My son was 13 months old, when I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. It felt like I was walking through a dense fog where sleep and wakefulness merged. I was running on autopilot, ‘zombie-like’. Then, I spotted a blog by an anonymous writer; there was a name for what I was experiencing. It gave me courage to seek help. I always say blogging saved me. Now podcasts have taken off. Thinking about it podcasts are for Gen Z what blogging was for Gen X. They share real stories and experiences that help listeners every day. Laura Dockrill’s podcast, Zombiemum, is one such podcast. It focuses on parental mental health. Writer and illustrator, Laura Dockrill says, Zombiemum is an extension of her book “What Have I Done?”, a powerful memoir which explores the Laura’s struggle with post-partum psychosis.
What is Post-Partum Psychosis?
Post-partum psychosis is not postnatal depression. Post-partum psychosis is very different from the “baby blues” but it’s also mental illness. As a serious mental illness, it should be treated as a medical emergency. It’s sometimes called puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis.
Post-Partum Psychosis affects around 1 in 500 mothers after giving birth, sometimes, around day three.
The podcast Zombiemum is produced by Broccoli Productions in a deal done between Broccoli CEO Renay Richardson and Ariella Feiner at United Agents. Each week Laura will speak with a different guest each with their own unique experience, either from their perspective as a parent or from their own childhood.
Season 1 of Zombiemum will feature 11 episodes. The first episode was released on March 30th 2021. Guests line up are: Paloma Faith, Catherine Cho, Joe Wicks, Candice Brathwaite, Denise Welch, Remi Sadé, Hugo White, Lemn Sissay, Bryony Kimmings, Nikesh Shukla, Bryony Gordon. This partnership demonstrates Broccoli Productions’ core ethos and purpose which is to create content with stories that empower.
Laura Dockrill was first featured by Broccoli when she took part in its Anthems Women series, which was a collection of 31 original manifestos, speeches, stories, poems voiced by women from across Britain. Laura’s book “What Have I Done?” was featured on the first episode of The Broccoli Book Club in 2021.
Parental Mental Health
Zombiemum is opening up the floor to discuss parenthood and mental illness. For too long, parents have hidden their stories for fear of judgement or worse. I know my biggest fear was having my baby take away.
Episodes 1 and 2 feature Paloma Faith (musician) and Catherine Cho (literary agent) respectively. They are candid and authentic. In Catherine’s session (episode 2 I’d Better Act Sane), she exposed the tightrope mothers experiencing Post-Partum Psychosis walk. It’s an act of trying to function as ‘normal’ all while feeling as though they’re living in a version of hell. Believe it or not there are laughs. Paloma and Catherine also share the joys of motherhood and seeing the world through the eyes of your infants. As Paloma ponders, “Why did I ever become complacent about mangos?”. Both women are now looking forward to the birth of their second babies! Testimony to human resilience and how empowering the podcast will be for its listeners.
Zombiemum is a podcast not to be missed. It’s not just for parents. It’s about life’s challenges and triumphs of as a parent. Laura says:
“Broccoli have given me permission, support and a safe space to talk to some incredibly inspiring, courageous and generous sur-THRIVE-ers that have been through some tough stuff and made it out alive. Zombiemum is a hand in the darkness.”
About Laura Dockrill
Laura Dockrill is an award-winning author, illustrator and performance poet, with 13 children’s’ and young adult books under her belt. She has been nominated twice for the CILIP Carnegie Medal for her novel Lorali as well as the Darcy Burdock series, which was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
Feature Image Photo Credit Sonny Malhotra (Image used with permission)