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Share Your Story: Janet ‘The Laundress’ Postpartum Psychosis Story

Originally published February 27, 2012.

Share Your Story – Postpartum Psychosis

Janet’s Experience – Postpartum Psychosis & Recovery


Janet’s story is graphic, yet it is a story of recovery.

If you are currently experiencing scary thoughts, please do not read this article, as it may trigger negativity.

Instead, immediately reach out to get the help you need.

Tell a close family member or friend to take you to the doctor.

Call a crisis line.

If you feel your situation is imminently dangerous, take this seriously, and please go to the Emergency Room.

Today Janet is recovered. She is a loving mother and also working outside the home. She lives in New York City. This actual day, Monday February 27, 2012, when she publishes her story for others to read, is her 40th birthday.

She has told me that sharing her story in this way is another step on her way to emotional health. She is celebrating her healing and coming of age as a mother and woman by reaching out to a wider community of women, to help raise awareness that postpartum psychosis is real, and there is hope for recovery.

Janet’s message is much like Postpartum Support International’s message:

You Are Not Alone, You are Not to Blame, With Help, You Will Get Better

Janet is known in the blogosphere as The Laundress. Click here for her story.

Below are some facts about Postpartum Psychosis.

It is a separate condition from postpartum depression and anxiety.

**Screening & prevention is important.

This condition occurs in approximately 1 in 1000 deliveries, meaning that 1 in 1000 women suffer from this illness after childbirth. Women are most susceptible to psychosis after the first thirty days after childbirth.

The most significant risk factor for pp psychosis is a previously (un)diagnosed cyclical mood disorder (bipolar disorder) or previous psychotic episode or if there is a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar illness.

For three years, I worked in a center for the severely mentally ill, and seeing a psychotic state is pretty unnerving, especially if you are seeing it for the first time.

Remember these things:

Postpartum psychosis is considered a psychiatric emergency.

***You cannot talk a person out of their delusions.

***Best to nod your head, listen, and GET HELP IMMEDIATELY.

Contact her husband, partner, mother, whomever is closest, these people must call 911 or escort her to the emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation.

The person is not faking it,

The person is ill, and needs help, not ridicule or fear.

How to recognize the warning signs of postpartum psychosis:

Not sleeping for a few nights in a row, delusions, speaking about nonsensical beings, thoughts about evil beings, death, blood, intense fear, mumblings, robotic movements, stiff, acting as if she can hear words coming from somewhere else (command language in her head), staring, flat affect, deflated speech, one word answers, catatonia, staring, paranoia

I was planning on featuring only one beautiful guest blog a month from real life recovered moms. But, the energy and passion to help is strong out there. Many women who experienced and recovered from perinatal mental illness wish to share their story in order to help others. Their voices are lovingly shared on BirthTouch®.

Perinatal mental illness is real: major depression, a host of anxiety disorders and even psychosis occurs in a certain portion of the population around the time of childbirth. There is a long list of pre-existing risk factors. My article here discusses these risk factors.

The thing is, mental illness at this time of life affects the mom and her family. Maternal mental health has a profound effect on the family system.

These stories are here to raise awareness for women and their families.

If you are interested in Sharing Your Story, please contact me. Thank you!


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