Laura Dockrill

What Have I Done?
  • What Have I Done?

  • 'A book to save a whole generation of women'
    Adele

    'This moving book was a pleasure to read and I didn't want to put it down. If anyone is going through a similar experience it will make them feel less alone'
    Philippa Perry


    This is a raw, courageous and honest recovery story that breaks the silence on one of life’s best-kept secrets. Written from the front-line of mental illness, this heartbreaking and uplifting memoir is about resilience, love and finding your way to the other side.

    Laura 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. Laura had never experienced mental illness before and was reassured by family, friends and professionals that what she was feeling was ‘normal.’ But in Laura's case these feelings escalated scarily quickly into post-partum psychosis; a rare and debilitating illness. Within a matter of days Laura became paranoid, delusional and suicidal. And when her baby was just three weeks old, on Mother’s Day, Laura was institutionalised without her baby. Throughout this time she was haunted by a sense of: 'What have I done?'

    It wasn’t until Laura began to put her story into words (on her phone whilst her son slept) that she began to find herself again and recovery seemed within reach; these are those words.

    Despite this gruelling experience, Laura’s story is a hopeful one. Not only has she got better, she has come out the other side stronger and more assured. Now she is determined to break the stigma around post-natal mental health, shatter the romanticised expectations of perfect motherhood, and to empower parents: you are not alone.

    *ONE OF STYLIST'S BEST NON-FICTION BOOKS FOR 2020 AND EVENING STANDARD'S BEST BOOKS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2020*


    Praise for What Have I Done?

    'A raw, honest, important book'
    Caitlin Moran

    'A humbingly 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

    'This book will give women and their families confidence that the brain and body will heal. It will encourage other women to speak out'
    Dr Jessica Heron, CEO of Action on Postpartum Psychosis

    'An amazing read. A comfort to women recovering who read this and realise that all their crazy mad thoughts were the illness; and not themselves'
    Fiona Telford, postpartum psychosis survivor

Laura Dockrill is an award winning author and illustrator. What Have I Done? is Laura's first book for adults. She has written thirteen books for children and young adults. She has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of The Year Prize, long listed for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018. She has earned plaudits like ‘Top 10 literary Talent’ from The Times. Laura has appeared on a host of TV programmes; CBeebies, Blue Peter, Newsnight and BBC Breakfast to name a few. Her radio prowess spans across the entire BBC network, having performed works on Radio 1 through 6 including Woman’s Hour and Open Book. She has written for the BFI, BBC Radio, Channel 4, The British Council, The Young Vic and the National Theatre. Laura is on the advisory panel at The Ministry Of Stories, and has judged many literary prizes including the John Betjeman Poetry Prize, BBC National Short Story Prize and the BAFTA Children’s Prize.


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