A mum who suffered postnatal depression (PND) after the birth of her son three years ago is encouraging people to take a new type selfie, in a bid to break down the stigma of talking about the condition.
Emily Tredget, 30, from South West London, wants mums and those who know a mum who has suffered from PND to take a #ShoutieSelfie, in which they shout into the camera, to show that no one should hide how they are feeling. To tie in with Maternal Mental Health Week [30 April - 4 May], Tredget is determined to remind other mothers suffering from PND that they are not alone.
Tredget spoke to HuffPost UK about her experience of PND after giving birth in 2015: “I was very anxious in hospital after giving birth to my son. I had to see a psychiatrist,” she said. “When I got home I thought I felt better, but I obviously wasn’t right because I can’t remember much of that time.”
When Tredget’s son turned three months old and started sleeping through the night, she stopped sleeping. For the next six months, she survived on just one hour sleep a night. “It was awful,” she says. “I was functioning on nothing, that was the worst time.”
She felt that she was only needed by her son for breastfeeding. “On my worst days, my husband would go to work, my mum would turn up and I would lie in a heap all day,” she adds.
Tredget tried to go back to work, but the guilt of not being with her son made her feel worse. She experienced postnatal depression, on and off, for two years after giving birth. After those years, she was inspired to speak out for the first time, because she didn’t want any other mother to feel as isolated as she had felt.
“I didn’t talk to anyone at first and I felt so alone,” she says. “When I started talking to a few close friends I realised I wasn’t weird, it was quite normal. They would say ‘me too’ and we both felt better just speaking about it.”
This time last year, Tredget came up with the idea of #ShoutieSelfie, as a visual way to let other mums know they weren’t alone. She asked mums to share a selfie of themselves with the hashtag on social media to raise awareness of PND. It was trending within half an hour. She explains: “I chose that hashtag because it’s about being loud and proud that you had it - mostly people hide away and feel ashamed, I was even told to ‘pull myself together’, but this selfie symbolises you saying: ‘Here I am, this is me, and I am proud, I don’t care if the world knowns’.”
Since launching the selfie for a second time this year on Monday 30 April, Tredget has had support online including from ‘Made in Chelsea’ star Binky Felstead, Neev Spencer and Anna Williamson.
“People don’t have to share their own story,” Tredget adds. “But if they love and support a mum who had it, they can get involved.”
To get involved share a shoutie selfie with the hashtag #ShoutieSelfie on social media. Tredget is also launching Mummy Links, a place for mums to beat others to beat loneliness and PND post-birth.