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Home » Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: Rachael Watters (Transcript)

Understanding Postpartum Psychosis: Rachael Watters (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Rachael Watters’ talk titled “Understanding Postpartum Psychosis” at TEDxHieronymusPark conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


This is a photograph of my family, featuring our four healthy, beautiful children. While the road to this picture was anything but an enviable process, the birth of my daughters Adeline, in my husband’s lap, and Chloe, the baby, found our family, myself and my well-being in particular, teetering on the edge of catastrophe. Today, I want to talk to you about postpartum psychosis. I am not a psychiatrist or an expert in the field of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.

My Personal Experience

My experience with this condition is personal. I experienced postpartum psychosis after the birth of our second and fourth children. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can begin to break down the stigma surrounding perinatal mood and anxiety disorders and bring hope and healing to those going through something similar. Our society paints this picture that the only acceptable feeling to have after the birth of a child is overwhelming joy.

And while for most, the first few months following the birth of a baby are filled with incredible joy, for many, including myself, this joy is abruptly interrupted by severe depression and anxiety. One in seven women experience a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder in the first year following the birth of their child. Let my story be the catalyst that allows each of you to reflect on your own stories. If I can bring hope to even one mother suffering in silence, then it gives purpose to the trauma that I experienced.

The Onset of Postpartum Psychosis

Our family moved to Montana when I was four months pregnant with our second child. At almost two years old, my son was still not sleeping through the night. So as I prepared for the delivery, I was already completely exhausted. A couple weeks after giving birth, I began to fear sleep because sleep brought vivid nightmares.

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