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Travel Mum reveals her debilitating psychosis after the birth of her daughter

15:02  24 july  2022
15:02  24 july  2022 Source:   msn.com

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Two weeks after giving birth to her first child, Jessica, Linda Wese was admitted to a psychiatric hospital - where she was heavily sedated © Provided by Daily Mail Two weeks after giving birth to her first child, Jessica, Linda Wese was admitted to a psychiatric hospital - where she was heavily sedated

Two weeks after giving birth to her first child, Linda Wese found herself sitting in a sunny spot at a breakfast table opposite a drugged-up psychiatric patient - wondering where it all went wrong.

The 27-year-old primary school teacher from Canberra, who was known for her robust and sparkling personality, was a highly-sedated shell of her former self after being blindsided by postnatal depression.

She watched as the man opposite her drooled into his bowl of cereal, eyes glazed over, whilst balancing cereal on the end of a spoon.

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Linda had ended up in the facility after a  psychotic episode at home that continued when her husband took her to the mother's and baby ward.

Speaking to FEMAIL, Linda said she had stood in the hallway of the hospital where she had given birth two weeks earlier and declared she was the new Messiah.

Speaking to FEMAIL the mum, pictured with her two daughters Jessica, centre and Alisha, right, shared her journey with postnatal depression © Provided by Daily Mail Speaking to FEMAIL the mum, pictured with her two daughters Jessica, centre and Alisha, right, shared her journey with postnatal depression

'I announced to my husband that I was here to save the world and to also birth another child, a little boy called Jordan,' she said.

Her husband was instructed to take her downstairs to the psychiatric ward where her delusions continued.

'In the psychiatrist's office, I told her how I had managed to save my husband from dying in his sleep, amongst other rantings and ravings,' Linda said.

Mum reveals her debilitating psychosis after the birth of her daughter

  Mum reveals her debilitating psychosis after the birth of her daughter Two weeks after giving birth to her first child, Linda Wese found herself sitting in a sunny spot at a breakfast table opposite a drugged-up psychiatric patient - wondering where it all went wrong. The 27-year-old primary school teacher from Canberra, who was known for her robust and sparkling personality, was a highly-sedated shell of her former self after being blindsided by postnatal depression.She watched as the man opposite her drooled into his bowl of cereal, eyes glazed over, whilst balancing cereal on the end of a spoon.

Within minutes she was held down by nurses, who sedated her in an attempt to stop the psychosis.

Linda spent the next nine months in and out of the hospital with her baby daughter Jessica, learning how to bond with the little girl and find herself again.

Linda went on to have another daughter - after discovering a hormone treatment which could help if she became unwell again (pictured together) © Provided by Daily Mail Linda went on to have another daughter - after discovering a hormone treatment which could help if she became unwell again (pictured together)

Linda has detailed her ordeal with postnatal depression and psychosis in her book 'It Could Happen To Anyone' which explains how she went from excited and ready for a baby to the depths of mental illness and back again.

Linda said she never suffered with mental illness before giving birth to Jessica, and has not struggled since recovering from her breakdown.

In the three decades since her psychotic episode Linda, now 61, hasn't met another woman who has experienced the same level of postnatal depression even though hundreds of new mums suffer the illness every year.

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It would be nine long months before the mother would be off the mind-numbing drugs and able to bond with her baby properly © Provided by Daily Mail It would be nine long months before the mother would be off the mind-numbing drugs and able to bond with her baby properly

What is postnatal psychosis?

Postnatal psychosis impacts one in 1000 mothers in the weeks after they give birth and is considered a medical emergency.

Psychosis essentially means a loss of reality. It usually comes on in a very quick and spectacular manner within the first few weeks after giving birth, but the onset can be within hours of delivery. It can be extremely scary, especially if you’ve never had it before, because you find it difficult to differentiate between reality and the illness playing tricks on your brain.

Things that are thought to contribute to post-partum psychosis include:

- A genetic predisposition (there is an increased risk in women with a family history of post-partum psychosis or bipolar disorder)

- Severe sleep deprivation that can happen in the first little while after a baby is born

- The rapid hormonal changes around the birth

- Physical stress of delivery – particularly if there are other medical problems.

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'It happens one in every thousand births,' Linda said.

'Where are they all? 292,000 babies were born in Australia last year - that's 292 mums who have experienced this,' she said.

Linda said there were red flags that gave a hint that she wasn't coping with her new role as a mum.


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She struggled to bond with Jessica early on, she was exhausted from labour and devastated that her bulletproof birth plan had been ignored by doctors.

To add to her rocky-start as a mother, Linda found she couldn't feed Jessica properly which resulted in a very hungry, constantly upset newborn.

She received conflicting advice from nursing staff - and after eleven days of battling with a baby who wouldn't latch and an aggressive electric pump Linda developed an infection in her breast.

Linda (pictured on her wedding day) said there were red flags that gave a hint that she wasn't coping with her new role as a mum © Provided by Daily Mail Linda (pictured on her wedding day) said there were red flags that gave a hint that she wasn't coping with her new role as a mum The new mum had managed a brief 'day of happiness' after the birth of her baby - days before she fell into full-blown psychosis © Provided by Daily Mail The new mum had managed a brief 'day of happiness' after the birth of her baby - days before she fell into full-blown psychosis

The infection landed her back in hospital where nurses told Linda Jessica was 'overstimulated'.

Linda decided to bottle feed Jessica and the baby happily took to the formula milk. The family was even able to take a few nice photos together which Linda had been avoiding due to exhaustion.

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But the peace was short lived and within a few days the new mum started to experience psychotic symptoms which led to the major episode in the hospital.

Not only had Linda lost the fairytale of motherhood she had dreamed of for so long, she said she also felt her needs were mostly ignored by medical staff.

'When I was giving birth my obstetrician was more interested in talking to everyone else about the game of bridge he had to leave than to me,' she said.

‘I wanted to give birth on all fours but was forced onto my back, my feet placed in stirrups.

'They just wouldn't listen.'

Linda's daughters Jessica and Alisha are seen as little girls. Jessica, now a thriving PR director, said she cried when she read her mum's book, despite knowing about her struggle ever since she was young © Provided by Daily Mail Linda's daughters Jessica and Alisha are seen as little girls. Jessica, now a thriving PR director, said she cried when she read her mum's book, despite knowing about her struggle ever since she was young

She struggled to find the energy to rebuild herself, but once she did she used her anger over not being heard to fuel her.

Linda learned about postnatal depression, and discovered women who experience psychosis after the birth of a child have a 50 per cent chance of going through it again. She also became aware of how hormonal treatments could help new mums avoid psychosis.

After nine months of treatment Linda was ready to embrace Jessica, she felt like she found her rhythm again and was happy.

18 months later, she decided to try for a second baby. Her husband was delighted and confident that things would run smoothly this time around, however Linda's family was concerned.

Linda's mother, who had taken charge of the household when she was ill, supported her daughter but was still worried.

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Her anxiety intensified when Linda revealed she would be having a home birth.

The mother said she hated getting her photo taken with her newborn, as she felt she was a shell of her former self © Provided by Daily Mail The mother said she hated getting her photo taken with her newborn, as she felt she was a shell of her former self

'It was the best thing I have ever done,' Linda said of the decision to have a second child.

'I was confident in my maternity nurse, Emma, and she supported me through the whole process. She was my advocate.

'After I had Jessica I just wanted to be heard, and no-one was listening. Emma made me feel confident that wouldn't happen again.'

Linda now shares a strong bond with both of her daughters.

She is thankful for her mother and her now ex-husband for dropping everything to help her through what was the most powerful and confronting experience of her life.

Jessica, now a thriving PR director, said she cried when she read her mum's book, despite knowing about her struggle ever since she was young.

Above all, Linda hopes women who experience postnatal depression, especially those who develop psychosis, to speak out about their journeys and help end the stigma.

You can buy a copy of Linda's book on Amazon.

What are the symptoms of postnatal psychosis?

Women who have post-partum psychosis may have a range of the following symptoms:

- Confusion and disorientation, about the day and time and who people are

- Concentration can be affected and your mind may feel foggy or that it is overloaded with too many thoughts

- Severe physical anxiety or agitation, such that you cannot stay still

- Variable mood, either on a high, irritable or depressed

- Insomnia, feeling like you need less sleep and perhaps going days without sleeping

- Delusions or thoughts that are not true and that are often paranoid – that the hospital staff are spies, that your partner is an imposter in disguise. These thoughts may seem bizarre or silly when you are well, but in the middle of the illness they can seem real

- Hallucinations or impaired sensations where you either hear, see or smell things that are not present

- Strange sensations that you are not really yourself and there are others controlling your actions and thoughts

- Thoughts of and/or plans to harm yourself and your baby

Source: The Royal Women's Hospital

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