What is a Mother? Discuss--Jessica Friedmann and Meaghan O'Connell, The Globe and Mail, May 13 2018

"I think of what our foremothers fought for, and in part it was for motherhood to be respected as a labour condition. Wages for housework! But somewhere along the way we got diverted into believing that not only was childbearing not work, but that we should feel made luminous or empowered by it. Which is nonsense, a lot of the time! And it leaves a lot of women vulnerable, especially those who are already vulnerable, for reasons of race or class or gender or disability. Maternal mental illness is so prevalent, and yet it's almost completely culturally ignored, in order to preserve the idea that motherhood is its own reward." [more]


A deli Q&A--Kaitlyn Tiffany, Medium, July 31 2018

"I think it’s a pity that it’s middle-class white women and rich white women —and I can put myself in there too — who are represented in publishing. I feel like that ties into what I was just saying. The people who can afford to speak out about miscarriage and mental illness are the people who have adequate access to care. If you’re going through something and you’re untreated and you’re right in the thick of it, you don’t have the distance to write about that. It’s just an experience you’re living through. Only some of us end up getting access to the space and clarity to write about these things, and it is very tied up in class and race. You can’t get away from the fact that, while mental illness can happen to anyone, it’s compounded by things like gender dysphoria or poverty or just any of the ordinary injustice that make some people’s bodies worth more than others." [more]


Writer Jessica Friedmann on postnatal depression and motherhood--Donna Lu, The Saturday Paper, 25-31 March 2017
"Several months into the sleepless fog of new motherhood, Jessica Friedmann took to lying on her bathroom floor between night-time feeds. Cooling her back against the icy tiles, she began to dream of walking out of her Footscray house, across the highway, down the steep hill that led to the Maribyrnong River, and drowning herself..." [more]


Postnatal depression is not a new phenomenon, only a chronically ignored one.--Jessica Friedmann, The Guardian, 30 March 2017

"In writing my book I’ve been trying to work out the reasons that we don’t talk about postnatal depression more broadly, as a medical crisis and a major feminist issue. One obvious issue is that it’s hard to advocate for yourself when you’re in the grips of a crisis. Recovery is a long process and it’s raw and bloody difficult. What we need, desperately, is radically increased institutional support. Suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in pregnancy and the first year of a child’s life; it absolutely need not be. Postnatal mental illness is not a new phenomenon, it is only a chronically ignored and underfunded one. We might not be able to speak, but that does not excuse the fact that the system is not set up to listen." [more]


Jo Case interviews Jessica Friedmann--Jo Case, Readings Monthly, 3 April 2017

"I wanted to be as frank as I could be, because there’s so much obscurantism about things like mental illness, or early parenthood. I wanted to strip away some of the bullshit. There’s a very dangerous societal tendency to glamorise mental illness, and I didn’t want any part of this to feel glamorous in any way. I didn’t ever want to see myself in this book as a wistful woman looking out a window as the rain falls. That’s not what it’s like. It’s mostly alienating and boring." [more]


Interview with Kulja Coulson and Dylan Bird--The Grapevine, 3RRR, 3 April 2017


Interview with Jolene Laverty--Mornings, ABC Canberra, 4 April 2017


Raw and honest: Jessica Friedmann's Things That Helped--HerCanberra Team, hercanberra.com, 18 April 2017

"I never think of writing as being therapeutic — it’s too difficult! But writing the book did complement the pretty intensive therapy I was in at the time. I would talk to my therapist and then go away and grapple with things on the page, and become aware of gaps or of unconscious omissions. Losing my faculty with language was really scary and it’s why, I think, I’ve placed so much importance on other art forms in the book. Dance, painting, tapestry; they can all hold so much meaning that doesn’t depend on the verbal. Rediscovering these forms has been lifesaving." [more]


Interview with Meghan Dew--Kill Your Darlings Podcast, May 2017

"There was a conversation we had right from the beginning, because the book does discuss suicidal ideation, which was a real low point for me, and I didn’t want to shy away from what that experience was like, but at the same time, you know, I did want to be very mindful of what people’s triggers might be, and I did not want anyone to come to this book looking for illumination and find themselves upset, distressed, unduly moved in a distressing way by something that I have written. So there are things that I quite specifically did not include, that I didn’t include because I thought that they were the kind of details that didn’t add to the story, but might have just provoked a response in readers that I didn’t want to provoke. [more]


Jessica Friedmann: 'I was opening a door into a world I always knew was there.'--Bridie Jabour, The Guardian, 17 May 2017

"I’ve been reading Lucy Maud Montgomery’s diaries which has been a lovely insight into her work [such as Anne of Green Gables], which as a child I loved. [Generally] the books that I’m sentimental about are the ones that I have read at formative times. Roland Barthes’ Mythologies is a book I feel quite sentimental towards. Intellectually I’m able to critique it now in a way that I couldn’t when I was 17, but when I first picked it up I felt like I was opening a door into a world that I always knew was there but couldn’t find a way into. I think a little bit of that magic remains every time I read it." [more]


Jessica Friedmann: Only write what you are burning to write. The work is too hard to waste on something second-rate.--Anastasia Hadjidemetri, Booktopia, 20 June 2017

"The book has a pretty explicit mission, which is to provoke conversation around the care that new parents receive, and how it could be better structured – much, much better – when it comes to dealing with mental illness. I guess my hope is twofold – that women will read it and feel less alone, and that those in supporting industries can use it as good qualitative data when it comes to advocating for better conditions and more funding." [more]


Jessica Friedmann: Things that helped my postnatal depression--Karen Hardy, The Canberra Times, 30 June 2017.
"It makes me so cross so many women are going through this with no support. It should be easy, you should be able to go to the hospital and say I need help and they should be adequately equipped to help. Can you imagine being turned away from chemotherapy because a hospital doesn't have enough beds? It wouldn't happen.You shouldn't have to be suicidal. Mental illness can snowball so quickly, so if you're at home and feeling isolated and need some help, that is enough." [more]


Interview with To Her Door--early 2017

"Plainness is the only thing that made writing some of that subject matter possible. For one thing, I didn’t want to romanticise any aspect of the darker or less comfortable side of mental illness, because I worry that the ‘mad creative mother’ can be quite a glamourous figure. But a lot of that plain speaking came, too, from the fact that early motherhood is often still spoken about in really fatuous and euphemistic ways. I didn’t want to contribute to a literature, ostensibly confessional, in which the key facts are still obscured.  I’m sure it’s going to feel strange when the book is published, but I’m also really glad that my experience in the years I wrote about is going to be in the public sphere, and not something I have to carry by myself anymore." [more]