What Have I Done?
‘A book to save a whole generation of women’ Adele
This heart-breaking and uplifting memoir is about resilience, love and finding your way to the other side.
Laura couldn’t wait to meet her new baby. But as she went into labour things began to go wrong and Laura started to struggle. A traumatic birth, anxiety about the baby, sleep deprivation, a slow recovery – all these things piled up until Laura (like any new mum) felt overwhelmed.
As many as 8 out of 10 new mums struggle in the weeks after birth. Laura had never experienced mental illness before and was reassured by family, friends and professionals that what she was feeling was ‘normal.’ But in Laura’s case these feelings escalated scarily quickly into post-partum psychosis; a rare and debilitating illness. Within a matter of days Laura became paranoid, delusional and suicidal. And when her baby was just three weeks old, on Mother’s Day, Laura was institutionalised without her baby. Throughout this time she was haunted by a sense of: ‘What have I done?’
It wasn’t until Laura began to put her story into words (on her phone whilst her son slept) that she began to find herself again and recovery seemed within reach; these are those words.
Despite this gruelling experience, Laura’s story is a hopeful one. She has come out the other side stronger and more assured. Now she is determined to break the stigma around post-natal mental health, shatter the romanticised expectations of perfect motherhood, and to empower parents: you are not alone.
*ONE OF STYLIST’S BEST NON-FICTION BOOKS FOR 2020*
‘This moving book was a pleasure to read and I didn’t want to put it down. If anyone is going through a similar experience it will make them feel less alone’ Philippa Perry
‘A humbling honest and human war report from the front lines of mothering psychosis and recovery; there is no other book like it, and it is so desperately needed’ Giovanna Fletcher
This is a generous, humane, brave gift of a book. Its guts and humour spoke to me loud and clear. I wept for Laura, women I love, and ones I've never met, many times throughout. There's a conspiracy of silence around so many of areas of birth and new motherhood, and Laura is breaking the glass ceiling of it, with glorious honesty, humour and humility. I salute you, Laura - you're a fucking warrior! * Sophie Dahl * Having had a terrible time after the birth of my first born I was so overwhelmed with relief that Laura wrote this book for those of us who didn't have the fairytale. What I think it's important to know is that even though things don't always go to plan and all parents make mistakes it doesn't mean your aren't a superhero or a power mum in your own right. Thank you Laura for making us all feel worthy and all feel more love for our children than ever before. We don't make them, they make us and that can manifest in so many different ways. A must read for all of those muddling through. * Paloma Faith * I saw the end of the world in her eyes. I knew she was in there somewhere but she was being held prisoner by her mind and we were all helpless to it. Sometimes things happen to us which means we can save other people, my own experience with mental health helped save her and now here she is about to save a whole generation of women! * Adele * A humblingly honest and human war-report from the front lines of mothering, psychosis and recovery: there is no other book like it, and it is so desperately needed. -- Caitlin Moran
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