“Painting the nursery on a sunny afternoon, wearing dungarees and a headscarf. Bright white baby grows and lovely gifty products with pictures of bees on. The kind of tired you feel will be the kind that can be dealt with by having a little nap picturesquely in a rocking chair in dappled sunlight, which someone will capture and pop on Instagram. #mummylove"
The reality? Cracked nipples, broken fanny, puke.
So why does NOBODY tell you this??
Emma Jerrold: writer and performer of Broken Fanny and Olivia Horne: Founder and Coach at Finding Mama’s Happy Place, are joining forces to open the conversation around maternal mental health, why it matters to all of us, and what we can do to support ourselves and each other. On Thursday 22nd June in Chiswick, London W4, there will be a night of comedy, charity and conversation, raising funds for PANDAS Foundation UK, which offers support for families suffering perinatal illness. Ticket link is below, but first here’s the story of how it all came together:
“It's hard to be truthful about the more challenging times as a new mother, because of the expectations the world seems to have put on you to slip seamlessly into the role. To know what to do, to enjoy every precious moment. But behind every Instagrammed photo there's often a more despairing picture, and for some reason that one never makes the cut. Because let's face it, no one wants to see a grown woman in an adult nappy losing her shit (so to speak)."
“So I thought why not combine my skills - comedy, music, performing - along with my personal experience - struggling with motherhood - to create a one-woman show. Simples. And I've since discovered that however difficult it is to reveal an uncomfortable and awkward personal truth, if you dare to say it out loud, you may find you're not alone. So last summer I kick started the debate, and I remain committed to helping every new Mum in the country make peace with how she really feels."
So what is the show?
“Broken Fanny is a one-woman comedy written and performed by me - Emma Jerrold - following a first-time mother's struggle through the early days of motherhood, observing how she presents herself in public and what happens when she collapses behind closed doors. I have tackled the unspoken feelings of despair and isolation, social pressures and 'expected happiness’ from well meaning choruses that this should be the best time of your life."
“To quote Oscar Wilde “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you”. Comedy is at the core of everything I do. Oh and there are songs! Everyone loves a good song."
But is there a serious side?
“There is. There are all shades of depression, there's loneliness, there's desperation. I want to normalise those feelings and encourage the sharing of difficult experiences, I want to reassure people that they are not alone, and for those who want it, I want to point them in the direction of help. I want to give an honest account, and in the process, make you throw-ya-head-back and laugh."
“The idea of suddenly becoming Mother Earth and effortlessly wafting about, babe in arm, is a load of old nonsense. None of us have a clue what we're doing. Let's talk about that.”
After the show
Go grab yourselves a drink and then come back to do just that: talk about how motherhood has challenged and changed you. The good, the bad and the ugly. Talk to each other, talk to Emma, the writer and performer of the show, and talk to Olivia, a Happiness Coach for mums, who helps to bring more calm and compassion to the everyday chaos of family life.
Olivia stumbled upon Emma’s project during the Crowdfunding stage, before it hit the stages and was met with rapturous applause and 5* reviews. She pinged Emma a tenner and they got talking. She found out that after the applause, Emma has often also been met with the tears of relief from desperate, exhausted parents, thanking her for sharing her story, for making them feel that they are not alone, and wanting to continue the conversation. So that’s what we’re doing with this collaboration: giving you the chance to ask and answer and listen and talk and laugh and cry and heal. All in a room full of parents who have waded through very similar kinds of sh*t, and are ready to laugh about it. Dads and grandparents are of course extremely welcome too, as is anyone else who fancies joining us.
Before you leave
Grab yourselves a gorgeous goodie bag (or Fanny Pack, if you will) containing a veritable feast for your self-care senses from local, mama-run businesses and loads of special offers, plus a chance to win some incredible prizes from the likes of SpaceNK, Vinoteca, Foxlow, As Nature Intended, SevenSeventeen, The Mother Box, This Mama Does, &Breathe Postnatal, Stella & Dot, Crumbs Couture, British Indian Kitchen, This Wholesome Life, and many more.
Get your tickets here
Broken Fanny (5* The Stage): "comic, confessional and compelling", "brave, honest and breath-taking", "beautifully intimate and hugely poignant".
Emma Jerrold is on Facebook and Instagram @emmakatejerrold
Olivia Horne is on Facebook/Instagram @findingmamashappyplace, YouTube ‘Olivia Horne’ and www.oliviahorne.com
PANDAS Foundation UK provides help, support and advice to parents and their families who are affected by pre or postnatal mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, OCD, birth trauma and psychosis. We provide peer support in the form of local support groups, a helpline & online support: www.pandasfoundation.org.uk