Ele Cushing and her husband, Greg, developed postpartum psychosis after the birth of his son (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)

A mother feared that her husband, the vicar, had planned to leave with a nurse after contracting a postpartum psychosis following the birth of her son.

Ele Cushing, 31, did not sleep for eight days after the birth of her child, Josh, in January 2016, and was consumed by illusions.

She feared that her husband, Greg, aged 34, had an affair, before mental health workers diagnosed him with postpartum psychosis and that he was severed.

But that only increased her paranoia and she was terrified of being part of the sci-fi movie Hunger Games, fearing to be "sent into the arena to be sacrificed."

Although rare, postpartum psychosis can affect women after pregnancy and especially those with a family history of mental illness.

Ele, 31, with husband Greg, 34, and son Josh, three years old (photo: Kennedy News and Media)
Ele became delirious after the birth of her son Josh (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)

Ele, from Loxwood, West Sussex, said that after the birth of her son, she would "cleanse all the time" because her mind was boiling.

She said, "My speech was like verbal diarrhea. The disease was mainly characterized by paranoia, suspicion and insecurity.

"When the crisis team visited, there was a woman who was young enough and I remember thinking that she was sending me back so that she would lock me up so that she could be with my husband – they were together .

"In the hospital, they put me in a room with a window facing the staff room so they could look at me and I thought I was in The Hunger Games.

"I remember hammering the glass, terrified of being sent into the arena to be sacrificed.

"I felt like I had superhuman strength and it took several staff members to master me.

"I was loading the corridor to try to take a break and I had to be reassured. It was total and total chaos. '

Shortly after giving birth to her healthy son, Ele had to be operated on (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)
The Cushing family and their dear Labrador (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)

Ele said his transfer between hospitals was one of his most traumatic backtracking.

She said: "I was walked in front of my parents and my husband to the back of a pickup truck, barefoot in short-sleeved pajamas in the middle of winter.

"I was alone in what looked like a cage without knowing where I was going. I thought I was being trafficked, shipped.

"I even remember thinking that my loved ones were clinging to the back of the van as we drove and fell one by one in front of their deaths.

"I really had no hope and I was so scared."


What is postpartum psychosis?

According to the NHS, postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious mental illness that can affect a woman shortly after giving birth.

Symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, low mood, low mood, anxiety or difficulty sleeping, loss of inhibitions, feelings of distrust or fear, agitation, confusion or misplaced behavior.

Women are at greater risk of developing postpartum psychosis if they have a family history of mental illness, have already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, have a birth or traumatic pregnancy, or develop postpartum psychosis. after a previous pregnancy.

The most severe symptoms tend to last from 2 to 12 weeks and healing can take 6 to 12 months or more.

But with treatment, most women with postpartum psychosis recover fully.

Baby Josh was born healthy on January 7, 2016, weighing 8 lb (13 lb), but his mother was taken directly to stitch surgery.

Ele, who was working in publishing, said that she had begun to associate words and meanings as she became more and more paranoid.

She added, "I felt that the men had conspired against women – as if we were just pawns in their game, expected to produce the babies and endure all this horrible pain while they were in the process to have business. I became quite suspicious of men in general. '

After eight weeks in the psychiatric ward, Ele was able to settle in the Winchester Mother and Baby Unit, where she spent the next month rebuilding her relationship with Josh.

She was treated with quetiapine, a psychoactive drug used to treat schizophrenia.

When she was suffering from paranoia, Ele believed her husband had an affair with one of the mental health nurses (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)
Ele was struck by a rare mental health problem after giving birth to her son Josh (Photo: Kennedy News and Media)

Since leaving April 2016 and moving to a new home, Ele has battled depression, anxiety and OCD.

The sound of crying newborns would trigger traumatic memories and panic Ele.

But she regained her strength with the love and support of her family and friends, as well as a peer support group, created by the charity Action on Postpartum Psychosis ( APP).

She added that she wanted to raise awareness of the disease and let other mothers know that there was "light at the end of the tunnel".

Ele is added: "I am stronger and braver than ever.

"I never want to go back to this terrifying time of my life, but overcoming it has given me a much more combative approach to life."