- Maternal Mental Health
“I was literally properly grossed out by the fact a big fat head had just come out my vagina” host Carla Lett speaks to bloggers Amy Downes from Mum Full of Dreams and Sophie Mei Lan from Mama Mei all about Maternal Mental Health. Three women come together…. (not like that) to share their own mental health stories to raise awareness whilst oversharing hilarious thoughts, fears and plenty of oversharing.
Sophies website: https://mamamei.co.uk/
Amy’s website: https://www.mumfullofdreams.com/
To find out more about Maternal Mental Health please see the links below:
Carla: Hello and welcome to 50 Shades of Motherhood, uncensored unhinged and unapologetic guilt-free, real, raw mum chats with me. Your host, Carla Lett, over-sharer and founder of my bump to baby. The UK’s leading pregnancy to preschool directory.
[00:00:39] Today’s episode is all about maternal mental health. If you have read my blogs, if you have followed me on Instagram, you will know that this is something that I suffered with after having George, and I’m really happy to be able to raise awareness on this subject through my podcast. Through my blogs, through my Instagram.
[00:00:59] It’s a very important subject to me that I think a lot of people need to be aware of and need to be talking about. And today I’ve got two very, very special guests that have also suffered with their maternal mental health Amy Downes from Mum Full of Dreams. And Sophie Mei Lan from Mama Mei. I met these two bloggers probably three years ago now, and they are.
[00:01:25] I’m very lucky to be able to call them friends as well. So today they’re going to be sharing their own experiences of maternal mental health, and I’m going to be also sharing mine again, for those of you that don’t know, and hopefully we can, between us all raise awareness. And help each other.
[00:01:49] Hi. So today I am joined with my friends and also fellow bloggers. Sophie Mei Lan and Amy Downes. So tell me a bit about you, Amy, and what it is you do and your journey with mental health.
Amy: Okay. So I’m Amy Downes. I run the blog Mum Full of Dreams. Um, it’s a blog about working parents and our eternal struggle to get the right balance between our work life and our family life. I started the blog when I was, um, after I just had my oldest Harry, he’s just about to turn four because I was made redundant while I was pregnant and it was a really scary time because I had to start my career all over again and I had the added pressure of the added barrier of having a young, a young boy, a young baby, and like trouble that that can cause when you’re trying to find a job. Um, and trying to get flexible hours and things like that. So I started to blog to basically share my experiences, um, and hopefully reach out to some other parents so that they don’t feel so alone. Um, I’ve gone on to have a, another son, James, he’s nine months at the moment. Um, and with both of them, I did struggle with my mental health. So with Harry, I had quite late diagnosis of postnatal depression. I wasn’t um picked up on that until he was 18 months old. So it was quite a lot later than many people have, but I believe that I had it. I just didn’t really want to deal with it.
[00:03:23] Um, so I knew it was there. I just didn’t really know what to do about it or, or want to face up to it. Um, but because I went through that with Harry, by the time James came around, um, I was able to recognise the symptoms and I spotted, um, a lot of anxiety symptoms coming out, um, at the end of last year. So I reached out again and have just finished a course of therapy, um, through, uh, the local service that we have here in Leeds, and they’ve been really, really good.
[00:03:53] Um, and it’s just made me feel a lot more in control of my mental health, basically.
Carla: That’s amazing. That is, is really good. So how, how come it took you so long then with ’em. Harry. Then for the, for the first 18 months, did you say you knew you had to it, you said.
Amy: I think when I look back now. And I look at how I was feeling. I was completely overwhelmed by it all. I just didn’t feel like I was doing very well all my life. Everybody had said to me, Oh, you’re going to be a natural mum. You’re going to be so good at it when you have kids. Um, and I waited and a I waited. And then this, this amazing thing happens that I’ve wanted for so long. And I wasn’t enjoying it. And I didn’t think I was very good at it and I felt like I was failing him. Um, and then when I tried to start working again, I came back to work as a freelancer and I loved it. I loved being freelance. Um, but the pressure of it and the sort of, the nerves of, um, worrying that they weren’t going to think my work was good enough and were gonna let me go, it was really hard because it completely ruined my confidence, basically.
[00:04:57] And I think the two collided on top of. Um, essentially the trauma of being made redundant when I was pregnant. I think the three things collided to build up to depression, and I just, I didn’t want to admit it. I think when you’re in that, like the lowest point you’ve ever been in your life, I distinctly remember, um, the worst day I had, my health visitor was meant to have been around for a check and she didn’t turn up.
[00:05:24] And. If she had been there that day, I think I would have said to her, I think this might be postnatal depression. Um, but because she wasn’t there. I just slipped and Luke got home from work and I threw Harry at him and I just said, I can’t cope anymore. And I actually barricaded myself into the bedroom and went and hid under my duvet.
[00:05:43] And I remember looking out the window up the road and thinking if I could just get to the car and pack a few things, I could run away and I never did it. But on the night feeds when he wouldn’t sleep and things like that. I just I would plan running away and [00:06:00] now it seems really awful that that was like literally a regular every night thing for me.
[00:06:06] Mmm. And I feel like, uh, obviously with James, I then knew I recognise the symptoms, but I think I just was hiding from it. I didn’t want to face up to it cause it’s quite a scary thing, isn’t it?
Carla: Yep. Definitely. I mean, I was exactly the same as you, but, but we’ll get onto it. Gone to this, the next few questions shortly.
[00:06:25] But, um, it, Sophie you’re also there, aren’t you, um, having a bit of a three-way today. So I, in fact, where to Amy actually said about a three way. I actually couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, that is the immature side of me but. Um, Sophie. Um, can you introduce yourself and a bit of your, your experience with mental health as a new mum?
Sophie: Yeah, so I. Slightly different from Amy. I fell accidentally pregnant after too many uh fishbowls. By fishbowls I don’t mean, the pet type… dark dingy night club. Um. And yeh so I was actually due to move to London to work as a journalist. I found out on the loo inside the guardian newspaper. Um, that was up the duff to a guy that had just met.
[00:07:22] Umm. So, yeah, my life pretty much changed overnight. So ditch the London plans. I ended up moving instead from Sheffield over from South Yorkshire to West Yorkshire and sunny Wakefield umm. And then, yeah. Then I had my first child by that, when I gave birth, I was about 23. umm. You was just popped up and is a night owl still does not sleep still, even though she’s now eight.
[00:07:56] Hmm. And yeah. And then basically. I actually found in pregnancy I’d had really bad eating disorder. But, pregnancy really helped that because for the first time I was seeing my body as functional rather than something to sculpt and to change. Umm, but then when I did give birth, I just moved in with my new boyfriend’s parents. My life had changed. My work had changed. I tried to keep the pregnancy a bit of a secret. Umm. Yeah. So, um, I just found like my identity just basically crumbled overnight. My sense of self and I absolutely loved, I was the opposite. I was not at all. Destined to be a mother. I was not at all, like, I didn’t have any maternal instincts.
[00:08:49] And then when I gave birth, umm. I did just feel this total instinct about the same time, I was caught up in my head and I was getting really angry at myself because I was having all sorts of horrid thoughts. Um, and that’s when I started writing, and, which is now a blog. Um. And then my, I’d say it was more postnatal depression then and then. Then my eating disorder came back and until I had my second child, and then that’s when my mental health problems got really serious and they had. I was diagnosed with, um, like acute. It’s called acute polymorphic psychotic disorder. And it’s, yeah, it’s often, it was basically an episode of psychosis, which is where you come in having a hallucinations, seeing things that aren’t there.
[00:09:49] And, um, and that’s actually when I started vlogging. Um, so yeah. And then now what kind of blog and vlog, um, that’s pretty much overtaken the journalism.
Carla: Wow. Wow. Well, I mean, that’s just before we started recording, Amy, you actually said that Sophie actually helped you. Um, through her blogs and vlogs and being a friend of Sophie’s get actual, get your help. Didn’t she? Is that what you second son?
Amy: Yeah, that was with Harry. That was after Harry only, um, uh, knew I was struggling and, uh, like I said, I’d set up my blog and I was, I was trying to work on that. Sophie and I met at a blog workshop and kept in touch, which is really nice. And then she invited me along to the BBC event, which was, um, behind the smiles. I think it was called. It was a maternal mental health event where they got loads of people speaking and it was really inspiring. To be there. And I just, I started to recognise things in the way people were talking and the things they were talking about, how they felt. Um, I think I’d always felt like I wasn’t bad enough.
[00:10:58] Um, and uh, at that, then I think her name is Eva was talking about, um, psychosis and I’d always pictured because I wasn’t. Quite as bad as psychosis. It didn’t quite feel bad enough to be asking for help. I felt like I’d be taking the help away from someone who needed it more than me. But, having Sophie be so honest about how she feels all the time, it really helped me to be just as honest.
[00:11:25] Um. Basically to myself. And then when I was put in touch with the therapist for CBT, I was able to just be completely open with her. I was completely, um, you know, I didn’t fear judgment because I knew that in Sophie, I knew that there was somebody else who was experiencing it as well.
Carla: Yeah. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I think as a new mum, um, I think you can kind of be, you think that you feel guilty inside for even thinking those feelings or the feelings that you have. Like you’re not enjoying being a mum and theres people out there that a struggle that will be amazing mums that are struggling to have children. And it’s almost like you feel a bit guilty having these feelings, don’t you sometimes.
[00:12:07] Um, and I. With George, um, for me, um, because he came so early. And he was in hospital. I didn’t have that initial bond with him. So like, sometimes I’d look at him and I’d be like, I don’t even know if I like you, that sounds awful. And I, you know, I’m just so happy that now we can, you know, we all make each other a blogging conference.
[00:12:29] You know, we all have that in common, that we’ve all been through this, and it’s just so nice to actually. Read blogs and, and watch vlogs of other people that have actually experienced the same and not feel like you’re a bad mom just because you don’t enjoy it all the time. I mean, I, eh, with my mental health, I when I had George, I mean, I didn’t know. See, there’s probably, I think he was around six months. But . I just felt like every day I was having an awful day. Umm, a really bad day, every single day in do you know. It was quite funny actually, because since lock down, I’m starting to get those kinds of feelings back because I’m outside of my normal routine.
[00:13:09] Mmm. And it’s very strange because, going work like I’m so used to like, getting up going to work. Taking George to school and stuff that it gives me a focus, something to focus on. But when it’s like you can get up when you want and you can do what you want, it’s no good for me. Um, but, um, yeah. When I had George, it was just like constant grey days.
[00:13:28] Like I really did enjoy having him, but I’m not saying that didn’t. Yeah. But, it was just, I just so on the verge of like angry all the time. Umm. You know, and I mean, it was a good baby. He did sleep, sleep through, and you know, all that side of things. But, um, you know, obviously not straight away. But it was just, I was so tired all the time.Just felt so, so down.
Sophie: And I think umm. The refreshing thing with talking to you Carla and Amy as well, is that we are all similar in the sense that we are ambitious, we have our own businesses and our own desires and whatnot, and I don’t know about you both, but I definitely don’t fit the norm of what I thought or was told a mum should be like.
[00:14:18] And then also the same with mental health. I think we talk about maternal mental health, but we just talk about. Do you know, we just say, Oh, postnatal depression or postpartum depression, and we don’t actually always talk about what that means to an individual. Yeah. Then that leads to sense like feelings of guilt because people think yeh but, and, I did for many years until I’ve kind of connected with people like you both where you feel like, yeah, but. I feel like this, and whilst I know that they’ve got that diagnosis, I bet they’re not getting these horrid intrusive thoughts. And if, if anyone found out, um, gosh. I’d have them take it off. Me and do you get what I mean.
Carla: [00:15:08] Oh, a hundred percent. Yes. Sorry, I’m butting in there. But just when you said that, it just reminded me of when the health visitor used to come and I used to like pace up and down before she was coming in, like to psych myself up to put on this like performance.
[00:15:22] And as soon as she opened the door, I, was like hello life as a mother is just fantastic. You know, when actually I was thinking to herself, get me a bottle of wine immediately, you know, like I just, I was just, just struggling big time.
Sophie: My first health visitor, this is where, it’s really important, the support, because my first one that I got when I was still living at home, she was brilliant because she was so down to earth.
[00:15:47] And she actually said, when we’re talking about, because I wanted to breastfeed, and she actually said, well, they say you can’t drink, but you know who a bottle of wine here and there and whilst I know its not medical advice. But, just having someone. That was just a bit normal.
Carla: Oh yeah. God I like her, I mean, that’s, it is, it is.
[00:16:12] I mean, it’s just constantly, I mean, moving it not away from the subject, but also, I mean, it’s that mum guilt. I mean, it still goes on now. It’s like you can’t have conversations like this with people because you just worry that like, they’ll think you’re bad. It seems like everyone else has got it together.
[00:16:28] Apart from you. Sometimes you’ll be scrolling through your Instagram and it’s like, Oh, yeah. You know, they’re doing all these pretty pictures. And I think to myself, I was scrolling through the other day, I hadn’t brushed, my hair, hadn’t brushed my teeth. It was four in the afternoon. George hadn’t either.
[00:16:42] And I was just like, wow, you know, like, I wish I was more like, more like them, but actually, do you know, behind the scenes that’s all well and good for a picture. But, behind the scenes, a lot of people do struggle, but they don’t really talk about it enough I don’t think.
Sophie: [00:16:57] Yeah. And now I found like was, sorry Amy. Thats when I started the vlogs. They were ugly, like really ugly so, you see me, you don’t see me with pretty fairy lights behind me. I might do occasionally now because I’ve got a few select walls in my house, so mess behind me may having an anxiety attack or crying at the camera and yeah. To me it’s really important that we’re ,we’re real. And so with me, I’m, I’ve also got a really bad sense of humour as well, so I like literally I’ll either be really serious and having a genuine anxiety attack. Or then I’ll be saying something like, really. Inappropriate that I should not be saying.
Carla: [00:17:46] That sounds like me
Sophie: [00:17:47] It literally goes from a Tinder conversation to a mental illness.
Carla: [00:17:53] No, no, no. It is, but the thing is though, I found Amy, honestly, I’ll let you speak in a minute.
[00:18:02] This is a problem. You see when there’s three of us, it’s like, you know. Fighting for air time. I’m sorry about this, but yeah, I find with my personality as well, I’m very much high or very much low. Like there’s no middle ground with me. So I’m quite similar to you in that sense. Sophie I think. Um, but Amy, what about you then? Like, what do you think, um, around, you know, raising awareness through mental health and, and actually being real because social media is something where I think a lot of people go on and be like, Oh. Yeah. I’m not like them, so, you know. It is mum guilt, it is a big factor, I think of. Um, mental health, you know.
Amy: [00:18:40] Definitely. Absolutely. And I think it does take, um, sort of almost a bit of training to be able to stop yourself having these, these thoughts I talked a lot of, um, a lot of the thoughts about not feeling good enough and feeling like I was letting the boys down.
[00:18:55] I talked to my therapist about that we worked together on these unhelpful thinking. So where you think about the worst case scenario or you. Yeah, you do this thing called mind reading. Um, and I, I, that absolutely seems to be very common, but I’ll tell you what I feel like I’ve noticed over the last five years, and maybe that’s because I have Harry now, so I’m suddenly in this, you know, I’ve been welcomed into this new community of mothers.
[00:19:21] Um. It definitely does have the perfect mum brigade is definitely the judgy mum’s, there’s definitely the, uh, you know, the ones that get everything absolutely perfect and show it all off on Facebook. But the vast, vast majority of us aren’t feeling like that. And I think more and more people are being honest and everywhere on social media now.
[00:19:44] Perhaps it’s just my little bubble and the people that I, I decided to follow. Well, I think more and more bloggers and influencers and mums in general are just being honest, like I put a photo up early on Facebook, on Instagram. Mmm. Of Harry. We had a Hoover delivered and it had a massive box and I cannot wait to play with that tomorrow with him.
[00:20:07] Um, but I put him in it. And I tweeted, um, Hey guys, I’ve had an idea of the kids doing your head in and like back in the day, I think I would have been worried about somebody thinking, Oh my God, what an awful mother. She’s lucky to have her kid in a box, but people have loved it. People have laughed and they really relate to it because actually it is really bloody hard being stuck at home with them 24 seven.
Carla: [00:20:31] You know, we’re all just trying to do our best and everyone is different in different ways. Like I was. I’m looking around the kitchen now and honestly, if someone saw it, they’d probably want to take George away themselves, you know? Um but, but, you know, I just think there’s so much pressure on trying to be perfect when if people, like you say, Amy, I surround myself by following people like you guys and people that make me feel like I’m a bit more normal as well. And in my little bubble I’ve cut out that perfect images and people that love do it. I mean, God, I’m not saying anything about crafting. I know I have said a lot about it, but it’s, it’s, it’s awful. I mean, at George, you know he wants me to craft with him and I’m trying my best but it. Oh, I just don’t enjoy it. And it’s okay to not enjoy things. I think enough, you know, like sometimes it’s like having to pretend that you actually enjoy and play with your children sometimes. And that, um, I must be completely honest. I’ve got other things to do a lot of the time and I don’t enjoy it. Um, and that’s just me.
[00:21:31] If I’m in the mood for it or I’ll tell you when I do enjoy it. When I have had a glass of wine. I literally, will like sit there and play, play for quite a while, but I just feel like there’s always jobs to do, isn’t there and stuff, and it’s just, it’s just that pressure of like feeling like you should be enjoying things when actually you don’t. You know.
Sophie: [00:21:50] Yeah. See, I’m not, I’m not a game player unless its cards against humanity and I don’t think I’m allowed to play that…
Amy: [00:22:00] Housework for me, I can’t, I cannot, I mean I do feel the pride when I have got a nice tidy house, but I just, I hate doing it. Absolutely loath doing the hoovering and the ironing and the washing and the endless cycle of it all. I hate it. And back. Back when I first had Harry, that made me feel like I was a bad mum because I thought that that was what you did when you have, when you have to do stuff, miraculously turned into this perfect housewife.
Carla: [00:22:29] Oh do you know what that was a lot of mine as well. It was like when daddy come home from work, I think to myself, Oh, I should have the house tidy. I should have tea on the table? No. You know like why do you think in your head like, I’ve probably had a harder today than he has.
[00:22:44] You know, like it’s hard getting out of the house with a baby. Fricking hard. It’s like, you know anything like every, you can’t leave them, you know, you thinking, right, I need to go to the bathroom. Am i meant to take them with me? Do I leave them? Do I want, you know, even putting petrol in your fricking car for God’s sake, you know, you’re, there, it’s like my mom’s like, Oh, make sure you take him out the car all the time.
[00:23:05] And you’re like, well, what, how, like how am I going to carry all of this stuff at the same time as carrying my baby around the shop? It’s just little things like that. I mean, it’s just. There’s a lot of judgment isn’t around everything, but like you say, yeah. With the housework, I do think that something where now I, just think to myself, just embrace it.
[00:23:23] Just embrace the mess. It’s going to be messy again tomorrow anyway. Might as well just live in it.
[00:23:31] Definitely, no. So with your, back to the, the kind of mental health after birth, did you guys find that it affected your relationship at all? Or, you know. Or, did you, were , you helping each other through it, or you’re more of a team, or did it, did it affect your relationship?
Amy: [00:23:50] Well, I, I’m like, Sophie, I actually fell pregnant really quickly after meeting Luke. Umm. So we were thrown into this situation where we were having to get to know each other very, very quickly. Um, we were living with each other by, uh, well, I was 10 weeks pregnant when I got made redundant and I had to move in with him. There was, it was either that we’ll move down to Cornwall and my parents, I didn’t want to do that. Hmm. So, um. We were forced into a situation where we had to get to know each other and become very sort of reliant on each other. But he’s always been very, very , very respectful of my mental health and looking after me and giving me space when I need it. Making sure that I have the time to go get a bath. He recognises when I’m feeling down. Um, one of my things when I’m struggling with anxiety is I, I hate making decisions. I just find it puts me under too much pressure. So if I’m. It’s something as simple as lunch. If I’m on in a really low mood, I don’t even want to decide what we’re having for lunch.
[00:24:51] So he just kind of takes over where needed and also bless him, he did not put up with me, run into him all the time. Usually it’s just because I’m not feeling. Good in myself, but I snap at him and I nag him and I know I do. And it’s the anxiety. It’s the anxiety or wanting to keep on top of the house and not managing or wanting to look after the boys as best I can, but not coping.
[00:25:16] I take it out on him because he’s the person I’m closest to in the whole world. Um, so I think it’s made us stronger. Despite the fact it has put our whole situation, having falling pregnant unexpectedly very quickly. Um, me being made redundant and then the postnatal depression on top of it all. And then on top of all of that, me trying to find a way back into work, it’s put a lot of pressure on us, but we’ve managed with it. And I think because of that we are really, really close. Um, and that’s, you know, so for me it’s been a real positive.
Carla: [00:25:49] That is good. Danny’s like that. I’m very lucky in that sense that he, recognises this as well. You know, I need a nap now and again and I just get, you know, when I get like quite down, I get really tired.
[00:26:01] So after like have a, like a power nap and then I’m sorted, then what he’s the same, he’s like right get into bed early, get your Netflix on stuff. And he’s been really good like that. Um, I know obviously, Sophie you’re not with you little ones dad anymore are you but um. How did you find your relationship was with the mental health?
Sophie: [00:26:20] I found it really challenging cause I was also living with his parents. And I’d literally gone from like the hub of London, making my own way as this journalist and human rights and whatnot. To then living in Wakefield and I’m from a really, I’m like mixed race, well, gay dads from really diverse background, poor area to suddenly in this like scones and tea area. In Wakefield where all the women go down to cricket club to make the teas for the men who play cricket. I was like, Oh my gosh, I’ve come from shameless in to the blooming in Waltons and say, yeah, it was a real challenge and I’ve actually found it. Umm. I don’t know. I think now being a single mum, whilst that has its own poses, its own challenge.
[00:27:16] What I know now is that being in a home, whether that be with someone or not it’s all about how, how the like energy is in that home. So it’s much better to be like in a home on your own and have like kind of positive energy as much as possible than it is. To be with someone on. It’s not right. Cause I’m not saying it will be, it’s easy with, um, me and my mental health.
[00:27:48] But, it has to align. And I think children add another challenge into all of that. So do you know if there’s a site for guys who like girls who are creative but crazy, let me know.
Carla: [00:28:05] Oh, I’ll have a look. No, but I know exactly what you mean though it is like it’s, it’s just the added stress on itself. And I’m very much like, uh, for me.
[00:28:17] With my mental health, like whoever I’m surrounded with, whatever mood they’re in, it really kind of either lifts me or pulls me down. Um, so I’m easily influenced by someone else’s mood. So say for example, I was talking to you tonight and you were both like, miserable. I’d probably be miserable. Like, you know, like that’s why I like kind of speaking to like people like you guys.
[00:28:38] Like whenever I speak to you guys anyway, you really left me. Um, and I think in your relationship it’s important kind of to try and find that as well. It’s so hard though, when you’re so tired as well. And then you feel guilty for not even having sex don’t you . I mean, I started getting to the point where I said, right. Sunday night. In that bed, you know, that is it. Now it’s gone up to Sundays and Wednesdays. But, you know, the romance isn’t dead in this house, but you know, you have to time things like that before, you know, it could be like a week or two weeks, or three weeks and you’re like shit.
Sophie: [00:29:17] And I’m normally like on it…
Carla: [00:29:20] Well, you’re really selling yourself here, Sophie.You know, if anyone, knows anyone
Sophie: [00:29:26] ,Im not on any site,
Carla: [00:29:31] oh my days.
Sophie: [00:29:35] Yeah. but yeh like you say it. All those things do you know, especially when you’ve kind of had that, and then you suddenly have kids. I think I went probably a year. I like without sex. Literally. It was just like literally. If I’m honest, I know I should be all do you know like mother earth and that, but, I was literally properly grossed out by the fact that big head had just come out my vagina.
Carla: [00:30:12] Oh. God. Yeah. Oh, do you know what, see with George, I had a section so I didn’t have that kind of thing, but do you know, in fact, we had sex too soon after, after we are George and I ended up getting an infection in my C-section scar. I mean, I was just so, so horny all the time. You know, I don’t know how I ended up having sex that that soon after.
[00:30:31] But, I ended up getting an infection and then the worst part, the doctor was like, don’t do it. And I did it again, didn’t I? I think. Yeah, and I think it’s because our relationship was new, you know, it was fairly new like you too.
Sophie: [00:30:44] Mental health and sex. It is really, really linked because yeah, I also think like when my mental health has been bad, I’ll, I’ll be one way on the other.Yeah. Way. I’ll just be like, I was going to say totally dry.
Do you know if I’m feeling low..
Carla: [00:31:07] You don’t. It’s when you don’t feel attractive in yourself. So when you feel low, you don’t feel attractive in yourself and you don’t feel sexy. But do you know, like when you kind of get the shower, put your makeup on, get at, you know, get your perfume on and stuff. God, you can feel like, it just changes my whole mindset on myself. I don’t know if you, the same.
Sophie: [00:31:27] Yeah, no, I, yeah, no, I’m definitely, yeah. Um, well, at the moment I feel like getting dressed up I’m in my prime and I’m in blooming locked down as we we record.
Carla: [00:31:39] Oh yeah god I know.
Sophie: [00:31:41] I’m too old for that sexting malarkey.
Carla: [00:31:44] Oh, god, yeah. Phone, sex and all that.
Sophie: [00:31:48] Not unless you’re paying me love.
Carla: [00:31:50] There you go. Another, another opportunity their guys, if there’s any blokes listening. Sophie, you sound like a real good catch actually. You know, I love it. You are a good catch to be fair. Very beautiful. So if anyone’s got any brothers, single brothers or anything like that, you know, send them her way.
[00:32:15] Um, so back to where we’re up to, cause we’re going to have to kind of, I think we’ve been talking awhile on this, but I want to cover a couple of other things. Um, so when you, when you guys recognise that you needed to get helpful for your mental health, um, what, what were you advised to do and where did you go to get the help?
[00:32:35] Cause my doctor, um, is a lovely guy. If he’s listening. Hello. Um, but he’s lovely. Um, but. He just. Basically gave me citalopram. There was no talk of CBT, nothing like that. And because as a child, I think I’ve always suffered with my health, mental health, but I’ve only realised as I’ve got older, the I did, what I used to do is I used to just close my door, put a film on, go to sleep, have a really, long, long sleep, and I’d feel better after like a full weekend in bed or whatever.
[00:33:04] Um, but anyway, my doctor literally just gave me citalopram. On your way kind of thing, um, and then I took that and literally, umm. Within a few weeks of taking it. Yeah. I wasn’t as kind of. Bothered about things, but I wasn’t bothered by anything. Like if Danny had come home with like a girlfriend, a new girlfriend, I’d have probably made her a brew, you know, I was actually that laid back about everything.
[00:33:29] I even watching it, I even watched the notebook and didn’t cry, you know, like, and that to me was a sign. So I was like, no, I didn’t want to feel numb anymore and I didn’t want sex. Well, I not, didn’t want it. I just, weren’t bothered. And that isn’t like me either. My Sundays and Wednesdays, you see. In fact what day is it?
[00:33:48] Oh, no, not tonight. Anyway. But. Yeah. What, what was the doctor like? What was it? What did, what did you get kind of thing from your doctor, from your healthcare provider? What did they offer you initially? Was it the CBT or, was it pills?
Amy: [00:34:06] So I, um, I got home from that BBC thing with Sophie and, um, rang the GP the next day and got an appointment.
[00:34:16] Umm. And it was actually the first two visits to her. Um, she was really, really nice. By pure luck, I got a woman doctor rather than my actual GP, and she, she’s a mum herself. She’s really friendly reassured me that what I was feeling was totally normal, um, as in a lot of people go through it and not to give myself a hard time over it.
[00:34:38] Um, she sent me home with a, few bits of reading, um, and that, but she said, if you still feel like they said a while, come back. So I did, and again, a bit of luck. The next time I rang, I got her again. And she said, look, it sounds to me like, you know, you’ve recognised what’s going on here when she gave me the details to sell to self-refer.
[00:35:01] So in Leeds, we have the IAPT service, which I actually don’t know what that stands for, but it’s Leeds IAPT. Um. And I literally just Googled them and found the self referral form. Um, and then, uh, I got very lucky. Someone had just finished their therapy sessions, so I managed to get in a few weeks later. Um, and I had CBT first and about three or four weeks into that, the therapist said to me, I think it might be worth.
[00:35:31] We had a really long chat, because at the start, I hadn’t wanted to go on meds, but I just felt like I needed something to help. Umm. You know just get it all back under control a bit. And it did. It really did help. Um, and I was, I ended up on, I had fluoxetine, which I think is, is a bit lighter than what you had. Um, but it helped, like you say, even everything out.
[00:35:54] Um, but I did notice my partner proposed a few months after a couple of months after that I went and tried on wedding dresses. And it’s one of those days that you picture in your head as being absolutely perfect and so excited and um, you know, I just thought I’d have butterflies in my tummy and I didn’t.
[00:36:16] And it wasn’t until I had the Prosecco afterwards with my mates that I started to feel. Like I was enjoying the day. Um, and I suddenly thought, I think this is because of the tablets. It’s stopping me feeling the lows, but it is stopping me feeling the highs as well. And it was the same at the football.
[00:36:34] I’d go to it. Usually I go to the football once a month cause that’s all I can manage to go watch Ipswich. Um, and usually I get such a buildup of adrenaline in the few days before I go because. I’m going to see my mates and going to see my boys. I love it. It’s the one thing that I’ve had in my whole life that’s just always been there and I wasn’t feeling that about going to the games.
[00:36:57] And then. Purely randomly. Um, Luke and I moved house. We bought our first house, and that was all very exciting. But again, it just didn’t feel like this huge momentous moment that I was expecting it to be. Umm. Somewhere in the move. I packed the pills away and I couldn’t find them, and I just completely forgot, but I’d lost them and I didn’t think of it.
[00:37:21] And the next thing I knew, I hadn’t taken them for two weeks, which absolutely is not what’s advised to do. Yeah. But I felt fine. I felt absolutely fine, and I started to feel really like, confident again. Um, so. I realised then that it was the time to come off. And one of the things I’ve been really scared of was that I would end up relying on these tablets and not being able to come off them.
[00:37:43] Um, particularly as they were stopping me feeling the highs. Of the nice moments, like try it on wedding dresses and stuff like that. But actually it wasn’t like that at all. It was really easy to come off them in the end. Um, but I think that was a big fear for me was about whether or not to go on the meds.
[00:37:59] And when I did, it made a difference. I think it’s a lot of, um, there is a lot of stigma around starting to take tablets when actually it can be just what you need to get your head back on track enough. For you then start taking control of your own life again.
Carla: [00:38:15] Yeah. Yeah, I know what you mean. No, I know exactly what you mean.
[00:38:20] It’s umm that’s what I felt like, and I think it’s no disrespect to my mum or anything like that, but for years she always used to be, Oh, you don’t want to take those, you don’t want to take those. And that was her reaction when I got them the first time. And obviously you always listened to your mum, don’t you and you know, it’s different era their day.
[00:38:35] You know. Like now it’s a bit more kind of. Socially acceptable, I suppose. I don’t know. Don’t mean that, you know, like people accept it more that people do have mental health issues. And I’d say there’s a lot of people out there that do and some choose not to speak to bit about. And so like us choose. to talk about it a lot, so it’s a good thing to kind of raise that awareness. Sophie, with you, was your similar then or?
Sophie: [00:39:00] Yes. So. I’ve always been into dancing and that’s massively helped my mental health . But I have also had some for of drug, I think since it was legal, not illegal since I was about 16 . I was kind of used to being on antidepressants. Yeah. Dreamed of the day when I’d be off them but actually what I found in pregnancy, it’s kind of like weighing the pros and cons and the same with breastfeeding and as well as like, and actually for me. Being as sane as possible was much more important. Umm. For the health of myself, but also for my baby as well. And so I actually upped my meds. And then by the second child. Um, and I had the episode of psychosis. I was on like proper, knock me out drugs. Um, but again, it was a choice [00:40:00] between going into a mother and baby unit away from home, and away from my youngest child or trying these like really strong drugs.
[00:40:12] Mmm. So I, I went for the drugs. Um, and it was difficult. And even nowadays, I’m still on, if I’m honest, on the morning, I sound like I have been out on the lash all night and you know, and just done the walk of shame the way I speak on a morning, um, cause I’m slurring and stuff, so I’m still on like really proper heavy drugs.
[00:40:38] But. At the same time, it means that I can live my life and enjoy. Yeah, exactly. Okay. Be as normal, I’m not very normal, but be as sane as possible. And actually. Be here and actually without the drugs, I probably wouldn’t be here. For me, they are a real lifeline as long as like I compliment it with my fitness and my dance and my different feel good, positive affirmations and stuff. I need those drugs.
Carla: [00:41:10] Yeah yeah . And you just think there’s no, that’s the thing. I just think, you know, you have to do what, what is going to make you live a long and happy life, you know? And, and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Especially when you’re a mum as well. You want your kids to see you happy, don’t you?
Amy: [00:41:26] Definitely. I think there’s a lot of myths around medication and when you’re, when you’re pregnant and when you’re breastfeeding, um, because actually, and obviously I wouldn’t, I want to be giving medical advice. I would always advise anyone to speak to their doctor or whatever. But I. My. Because I’ve had postnatal depression with Harry.
[00:41:45] I was put in touch with the perinatal midwife team when I was pregnant with James, and her name was Nikki. She was wonderful. She was absolutely lovely. So laid back like you were saying about, um, earlier she was just about your dr earlier . She was just so laid back about everything. We spoke about drinking during breastfeeding and things like that.
[00:42:04] She was brilliant. But during pregnancy, she said to me. Um, you know, I think it was usually around week 24, you have a boost, you have a sort of burst of hormones, and that can affect your, you mood. Um, so keep an eye out. And if you feel like you might need to go back on the medication, talk to me and we’ll see what we can do.
[00:42:22] Because the thing is. Exactly. Like Sophie said, it’s better to make sure yours, you’re sane, and you are safe. You’ve got to look after yourself first before you can look after your baby. And the same with breastfeeding as well. I know so many women who’ve given up antidepressants because they’re breastfeeding and actually there’s a lot of research to show that it doesn’t affect the baby at all.
[00:42:45] Same as alcohol, that like low levels of alcohol don’t affect the baby and breastfeeding because they don’t, it doesn’t, get to them. Um. So I think there’s a lot of myths around all, you must stay away from medication if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, when actually that might not be the safest decision for you and your child.
Carla: [00:43:04] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I just actually went back to the doctors because I’ve got major health anxiety at the moment, um, around like death, this coronavirus and blooming hell honestly, you name it. I’ve, I’ve had it. I mean, I’ve even, actually, yeah. Um, searched under anus cancer before, I mean, this sounds ridiculous, but you know, like I’ll literally Google anything and then all of a sudden I think to myself, that’s it. I’m, I’m gone. I’m a gonna. So anyway, I went back, on, anti.. Well, I rang him and I was like, I’ve got major health anxiety. Someone needs too, um you know speak to me or whatever with the CBT. He was like, no, you don’t need CBT. Oh, you’ve got postnatal depression. I was like, I had George four years ago.
[00:43:50] No, from the twins. Cause obviously I lost my twins like last September. Um, and I didn’t feel like it was postnatal depression at all. I’ve always kind of had a bit of health anxiety. Anyway, he gave me that medication. You spoke about Amy, that fluoxetine. Um, but then I found out I was pregnant again.
[00:44:07] Obviously I’ve lost that since. Um, I didn’t take it because I thought, god if there’s any chance, like it could affect anything, I won’t take it. So I haven’t taken it and I didn’t want to start taking in case we decided that we want to try for another one and stuff. But , there is, like you say, when I’ve actually looked into it further it, it’s very. Unlikely, um, that these things, cause obviously speak to the doctor first like you say, but, um, you know, the main thing is, is making your day to day life happy, I suppose.
Amy: [00:44:36] Yeah, absolutely. Cause um, Sophie and I talked about this and when she joined me for my video series, um, we talked about you need to make sure you need to fill your cup up before you can. give from it, if that makes sense. Sophie says it far better than I
Carla: [00:44:50] Oh I love that.
Sophie: [00:44:52] Yeh. You have to basically self care isn’t selfish because in order to be able to give all the love that we want to give, we actually need to make sure that we’ve cared for ourself and given ourselves that love. So we’ve got the energy then to actually give out love and be positive.
Carla: [00:45:12] Yeah, I love that. I absolutely love that and that’s a really good place to kind of end on this. Uh, and this kind of chat podcast. I feel like I’ve just been chatting to my friends, like forgot its recording to be honest. Um, yeah. If you guys want to just kind of finalise on where you’re up to with everything in your career and stuff.
[00:45:32] I know you’re doing a lot around mental health as well, and. You Amy with your flexible work and as well. So Amy, if you just want to kind of finish off with where people can find you in a bit about what you’re doing, and then again, would you Sophie as well?
Amy: [00:45:44] Yeah, absolutely. So with everything that’s happened, um, I have had to move away from my old job, which was social media manager, and I am now.
[00:45:53] Focusing completely on my blog so you can come and find me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. If you search Amy Downs or Mum Full of Dreams, you will come up with me hopefully. Um, it’s at mum full of dreams on all of the social media platforms as well. Um, and I’m talking about flexible working, being a working parent a bit about mental health.
[00:46:14] Theres a.. You might even catch me talking about football on some days as well. When i’m in a, when I’m in the right mood, but yet do come along. And I’ve actually been producing a series called working parents in lockdown. Um just talking about how parents are coping with. Um having the kids at home all the time whilst we’re trying to get our job done.
[00:46:33] Um, and it’s turned into a really, really fascinating series featuring both of these lovely ladies, um, and lots of other people who’ve been sharing their experience and their advice about how to cope with getting through these difficult times. With the kids around, so, so yeah. Thank you for having me on Carla. I really enjoyed the chat.
Carla: [00:46:50] I’ve loved the catch up. It’s been brilliant. Just missing the bottle of wine. God, I know I now sound like an alcoholic don’t I. I am like all I talk about is wine, but this is one of the first nights I’ve actually not had it during this lockdown, I must admit, but thanks very much Amy. Anyway, it’s been a pleasure having you on and my first episode.
[00:47:09] Sophie, what about you? Where can people find you and what are you up to now?
Sophie: [00:47:14] So I run an all female video production company. So we’re normally making documentaries at evoke media group for like news channels and whatnot. That’s where my serious journalist hat on.
[00:47:26] But. I spend most of my life. Playing around with my vlog and blog um which is Mama Mei, and it’s all to do with mental health, wellbeing. It was going to be single parenting, but it more candid, single mom diaries and, and a bit life as well. And then I’ve also got Yorkshire families, which has a bit more of the family friendly stuff.
[00:47:51] Um, whereas I’m really passionate to be honest about talking about mental health. Warts and all, but also making it sexy to talk about mental health, wellbeing, feel good fitness. And so I always say that whilst I’m talking about really serious stuff, I’ll always, also have a smile and sparkles at some point.
[00:48:12] And probably make some inappropriate joke, and so, yeah, so I’m at mama may.co.uk and then youtube.com/sophiemailan. And. Yeah, thanks so much for having us on, and I think it’s just, it is definitely sharing things that really help. So as I was saying, being accused of being this awful mother recently in locked down, by I say my kids was suffocating the situation that actually when I was on my own, that really got me but then just being able to laugh about it tonight.
[00:48:46] You like, huh? Actually, do you know what. Everyone’s in this and we all have those thoughts, and we said those things that don’t look like we think they should on paper, but do you know who wants to be the kind of perfect housewife because there is no such thing.
Carla: [00:49:09] No, absolutely not. I totally agree. When I shared my miscarriage story the other week, the other week, the other month, someone would actually like had messaged me like, yeah, Oh, you need to get a grip. You know, get over it. You know, I got over it. You can get over it. Don’t why you need to share it or whatever. And I just thought fuck off , you know? But it didn’t actually bother me that much because I thought she’s put more energy into typing that long message. God, I wouldn’t have time to do that. You know what I mean?
[00:49:38] I wish I had a time to do that, but I wouldn’t. I just don’t know how. People can be filled with so much hate sometimes.
Sophie: [00:49:44] Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely something about them, like, you. Bravely and kindly openly shared that story. And when you talk about that, I’m in pure admiration and I find it inspiring when you both open up. So there’s always going to be the odd hater but like I say, those of us in therapy are in therapy because those who should be aren’t.
Carla: [00:50:10] Yes. That’s it I love that. Brilliant I love it. So girls it was so nice speaking to him. We’ll probably, I mean, if there’s anything you guys want to hear us talk about a bit more, if you really like this episode and you want to talk about anything more and more detail, obviously.
[00:50:25] Yeah. You know, especially with the three of us were very, very open, so. We’re very open and very moist. But, yes. Anyway, so I will leave you to it. It’s not a Wednesday, unfortunately for me, but I will get on with some work now, but I’ll speak to you all. Soon.
[00:50:59] Life changes such as pregnancy or new babies make women more vulnerable to mental illness. One in five women worldwide experienced some type of perinatal mood and anxiety order. Seven in 10 women hide or downplay their symptoms. And without understanding support and the right treatment, it can have a devastating impact on women, their partners, and their families.
[00:51:28] If you think you are suffering with your mental health, head over to our show notes where you can find useful links and useful telephone numbers to help support you.
This podcast is sponsored by My Bump 2 Baby family protection and legal directory. Being a parent is such a minefield. It’s so difficult deciding who to select when it comes to financial advice or family law solicitors. My bump 2 baby works with one trusted financial advisor and one trusted family law, solicitor in each town throughout the whole of the UK. To find your nearest advisor or family law, solicitor, head over to www.mybump2baby.com/familyprotectionlegal.