Laura Dockrill is an award-winning children's author and illustrator, and performance poet. She grew up in Brixton and attended the Brit School and still lives in London. She writes for young people of all ages, from picture books up to YA, including works of poetry and theatre. Her first adult book, What Have I Done, is an account of her experience with Post Partum Psychosis and was won in a four-publisher auction by Vintage. In 2020, Laura was nominated for a BAFTA for her short film Goldfish, which she co-wrote.
For information on Laura's children's books, please click here.
This is a raw and honest memoir about being devastated by post-natal 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 postnatal 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 post-natal mental health and with her story tell new parents: you are not alone.
Praise for WHAT HAVE I DONE:
‘A book to save a whole generation of women’ – ADELE
‘I just want to hug you! Such a raw, honest and important book’ – GIOVANNA FLETCHER
‘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.’ – CAITLIN MORAN
‘Thank you for this book, for shining a light on the darkness of psychosis, an illness that absolutely does happen to people like us. I found this book a balm for my soul, and am grateful to Laura for bravely penning such a beautiful account of an illness that is rarely talked about.’ – BRYONY GORDON
‘Your story is a generous, humane, brave gift of a book. Its guts and humour spoke to me loud and clear. I wept for you, women I love, and ones I’ve never met, many times throughout. There’s a conspiracy of silence around so many of areas of birth and new motherhood, and you are breaking the glass ceiling of it, with glorious honesty, humour and humility. I salute you - you’re a fucking warrior!’ – SOPHIE DAHL
‘Moving, a pleasure to read… I couldn’t put it down.’ – PHILIPPA PERRY
‘I was overwhelmed with relief to read this. A must-read for anyone who didn’t have the fairytale.’ – PALOMA FAITH
‘IT IS AMAZING, YOU ARE AMAZING. This book is proof that although your mind was your undoing it is also a truly incredible asset which is going to help so so many people’ – CLEMMIE TELFORD
'Mind blowing' - LEMN SISSAY
‘Laura’s raw, honest book gest to the core of postpartum psychosis’ – DR JESSICA HERON, CEO, ACTION ON POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS
‘I’ve cried, laughed and cried again… I’m SO GLAD you wrote it, it’s therapeutic to read. It’s bloody amazing. I know it will also help to raise awareness and help people to understand what it’s like to go through this shit. And see light at the end of the tunnel and know you won’t always feel like this.’ – JESSICA HUNT, a post-partum psychosis survivor
‘You have created such a raw, powerful, visceral account of your experience with PP and it's such an important story to hear.’ – ISABELLE, a midwife
‘I absolutely loved this book. It’s so honest I related to the rawness of it all. There was so much I could identify with’ – HELEN GRIMES, postpartum psychosis survivor
‘A seminal work which will help people worldwide who identify with Laura’s terrifying experience.’ – KAREN LEVI, psychotherapist
‘A lot of people will benefit from reading this’ – KATHRYN GRANT postpartum psychosis survivor
‘An amazing read. This book is a comfort to women recovering who read it and realise that all their crazy mad ass thoughts were the illness; and not themselves.’ – FIONA TEL, postpartum psychosis survivor