I joined a group called The Haphazard Hookers......Hook Along some time ago. The group is made up of people from all over the country and the support I have witnessed within the group has always amazed me. Such a lovely bunch of ladies, all with their own stories. Until recently I had quietly sat back watching but having had a few tough weeks myself I got involved with the natter and everybody has been very welcoming.
Anyway, back to last nights post. As you can see from the image a friend of a number of the members is currently suffering with post natal psychosis and those who know her best wanted to send her a big wooly supportive hug in the shape of a blanket.
I had never heard of this condition and after volunteering a square I got googling. Not a lot appeared in my search results and what did was very similar to the last article I had read. What I did learn though is that it is a very rare illness, affecting approximately 1 in every 1000 women. A lot more rare than post natal depression and a lot more serious.
The best explanation I found was the one below taken from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/postpartumpsychosis.aspx
What is postpartum psychosis?
Postpartum psychosis (or puerperal psychosis) affects thousands of women in the UK each year. It is a severe episode of mental illness which begins suddenly in the days or weeks after having a baby. Symptoms vary and can change rapidly. They can include high mood (mania), depression, confusion, hallucinations and delusions. Postpartum psychosis is a psychiatric emergency. You should seek help as quickly as possible.
Postpartum psychosis can happen to any woman. It often occurs ‘out of the blue’ to women who have not been ill before. It can be a frightening experience for women, their partners, friends and family. Women usually recover fully after an episode of postpartum psychosis.
It is much less common than Baby Blues or Postnatal Depression. It occurs in about 1 in every 1000 women (0.1%) who have a baby.
I'm not claiming to be an expert after reading a few articles on the Internet, far from it. I have no idea how terrifying this must be. As a lot of you will know I have worked, and still am working my way through "a bit of a breakdown" and for a while I became extremely paranoid and afraid to leave the house but I was able to work through this with support from loved ones and professionals. This was very hard but generally quite 'normal' so support was easy to find and people mostly understood what was happening due to the slight recent breakdown of the mental health taboo. I fear this may not be the case for post natal psychosis so this is why I decided to write this post.
I hear the words "she's new to it, she'll get the hang of it", "motherhood is tough, you've just got to get on with it", "if I can do it then you can" etc etc etc said far too often. I'm not even a Mum and still notice it! It's not right, it is not fair and it is just mean. Every body is an individual, individuals cope differently and individuals are effected by things differently. We don't choose to lose control of our own minds and we can't all fit in a neat little "acceptable" box.
Individuality and understanding is what appears to be the strongest part of The Haphazard Hookers arsenal. I was amazed by how many squares were volunteered within the first few hours of the post being made. The organisers have had to allocate people to themselves to make sure the squares can be sewn together fairly and don't all end up on one doorstep. I see a massive blanket in the making. I don't know any of these wonderful ladies personally but have truly been moved by the incredible generosity shown. Here is a small selection of some of the lovely squares made.
Well done ladies!