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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

This is a raw and honest memoir about being devastated by postpartum 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 piled up until Laura (like any new mum) felt overwhelmed. 

As many as 8 out of 10 new mums struggle in the weeks after birth. In Laura's case these feelings escalated scarily quickly into postpartum psychosis. She became paranoid and delusional and had to be institutionalised for a fortnight without her baby. Throughout this time she was haunted by a sense of 'What have I done?', at first as she wondered if she could cope with her baby and later because she was trying to grasp at reality as she slipped into nightmarish delusion. 

Laura's experience was devastating, but this is a hopeful book. Not only has Laura slowly recovered, she has come out the other side stronger and more assured about parenting on her own terms. Now she is determined to break the silence around postnatal mental health and with her story tell new parents: you are not alone. 

One of Stylist's best nonfiction books for 2020 and Evening Standard's best books to look forward to in 2020.

©2020 Laura Dockrill (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A book to save a whole generation of women." (Adele)

"A humblingly honest and human war report from the front lines of mothering psychosis and recovery; there is no other book like it, and it is so desperately needed." (Giovanna Fletcher)

"A raw, honest, important book." (Caitlin Moran)

What listeners say about What Have I Done?

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What an honest and amazing book

I downloaded the book with high hopes and my god where they met what an honest and insightful book. So raw & a book that is so needed in order for people to understand.

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moving and honest

A wonderful, honest look at motherhood - relatable, even if you havent had a mental heath problem.

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So Amazing. A Raw honest Memoir. One of the best books I’ve ever read x

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The truest thing I’ve read since childbirth

I’ve not read anything as true and as insightful as this since giving birth 8 months ago. The experience of childbirth, which I retrospectively view as a trauma - both for the baby and for the mother - is so often trivialised, with ‘you must be the happiest you’ve ever been’ and ‘is this the nicest time in your life?’ type comments. And this is not entirely benign, as this idealised notion of what it’s like to be a new mom makes actual new moms feel even weirder and more alone, if they’re experiencing difficulties. We need many, many more books like this, and a complete shift in culture when it comes to how we treat the postpartum period.

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Brilliant

Heartachingly honest. A really personal and in depth exploration of post partum mental health. I would recommend to anyone who knows anyone who has or wants to have children. Laura really captures the whole experience in a way we should all be talking about.

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Made me cry

I just wish this book would of been available when I had my son. I totally admire the bravery of the author.

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Important, honest, insightful book

Thank you for writing this Laura. Your story is so honest and engaging, I felt like I was right there with you. Such an important book to read, amazing :-)