Becoming A Mum Made Me Feel 'Lonely And Isolated', Says Labour MP

Ellie Reeves, the shadow justice minister, wants people to talk about the impact of childbirth to help “remove the stigma” of the mental health impact.
Labour MP Ellie Reeves
Labour MP Ellie Reeves
GB News

A Labour MP has spoken out about maternal loneliness and the mental health issues she suffered after giving birth to her first son.

Ellie Reeves said the birth was one of the “best days of my life” but confessed that she struggled afterwards with feeling “lonely and isolated”.

The shadow justice minister argued society should be more willing to talk about the impact of childbirth and “remove the stigma” of mental health.

Her eldest son was almost two-and-a-half years old when she was first elected to parliament in 2017.

Reeves and her husband, fellow Labour MP John Cryer, welcomed their second son in the middle of the 2019 election campaign.

However, the former lawyer said she found her first pregnancy particularly “hard and challenging” and that when he was born he did not sleep much and had feeding issues.

In an interview with Gloria De Piero on GB News, she said: “It was really, really hard and quite exhausting. And people don’t talk about that side of things so much, but I think it’s important to say that it isn’t always easy.”

When she went back to work, Reeves ended up creating a legal consultancy providing affordable advice to women facing maternity discrimination.

However, she said the reality of working from home without colleagues was hard, adding: “That’s when I started to feel really quite lonely and isolated. Because I didn’t have that routine of sort of going into work and interacting with people.”

Asked if she was depressed, she replied: “I don’t know if I’d have met a clinical diagnosis for depression, I certainly didn’t ask for help. But I certainly felt very lonely and isolated, and that had an impact on my mental health. I think the more isolated I became, the less I then started to go out and interact with other people.

“You sort of lose your confidence don’t you, if you stop going out, you start to lose confidence in yourself and your ability to do all of that. And on the face of it, I had the successful business, nice home, beautiful baby boy. And it’s really hard isn’t it to say ‘actually, I am struggling a little bit here’.”

The MP for Lewisham West and Penge has previously spoken in parliament about suffering with prenatal depression which led to an exacerbation of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Asked about it, she replied: “I felt very anxious about going out. I got very worried if I went out, what if something happened to me?

“I got really, really anxious and then it was sort of easier to spend most of my time at home and to withdraw a little bit.

“And then you get into that cycle of then not going out and then not interacting with people and withdrawing really, and I did that for quite a while.”

She said society could help those feeling low by being more “honest and open” about it.

“I think that as a society we need to be more willing to talk about these issues and actually to remove the stigma around mental health,” she said.

“With things like having a baby, it’s such a massive change that it’s probably quite normal for people to have some sort of mental health issues during that time.

“And rather than being like ‘oh no we can’t talk about it’ actually we should be open and honest about it.

“And also, we need to make sure that the help is then there when people do ask for it. And, you know, I feel quite keenly that there needs to be adequate mental health provisions so that when people do ask for help, they get it.”

Reeves said she did not think it would be difficult to ensure that all new mums received help and support that would make a “huge difference”.


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