Georgina Woodcock

Georgina's fundraiser for Action Against Postpartum Psychosis

Fundraising for APP
raised of £1,000 target
by 88 supporters
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Run/Walk 54 Miles in 8 Weeks, 14 May 2023

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RCN 1139925
We provide information and peer support to help women and families affected by PP


When you become a mum the last thing you think of is your mental health. You become accustomed to putting your baby first as your maternal instinct kicks in. You don’t envision being sectioned under the mental health act.

For me I was unlucky to experience what I did. I had my early days of being a new mum taken from me and I now have the confidence to finally tell my story, to help raise awareness around mental health in pregnancy and postpartum.I started acting completely out of character during labour, but then who does act normal when you’re giving birth! I now know that I was completely psychotic. The psychosis took over everything; how I acted, how I thought, what I believed in. My main belief was that if I slept then I would die. At one point during labour I thought that I had already died, I was speaking to relatives that had already died as if I had passed over into the afterworld. I asked the midwives if Albie could be surgically removed from me, for him to stay alive and to allow me to die. That belief that I was going to die, especially if I slept, was so strong I didn’t sleep for 7 days straight. 

My labour was lengthy, Albie was back to back and measured big, he wasn’t pressing down on my cervix enough for me to dilate further. With two failed epidurals, sleep deprivation, drugs as strong as fentanyl administered, and now the onset of psychosis, I can only say no wonder I felt like I wasn’t going to carry on.Albie was born via an emergency C section in the end, and after displaying very strange and euphoric behaviour within the theatre, those around me started to notice that something wasn’t quite right. When you’re being wheeled down to theatre shouting ‘Happy, Happy, Happy!’ at the top of your voice, I must really have looked physcotic. 

It was whilst on the recovery suite, I myself knew something wasn’t right. I was having intrusive thoughts about dying, once again thoughts that if I slept then I would die. I knew deep down I wasn’t going to die but the psychosis had started to make me question my whole reality.I discharged myself that same day after I had Albie, despite only just having had a major operation. The psychosis had blocked any physical pain I was feeling, and with the strong belief that I was going to die, I felt I needed to get home so I could die in my own bed and for it to be on my terms. Whilst at home that night my mental health deteriorated rapidly. With the lack of sleep, loud chanting, delusions, hallucinations and the feeling of reality slipping from me there was no time to think of being a mother to Albie, I became mentally incapacitated.

Following medical advice from my community midwife and the mental health crisis team, my fiancé Chris took me to the Harplands hospital. Once inside I was assessed and I remember believing that it was all one big game to ‘lock me up’ as by now I knew my demeanour was that of a ‘pshyco’ nature. My fight or flight mode kicked in and despite only having had a C section the day before, I managed to out-wrestle Chris, with the strength of a man, and escape back to the car through the rain with nothing on my feet. Thankfully Chris caught up with me and stopped me from taking the driving seat. It was during this journey that I hit one of my lowest moments. I tried to take my own life by attempting to get out of the moving car on to the A50. To this day, I don’t know how Chris managed to drive and he somehow kept me in the car, despite the manic state I was in.

Once home, my mental health continued to deteriorate and I was no longer the Georgie that everyone recongnised. I had developed  the psychotic stare, I started to loose my cognitive behaviours and my communication and speech became very baby-like. I was assessed at home by a mental health crisis team made up of psychiatrists and doctors. It was at this point that I was sectioned under the mental health act and Chris & my parents faced the difficult decisions on what happened to me next.

I was very lucky to be admitted to a mother and baby unit instead of a psychiatric ward. I never even knew that mother and baby units (MBU) existed, and the only one who had the capacity to accept me was Nottingham MBU. I was taken by a blue-light ambulance, during which I was completely psychotic, shouting and swearing at the paramedics, screaming and crying and physically fighting with Chris. I felt like I was in some sort of escape room and I had to work out how to end it all. Again, my fight or flight instinct had kicked in and it was a fight to get me inside. I felt that if I let them lock me up then I would be locked up for the rest of my life. I genuinely felt that I had lost my mind, and in turn I’d lost everything, my ability to be a mother to Albie, a fiancée to Chris and everything that made me Georgie. It took 4 nurses to hold me, I was sedated by several injections and given anti- psychotic medication. I slept for over 18 hours.

As I woke, I can honestly say I’ve never felt fear, confusion and abandonment like it. I thought I’d lost everything. I had no idea where I was, where Albie or Chris were, what day or time it was. I felt for where I’d had my C section to check if I’d even had had a baby! I spotted the nurse who was watching me (at this point I was on 24 hour watch) and she politely asked if I wanted a cup of tea and a walk to the communal area. Despite my state of confusion, I agreed and as I walked through I saw Albie lying in his crib. The relief and overwhelming joy I felt that I hadn’t lost my baby, that I wasn’t ‘locked up alone’ was overwhelming. I will never forgot how I held him that time, it was as if he had just been born again and I knew I had a chance to be the mother I’d always wanted to be again. That’s when my recovery journey began. In the days that followed, I still felt utter confusion as I slipped in and out of the psychosis. I initially didn’t trust the nurses, I even thought they were actors, trying to poison me with my medication or that they were there to watch me fail at being a mum and were going to try and take my baby away. It was only when Chris walked through the door 72 hours later that I finally started to trust the process of recovery and threw everything into trying to get better.

With sleep, medication and trust in the process I started to improve each day. The nurses could see my maternal bond with Albie and it’s that what pulled me through. Thats one of the reasons the mother and baby units are so important as they recognise that the bond between mother and baby is just as powerful as drugs and medication.Finally, I had the news that my mental health section was to be lifted and I was granted leave off the grounds. Our first family outting as a three was to Starbucks! I will never forget how amazing it felt to be free and to sit in a coffee shop! The small things that once were normal now felt like huge milestones.

Following this, I was granted leave at home as a trial. It’s safe to say there is no place like home and it was finally time to start our baby bubble as a family.As I write this I still cannot believe this was my journey but with any situation I face, whether it’s good or bad, I always try to think what is this teaching me? This experience has certainly taught me never to take your mental health for granted. The mind is a very powerful thing so looking after yourself mentally, especially in huge life events is so important.

I have a massive sympathy for anyone who suffers from mental illness, I know what it's like to literally 'lose your mind' but I am thankfully lucky enough to see it return.I don’t know what I would have done without the support of Chris. He saw me deteriorate in to a psychotic state yet never left my side and loved and supported me throughout. He has shown me what the definition of a true soulmate is. They say in sickness and in health, and that’s why more than ever I feel so lucky to be marrying him. This experience has made me appreciate my amazing family and friend network and I am very thankful for the professional help I received from the mental health services in Stoke. I was a lucky one but unfortunately not everyone is.

Action on Postpartum Psychosis (APP) is a UK charity. We’re here to make sure mums, parents and families are supported through postpartum psychosis – a severe, but treatable, form of mental illness that occurs after having a baby and affects 1400 new mums in the UK each year.

We offer information and peer support, facilitate ground breaking research, raise awareness and campaign for improved services.

Our life changing peer support network helps women and families affected by postpartum psychosis feel understood, supported and less isolated.

About the charity


Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1139925
Action on Postpartum Psychosis supports women and families affected by Postpartum Psychosis (PP) across the UK. We provide information and peer support, facilitate research into PP, raise awareness of this rare yet severe postnatal mental illness and campaign for improved services.

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