Mother campaigns to raise awareness of post-natal depression

Dorset Echo: Felicity Ayles with members of Rummage Theatre, from left, Lauren Whitehead, Hannah Soulsby-Phillips and Rhea Soulsby Felicity Ayles with members of Rummage Theatre, from left, Lauren Whitehead, Hannah Soulsby-Phillips and Rhea Soulsby

A WEYMOUTH mother has spoken of her struggle with post-natal depression as she pledged her support for an awareness month for the illness.

Felicity Ayles, 24, has joined forces with Rummage Theatre to campaign for the awareness-raising month after she suffered from the condition for eight months.

The theatre company, based in Weymouth and managed by Lauren Whitehead, Rhea Soulsby and Hannah Soulsby-Phillips, will perform a play called Behind the Wallpaper which focuses on post-natal depression (PND) and are in talks with numerous charities to launch the month.

The trio have been in close contact with a number of women who suffered from PND, including Mrs Ayles. Mrs Ayles developed PND four months after the traumatic birth of her son almost a year ago.

He was born six weeks’ premature via an emergency caesarean, and Mrs Ayles said she felt being immediately thrust into motherhood contributed to her developing the illness.

She said: “Most often PND is triggered by a traumatic birth. You go from feeling in control and ready to become a mother one minute, to feeling completely out of control.

“I didn’t realise I had it initially, I thought I had a lot on my plate and I just had to deal with it.

“The first time I thought I might have it was when I came home one night, put my son to bed, went downstairs and cried for three hours, and I couldn’t explain why I was crying.”

Following the incident, Mrs Ayles was persuaded by her mother to visit her GP who prescribed medication and referred her to the Steps 2 Wellbeing Centre in Poundbury.

Hannah Soulsby-Phillips, from Rummage Theatre, said they were now in discussions with several charities about launching the awareness month.

Mrs Soulsby-Phillips said: “For this play, we have done a lot of research and we were all surprised that there wasn’t an awareness month already.”

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