Currently, any mother struggling beyond two weeks post-partum raises alarm bells with health visitors and midwives and is at risk of being given a diagnosis of a post-natal illness. This represses and shames the shadow side of mothering, making the true nature of motherhood, and all its messiness, forbidden and unmentionable. We are split between mothers with, and mothers without a post-partum disorder.
I am researching our current understanding of post-partum illnesses and in particular how mothers relate to their diagnosis - to what extent it serves and limits their experience of motherhood when their symptoms are diagnosed as 'abnormal' or 'wrong' in some way.
Did you ever suspect you had post partum depression? Did you want a diagnosis or fear it? If you received one, how did it shape/impact your experience? What type of support was received? What type of support was lacking/wanted/needed?
My mission with my podcast and book is two-fold - to destigmatise the dark side of motherhood, and to raise awareness of the normality of negative thoughts and feelings towards ourselves and our babies during this phenomenal transition women go through. And to unpack and uncover the impact of the current medicalisation of maternal mental health on mothers and on society as a whole. Please follow my instagram @dark_side_of_the_mum to join the community of mums sharing their stories without fear of judgement or shame.
This anonymous survey is for any mother, new or old, willing to share their experience of the difficulties they've encountered. I want to find out what mothers really think and feel about themselves and their babies and how they understood their experience, if they ever suspected something was 'wrong'. I also want to understand how those mothers who were given a post-partum diagnosis felt about it, whether on receiving a diagnosis they felt they received better support, and how they understand it now.
My podcast and book will be a collection of mother-mother dialogues sharing stories about the darker side of motherhood - making space for the often secret and shameful thoughts and feelings we all have at some point or another.
My book will be a similar format to my first book, Speaking of Death, (in which all contributors were anonymised.) If you’d like to get a feel for my style then please do have a look - https://anniebroadbent.com/about-me/
I need as much honesty as possible. Please see this as an opportunity to express yourself freely without fear of judgement. I'm aware that many of the questions request answers far simpler than your experience will have been, but this is in part a quantitative survey. At the end you're very welcome to qualify/add to any answer you've given.
If you would be willing to be a guest on my podcast and/or contributor to my book, please leave your email address at the bottom. You can still remain anonymous to listeners/readers as we can change your name, but you would obviously be revealing your identity to me.
Finally, please do pass this on to any mothers you think would be interested in and willing to participate.