Denise Welch opens up about 'terrifying' postnatal depression and son Matty Healy's emotional 1975 song about her

Virgin Radio

17 May 2023, 15:23

Credit: Rex

Denise Welch has spoken candidly about suffering with postnatal depression following the birth of her son, 1975 singer Matty Healy, on Good Morning Britain.

The Loose Women star, 64, spoke further about her singer son Matt writing the song She Lays Down about her debilitating depression. 

She shares the 34-year-old - who is rumoured to be dating Taylor Swift - with Benidorm star Tom Healy, plus their actor son Louis, 21.

And now she has opened up further about her health problems and told how she didn't know that he was actually writing the song.

Denise, who suffered from postnatal panic attacks, not being able to breastfeed and was unable to cope with her feelings of despair, said about the poignant song: "I didn't know he was writing it. When he was young, he didn't know what was going on. I had a wonderful pregnancy. 

Denise Welch

Credit: ITV

"Medics couldn't tell at that time that something was wrong. I was typical blooming mum, I loved every single minute of it. Then five days later I had a panic attack and lactation had stopped. 

"I went from full breastfeeding breasts to nothing. At the time I was told, that only happens if a spouse or baby dies. On that day my mum found me trying to crawl out of the window."

She added: "It was honestly the most terrifying thing. People don't want to die, they want to stop the pain. 

"Had I not had my family, I don't know where I would have been. Matty grew up with mummy having moments of illness and when he was older he wrote She Lays Down.

"I still get emotional thinking about it. I used to lie down on the floor and pray to something to help me love my child. Depression takes away your ability to love."

"It's all very well to say 'it's good to talk'. But this is for people who live with people with depression," she explained.

"Often with depression you cannot talk, that is a sign to look out for. People who are usually chatty and sociable suddenly being quiet. 

"When I had it, there was nowhere to talk, I was like a lone wolf. But now you can go online and search for help. Reach out and you will get better.

"I've never understood the stigma just because you can't see it, other illnesses get sympathy."

Last year, Denise opened up on Loose Women and explained how she once told Matty that her illness made her 'lose the ability to love'.

"I told him when he was older that depression robbed me of the ability of love and I used to lay down on the bedroom floor and pray for the ability to love my children again," Denise explained.

Denise Welch

Credit: ITV

"I never tried to take my own life, but there were times when I wanted that to be done, when I was taking him [Matt] to Australia I wished that the plane would come down."

In his lyrics for She Lays Down, Matt penned: "She lays down on her bedroom floor, the chemicals that make her laugh, don't seem to be working anymore.

 "And when I go to sleep it's when she begins to weep, she's appalled by not loving me at all, she wears a frown and dressing gown, when she lays down."

In her recent book The Unwelcome Visitor: Depression and How I Survive It, she wrote about depression: "Obviously I have no medical knowledge, I'm in no position to tell anyone how to survive it, but if anyone can gain solace from my experience…

"It started when I gave birth to Matty 31 years ago. Prior to that I'd had no episode of depression. I didn't know the true meaning of depression until I had very severe postnatal depression."

She added: "Nobody that I could access was talking about it – nobody in the public eye, as it were. There was nothing.

"I wasn't in a fit state to go into a bookstore to find a medical book. Unfortunately for me it opened up a tendency for it and it's something I've lived with for 31 years and it's why I've done the book.

"I knew that I had postnatal depression in as much as I'd been a perfectly 'normal' blooming woman in pregnancy… I loved it… Everything around us was fine.

"And then I was plunged into this black, almost suicidal, depression - so I knew it was post-natal depression."

Denise Welch

Credit: ITV

Following the birth of her 1975 singer son Matty, she explained: "I'd had a horrible moment where I'd tried to throw myself out of a taxi when I was with my mum. And when people say, Were you trying to end everything? I wasn't. I was trying to stop the pain. Only people who have had severe depression will know how that feels."

"The main thing was when I couldn't love my child and that does affect me… when you have this baby, that you have wanted so badly, and you have no love, because what depression does is it depresses every single emotion, so it's not striving for happiness, it's striving for normalcy – it's striving for the ability to be happy, to be sad, to care, to feel jealous, to feel anger, because with depression you feel nothing.

Matty Healy and 1975

Credit: Instagram

"And that's why you feel that life can be not worth living, unless you have a family like mine who said every day, ''You will get better''."

Read here about Dr Alex George on his younger brother's suicide, being in an 'incredibly dark place' and thankful for antidepressants.