Thanks to celebrities like Brooke Shields, Chrissy Teigen, and Hayden Panettiere, postpartum depression is being discussed more publicly than ever before. But with so many women still suffering in silence, stories must continue to be told to help destigmatize the conversation. Now Adele is sharing her friend’s experience in hopes of helping to educate the masses on postpartum psychosis.
Having previously spoken about her own battle with postpartum depression, Adele is once again helping new moms feel less alone in their not-so-Instagram perfect postpartum experience. Writing to her 28 million Twitter followers on Monday night, Adele shared a picture of her best friend Laura Dockrill, writing, “This is my best friend. We have been best friends for more of our lives than we haven’t. She had my beautiful godson 6 months ago and it was the biggest challenge of her life in more ways than one.”
Writes Adele, “She has written the most intimate, witty, heartbreaking and articulate piece about her experience of becoming a new mum and being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. Mamas talk about how you’re feeling because in some cases it could save yours or someone else’s life x.”
— Adele (@Adele) August 13, 2018
Dockrill’s essay, which was published on the site Mother Of All Lists, chronicles her lengthy and terrifying battle with Postpartum Psychosis. Starting with the birth of her first son earlier this year, Dockrill writes that she quickly realized what she was feeling was not the typical ‘baby blues’ that can sometimes come with childbirth. “I thought that time would heal. We pushed through the next few weeks but I knew I wasn’t right, I was hiding the congratulations cards and my own air made me feel sick, my baby was feeding non stop- I barely had time to eat or wash and didn’t sleep a single hour- this is all the usual new Mum stuff I know- but this wasn’t me, I felt like I had pushed out my personality as well as a baby,” writes Dockrill.
“I didn’t recognise myself and I felt like an intruder in my own life, like a fraud and a complete failure,” says Dockrill. “I’ll just put it bluntly- I was suicidal, I would lie in bed begging my mum to let me go, I don’t even know how she dealt with that. I had fallen out of love with my life and couldn’t see how I would ever get to know it again. I thought I was going to hurt myself in some horrendous way and I was doing everything to try and avoid that plus I didn’t want my family to see me crumble away before their eyes and watch me turn into an anxious wreck.”
Dockrill explains that the psychosis caused her to yo-yo back and forth between wanting to be attentive to her son to ignoring his cries. Even with the support of her family and her partner Hugo, Dockrill says she was unable to believe that she would ever feel better. “I was a broken record on repeat bullying myself. I can’t even describe the quality of the feeling, just this ugly shade that shadowed over my head and completely consumed me. My psychosis took a dark turn. I still can’t exactly work out what exactly happened or what form it took on, all I know is I was completely terrified, lost, confused and scared for myself and my son and that I didn’t trust ANYBODY- I even accused Hugo of kidnapping our baby.”
Thankfully, Dockrill’s partner and family staged an intervention, which led to the new mom being hospitalized for two weeks. Unable to recognize herself anymore, Dockrill says that her partner and family would show her pictures of herself before she had a baby in hopes of jarring her memory.
With the help of therapy, medication, and sharing her story, Dockrill eventually began to heal, noting that her recovery is ongoing.
Part of her reason for talking about her own experience has been to help destigmatize postpartum depression and psychosis. “I did not ‘have a breakdown’ or ‘struggle’ with motherhood- I didn’t freak out because of a few sleepless nights and dirty nappies and ‘couldn’t cope’- I’ve nannied kids before I know how to take care of a baby…I wasn’t deluded in thinking this mothering business was a doddle,” says Dockrill. “I just got really sick.”
Reinforcing why it’s so important for women to share their experiences, Dockrill points out that 10 per cent of women suffer from postpartum depression and of those women, only 10 percent are treated. It’s a scary number and one that shows just how many women are continuing to suffer in silence.
“If this post can relate to anybody that is feeling even a shimmer of this and it resonates with them then please speak to somebody and get help,” says Dockrill. “You don’t have to brave it alone. You don’t have to act like a hero, you already are one.”