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Emmerdale star Amy Walsh has opened up about filming her challenging postnatal depression storyline while pregnant in real life.
The Tracy Metcalfe actress recently welcomed a baby with EastEnders star Toby-Alexander Smith over the festive period, and is due to exit the soap imminently as she goes on maternity leave.
Fans have seen her character struggle with postnatal depression on screen over the past year, with Amy revealing that she discovered she was expecting in real life while in the middle of the storyline and checked whether she was okay to go through with it.
"It was very strange timing because the early days of my pregnancy came at the height of that story," she told The Mirror. "It was a lot of heavy content and emotional scenes, so I checked with my midwife to make sure that me crying all the time at work couldn't be affecting the baby.
"She asked if I was enjoying the work and coming away feeling happy and satisfied. When I said I was she explained that I'd be getting endorphins from doing well at work and that it was different to me going through that turmoil personally. She said if I was experiencing it for real it would be 24/7, but this was me faking it for a few hours a day."
Amy explained that she found it "quite tiring", though "rallied through". "I felt sick, so I'd literally be nipping off set for a handful of nuts or a satsuma every 15 minutes," she recalled.
The star also revealed that soap bosses weren't aware of the pregnancy for the first few months, though were "great" when she eventually announced the news.
"They said if I wasn't comfortable with any of the story, they could make it less dramatic, but I'd filmed most of it by then," she said.
Reflecting further on the storyline, Amy said: "It was scary that you could be fine and not have been through any mental health issues and then this can just suddenly happen.
"Now that I know it can happen to anyone, it could happen to me. But I'm not worried, it's more that I have the knowledge, which is brilliant as I'm prepared. I know that there is help, which is what the storyline was all about. There is hope."
She also spoke about the impact it has had on Toby-Alexander, adding: "There were a few scenes where Tracy was quite awful to her boyfriend Nate.
"Toby said that if I was snappy and grumpy and behaving that way towards him after having our baby, he would just have assumed I was tired, he wouldn't have known it was PND. It's made us both aware of the signs if it happens to me."
Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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