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Clare's story

A journey of postnatal psychosis and finding the support to feel well again.

I was anxious about being a good mother and wife before the birth. But I thought that it would come naturally and with the support I had I'd get through. That anxiety built as I put pressure on myself to get everything right and remember the experiences.

“My mum, who is a nurse and midwife, noticed I was not well.”

I was not sleeping and complained of intense pains in my body. It was clear to my mum that I needed help. If she had not have been there it could have been a very different outcome.

Three days after the birth she took me to hospital where they did lots of tests to check for infection or something to explain my pain. It became evident that I was physically fine but my mind was out of control. I had a mental health tele-consult and was admitted to an acute mental health unit.

This turned our lives upside down. My husband and I left our jobs and our home. Initally my sister, parents and husband all changed their work schedules to visit me in hospital and bring our new baby boy Robert to me. They worked around the clock to make sure myself and Robert would get through.

After I was discharged from hospital, we then moved in with my parents to support my transition back into the community. This involved getting to appointments for counselling, psychiatry and seeing a child and family nurse.

When I was ready, supported by mental health professionals, I was able to go back to work and we moved out of my parents’ home. 

Support from community health programs was put in place for me. I had a case manager who kept my counselling and psychiatrist appointments up to do date. they helped me understand what was being said and the implications as part of our debrief.

“ I have learnt my warning signs and access help on my own now when necessary.”

For about three months after I came home from hospital I didn't trust myself to be alone with Robert, but with support from my family and health professionals I was able to built up the confidence to care for myself and my son. I felt ready to return to life and started setting goals for myself again.

Now, I have regular psychiatrist appointments to review medications to meetmy needs as my life and feelings change. I see a counsellor and couples counsellor and I've learnt techniques for controlling anxiety, self-care and journalling. I regularly speak with my friends and family to maintain positive relationships.

I also like to journal.

“I find it helps stay focussed on goals and positive self-talk.”

I try to walk a few times a week and spend family time outside.

My husband and I always wanted a bunch of kids, but we decided to slow down the growth of our family so that I can prioritise my mental health.

We have had amazing support from our families and friends. Without their support we would not have been able to rebuild our lives as we have. They have helped to identify my needs and put in place the required support. Our son, Robert, is the centre of our world. 

The obstacles we will face as parents are unknown but there is a way through it all.

“Some days a walk or chat might help, other days something more substantial will need to be put in place.”

If it doesn't seem right, find out your options and work through it with professionals.

Helpful Information

Postnatal Psychosis: Care and treatment options
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How are you going?

Everyone’s experience of pregnancy, birth and parenting is unique and brings different rewards and challenges. Our mental health checklist can help you to see if what you’re experiencing or observing in a loved one could be a reason to seek help.