EastEnders fans have been riveted to the soap in recent weeks as Stacey Branning battles postpartum psychosis after the birth of baby Arthur.
Mum-of-seven Vicky Lawson knows just what she’s going through – she spent three months in a special mother and baby unit last year after baby Esmae arrived.
Vicky, 39, of Oakridge Park explained: “I had very mild post natal depression after the birth of my last two sons. I had a very difficult pregnancy with Esmae and I suppose that was at the back of my mind all through it.
“She was born in September 2014 and in December my health started to deteriorate. My husband Garry found a note in my cardigan listing all the things Esmae liked because I thought I wasn’t going to be able to look after her.
“I was convinced I was a bad mum and something bad was going to happen. I started hearing voices and hallucinating.
“During the day I went into survival mode. I was very good at pretending I was OK because I didn’t want anyone to think I was a failure.
“Garry raised the alarm and I was admitted to a mother and baby unit with Esmae. It was very difficult being away from him and our six children.
“I took part in various trials with different medication. It didn’t cure me but it saved my life. I also had counselling but the other mums were the biggest factor in my recovery – I wasn’t alone.
“That’s why I’m passionate about raising awareness through Maternity:MK and a perinatal mental health group which is looking at a pathway to get the right help.”
Vicky still feels guilty about leaving her family: “But the support from Garry and the kids was amazing.”