The Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Vintage Live have announced a "landmark collaboration" to celebrate the launch of writer and illustrator Laura Dockrill’s memoir What Have I Done? (Square Peg), to "help break the silence around postnatal mental health".
"As many as eight out of 10 mums struggle in the weeks after birth, but these stories are often hidden behind the filters of social media and new mothers are often left to struggle with the difference between the fairytale and the reality," Vintage said.
Dockrill will tell her own story of postpartum psychosis after the birth of her first child, when the award-winning author and illustrator became paranoid and delusional and was institutionalised for two weeks without her baby.
The event, "What Have I Done? Laura Dockrill in Conversation on Birth and Motherhood" will take place with a "very special guest to be announced", Vintage said, on 31st May at 7 p.m. at the London Palladium. Tickets cost £15.
Dockrill's memoir, which will be published on 7th May, follows her 2018 article about postpartum psychosis on the "Mother of All Lists" blog, which went viral and was read by 350,000 people. Vintage imprint Square Peg won the “hotly contested” four-way auction to the memoir last year.
Dockrill said: "This is an illness that tried to grab me by the throat, that tried to silence me and shame me, it told me a string of lies – that it was my fault, that I was a failure and that I was completely alone. This is an illness that cornered me and swallowed me up, that scared me to the point that I didn’t feel safe in my own home. Even going to the shop to buy milk was a challenge. And now we are blowing the whistle, talking about it, proudly, live at somewhere as grand and as beautiful as the London Palladium.
"We can’t stop this illness from happening—it’s like a hurricane that rips your life apart—but we can talk about it, share it and alleviate the guilt, shame, trauma and loneliness that follows after in its wake."
Jude Kelly, founder and director of The WOW Foundation, added: "Laura’s book is a brave, shocking and ultimately hopeful account of a subject that has long needed to be talked about. WOW believes in the power of giving women and girls a platform to share their stories to learn from real people’s experiences, break the silence around 'taboo' subjects and transform individual stories into a catalyst for change."
The WOW Foundation was created by Kelly in 2018 to run the global movement that is WOW—Women of the World Festivals. Naomi Wolf, Shazia Mirza, Scarlett Curtis, Sandi Toksvig and Mary Robinson will headline the 10th Women of the World (WOW) Festival at London's Southbank Centre in March.