Terrified Scots mum with postpartum psychosis 'didn't recognise her own baby'

Ailania Fraser
Ailania Fraser -Credit:Edinburgh Live

A Scots mum who suffered from postpartum psychosis says she "didn't recognise her own baby".

Ailania Fraser, who gave birth to her first child in 2019, described the experience as being "totally normal" before she started to show "terrifying" symptoms just days later.

The 35-year-old, from Muirhouse in Edinburgh, was told that she was suffering from postpartum psychosis and ended up in hospital for seven weeks. The mum-of-two, who was 30 at the time, said at points she didn't recognise her own child.

She also experienced sleeplessness, racing thoughts, suffered from OCD and began to hear things that weren't actually happening around her. Ailania described herself as living in a 'constant state of panic and paranoia' and at the time didn't understand what was happening to her. She now wants to help spread awareness around the condition by organising a fundraiser.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, Ailania said: "I didn't fully understand what was happening to me until a few weeks after giving birth but my symptoms started really quickly, within days even. I started to experience sleeplessness, OCD and racing thoughts early on.

"From there, it grew, and I started hearing things that weren't happening, I thought everyone's conversations were directed at me. I thought if I didn't do certain things, bad things would happen, so I was constantly paranoid and there was a sense of panic. I was terrified.

"I didn't know what was happening to me, but I wanted to die. My heart was racing all the time because I felt like I was living in fear and I couldn't turn the thoughts off that were in my head. At one point, I couldn't even recognise my own baby. I couldn't control anything and I hadn't slept for days so I was absolutely exhausted, terrified and confused".

The mum-of-two suffered from the symptoms for a few weeks before she was admitted to St John's Hospital in Livingston.

She said: "I was in hospital for seven weeks initially for treatment and I then went back again when my son was a bit older to help work on my bond with him. It wasn't something that I found easy to talk about either.

"It's not always easy to admit that something is wrong with you but I knew I needed help. My husband was scared and overwhelmed too because neither of us knew what was happening to me."

Alania now has another nine-month-old child and said her experience has been completely different. She is wanting to raise awareness around the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis and will be holding a fundraising event for the charity, Action on Postpartum Psychosis, in the Gyle on May 14.

Alania added: "I am fine now and back to normal. I was on medication for two years and I also had behaviour therapy three years after I had my son to work through the trauma. I have also just had my nine-month-old baby and my experience was so different. A lot of extra support was given to me and I was closely monitored.

"I had no idea that someone could experience something this dramatic I guess. In general, I think people are a lot more open about talking about mental health which is brilliant, and I just thought this felt like the right time do something for them.

"I will have a stand in the Gyle centre from 10am on May 14 with leaflets, information about the charity and a few collection tins. It's all about spreading awareness and giving people information and hopefully encourage conversations to be had between family and friends".

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond. Sign up to our daily newsletter.