Share Your Story: Janet ‘The Laundress’ Postpartum Psychosis Story

Share Your Story – Postpartum Psychosis

Janet’s Experience – Postpartum Psychosis & Recovery



Janet’s story is graphic, yet it is a story of recovery.

If you are currently experiencing scary thoughts, please do not read this article, as it may trigger negativity.

Instead, immediately reach out to get the help you need.

Tell a close family member or friend to take you to the doctor.

Call a crisis line.

If you feel your situation is imminently dangerous, take this seriously, and please go to the Emergency Room.

Today Janet is recovered. She is a loving mother and also working outside the home. She lives in New York City. This actual day, Monday February 27, 2012, when she publishes her story for others to read, is her 40th birthday.

She has told me that sharing her story in this way is another step on her way to emotional health. She is celebrating her healing and coming of age as a mother and woman by reaching out to a wider community of women, to help raise awareness that postpartum psychosis is real, and there is hope for recovery.

Janet’s message is much like Postpartum Support International’s message:

You Are Not Alone, You are Not to Blame, With Help, You Will Get Better

Janet is known in the blogosphere as The Laundress.

Click here for her story.


Below are some facts about Postpartum Psychosis.

It is a separate condition from postpartum depression and anxiety.

**Screening & prevention is important.

This condition occurs in approximately 1 in 1000 deliveries, meaning that 1 in 1000 women suffer from this illness after childbirth. Women are most susceptible to psychosis after the first thirty days after childbirth.

The most significant risk factor for pp psychosis is a previously (un)diagnosed cyclical mood disorder (bipolar disorder) or previous psychotic episode or if there is a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar illness.

For three years, I worked in a center for the severely mentally ill, and seeing a psychotic state is pretty unnerving, especially if you are seeing it for the first time.

Remember these things:

Postpartum psychosis is considered a psychiatric emergency.

***You cannot talk a person out of their delusions.

***Best to nod your head, listen, and GET HELP IMMEDIATELY.

Contact her husband, partner, mother, whomever is closest, these people must call 911 or escort her to the emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation.

The person is not faking it,

The person is ill, and needs help, not ridicule or fear.

How to recognize the warning signs of postpartum psychosis:

Not sleeping for a few nights in a row, delusions, speaking about nonsensical beings, thoughts about evil beings, death, blood, intense fear, mumblings, robotic movements, stiff, acting as if she can hear words coming from somewhere else (command language in her head), staring, flat affect, deflated speech, one word answers, catatonia, staring, paranoia

I was planning on featuring only one beautiful guest blog a month from real life recovered moms. But, the energy and passion to help is strong out there. Many women who experienced and recovered from perinatal mental illness wish to share their story in order to help others. Their voices are lovingly shared on BirthTouch®.

Perinatal mental illness is real: major depression, a host of anxiety disorders and even psychosis occurs in a certain portion of the population around the time of childbirth. There is a long list of pre-existing risk factors. My article here discusses these risk factors.

The thing is, mental illness at this time of life affects the mom and her family. Maternal mental health has a profound effect on the family system.

These stories are here to raise awareness for women and their families.


If you are interested in Sharing Your Story, please contact me. Thank you!



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18 Responses to “Share Your Story: Janet ‘The Laundress’ Postpartum Psychosis Story”

  • Janet:

    Thank you Kathy for sharing your platform to allow me to heal!

  • Kathy, These stories are powerful. Thank you for providing an avenue for sharing these stories.

  • Whoa–that is a tragic tale of motherhood. I can’t wrap my brain around this Kathy. I’m not saying that pregnancy (including the difficulties to conceive for some), childbirth, and those first few weeks aren’t challenging, but to have your brain and body invaded by psychosis seems so unfair.

    Is there a tendency towards postpartum issues if you have a pre-existing tendency towards depression and anxiety?

    Thanks Kathy–wish you were out here in Los Angeles, CA.
    Linda Esposito recently posted..Got Anxiety? 7 Minutes of Stress Relief and RelaxationMy Profile

  • Dan:

    Thank you for sharing a wonderful story of hope, Kathy!

  • Kathy, That story was awesome! Thank you for all the information you are putting out. It is so important. Your work is respected by me and I will pass this along. So glad that I found you.
    Donna Merrill recently posted..The 30 Day ExpertMy Profile

  • Kathy,

    This series has the potential to touch and help so many people–so many families. I thought that all of the framing you provided was an important setting for this difficult and inspiring story.

    Ann Becker-Schutte recently posted..Do One ThingMy Profile

  • Kathy–you and Janet have my utmost respect for sharing such an honest and naked experience that I am so unfathomably grateful to have never experienced. It breaks my heart that women, children–the most vulnerable, and families are subject to psychosis.

    I agree with Donna–your work is so respected and pass-along worthy.

    Thank you.
    Linda recently posted..‘Man Up’: Why Real Men Go to CounselingMy Profile

  • Great information, Kathy. I will try to remember you as a resource if the need arises from anyone I know. It seems like so many things are changed in the process of birth; sleep cycles, hormones, nutritional intake and other things. This psychosis does not sound like something to be taken lightly.

    • Hi Nicole! Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, as you say, so many things change with pregnancy & birth…the biopsychosocial dynamics are
      quite interesting and varied. I am honored you took your time to comment.

      thanks, Kathy

  • Janet:

    I just want to thank everyone for such amazing and inspiring comments to my post.
    I never expected so much support!

    It took 8 years to write, yet Kathy motivated me to finally let it out there. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s real.

    And I am honored to share it with such a supportive group. I pray it helps someone see the light.

    I send you all my love.

    Janet recently posted..So I expected…My Profile

  • Hi
    My name is Ariana love, i am now 23 years of age. When I had my son I was 21.
    3 weeks after having my son I was alone with him and for no reason out of the blue something in my head said “smother him with that pillow, just try it, it might feel good.” And I was horrified at myself. A week later he was having breathing problems and started crying in the hospital room and I broke down. The nurse asked me to go home and get rest, S
    So I did. But on the way home I was thinking thoughts like “I don’t want to go back to get him” and “I want to run away without him” and over the next year and a half things only got worse. I had constant thoughts of killing him and myself, that someone was watching me and was going to kill me, that I was possessed. I went to the hospital because I knew I needed help. From there I was strapped down to a bed and taken in a ambulance to a mental hospital where I stayed for a week. I was given numerous pills over this year and a half time period. They didn’t know how to help me because postpartum psychosis is rare. The fact that none of the pills were working made me lose hope. My boyfriends mother had become a mother figure to my son because I was so lost and mentally incapable of taking care of my son. I loved her and resented her for it. When I held him he cried for her, he even called her mama sometimes. I knew I needed to change. I STOPPED taking all the mental pills (which I don’t recommend doing without speaking to a dr.) and I felt better. I started playing with my son, bathing him, putting him to bed and everything. I’m proud to say I’m his main care taker and the best mother I can be. Our relationship has blossomed and we are very close. So PPD and PPP are very beatable. Have faith, stay strong, and don’t eat yourself up with guilt.

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