EXCITED to bringing her newborn baby home, Katherine Shaw knew she was going to have several sleepless nights ahead of her.
The Special Education (SEN) had a normal pregnancy and welcomed Baby Jude on April 24, 2020 at 7.49 a.m., at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.
The 31-year-old and her husband Matt, 34, took Jude home later that afternoon and, like most new parents, had sleepless nights.
Though Katherine was struggling, she thought that was normal at the time.
Katherine of Shrewsbury, Shropshire has now revealed how she experienced a psychotic episode just a week after giving birth.
She shares how postpartum psychosis convinced her she was “the second coming” and she thought she was triggering a Noah’s Ark-style flood by flushing the toilet.
“It went very quickly and escalated – in just 10 minutes I went from myself to a trembling wrek,” she said.
Katherine said she was unable to switch off and sleep soundly for the first few days after Jude’s arrival.
She explained, “I didn’t have any negative thoughts at the time, but my brain was very active and wanted to be busy all the time.
“When I think about it, I feel like this may have been some kind of mania leading up to the psychotic episode.”
When Jude was a week old, Katherine and her family realized something was seriously wrong.
Katherine said she felt like her mind was racing and said to cope with it she tried writing it down on her phone but felt like she couldn’t type fast enough.
She added, “I didn’t tell anyone, but they quickly became delusional.
“I believed that a quick tap on my phone would transfer thoughts from my head to my phone, and I thought that if I rub my hands or tap myself quickly, it would slow down time.
“I started thinking about the fact that God created the world in seven days and believed I could now understand how He did it.
“I started to think that I was the second coming and Jude’s birth was connected with it.
“I couldn’t swallow my food and I was convinced that if I flushed the toilet it would create a Noah’s Ark-type situation.”
When her family noticed her behavior, they tried to help her sleep while they went to the hospital for advice.
Husband Matt drove her to the hospital while Katherine’s mother stayed at Jude’s home.
While driving, Katherine deteriorated.
She said, “I thought the car was going to crash and we were going to die. Then I started to believe that the things that happened to Jesus would happen to me too – betrayal, unbelief, crucifixion. “
At the time, the Covid rules still applied, but Matt was given special permission to stay with his wife in the hospital.
She agreed to take medication and tried to sleep with Matt lying next to her.
When she woke up the next day, she said she was confused and still had some “strange beliefs”.
She added: “After a few days, I was finally calm enough to be released home with the support of the crisis team.”
In the months that followed, Katherine continued to struggle with her mental health and had panic attacks.