Hayley Matthews: I’m determined to be happy for my family

Pre-natal depression is a pernicious condition. Picture: PA
Pre-natal depression is a pernicious condition. Picture: PA
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I opened up recently about pre-natal depression and ­received amazingly supportive feedback from you all so thank you. To know that there are such non-judgemental and supportive women out there is very reassuring.

To be honest, it hit me hard from the get go when falling pregnant and I’ve experienced fairly bad depression before, so I knew I needed help. I’m sure those who have been there, understand that it’s completely different for everyone.

Claire Foy poses with her Emmy for lead actress in a drama series. Picture: Getty

Claire Foy poses with her Emmy for lead actress in a drama series. Picture: Getty

It’s tough when you’re trying to keep the black dog from the door but when you have a life growing inside you, trust me, it’s utterly horrific.

I was on the brink of making some very bad decisions (always a good indicator of my mental health state) and had convinced myself that I wasn’t a good person, shouldn’t be pregnant or trusted to grow a life.

The torture of constant thoughts of anxiety, panic, fear and self-doubt were genuinely enough to put me away for a few weeks. I remember thinking, how do I continue to ­pretend everything is normal when I feel like I’m collapsing inside?

I’d had enough and chose to do something about it as my goal is to be the best mum to my six-year old and soon-to-be second child, not to ­mention a strong and supportive ­partner because I’m very aware that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that in a family unit we all have an important role.

READ MORE: Hayley Matthews: Tears, hugs and awe on a night of uplifting women

I’ve learnt to ask for help when I recognise the signs and I am not ashamed to take medication because it’s just like “topping up the fuel tank” as one therapist told me.

We’re all constantly trying to boost our brain chemically regardless, whether our vice is chocolate, cigarettes, exercise, alcohol or shopping – we’re all just trying to feel good. When I’m in a bad way and depressed, a top-up of serotonin does the world of good.

Sometimes it’s not enough though and I always find talking to a trained professional a good combination with medication. I’m lucky that I have an incredible female to lean on at Inchkeith House, who is helping me to rewire around the unhelpful behaviours and it’s worked wonders.

I still have a long way to go (I have lots of mum issues) but I’m determined to be the best motherly role model to my children that I can be. I’m determined to raise them in ­nothing less than a secure, loving and supportive family unit.

I realise there are lots of bumps in the road. However, the saying “a happy mum means a happy ­family” rings very true with me. I have a non-existent relationship with my mum which has caused me a lot of pain and anxiety. I lacked reassurance as a young girl as my parents were not in a happy relationship. Instead of having a mother figure who offered protection and reassurance, I had an unwell mum who would turn against me, throwing me out at 15 after confronting her about her upsetting behaviour. We would physically fight and she’d say the most heartbreaking things, leaving me no choice but to stay away to protect myself and my family.

I believe this to be the core of my depressive tendencies so when the feelings of self-doubt kick in I know what I need to do.

You see, we all have our issues but if we can work on them to make us the best humans that we can be then our children will reap the rewards.

Claire’s my dame of thrones after winning Emmys crown

Never mind the dresses, I’m loving how many British actors have taken home some incredibly well deserved awards at this week’s Emmys.

Claire Foy won for best lead actress in a drama series for her impeccable role as the Queen in Netflix’s royal epic The Crown. I’ve been watching it and think she’s just incredible. I’m not a royalist but Netflix has hooked me, as has Claire with her aura and charm.

The creator of the anthology series Black Mirror, Charlie Brooker, also claimed a winning prize at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards. Black Mirror has to be one of the most thought-provoking series that I’ve watched in along time.

If you want something completely different to push you out of your comfort viewing zone, then Black Mirror will certainly do that and more. It’s quite surreal in parts but well worth investing time in to watch. Well done Charlie, I look forward to more of your work in the future. Also lovely to see Welsh actor Matthew Rhys do well on the night, but where were the Scots? I know we had Alan Cumming win last year. However, we have so much talent in this country that it is often overlooked.

Seeing many British actors be rewarded is a step in the right direction – and after watching Richard Madden (Rob Stark in Games of Thrones) in Bodyguard, I’m hoping we see the likes of him clean up next year.

New mums! Get on a roll with this rocking gadget

Parent entrepreneurs are people I’ve always admired and I have recently read about some amazing inventors on my hunt for baby gadgets to make life easier with an impending newborn. I never used any gadgets with my first child other than a baby monitor and a microwave – however, I’m all gadgeted up this time.

I have to admit, the story about the three dads (Nick Webb, Matt Dyson and Matt Sparrow) who invented the Rockit warms my heart!

I’d read how Nick had the lightbulb moment when his daughter Abby refused to sleep unless being wheeled or rocked. With a background in acoustics and vibration he made a prototype baby rocker and it worked – wee Abby slept like a dream.

With Matt’s background as a product design teacher he turned Nick’s invention into the Rockit and developed the branding and design with the help of friend Matt Sparrow. The rest is history and they seem to have helped a lot of babies get to sleep so I’m putting my faith in them and have one ready to rock my impending newborn into a blissful sleep.

Call me lazy but I’m willing to try anything and everything to help make life that little bit smoother with a newborn, so if you’ve used a gadget that’s worked, you know who to tell.

I’m sure my six-year old is expecting our Rockit to fly and take us all to Ibiza for a week but I’d genuinely be happy with a few hours’ kip.

I wish my imagination could fly so I’d be able to invent something as mastermind as a parent device but then, would we miss out on endless hours of fun driving a newborn around the block? I’m hoping I won’t have the answer to that as we’ll all be making big Zs.