All My Worldly Joy

All My Worldly Joy

By Laura Richmond£10.00
Status: development edit
Publication Date: TBCAvailable
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About The Book

An intimate and compelling account of growing up in mental health services, while becoming a mother.

All My Worldly Joy started out as the story of my experience of birth trauma and my admission to a psychiatric mother and baby unit together with my six-week-old son. But as I wrote this story, I realised that its meaning came from another, larger narrative.

I’d struggled socially and emotionally since childhood. I was funnelled into mental health services early and spent almost twenty years there. I tried every medication going and everyone had different views about what my problem was. I spent time in hospital and became more and more desperate - even more so after my son was born. The stakes were so much higher once he was here: I didn’t want his life to look like mine. And as it turned out, his arrival was the beginning of a chain of events that would change everything.

In this book, I retrace my steps through all of this - teenage years with a bipolar diagnosis, the decision to have a child after being diagnosed with a lifelong mental illness, the concept of ‘personality disorder’ and what it means; the ways in which trauma shapes us and directs us, and how we learn to trust ourselves as parents and as people. It sounds incredibly heavy, but there’s a lot of humour in there too, and it’s ultimately hopeful - a story of self-discovery, of purpose, and of profound love.

The title is a phrase from a letter to Henry VII from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, who gave birth to him when she was just 13. It was a difficult labour and nearly killed them both. Henry was her only child and she was devoted to him - “my son and all my worldly joy.” I came across her phrase whilst researching for my history PhD. At the time, I was writing it up with a sick toddler, on forty minutes’ sleep, and I was feeling pretty wretched. It reminded me just how much my life has been transformed, and of the thousand tiny joys my son brings me every day.
Laura Richmond

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