Journey to Recovery - Interview with Eva Canavan

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The 3rd-9th of May is Perinatal mental health week in the UK. In this episode Zoe speaks with Eve Canavan who suffered post-partum psychosis after the birth of her son Joe 11 years ago. She now a coordinator for the perinatal mental health partnership.

They talk about Eve's experience of postpartum psychosis, what support is out there, the and delve deep into the representation of post partum mental health and many people's misguided ideas of what this can look like, including health professionals who should know better.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Eve has a very rare condition where she has two wombs and two vaginas, so she has two birth canals. This meant she did have some difficulties conceiving so when she became pregnant with Joe she was overjoyed. Eve had consultant-led care throughout her pregnancy and he was delivered by a planned C-section. She received excellent care.
  • As soon as an hour after the birth Eve started to have fleeting scary thoughts and spent the next three days with unexplained feeling of hotness. She left the hospital and found the car journey home very distressing even though what she was claiming to see and experience was not there.
  • Over the next few weeks Eve began to feel worse, she had a sense of feeling trapped. She felt trapped in her house, in her brain and in the world. She told the health visitors and midwives that she was suffering but she didn’t receive any help or solutions.
  • Often post-partum psychosis is portrayed in the media by mothers having thoughts of wanting to harm their baby but actually this isn’t always a symptom. Eve didn’t have this symptom and believes this is why she was continually dismissed. It took her husband John to drive out of town to a psychiatric outpatient unit in Nottingham to be listened to and then Eve was able to stay in a mother and baby unit there.
  • Eve suffered many varying symptoms of post-partum psychosis, she had racing thoughts, hallucinations, delusions, mania, low moods, confusion, visual disturbances and the inability to be able to carry out just ordinary tasks.

  • Eve has always been very open with her son Joe about her experience, she believes that we can’t let mental illness hold a fear over us, we have to talk about it. Ultimately it’s something we have experienced and lived through, it is part of us.

  • As well as a stay in the mother and baby unit. Eve had exposure therapy, CBT and EMDR therapy and medication. This combination saved her life.

  • 1 in 5 women will experience some kind of perinatal mental illness. Perinatal psychosis is diagnosed in around 1 in 1000 births, it isn’t as rare as people believe it to be.

BEST MOMENTS

“I feel trapped”

“When we talk about mental illness it’s about not being scared of it”

“It’s ok to avoid triggers, you don’t have to get over everything”

“There is still work to do”

“It’s not as rare as people think”

VALUABLE RESOURCES

www.petalscharity.org

www.tommys.org

www.arc-uk.org

www.sands.org.uk

IG: @eviecanavan

@perinatalmhpartnership

www.perinatalmhpartnership.com

ABOUT THE GUEST

Eve Canavan

IG: @eviecanavan

@perinatalmhpartnership

www.perinatalmhpartnership.com

ABOUT THE HOST

Zoe Cresswell

Devoted mother of two (and a big hairy dog), UK trained midwife, doula and personal trainer, specialising in pre and postnatal fitness.

Zoe was born in the UK and before moving to Dubai in 2013 and worked as a midwife in central London, both in a birth centre and a very busy NHS hospital.

Although late to the scene, Zoe is an aspiring athlete having won numerous triathlons and representing Great Britain where she placed within the top 10 on the world stage.

With her husband James, the couple will soon be launching their cloth nappy company, Bop & Bee, where they hope to inspire families to swap a few disposable nappies a day for the more planet friendly option of cloth.

Zoe’s goal is to share her knowledge and experience, tell real life stories, manage expectations and open up those often difficult conversations.

Zoe’s own motherhood journey has been full of twists and turns as she put everything on hold and went through numerous miscarriages and rounds of IVF.

CONTACT DETAILS

Instagram : @zoecresswell_me

Facebook: Zoe Cresswell

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/zoe-cresswell

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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