36 episodes

Blue MumDays is a podcast about perinatal illness, parenting and being kind to yourself. Up to 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads will suffer with their mental health after the birth of their baby. Having once interviewed the likes of Sir David Attenborough and Hans Zimmer during my BBC career, I’m now speaking to mums, dads and mental health experts each week, in an effort to understand my own experience of postnatal depression. Dispelling myths, smashing stigma & bringing hope to parents having a hard time.

BLUE MUMDAYS Vikki Stephenson

    • Kids & Family

Blue MumDays is a podcast about perinatal illness, parenting and being kind to yourself. Up to 1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads will suffer with their mental health after the birth of their baby. Having once interviewed the likes of Sir David Attenborough and Hans Zimmer during my BBC career, I’m now speaking to mums, dads and mental health experts each week, in an effort to understand my own experience of postnatal depression. Dispelling myths, smashing stigma & bringing hope to parents having a hard time.

    Perinatal Rage + O.C.D: LAURA BISBEY

    Perinatal Rage + O.C.D: LAURA BISBEY

    In this 'Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week' special, I speak to Laura Bisbey, who was diagnosed with perinatal distress and anxiety during her pregnancy. This sadly continued following the birth of her daughter. Laura tells me about her feelings of rage during the pregnancy, and - once her daughter had been born - her struggles with bonding and the onset of O.C.D. (obsessive compulsive disorder). It's a tremendously brave conversation and I am so grateful to Laura for sharing her story with us.
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Brief mention of feelings of suicide*
    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:28] Introduction to Laura.
    [02:53] Increased anxiety and guilt about not enjoying pregnancy.
    [07:15] Perinatal rage - completely out of character for Laura.
    [10:02] How breaking her arm exacerbated negative feelings during pregnancy.
    [12:05] Enforced rest = over-thinking. Feeling she wasn't needed at work. Letting the mask slip.
    [14:06] Laura's husband couldn't relate, but was very supportive.
    [15:37] Advice for people listening - "explain how you are feeling".
    [16:51] The importance of Laura's work and how hard the abrupt ending was for her.
    [19:11] Unrealistic expectations of how easy motherhood would be. Trying to be 'perfect'.
    [23:34] Charlotte's birth - a quick labour but no 'rush of love'. Bonding took a year.
    [28:37] C.B.T. (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist) and O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Trying to stay 'in control'.
    [31:24] *Waves of sadness and not wanting to be here anymore*.
    [33:44] Starting to build a relationship with Charlotte through play.
    [36:30] How Laura's O.C.D. manifested - fears around contamination, choking and vomit.
    [43:28] How this O.C.D. tested Laura's relationship.
    [44:45] Trying to cope when Charlotte was sick.
    [47:33] Getting help with the O.C.D. and keeping 'checking' under control.
    [49:26] How C.B.T. offered Laura solutions and strategies.
    [51:14] Recovery isn't linear.
    [52:02] How returning to work was integral to Laura's recovery.
    [53:37] Finally being hit by that much longed for 'rush of love'.
    [56:54] Telling people at work.
    [01:03:09] Advice for people currently struggling.
    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Follow this link for N.H.S. information about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (C.B.T.)You can find more information about postnatal rage here – from the Centre of Perinatal Excellence (Australia).Perinatal O.C.D. (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is one of the most misunderstood perinatal mental health problems. Click here for advice and support from the Maternal O.C.D. charity, set up by 2 mums with lived experience and O.C.D. Action, the UK's largest O.C.D. charity.Difficulty with baby bonding affects a third of UK mums. Read more about it here in this N.C.T. (National Childbirth Trust) article.Find out more about the 'Circle of Security' model of attachment herea...

    • 1 hr 2 min
    My Kids' Birth Unlocked My Childhood Trauma: NICK RAEBURN

    My Kids' Birth Unlocked My Childhood Trauma: NICK RAEBURN

    I chat to Nick Raeburn, aka 'That Social Nerd'. Nick came to my attention in a very brave and raw LinkedIn post, where he talked about the huge flood of emotion he experienced in becoming a dad. Prior to having children, Nick had never cried - a result of the awful abuse he suffered as a child. This is a very emotional and deeply profound conversation; I don't think I've cried as much - or laughed as much - during an interview!
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Brief (but not graphic) early mention of Child Abuse, discussion of Trauma*
    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:46] Introduction to Nick.
    [03:42] How the birth of his daughter was the catalyst to unlocking his emotions.
    [04:41] How Nick was helped through therapy and E.M.D.R. (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing).
    [05:28] Lack of support during his childhood. Catharsis from expressing how he feels on social media.
    [07:02] How the pandemic has affected attitudes to life and mental health.
    [08:12] How Nick had buried the painful experiences of his childhood.
    [09:28] Approaching fatherhood. The differences in the birth of his first and second child.
    [12:46] Meeting his daughter for the first time. The importance of emotional intelligence.
    [16:06] The unrelenting horror of sleep deprivation!
    [21:54] The early days of having his newborn daughter at home.
    [23:29] Feelings of anger, resulting from Nick's adverse childhood experiences.
    [27:50] Owning his story and reclaiming his power.
    [29:20] Fatherhood and masculinity. Discovering 'A Band of Brothers'. Mentorship.
    [35:27] Recovery, including the E.M.D.R. therapy and mentoring other young men.
    [43:00] How Nick has changed from the man his wife originally married.
    [45:21] The importance of fathers engaging with their children - the 'First 1001 Days'.
    [48:10] Nick's hopes for his son, going forward.
    [50:06] Advice for those who have experienced abuse, but have never talked about it.
    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Click here for more information on E.M.D.R., known as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing.Link to Rosey's website, 'PND and Me', founder of the #PND hour on Twitter.Listen to the Blue MumDays episode 'When Birth Leads to Trauma' with Dr Rebecca Moore. Find out more about charity 'Make Birth Better' here, Rebecca’s organisation for supporting parents and healthcare professionals suffering from birth trauma or vicarious trauma.Read more on the book 'The Body Keeps The Score' by Bessel Van Der Kolk, “mind, brain and body in the transformation of trauma”.This 'Loving Kindness Meditation' will help you relax, reset and recharge. It’s only 15 minutes long and you don’t have to meditate - just close your eyes and listen. There’s no pressure to do anything, but it might just help you to relax. (Thank you to Poonam Dhuffer of YSM8 for creating this specially for Blue MumDays.)Learn more about award-winning...

    • 53 min
    World Down Syndrome Day Special: JANNAH AND MUSA'S STORY

    World Down Syndrome Day Special: JANNAH AND MUSA'S STORY

    For this Blue MumDays special celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Day, I'm joined by the beautiful Jannah Hayah. Jannah talks to me about life with her gorgeous son Musa, who is 5. Musa has Down Syndrome, hearing loss and is fed via a feeding tube. Jannah is passionate about wanting the world to know that while a life living with disability can have its challenges, the struggle comes with incredible rewards. It's a wonderfully life-affirming conversation.
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Birth trauma and a very brief mention of feelings of suicide*
    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:25] Introduction to Jannah and Musa.
    [04:43] Judgement on Jannah looking well presented - double standard for women.
    [11:08] Life before Musa. Transitioning into a mum with her older children.
    [12:59] Musa's traumatic birth. Receiving the diagnosis of Down Syndrome.
    [19:47] The damage of the words that were used.
    [23:18] The need to take your time to accept and find peace with the diagnosis.
    [26:01] How Musa has shaped Jannah into the woman she is today.
    [27:36] The hugely positive affect Musa has had on his older siblings.
    [31:54] The social model of disability - the need for society to be more accessible and inclusive for all.
    [36:50] How people 'give up' making an effort as soon as they hear Musa is disabled.
    [38:25] How Musa is determined and finds his own way in the world.
    [41:19] Lack of support and information for Jannah at the time of the birth.
    [43:54] Musa's difficulties feeding, due to low muscle tone.
    [47:32] Being dismissed and ignored when asking for help.
    [49:23] Hitting rock bottom. Discovering local group Jolly Josh - an absolute lifeline.
    [53:37] Meeting the dietician - having the feeding tube properly explained to her.
    [55:56] How Jannah's culture and religion perceives people with impairments and conditions.
    [57:43] Musa's legacy - educating the world on inclusion.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Follow Jannah and Musa's Instagram or Twitter Feed for endless positivity and inspiration and to learn more about Musa’s journey.Jannah is an Ambassador for Making Chromosomes Count, a challenging, thought-provoking and inclusive non-profit magazine exploring the fascinating kaleidoscope that is Down Syndrome.The Down's Syndrome Association is a national organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of people who have Down’s Syndrome, promoting their right to be included on a full and equal basis with others. NHS information on Down's Syndrome – click on this link for more information about the condition, where people are born with an extra chromosome.Cristina at DiffAbility Charity is the amazing mum who delivers free ‘Welcome to the World’ packs to new parents in hospitals, welcoming and offering support to babies with Down Syndrome. Diff-Ability is a charity creating to create events and opportunities for people with disabilities, learning disabilities, Autism and neurodiverity to engage in with their families and friends.a href="https://www.shanidhanda.com/"...

    • 59 min
    The One About Hormones - POI, PMDD, Endometoriosis + PME: Dr HANNAH SHORT

    The One About Hormones - POI, PMDD, Endometoriosis + PME: Dr HANNAH SHORT

    My guest this week is Dr Hannah Short, a GP Specialist in Menopause, P.O.I. (Premature Ovarian Insufficiency) and Premenstrual Disorders. In this fascinating episode, Hannah educates me on P.O.I., P.M.D.D. (Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder), Endometriosis and P.M.E. (Premenstrual Exacerbation). She also talks about her own experience of premature surgical menopause at the age of 35.
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Very brief mention of some women feeling suicidal feelings*
    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:15 ] Introduction to Dr Hannah Short.
    [03:23] Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (P.O.I.) - early menopause below the age of 40.
    [06:52] Treatments available for P.O.I.
    [07:56] H.R.T. or Hormone Replacement Therapy.
    [11:17] Hannah's interest in this area - personal experience of premature surgical menopause.
    [16:11] The impact of not having children - the way society treats women without children.
    [20:25] The symptoms of premature surgical menopause.
    [22:41] Feeling a sense of loss at missing out on her youth due to illness.
    [26:23] The power of podcasts and talking openly, especially as a G.P. (General Practitioner)
    [27:37] Pre-menstrual disorders - P.M.D.D. (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
    [38:48] Endometriosis - what it is and what help is available.
    [43:22] Feelings of rage.
    [46:33] The effects of calming the autonomic nervous system - exercise, anti-inflammatory diets and meditation.
    [51:05] The lack of recognition for these issues - stigma and taboo.
    [54:05] Advice for women badly affected by hormones - tracking your symptoms.
    [56:01] Pre-Menstrual Exacerbation (P.M.E.)
    [57:33] The importance of psychological support.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Follow this link to access Dr Hannah Short's website – Hannah is a G.P. specialist in Menopause, P.O.I. and Premenstrual Disorders. You can order Hannah’s book The Complete Guide to P.O.I. and Early Menopause via this link.Click this link for NHS information on Early Menopause and P.O.I. (Primary Ovarian Insufficiency). POI is classed as menopause before the age of 40. Latest statistics suggest 3-4% of women across the globe or affected.You can read NHS information on  HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) here.Click here to read a patient leaflet on Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (P.M.S.) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.P.M.D.D. or Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a hormone insensitivity affects around 5-8% of women as well as trans men, anyone who was born with ovaries. You can access Mind information on PMDD by clicking on this link.International Association for Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD) follow this link for a lifeline of support, information and resources for women and AFAB individuals with P.M.D.D. and Pre-Menstrual Exacerbation...

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Navigating Pregnancy With An Eating Disorder: HOPE VIRGO

    Navigating Pregnancy With An Eating Disorder: HOPE VIRGO

    To mark 'Eating Disorder Awareness Week', I'm joined by Hope Virgo, who chats to me about navigating pregnancy with an eating disorder.  Hope is an author and multi award winning campaigner. In 2018, Hope launched the #DumpTheScales campaign, which put eating disorders on the Government's agenda. Since then it has gone from strength to strength making change happen on a national scale, including a national march taking place in London on 22nd April 2023.
    This episode was recorded last spring - since then, I'm happy to report that Hope had a beautiful healthy baby boy, who has been accompanying her on much of her campaigning work. Both he and Hope are doing well.
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Disordered Eating and very brief mention of Sexual Abuse*

    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:35 ] Introduction to Hope Virgo.
    [04:58] Hope's eating disorder - a coping mechanism for childhood trauma.
    [06:44] The pressure put on women when they are pregnant.
    [08:51] What prompted Hope's eating disorder.
    [12:11] What support might be available for Hope after having her baby.
    [13:01] Breastfeeding pressure.
    [17:30] The need to be your own advocate.
    [19:06] Eating disorders affect more people than you think, many of whom suffer in silence.
    [20:38] Mixed support - the need for education.
    [21:56] Navigating eating when you're pregnant.
    [25:00] Societal pressure - the size of your bump, the pressure to 'snap back' after birth, how much and what you are eating.
    [31:51] The potential affect of eating disorders on fertility - loss of periods.
    [33:12] Using exercise to numb emotions.
    [36:32] Hope's campaigning work.
    [41:23] Advice for anyone affected by disordered eating or exercise addiction.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Follow and support Hope's campaigning via her Instagram and Twitter feeds. You can also get in touch with her via LinkedIn.It's a myth that eating disorders are about vanity - they are much more complex than that.16% of pregnant women have experienced an eating disorder. 50% of them will relapse within a year of delivery.Eating disorders claim more lives than any other mental illness.Eating disorders can affect anybody and everybody - you don't have to look like you have an eating disorder to be suffering from one. They don't only affect thin people or white teenage girls.You can access support and information through Beat Eating Disorders, the UK's Eating Disorder charity.Find out about the Bristol Eating Disorders Health Integration Team here. Click this link to read and download their Eating Disorders Support Resources Guide.Click this link to read Abigail Reynolds' guest blog for the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Eating Disorders and the perinatal period.Support and sign Hope's a href="https://www.change.org/p/eating-disorders-are-not-just-about-weight-dumpthescales"...

    • 43 min
    "It's Not The End". Recovery after the Devastation of Stillbirth: KEJI MOSES of MAYAH'S LEGACY

    "It's Not The End". Recovery after the Devastation of Stillbirth: KEJI MOSES of MAYAH'S LEGACY

    In a very moving yet inspirational episode, I speak to author, podcaster and professional grief counsellor Keji Moses. Keji talks about her early loss through miscarriage and the devastation of losing her baby girl Mayah, who was stillborn at 35 weeks. She has since made it her mission to shed light on the mental health impacts of pregnancy loss. Through her charity Mayah's Legacy, Keji supports families affected by this very personal tragedy and helps them to advocate for the care they need.
    *TRIGGER WARNING: *Miscarriage and Baby Loss*
    IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
    [00:00] Teaser quote.
    [02:16 ] Introduction to Keji Moses.
    [04:35] Having her son, following an earlier miscarriage.
    [09:12] The impact and loss of her first miscarriage. Lack of support.
    [14:25] Keji's husband's reaction to the loss.
    [16:52] Her pregnancy with Mayah - a diagnosis of Edwards' Syndrome.
    [22:07] Knowing something was wrong. Being told there was no heartbeat.
    [25:11] Saying goodbye.
    [29:03] Starting her charity, 'Mayah's Legacy'.
    [30:25] Equipping families for self advocacy.
    [32:11] Channelling her pain into her creative offering.
    [32:58] "It's not the end."
    [34:13] A lack of support after Mayah's stillbirth.
    [36:53] The need to put mothers experiencing baby loss on a different ward.
    [39:20] Cultural attitudes to baby loss and mental health.
    [42:30] How Keji's children dealt with the loss of Mayah.
    [44:56] Advice for those who want to help a loved one affected by baby loss.
    [49:13] The need for advocacy.
    [54:06] Negative racial stereotyping within the maternal health system.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS:
    Click this link to find out more about Keji's charity, Mayah's LegacyFor Keji's empowerment tools for women on their healing journey, click this link to go to the Goddess Hub website.Follow this link for NHS on Miscarriage information.N.C.T. '8 Things That Can Help After Miscarriage'This link takes you to the Blue MumDays episode with my lovely mum, Nina Spilsted - PND in the '70s: My Mum's StoryTommys is the largest charity in the UK carrying out research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Sands Baby Loss Charity is a UK charity providing information and support for those who've experienced pregnancy loss. The Miscarriage Association is a UK charity providing further support for those experiencing baby loss.Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates...

    • 1 hr 1 min

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