Ted Lasso's Ellie Taylor on postnatal depression and 'toxic' relationships with toddlers
Comedian and actor Ellie Taylor says she now realises she probably suffered from postnatal depression after the birth of her daughter, and wants to be able to help others go through the changes that come with parenthood.
Known for her roles as Sassy in Ted Lasso and also for a Mash Report sketch that went viral, the Essex-born actor released her book My Child and Other Mistakes: How to ruin your life in the best way possible this year, and said the act of writing it helped her to process what had happened after she had her daughter.
On Kate Thornton's White Wine Question Time, the pair spoke honestly about the adjustment to becoming a parent and how Taylor helps her book will be 'like a sisterly arm' around others who are struggling.
Ellie Taylor on being Sassy, a new mum and a media sensation
Taylor said: "I remember being sat in front of the telly with a baby feeding on me watching Gogglebox and being like: 'How can Giles and Mary talk about Bradley Walsh like everything is normal, when my life has f**king imploded?'
"And I'm trying to work out who the hell I am. And I remember running through things in my head. Is this what I said? Do I say this stuff? Do I like that? Trying to play the character of who you were before. While you transition into this new body.
"The physical aspect I found hard as well. Because you look in the mirror, and you've got used to this big [body] – if you carried your baby – full of life, and there you are, you're so vital and swollen with that, and you feel like a goddess. I'm speaking for myself.
"But that's that's certainly how I felt. And then afterwards, you are deflated and wobbly, and I had a caesarean so I had a big scar, and you just look at yourself in the mirror and think: 'Who is that? That's not my body?
LISTEN to the full episode to hear Ellie Taylor talk about the transition from viral star to back home with the family
"In hindsight, I probably had some sort of postnatal depression, but I didn't realise that. So I think writing a book made me go: 'Oh, yeah, I think that's probably what it was. I allow myself to say that because I think while I was feeling like that, I thought: 'It's not postnatal depression. Don't be that dramatic.'
"But now it feels quite nice to say I think that probably was what it was. And that's okay. You weren't being dramatic, you weren't being weak. It was what it was."
Taylor spoke about the cathartic experience of writing the book.
She said: "If all women could do that... I feel so lucky that I've had the time, it was my job for a while to literally record and order my thoughts. It was extremely cathartic and really freeing and liberating to document exactly what my experience was.
"And I've said to my friends: 'Just write down your birth experience, just write it down.' Because all these fleeting half memories and emotions that you haven't stitched together or really processed. I think it's so helpful and healing to be able to do.
"I'm so glad I've done it. And I'm so glad it's a record for me and my daughter if she can ever be a*sed to read something her annoying mother has written! But if she does, I hope that she realises it's just about honesty.
"And it's really a love letter to her, because as hard as it all is, I'm so glad. I wasn't sure if I want to but I'm so glad I had a child and it really is the most profound thing that's ever happened and I'm just delighted. It makes me feel so strong having her but also makes you so vulnerable."
Read more: Alanis Morissette on her postpartum depression
Taylor spoke about how she juggles her life as a 'media sensation' with a very domesticated family life, and all the challenges of raising young children.
She said: "Sometimes your relationship with your child feels like you're in some kind of toxic relationship because they they sort of gaslight you! They change their mind, sudden mood swings – you do not know where you stand.
"I'm in toddler days right now. It can be magical and horrific within the space of 30 seconds and it can flip flop like that 20 times a day. And then at the moment, it's like my daughter's sunshine has come out. I'm waiting for the next 'leap' or something, then she'll go mad again.
"But she's been a delight lately but I don't know I really appreciate when her sunshine is out because you think anytime this storm is approaching. You never quite know where you stand do you?
"Me and my husband said the other day we photo all the lovely bits but we should photo some of her tantrums because they are very funny, when they literally like doing a classic stereotype toddler laying down on the floor. 'I don't want fish fingers!' 'You literally just asked for fish fingers, what is your problem?!'"
Talking about her book she said: "The response I've had from other parents, mostly mums, has just been amazing. And it's been so gorgeous to think that my book can act like a little cuddle, like sisterly arm around you, like a good chat with a mate.
"Especially when women are in the darkest bits of the newborn days. So my books charts, the story of me deciding to get pregnant when I wasn't very maternal. Having pregnancy, having birth, the newborn days, what your life looks like afterwards. It's quite linear, really. But I think it's sort of the untold story."
WATCH: Ellie Taylor reveals the first time she watched Ted Lasso