A mother-of-two who rose to fame for her hilarious Instagram posts has opened up about her battle with severe post-partum depression and mania following the birth of her sons which left her feeling suicidal.
Laura Belbin, from Portsmouth, whose Knee Deep in Life account has 441,000 followers, regularly pokes fun at outrageous celebrity outfits, poses and sexy adverts by recreating them with a heavy dose of reality.
She was branded a legend by social media users last year after she poked fun at the ‘upside-down’ bikini trend made famous by an Italian model by constructing her own – out of a bin bag.
In her new book, which is named after her infamous page, the blogger shares a brutally honest account of her early struggles with motherhood.
Laura, who is mum to Elliot, nine, and Toby, five, reveals she started Knee Deep in Life in 2016 following a dark period of several years in which she felt like ‘a switch had been flicked off’ – which she attributed to unsupportive GPs.
She also discusses the impact of vile trolls who leave hurtful comments on her posts.
Speaking about her experience of postnatal depression after the birth of her eldest son Elliot, Laura told FEMAIL she raised the alarm after experiencing acute insomnia, bouts of violence and feeling like she did not want to have a child anymore.
But she claims her GP told her to ‘get a grip and get on with it’ and insisted all women experience such feelings after birth.
‘I always wanted to be a mum and it’s not how I expected it to be,’ she admitted. ‘I have been let down by doctors who completely failed to see my symptoms of depression and didn’t really treat me very nicely.’
Laura said her doctor prescribed her a five-day course of medication and was told she needed to ‘sort herself out’.
At a later check-up where she cried and suggested she might be suffering from PND, another doctor told her to go on a website, which left her feeling helpless.
In an attempt to improve her mental health she tried less traditional treatments including acupuncture, but they failed to address the root of her depression, which manifested itself four years later after the birth of her second son Toby.
‘I hit a level of rock bottom I didn’t know existed,’ Laura recalled. ‘I stopped washing up, I didn’t want to look after my kids, I barely looked after them. At one point we had to move in with my parents because I just couldn’t cope.
‘And once again, I think my doctor’s surgery really lacked knowledge on post-natal depression. They weren’t listening to me and I really wasn’t getting the help that I needed.
‘I remember this one day, Toby was 11 weeks old, I had terrible insomnia. I didn’t cry, I had no feelings, it was like someone had gone inside a room, flicked the light off and that was it, it was gone.’
Laura told how opening up her life to other people by launching her blog helped her to overcome her struggles.
‘There is such a stigma around mental health that you kind of don’t want to be the one in a room raising your hand and going, “Oh, by the way, I self-harmed,” or “By the way, I used to starve myself as a teenager and I live with anxiety.” You don’t want to be that person,’ she said, adding that it was ‘scary’.
‘That was the most horrific thing I could possibly have gone through and to come out the other side of it, being here and being strong enough to pull myself through, talking about it, it needs to be OK.’
She said the positive response to her Instagram account has been overwhelming.
Laura said many women have messaged her to thank her for ‘opening up about some things [they’ve] never been brave enough to talk about’.
Much like her popular Instagram account, the book is full of brutally honest anecdotes, ranging from how her body changed after birth to her bouts of depression.
But Laura’s online fame has seen her become the target of abuse from vile trolls who leave nasty comments on her posts.
‘These people are missing something that we cannot begin to comprehend. Somebody who chooses to go online and talk nastily about somebody else has deep rooted issues that I can’t fathom, because I am not them nor have I been them,’ she said.
‘I feel sorry for them that they would take that much of their own time to destroy other people. I know people that have been horrifically affected by trolls.’
She added: ‘Social media has a much bigger responsibility to make it much more difficult to create a profile so that one person can’t have 15 faceless profiles that they can hack at people.’