“Even when I was in the depths of my unwellness I would say to myself: something good is going to come from this. Something beautiful is going to come from this. And it did.”
Your postpartum (or postnatal, depending on where you live) experience will be unique. I say that because when you enter motherhood, or matrescence*, you enter it as your unique self, with your unique biological make-up, your unique previous experiences, your unique neuroscience.
So, you won’t know how postpartum will be for you, until you are in it.
Yes, sometimes there are neurobiological predictors, but often women are surprised when they enter their 4th trimester.
*Matrescence is a developmental transition women go through when we become mothers. It is all encompassing – physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. Matrescence transforms us, that is why we feel different when we become mothers.
Katie R. was one of these mums. Katie felt a bit down during pregnancy and was worried about postnatal depression. However, what her 4th trimester brought was the exact opposite. Katie was up, not down!
Because Katie experienced bipolar symptoms, and not stock-standard depression or anxiety it took some time for her to get the help she needed.
Today Katie bravely shares with us her postpartum mania experience, and how she found her silver lining by going within herself and bringing out the best in herself. She intuitively turned her postpartum mental health experience, something that society deems terrible and “negative”, into a blessing for herself.
“It’s up to me, I can choose if I’m a victim or I can choose if I’m a survivor”
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Key takeaways from this episode of the Tough Mothers Podcast and Tough Mothers TV:
♥ Depression and anxiety are not the only things we must look out for in postpartum mothers.
♥ You will know if you don’t feel OK, and you must speak up!
♥ Your postpartum experience does not need to shape the rest of your life.
♥ Sometimes wonderful things come from our darkest experiences.
♥ Mental health is something that affects everyone. There is no shame in it.
Matrescence is a time of great change. You will feel different. It is important to keep an eye out whether your feelings are different to what you would expect for you.
In this episode [podcast, TV]:
Katie’s explanation of how she felt different is magnificant. She found that everyone, including postpartum support, family and ourselves, keep an eye out for symptoms of depression and anxiety. But there are other things we must look out for.
Symptoms for postpartum mania include irritability, racing thoughts, decreased sleep, overactivity and grandiose ideas (just to name a few).
Can you see how these can also be viewed as normal in motherhood?
So, it is really important to tune into yourself to see if it feels normal, or not, for you.
Katie shares beautifully, and in detail, how postnatal mania feels – the positives and the negatives – and how her postpartum bipolar experience escalated for her, leading to her worst fears coming true!
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or just don’t feel right in your postpartum journey, please reach out. There are links to services around the world at the bottom of this article.
When Katie was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar, she was told what it might be like and what her limitations might be. She asked herself: “am I going to accept that or is there something else I can look into and reclaim for myself?”
Her mind and her language were an integral part in this.
“The words I AM are so powerful. I don’t say I am bipolar. I say I live with bipolar.”
Katie shares her tips for mums who are experiencing postnatal bipolar and encourages everyone to share their story.
“Mental health is normal. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Mental health affects all different people from all walks of life.”
“Give your mental health, as much weight as your physical health.
Because it is just as important, if not more”
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Mentions in this episode:
♥ Katie’s beautiful poem:
And so will I
It is a way of saying
I have a need
I just don’t have words right now
I am trying to treat myself like a newborn
With care. With care.
♥ You can find out more about Katie and read her amazing poetry at www.compassionpoetry.co.nz and on Instagram
Check out the Tough Mothers Library for more episodes
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Mental Health Support Services
If the topics in this episode are triggering for you, or if you feel you need support, please contact you doctor or local mental health line.
If your country is not listed please search “Mental Health Line” in google in your country.