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Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  29 reviews
When a new mother becomes manic overnight from a rare form of bipolar disorder, she stops at nothing to find the mental stability she needs to stay alive.

After the birth of her baby triggers a manic maelstrom, Dyane Harwood struggles to survive the bewildering highs and crippling lows of her brain’s turmoil. Birth of a New Brain vividly depicts her postpartum bipolar disor
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Post Hill Press
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Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
I blew through this because it was amazing. It was a heartbreaking and honest story of something only a truely brave person could survive. This was well written and I could tell the author poured her heart and soul into writing this. I especially loved all pictures at the end of the chapters.

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Jennifer Gaarder
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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Birth of A New Brain: Healing From Postpartum Bipolar Disorder By Dyane Harwood

Post Hill Press, October 10, 2017

272 Pages, PDF Author Review Copy

Adult Memoir/Non-fiction

From Goodreads

"When a new mother becomes manic overnight from a rare form of bipolar disorder, she stops at nothing to find the mental stability she needs to stay alive.

After the birth of her baby triggers a manic maelstrom, Dyane Harwood struggles to survive the bewildering h
Kitt O'Malley
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dyane Harwood thrilled me when she sent me an advance copy of her memoir, Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder . (I pre-ordered it and was anxiously awaiting it’s October 2017 release.) Her memoir fills a much-needed niche in sharing the experience of bipolar disorder, peripartum onset (beginning during pregnancy or within four weeks after delivery).

With her friendly approachable writing style, her strong spirit shines throughout her memoir, even when describing the
Leslie Lindsay
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A gripping account of one woman's battle with the little known and relatively rare postpartum on-set biploar.

When I was pregnant, my husband heard on NPR that a mother's brain drastically changes during pregnancy and then again again during labor/delivery. It's why some expecting mothers are a little flaky, a little preoccupied. And then, after the birth, a woman's brain actually becomes better--she is able to multitask better, sense danger, and retain more information.

But what happens when a
Marie Abanga
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Indeed, a new Brain can be born even from the deepest dark of a debilitating mental illness

Mental illness is more often than not associated with incompetence, fragility, frugality, vulnerability, undesirability: I don’t make that association however, and memoirs like Dyane’s make a pale of those who think a mentally ill is a ‘no good’!

Dyane’s epic memoir of one of the ‘not so known’ mental illnesses is worth its weight in gold .

We don’t care about those ‘lunatics’ because we are not them and n
L.E. Henderson
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this courageously honest and vivid memoir Dyane Harwood chronicles her struggle to get well despite being a “treatment resistant” sufferer of postpartum bipolar disorder.

I loved so many things about this book. The details of how her bipolar disorder manifested after the birth of her second child were as fascinating as they were heart-wrenching.

Despite the serious content, I enjoyed the easy-to-read and almost conversational writing style which added to the difficulty I had in putting the book
Birth of a New Brain is a memoir about being a mother and wife with postpartum bipolar disorder. It chronicles the development of the mood disorder, as well as the narrator “stumbling through [her] new reality of chronic mental illness.” From her childhood with a father diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her college years where she experiences heartbreak to the activation of her disorder and seven subsequent hospitalizations, Harwood has provided us with a case study of herself. Birth of a New ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this book was extremely well-written and applicable to anyone with bipolar, not just those with postpartum bipolar
Laura Marchildon
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The delivery of a precious new life. An addition to the family. Yet something is not right. Not having the energy or feel the joy for this little bundle that was brought into this world.

“Birth of a New Brain: Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder”, by Dyane Harwood is an insight into the author’s many traumatizing experiences with Postpartum Bipolar Disorder and how she learned to cope.

Although Dyane did not exhibit any concerning symptoms after the birth of Avonlea, her first daughter, whe
Happy Booker
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Birth of a new brain is a self-help book telling the story of a mother trying to survive a rare form of bipolar disease, postpartum mood and anxiety disorder. The journey is hard and displayed the perseverance of a mother struggling in a true sense of the word.

Dyane decides to dedicate her life educating her self on this problem. While I understand and have read books on mental illness and psychology, I particularly enjoyed this one due to its inspirational and moving story.

The story is authen
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Due to my occupation in bipolar disorder advocacy and education, I spend most of my work day reading mental health content; it’s difficult for me to then go home and read material relating to mental illness is my leisure time. I have read many fantastic books on bipolar disorder but cannot remember having the ability to get through any of them as quickly as I did Birth of a New Brain.
I greatly appreciate that Dyane broke up the monotony of clinical terms, medication, etc. with personal anecdotes
Julianne Bonnet
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Birth of a New Brain is an addictively honest look at one woman’s struggle with postpartum bipolar disorder after the birth of her second child.

Dyane Harwood’s conversational writing style made the otherwise gut wrenching depiction of her daily struggle to stay connected with her children, her marriage, her life, easy to enter into. Harwood gives just enough backstory to give the reader empathy. Her childhood in Pacific Palisades may have seemed idyllic on the surface, but her experiences with a
Courtney Novak
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a mom who had postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD. I host a podcast, Adventures with Postpartum Depression, about maternal mood disorders, so I am always looking for new stories and perspectives to share with my audience. I have wanted to understand more about postpartum bipolar disorder ever since a good friend was diagnosed as bipolar after the birth of her son. There were not a lot of great resources out there, but Dyane's book sheds so much light on the subject. It's her personal sto ...more
Alice Kenny
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dyane Harwood’s Birth of a New Brain is an insightful account of childbirth triggering the onset of bipolar disorder. As the daughter of a mother with mental illness, Harwood’s book was an eye-opener for me. Like many in the general public, I was unaware of the existence of postpartum bipolar disorder. Harwood’s book has provided me with a broadened perspective on maternal mental illness. Her book has given me pause to rethink my mother’s mental illness, which was undiagnosed and never discussed ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In her compelling memoir, “Birth of a New Brain” Dyane Harwood shares her struggle with postpartum bipolar disorder. While many women with postpartum psychosis are also diagnosed as bipolar, Harwood explains that the two are distinct. Harwood’s memoir is an enjoyable fast read and bravely shares her quest to find an effective treatment. My favorite insight from the book is that “… healing is an ongoing journey. There is no finish line...” Harwood shares a wealth of resources including exercise t ...more
Karen Manton
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a truly fabulous read. As someone who has had this illness for over thirty years I felt such a connection with the author. Dyane is so honest and gives great clarity in her description of her battle with Bipolar Disorder. She gives such an honest account of the affect the illness has on relationships and how it takes you to heartbreaking levels of despair. However, she also goes on to share her battle, learning various techniques along the way which takes her to a more content stabl ...more
Carrie D. Miller
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Dyane Harwood's memoir is invaluable for **anyone** affected by a mood disorder. While "Birth of a New Brain" begins with the author's childbirth-triggered bipolar disorder, anyone can learn from Harwood's depiction of her depression, mania, anxiety, and mental illness stigma. In her introduction, Harwood states that she wrote this book to give readers hope and practical tools to help improve mood stability. "Birth of a New Brain" achieves this goal in spades. Highly recommended! ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was extremely informative. As someone who has been touched by similar issues (my wife has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder), I found it to be reassuring and inspiring. It is told straight from the heart. No one is completely immune from mental illness, despite what they may think, so I would recommend this outstanding, inspiring book to anyone.
Samantha Steiner
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I reviewed this book on my blog. I absolutely adored this book and didn't want to put it down. Here is the link to my blog: warning, there are spoilers! ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I connected so well to Dyanes book and I had trouble putting it down. I felt like I was sitting there, having a coffee with her as she told me her story. When I had finished I had realised just how much she had helped me in my own journey and now I am seeking to read more. Thankyou Dyane.
Lauren H. Thibodeaux
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Having had a rough time with my Postpartum, Dianne’s story really helped me. She is so real. I am very proud of her for her determination to get better, help herself and her family, and share her story so eloquently. This book is a good read for anyone, not just women and/or mothers.
Rebecca Lombardo
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I don't have children but I do have bipolar disorder, so I was interested in this perspective. This book is very well done. It truly helps you understand the life of a mom with mental illness. I enjoyed it a great deal. Thank you for sharing your story!"
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dyanes book is a down to earth, realistic perspective of life with depression and bipolar disorders. I recommend to anyone who has a mood disorder, loves someone with a mood disorder, or who just wants to learn more about life with these disorders.
Elizabeth McInerney
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: no-audio
I came upon this book because I like reading about the Brain and about female health (esp around hormones), because I enjoy memoirs, and because it had such high reviews. I am sorry to have to give this heartfelt story a rating of 2. In my rating system, I reserve 1 for books that I cannot finish, and 2 for books that I finish but wish I had not.

I do think there is a lot of potential here, so while I regret the time that I put into finishing the book, I will take the time to fully explain where
Ashley Peterson
Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder chronicles author Dyane Harwood’s journey with postpartum onset bipolar disorder. The story’s rich, vivid descriptions draw the reader along on the intense roller coaster ride of the author’s illness experience. Many elements of her story will be hauntingly familiar to those whose lives have been touched in some way by bipolar disorder, including mood symptoms whose true nature only became apparent with hindsight and well-meaning at ...more
Ellen Notbohm
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It takes uncommon resilience, sometimes seemingly involuntary, to survive mental illness, particularly one that most people have never heard of and few doctors have experience treating. It takes even more uncommon courage to be willing, in the name of helping others, to relive the fear, the loneliness, the shame, the bottomless depression, and the debilitating frustration when yet another treatment doesn’t work. To do it with the grace, accessibility and lack of bitterness with which Dyane Harwo ...more
Damian Konopka
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most positive and encouraging and helpful book about bipolar disorder I have read. In my 24-year journey with bipolar, I have experienced similar manias and depressions like Harwood. I have been hospitalized several times like the author, too. But for the past few years, I’ve been consistently practicing self-care (much like Hardwood describes) and I finally feel like a (mostly) whole person again. For too many years I was lost in my mood instability, confused about meds, unsure of everythin ...more
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a moving account of Dyane’s diagnosis and life living with bipolar disorder. As a doctor, it’s so valuable hearing the insight of someone with mental illness and how they experience both the illness and the treatments (and navigation of the health care system). I found her account inspirational and I really liked that she provided resources at the end of the book.
Nov 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Birth of a New Brain" is a heart-wrenching, illuminating account of a mother coming to terms with her mental illness. The author is so honest and real. She gives hope that one can live a fulfilling life after being diagnosed with a mood disorder. Through reading this book, it's clear Harwood is an extraordinary person willing to do whatever she can to get stable for herself and her children. Her account is a labor of love that will help others who have suffered with mental illness. ...more
Jacquelynn Berton
rated it liked it
Oct 09, 2020
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