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What Have I Done?: An Honest Memoir About Surviving Post-natal Mental Illness
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What Have I Done?: An Honest Memoir About Surviving Post-natal Mental Illness

4.67  ·  Rating details ·  230 ratings  ·  39 reviews
This is a raw and honest memoir about being devastated by post-partum psychosis and coming through the other side.

Laura Dockrill had an idyllic pregnancy and couldn't wait to meet her new baby. But as she went into labour things began to go wrong and Laura started to struggle. A traumatic birth, anxiety about the baby, sleep deprivation, a slow recovery - all these things
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 7th 2020 by Square Peg
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Start your review of What Have I Done?: An Honest Memoir About Surviving Post-natal Mental Illness
ARC received in exchange for an honest review. Please note I don't star rate memoirs/biographies.

What Have I Done? feels like it so much more than just a memoir about post partum psychosis and depression. Laura Dockrill bares her heart and soul to tell her story about what happened to her following the birth of her firstborn son. Going from an idyllic pregnancy to spending time on a ward away from all her loved ones, and unable to care for her child. The guilt and agony, the anxiety and hopeless
(3.5) Dockrill is a British children’s author. Her style reminded me of others of her contemporaries who do a good line in light, witty, warts-and-all, here’s-what-it’s-really-like-to-be-a-woman books: Dolly Alderton, Caitlin Moran and the like. From a labor that quickly deviated from her birth plan due to an emergency Caesarean to the usual post-baby blues to full-blown psychosis, Dockrill recreates her experience with fluid dialogue and italicized passages of her paranoid imaginings. Her memoi ...more
Anna Dawson
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A searingly honest and brave account of trauma, resilience and recovery. This was very difficult to read at times, but Dockrill’s graphic and unflinching candour is valuable and necessary.
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best book I have read this year.
So honest, raw, inspiring, insightful and brave. A book everyone needs to read.
Emma Rowson
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I suffered with PND after the birth of my son in 2013. I’ve tried to talk about it openly, and I’ve found comfort in reading novels which focus on PND. However, I’ve discovered that there is a marked difference between reading a novel, in which a fictionalised character suffers, to reading a memoir. I hadn’t appreciated that there would be a difference. I know that those authors have either suffered themselves, or have ensured that they’ve done intensive research before writing their novels. But ...more
Agustina Dates
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is about postpartum psychosis, which is related to postpartum depression, but even if you have not suffered from it, the book is very relatable to anyone who has had mental health issues or knows someone that has.

The way she narrates, how she explains how her brain was processing everything that was happening after such a frightening birth, made her reactions and fears make sense, even during the darkest moments of her journey. I appreciated the fact that she says that one of the main
Fabulous Book Fiend
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I feel very lucky to have been able to listen to this book on audio. I pre-ordered the audiobook of this memoir because I knew I wanted to read it in Laura’s own words and having her tell me her story herself was truly a powerful experience. It's definitely the best audiobook experience I have had in a long time.
This book is raw and open and honest and tough to read at points but it is so necessary and I am in awe of Laura Dockrill for sharing this story with us. I feel like not enough people t
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A few years ago, I attended a course where Laura Dockrill was a guest speaker; promoting her children's book - Darcy Burdock. Playing to a room full of jaded teachers, prepped on reheated morning pastries and instant coffee, we eyed her suspiciously. Who was this whirling dervish of electric blue eyeliner, pink lipstick, waving arms and energy? None of us had signed up for some 20-something drama student to come and 'do-a-turn' in these precious (school-funded) hours away from the classroom.
Philippa Mckenna
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This was a tough book to read. The author gives an honest and brutal account of her battle with postpartum psychosis, which hit her like a tsunami following the birth of her son, Jet. My heart went out to her, her husband, her son and her wider family who absolutely stood by her with unstinting love and support. It was a real eye opener. I didn't even realise postpartum psychosis existed. How any woman goes through this and then goes on to have other children is beyond me. Women such as Laura Do ...more
After an uneventful pregnancy, Laura's labour and birth were not as she had envisaged and she was left shell-shocked and incredibly sleep deprived. Even in this postnatal fog, Laura and those around her started to observe very out-of-character behaviour which was more worrying than the baby blues and which could not even be explained as postnatal depression. What followed was the rapid onset of a mental health crisis which saw Laura becoming so unwell she had to be hospitalised.

This deep dive in
Madeleine Black
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a powerful memoir that at times it felt I was inside the head of the author as she spirals out of control. She paints a very honest picture of what post partum psychosis looks like and so many times I wanted to dive into the pages and hold her. She is hospitalised when her newborn baby Jet, is just a little over three weeks old.
What shone through was the love from her family, friends and partner Hugo. I was so grateful she was surrounded by so much love and grateful for Hugo. He's a
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this I found Laura's writing style really jarring and I couldn't get into it. I was thinking this really isn't the book for me. But I persevered and ended up devouring this in 2 sittings. Wow, I am so glad I read this. It is something that I do not relate to at all! But that didn't impact my enjoyment of the book whatsoever. It is so raw, so vivid, and such an honest portrayal of a traumatic labour and postpartum psychosis. Something I knew nothing about! I knew you ...more
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
Dec 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
A fascinating first person account of Post Partum Depression and Psychosis.

I listened to the audiobook which is an amazing experience. Laura Dockrill's performance really adds to the work. You hear her pressured speech, her emotion all the more in her voice.

The last section is a guide to helping yourself, helping others through anxiety, depression and psychosis. And a great A-Z guide to Self Care. Fabulous advice, there's a whole lot of wisdom there.
Clair Sharpe
This is best selling author Laura Dockrill’s story of her experience with postpartum psychosis and I’m so glad to be able to share this review during Mental Health Awareness Week.
After having a normal pregnancy, Laura and her partner Hugo were excited to meet their new baby, a boy they named Jet. But after a traumatic birth in February 2018 when Jet was delivered by emergency caesarean section, Laura began to suffer from anxiety. She was worried about Jet, she couldn’t sleep and she took a long
Vix Standen
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly important book; one which I feel everyone should read. I had no idea about the existence of post partum psychosis until Laura’s essay last year, and was incredibly interested to learn more about it. I’m so grateful to Laura for writing this gut-kicker of a book and hopefully educating many more people about this horrible, horrible illness.
Alyce Hunt
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing

The word 'honest' really is the perfect descriptor for Laura Dockrill's What Have I Done?. In fact it's pretty impossible to review, because it's filled with raw emotion and is an extremely candid look at the way that post-natal mental illness (particularly postpartum psychosis) can completely destroy what should be the happiest time of your life.

As a mother of two, I found myself thanking my lucky stars that both of my births were (comparatively) easy to Dockrill's experience, and that I w
Kayleigh Hills
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve needed a few days since finishing this book to gather my thoughts; it has resonated so deeply with me and I want to do it justice.

I first encountered Laura’s experience in the article she wrote for Clemmie Telford’s Mother of All Lists’ blog; her experience of trauma (and the process of identifying it as such) struck me as an area of parenting that needs to be taken notice of.

Often, books are described as “raw”, “honest” or “important”. This book is all of those, but so much more. It give
May 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m in awe of Laura and this masterpiece of a memoir. Laura is the definition of authentic. This book is so raw, truthful, terrifying, and powerful. Laura says that writing this book helped save her life and I’ve no doubt that this book will save many others.
I’m so glad I listened to the audiobook version and heard her story exactly as she intended to tell it. Like most people, I’d never heard of postpartum psychosis before until I read Laura’s blog post that went viral a couple of years ago. T
Dawn Woods
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This is a horror story. Unfortunately it is true. Thankfully my days of childbirth and early newborns are over, but I can fully emphasise with Laura’s account of her pregnancy which had gone so well, up until her overdue date. Not only was her son’s birth traumatic, but Laura's sleep deprived state and feelings of being detached and horrified at leaving behind her pre-motherhood self was also distressing and brutal.
This is an area few Mothers feel they can own up to. You have a healthy baby, you
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Laura sent me a proof copy and there is no way I could keep quiet about it until then!
This book will change lives. This book will save lives.
Laura speaks completely openly and without filter about her experiences with postnatal depression and the terrors of postnatal psychosis. It allows such an incredible insight and she has managed to put into words thoughts and feelings I can only begin to imagine the complexity of.
Not only honestly broaching the topic of her own illness, Laura offers help an
Hannah Flood
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Laura is a fantastic writer and frankly this book is so unbelievably amazing, I shed tears at times.

The basis of the book is on how she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis - she tells her experience so fully and doesn’t hold back, that is so commendable and open as I’ve never read someone be so honest and frank with no holds barred.

It touches on the subject of depression, anxiety and depersonalisation, something I myself have experienced since I was 12.
Laura never had any depression or an
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from Netgalley

I read this book in one night.
It's a powerful, at times triggering and important read.
I suffered from PND and PTSD after a traumatic birth nine years ago, and I'll be honest, parts of this book brought it all rushing back. I cried at the part with Jet's BCG and had to put it down for a bit.
But it's such an important book, postpartum mental health needs to be talked about more, having a baby is such a monumental thing to happen to a woman, physically and mentall
Lisa Tusinski
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is as honest as honest can be. Laura gives us a first hand view of her postpartum psychosis. Raw, unflinching and unapologetic. Sheds light on mental illness, she takes it out of the darkness because that is where it likes to live. At times I found myself heartbroken for her and her family. This book isn’t sugar coated to make it go down easy. It is a story of the unexpected appearance of mental illness and the fight to claim her life back. Well worth the time to read and share with friends ...more
Gabby Reynolds
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A totally honest, raw and eye-opening first-hand experience of postpartum psychosis. Post-natal mental health is a subject that is not talked about enough, nor are we able to recognise the symptoms of it.
Laura Dockrill has documented her personal experience with postpartum psychosis and how it affected every aspect of her life. It is a totally gripping and intriguing memoir that I could not put down.
Tara O'sullivan
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Raw and brave and powerful, this memoir of postpartum psychosis is compelling and vivid. The writing is fluid and bold, shining an important light on an often misunderstood condition. Really strong and powerful stuff.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It’s raw, and honest and brave, brutal in places and filled with fear and hope and love. I sped through it, wishing Laura better. It’s incredibly brave of her to share this experience, so thank you Laura.
Kate Henderson
May 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Listened via audible

Interesting insight from one of my favourite authors. However i did find it a tad repetitive at times.

I expected more. Don’t know why. Maybe because this book was written by an already established author.
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow ...... what a book would highly recommend you are guaranteed to have different emotions, some parts made me smile, while alot had me crying, thank-you to Laura for writing this book hopefully it will help people understand postpartum psychosis
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
So far the most true to the realities of this challenging mental illness I have read, Dockrill's memoir is both affirmative and helpful in that it explores the difficult terrain of new motherhood and postpartum psychosis unflinchingly. Thank you for writing this honest account, Laura Dockrill! ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbr
an emotional and honest recount of post partum psychosis. A normal person normalises the invisible and the unspoken with courage and humour :)
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