Laura Dockrill had an idyllic pregnancy and couldn't wait to meet her new baby. But as she went into labour things began to go wrong and Laura started to struggle. A traumatic birth, anxiety about the baby, sleep deprivation, a slow recovery - all these things piled up until Laura (like any new mum) felt overwhelmed.
As many as 8 out of 10 new mums find themselves struggling with intense emotions in the weeks after birth. In Laura's case these feelings escalated scarily quickly into postnatal psychosis. She became paranoid and delusional and had to be institutionalised for a fortnight without her baby. Throughout this time she was haunted by a sense of: 'What have I done?', at first as she wondered if she could cope with her baby, and later because she was trying to grasp at reality as she slipped into nightmarish delusion.
Laura's experience and its aftermath were devastating but through bravely sharing her story she found the strength to slowly recover. Like any women's health issues, post-natal mental health has been inadequately researched and funded over the years. It has been stigmatised and come to feel like a taboo. Laura is determined to break the silence.
Laura's experience was extreme but it will resonate for any new mum who has been left reeling after a marathon birth, the intensity of coping with a new baby, and the loss of their old self. New mums are told that this should be the happiest time of their lives, and insta-perfect parenting hashtags reinforce this message. But this book is for any new parent who has also found it a hard time and Laura's message is, 'you are not alone'.