A mum has no memory of being pregnant or giving birth after she was struck by a devastating brain condition.
Tina Tappenden, now 23, couldn’t wait to hold her baby when she found out she was going to become a mother for the first time.
But Tina fell ill with a mystery condition just ten weeks into pregnancy – and spent the next six months in a total memory blackout.
After intially being misdiagnosed with mental illness, she was eventually diagnosed with debilitating neurological condition, encephalitis – caused by the spread of an infection or virus, the potentially fatal condition triggers sudden inflammation in the brain.
With symptoms often mirroring psychosis, the support worker was initially detained under the Mental Health Act after her behaviour became manic ten weeks into her pregnancy during a Saturday afternoon watching her nephew play football.
Tina had been enjoying the match with her sister, when she began screaming at the referee before running onto the pitch mid-game.
The infection in Tina’s brain caused her erratic behaviour, and saw her leave the match, sprinting into the middle of a nearby dual carriageway, totally unaware of her surroundings.
Tina, from Canterbury, Kent, began noticing her memory loss in September 2015 and recalls one occasion when she found herself at home, but had no memory of how she got there.
She said: “I had just driven 16 miles from work, but I couldn’t remember getting home or what way I had driven. My sister Stacey assured me it was baby brain.”
That day marked the last Tina remembers, until after she had given birth five months later.
The care worker said: “I don’t know what happened after that except I came around months later as an encephalitis survivor and a mother.”
Tina’s lengthy blackout started after being admitted to the local mental health hospital, St Martin’s, in September 2015 at just 21 years old, where she would spend the rest of her pregnancy learning to understand the growing bump on her stomach.
She said: “At times I was aware I was pregnant, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it, talk about it or let people take pictures of me.”
Reduced to a shell, the family watched as a previously happy and bubbly Tina spent hours on her hospital bed, refusing to eat or drink and staring into space.
Tina would also repeatedly call out to her grandfather, who passed away a year before.
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