This is my interview with the lovely Liv Seigl, founder of the Every Mum Movement, who has just written a book about her experiences of motherhood, called BONKERS. Here's what she had to say about her experience of becoming a mum...
Hi Liv, you’ve been pretty open about your experience of becoming a mother and experiencing mental health issues as a result. Could you tell me a wee bit more about what your life was like before you became a mum?
We were living in France in the Alps and I was working in marketing in Geneva. Before the illness I was an extremely happy-go-lucky person who was always really socialble and optimistic about everything.
And what did you expect things to be like when you became a mother?
I always wanted to be a mum and had no personal experience of a mental health illness, therefore, it never even crossed my mind that I would suffer after having a baby. I thought, that yes I would be tired dealing with the sleepless nights but on the whole that I would be happy, content and enjoying being a mum.
What really happened?
My reality was entirely different. I was unwell from the moment I had my first daughter, my anxiety was through the roof and I was filled with a debilitating self loathing and fear that something awful was going to happen to my little girl. It was terrifying and exhausting all rolled into one, however, I just thought this was what all mums were going through and I just needed to suck it up and get on with it all. Unfortunatley I also developed postpartum psychosis which resulted in me seeing demons around the house which the thought of still fills me with fear to this day.
And why do you think you had that experience?
Truly to this day I am not 100% sure as to why I went through what I did. I think the birth I had played a part in it but I would love to look into it properly and get to the bottom of what caused it for me.
So what helped you recover?
For me getting well again started with me taking a course of anti-depressants and then having regular counselling sessions. The amazing support from my husband and being able to write about my experiences and share them with the incredible mums on my blog without any fear of judgement also played a huge part in my recovery and is something I will be forever grateful for.
What advice would you give to anyone who is about to become a mother?
To empower yourself with the knowledge of what maternal mental health is, the warning signs and where to get the right help and support. And to always remember that you are already a good enough mum and that whilst you’re beating yourself up about all the things you feel you should be doing or haven’t done good enough, your tiny human is watching you and thinking you are a total rock star!
You’ve just written a book about your experiences of becoming a mother, called BONKERS (which I can’t wait to read) – who would you like to read it?
Every mum and mum to be! : ) BONKERS is about empowering every mum to talk about all areas of motherhood - NO Judgement. Similar to the bonkers world of motherhood, the book covers everything from post baby vaginas to postnatal depression, Breastfeeding to “bouncing back”, having a premature baby to dealing with the judgement we face as new mums - it even has a few humorous rhymes thrown in for good measure, So, it has something for every mum out there!