I've found parenting difficult and I'm certainly not the earth mother I had imagined myself to be. I've had PND, had a breakdown and have come out the other side, but I can confidently say I've been a good mum, caring mum, loving mum and my children are flourishing. I want another baby, not yet, but in a few years' time and this baby will complete our family as five.
There's something else that happens when comedians tackle things like mental illness: it creates a conversation. It lifts stigma in a more powerful way than a dozen earnest documentaries can do. It achieves that which seemed impossible that day I genuinely thought I'd never do comedy again: it makes it OK that I went through it - and it's OK if you went through it, too.
Was there a time when you were pregnant, or after you gave birth, that you felt so horrendously sh*t and just wanted someone to talk too? But you were either too afraid to say what was on your mind or no one asked you how you were really feeling? If you're nodding yes, you really aren't the only one.
So you may have heard of Post Natal Depression, but do you know the symptoms? One in seven women and 1 in 10 men suffer from it but awareness of this illness tends to be after diagnosis rather than in the lead up to having a baby. So if you're trying for a baby, pregnant or a new parent here are the key symptoms to look out for in yourself and your partner.
Well I got a whole lot more than I had anticipated when I managed to wangle 24 hours away from my loved ones this weekend. I set off to join the inspirational Molly Gunn, founder of the Selfish Mother blogzine and 24 other (non-pregnant) women who had let themselves off the 'leash' for a day at the spectacular Rathfinny Wine Estate.
Here is the part that makes me want to climb inside the internet and destroy all those pages of ill-advised advice about the dangers of taking antidepressants if you are breastfeeding: You can take antidepressants when you are breastfeeding. I know, because I recently did it. And guess what? It turns out me and my baby are fine...
When you go to the doctor to talk about 'feeling a bit down' they get you to do a Depression Questionnaire - like one of those multiple-choice quizzes you get in magazines, only not as fun. Just check 9 easy tick boxes for your chance to win a prescription for legal drugs and a leaflet on 'talking therapies'. #winning
I can still recall those early days when our second daughter was born in June 2012, endless tears; long periods of inactivity, terrified to leave the house caused by an unbearable anxiety and despite being surrounded by loved ones a feeling I can only describe as utter emptiness and isolation. This is how I remember seeing my wife in the summer of 2012. My heart still sinks when I think that at the moment our little treasure was born a part of my beloved wife died.
Ellie's piece resonated with me on a lot of levels, and I am so proud of her for advocating for something that ALL women and babies, of all socio-economic levels, everywhere, need and deserve. But it also got me thinking that something continues to be missing from this conversation. (I can say this, knowing that Ellie will have my back!)