Being a mom isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. But what if you lost touch with reality and were put on a mental ward shortly after childbirth? For roughly one in a thousand moms, a time that is supposed to be joyful turns into a nightmare.

The technical term for moms who lose touch with reality, often within hours or days of giving birth, is postpartum psychosis. Through Postpartum Support International I’ve met a number of brave women who have chosen to speak out about their crazy experience, hoping to reduce the stigma of mental illness and help other moms to prevent or recover from a similar situation.

Jennifer Moyer is a mental health advocate, author and speaker. She wrote A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness, a memoir of her struggle with postpartum psychosis. Jennifer’s mission is to bring hope and inspiration to individuals and families facing mental health challenges

Teresa Twomey wrote Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: A Temporary Madness, Her riveting book explains what happens and why during this temporary and dangerous disorder. Teresa is a speaker, author, and former legal resources coordinator for PSI. She also shares her experience in a Ted Talk.

Angela Burling, is a nurse serving on the board of PSI.  Her story was published in 2014 in Motherhood, Mental Illness and Recovery: Stories of Hope. She appeared on a dozen talk shows including Donahue, Oprah and Larry King. Angela has been interviewed for several documentaries including When the Bough Breaks. Angela is working on a memoir.

Melissa Bangs is an accomplished storyteller, performer, and mental health activist. She is currently touring the country and performing Playing Monopoly With God. You can attend one of her performances in Santa Barbara on June 3, or in Portland August 4, 5 or 6.

Michele Davidson currently serves as the Postpartum Psychosis Coordinator for PSI. Michele holds a PhD in nursing administration and health care policy from George Mason University and has practiced in the area of women’s health nursing since 1990.

You can also check out my book, Back In Six Weeks, which is a fictional account of my postpartum experience.

There are many more moms who’ve experienced psychosis. Some choose to hold their story inside. A few, like Naomi Knoles Gerdes, found the burden of living with psychosis too great, and took their lives. Many more are speaking out in various ways. I’d encourage any mom who wants to share their story or connect with others who have lived a similar experience to visit one of the following Websites:

To all the moms for whom life sometimes gets crazy, Happy Mother’s Day! You are not alone. You are not to blame. With help you will be well.


2 Comments on Brave Moms I’m Proud to Know

  1. Dyane Harwood
    May 16, 2017 at 9:48 am (2 years ago)

    Great article!

    As you know, Sharon, I didn’t have postpartum psychosis but I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar, a.k.a. bipolar, peripartum onset. Postpartum bipolar will be presented at this summer’s PSI Conference by Michael Pipich, LMFT.

    I’m honored that my memoir “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” (foreword by renowned perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Carol Henhaw) has been endorsed by Teresa Twomey, Dr. Shoshana Bennett, Dr. Greg de Moore, Karen Kleiman, Dr. Verinder Sharma, Mark Lukach (his new memoir “My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward,” which depicts his wife suffering from postpartum psychosis and bipolar, is garnering rave reviews) and other highly acclaimed perinatal and bipolar mental health advocates. It’s in pre-sales now:

  2. Jennifer Moyer
    June 14, 2017 at 8:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you, Sharon, for it is an honor to know you. 🙂

    Hoping you do make the PSI conference in July.

    ~Jennifer Moyer~
    Author of A Mother’s Climb Out of Darkness


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