At a population level, there are significant numbers of women who experience postpartum psychosis on a yearly basis. But there are still too many missing pieces when it comes to ensuring accurate and timely diagnosis as well as providing adequate care. When we consider the numbers, this is an international public health failure. Even by conservative measures, we are failing mothers, babies and families every day, in every place.
When I was discharged I went to my parents’ house because my husband was still recovering from the stomach bug at our house. That’s where I had my first psychotic episode 4 days postpartum. I was trying to take a nap but was preoccupied because I couldn’t feel any pain from my c-section even while pressing down on my incision. I knew something was wrong, I just wasn’t sure what. My mom tried to get me to relax by telling me to count backward from 100. I got to 99 and got stuck.
Teresa Twomey had no previous diagnosis of mental illness when she experienced a sudden psychotic break after the birth of her daughter. Since then, she has become a leading advocate, writer, speaker and consultant regarding pregnancy and postpartum psychosis. Please note, at the time this was created, we were not yet calling it Pregnancy and Postpartum Psychosis. We are working to change that. Click below to see her TEDx talk.