One of the first questions I get asked when someone learns I had postpartum psychosis is “what is it exactly?” With today being international postpartum psychosis awareness day I thought I’d dive into explaining what it is. If you would like to read about my experience you can read the blog series ‘what brought me here‘Continue reading
I’m Brooke. A wife to the most supportive Husband, who is my rock, and a mom to four handsome boys. I am a survivor of Postpartum Psychosis, Postpartum Mood Disorder and Postpartum PTSD. Because of my experience Maternal Mental health is my passion and I am now certified through PSI National, and a certified health and wellness coach. j
Sometimes I question why the hell did I go through this? I’m not one to question God often but through this I did. Through this I’ve wrestled, screamed, fought, weeped and pleaded with God. Through this my faith was tested and tried from every angle. I have seen God show up throughout my story, giving me glimpses of comfort, strength and hope. I only share this because my belief in God is such a big part of my life.
Here I will share my story. I’m going to share excerpts from my journal, I hope you will be respectful. A journal holds no judgment and because of this I can write openly, raw, and honest.I share to break the silence, break the shame cycle and in hopes it can help you or maybe someone you know, know they are not alone. You are a survivor.
The sane goes ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ or ‘don’t blink or you’ll miss it.’ You may have heard the days are long but the years are short. Cherish it because he’s your last.
All these things just drove me crazy to hear instead. When my youngest was born I just wished he could be 5. Please let me blink and you’ll be 5!
The days were long and the years even longer. Today though you are 5. I feel like we have arrived. We made it. I know I have felt this many times over the years as we overcame trials and demons together. You and I will always hold a unique bond as the boy who came through the other side of my postpartum psychosis. In the words of the famous J.K. Rowling- The boy who lived.
Though I didn’t share for many years how I struggled with that feeling I did. It’s a topic that holds a lot of shame and guilt and I understand why as I have lived it. I’d never be a mother to hurt my children, in fact I have a very attached parenting style. It goes to show how hard and dark these demons can be.
This was not the way I imagined this blog post would go… Sometimes the words just flow. Perhaps someone needs to hear that they are not alone. It doesn’t make you a bad mom, it means you just need help and that there is postpartum mental health illness needing to be addressed.
My postpartum psychosis nearly took so much from my family. I thank God everyday that I am still here to see these boys grow up.
*if you are in crisis please go to the nearest emergency room
*postpartum support international has a hotline for mothers needing to talk to someone-
Call 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD)
#1 En Español or #2 English
Text in English: 800-944-4773
Text en Español: 971-203-7773
*National Suicide Prevention- call 988
Have you, like myself, ever looked at your husband peacefully sleeping through the night while you’re up feeding the newborn? Of course, I’m sure you have. Did you feel that resentment boil up inside? Frustration, anger even, that once again you must feed the little one?Continue reading
I saw a picture on Facebook time hop this morning. It was of my youngest, the baby who triggered the postpartum psychosis.
For so long I thought God was crazy for sending Graysen along. I knew God saw the full picture but this time I did not want to come along willingly.
Back to the point, I saw this picture, it was of me kissing him and he had the biggest smile, the one that makes smile wrinkles even on a 7 month old. I could almost hear his baby giggle as I looked at the picture of me kissing him over and over.Continue reading
I felt complete peace as I was rolled into pre-op. 30 hrs later I woke up in a very intense amount of pain. Immediately I could tell my head pressure and typical pain was gone. I was only left with surgical pain. Intense surgical pain. It was like I had my skull screwed into… oh wait I did.Continue reading
I was reading through my journal recently and found this entry. It may seem strange to share now but I think it’s important to show that grief comes unexpectedly and manifests in different ways. I wish I could heal from grief just one time, and have an allotted time period I wouldn’t have to face it again, unfortunately life doesn’t work that way..
I’ve found myself writing a lot again. Hour a day, most the time many more than that. I know, you’re now wondering how I do that with four young boys. I do it with a heck of a lot interruptions!
Life has been thrown upside down for so many in the world. It’s an interesting time. I find I am struggling with it mostly because it postponed my surgery. My long awaited surgery. The one that would be the start of a new adventure. Be able to learn what my new normal would be with the inability to move my head and neck. We were as ready as you can be to take on something like this.
I’m dealing with grief as my main course with some irritability for a side. I know I can’t avoid feeling these heavy emotions in life but I realized this week that I feel burnt out with dealing with these emotions still from my postpartum psychosis.
Through my physical health journey I have had so many wonderful people sincerely check in on me concerned about my mental health. I could honestly say I was good. I had the tools needed this time. The truth, I think, is because I didn’t feel depressed, sad, I was in a place to just take it head on I wouldn’t let my head wander. I just would’t open that can of worms. But now, now, I have those emotions of grief and I cannot push them aside. I’m sure if we could we would push aside these uncomfortable emotions.
Learning self care, or coping mechanisms for dealing with mental health is an uphill battle, or it was for me. I tried daily to do some sort of grounding, which became so difficult to find a new form of these activities with my physical and mental capabilities ever changing. It feeds my grief and frustration at times.
Yet, with all that said, I feel like I am managing my situation to the best of my abilities. Which is all I can ask of myself.
I have conflicting thoughts about you. You were so good to us and yet so hard. I don’t know that anything good comes without hard. If it didn’t come through difficulty would we really experience the pureness of the good?Continue reading
I’m reading back through my journal. I’m so glad I kept one so detailed through my journey. I came across my struggle of owning my story. It’s funny how sometimes when you look back you don’t remember things to be as hard as they really were.Continue reading
I wrote this a few days before surgery but never got it posted so here it is, part 5:
I have to say the hospital is quite efficient here. In a matter of a hour I had 5 X-rays, blood, urine, covid, and cat scan done. We then went to a different clinic where we did a MRV scan. It is a 3D mapping of my arteries, and veins. We did see how things had moved with my instability. We gained valuable information through this scan. Turns out my right jugular doesn’t have blood flow basically at all. We hope that the fusion will be enough to unpinch this so I can avoid a jugular decompression.Continue reading
It is an interesting time we live in. To travel we had to show medical forms every step of the way. Even in Salt Lake City airport. It is not easy currently to leave the country, and I’m not really sure why someone would want to leave without a good reason. Every person traveling was asked why they were traveling.
Traveling was really hard on my body. The pressure change during take off and landing sent shooting pains through my head. Not being able to lay down for so many hours. My head was just too heavy to hold up anymore.Continue reading