re more like “what ifs”. What if this happened? What if I did that? The PPOCD mom knows the thoughts are wrong, is upset by them, has no interest in or plan to follow through, and doesn’t feel in any way compelled to follow through. They’re more like fears and anxieties that something bad will happen. The mom in the first story had the urge to do something and moved to do it or make plans to do it. Plus, you have to remember the BBC story doesn’t list any of her other symptoms which might have made it even clearer that she had psychosis as opposed to PPOCD. Usually symptoms like that don’t occur in a vaccum. There were probably other signs as well.

  2. Franco Luz says:

    As I read through the symptoms, anxiety runs through my body and sends chills down my spine. It’s a constant tug of war in my mind. I know I’m ok. My son is now 7 and yet these lingering thoughts float around my mind. I wish someone can tell me when it’s suppose to stop. Last time I opened up about my issues, I was sent to UCLA Psychiatric Ward so asking for help, is not my cure.

  3. I had postpartum psychosis after the very traumatic birth of my first baby. For me it was more like dementia because I had no hallucinations and never experienced any thoughts of suicide or violence towards others. Every time I hear postpartum psychosis I see it linked to Andrea Yates drowning her kids in the bathtub or some other unfortunate suicide/violence. Not all postpartum psychosis ends up with violent thoughts.

  4. I am a little disappointed in this article and the stories in it. I think that those are very extreme cases of PPP and are terrifying – but what about the less severe cases that can actually *become* that severe?? Shouldn’t we be focusing on identifying PPP BEFORE it becomes so severe that lives are at risk?? I had PPP and was extremely, extremely lucky that it was identified almost immediately, before something terrible happened – but I will say that my symptoms were very little like what was described in the “symptoms of PPP” link. Had I been left untreated, it is very possible my symptoms would have gotten to that point, but I was lucky that I was already on meds, being treated, and had a practitioner and family that KNEW what to look for so that I could get additional help asap. I’m just saying that there should be more of a focus on the less extreme symptoms or cases so that things don’t accelerate for women. A more comprehensive list of symptoms would be helpful.

    • Katie, yes, it would be so much better if people knew what to recognize and what to do before postpartum psychosis cases become severe. I’ve heard many stories like that – moms who have it, get treatment early, nothing terrible happens. What were the symptoms you had that were not on the list?