Charlize Theron in Tully

**Spoiler Alert: Details of the Movie Tully are shared in this blog**

When the team at Northern Mama first saw the preview for the movie Tully, we were JAZZED. It seemed as though there was finally going to be an honest, real-life movie about motherhood that women could connect with.

The movie looked so great we decided to get the moms in our community together to watch it as a #momtribe. We contacted SilverCity Sudbury and got the plans in motion to do a private screening when it was released. We were very excited about this event. We also reached out to some local businesses that we thought would be interested in getting involved with this event to get the ball rolling.

The Review

Then we saw this review. Our hearts sank and throats clenched as we read it.

The real twist is not the sex with the nanny — the real twist is that the entire character of Tully is in Marlo’s head.

Yes, she created an entire person.

As a survivor of maternal mental illness I am now LIVID. All I can think about are the survivors of postpartum psychosis, the mothers living with dissociative disorders and personality disorders, the moms living with bi-polar. They are not your f*cking plot twist, Hollywood.

And just like that our plans of bringing together the moms of our community to watch this film went up in flames. Maternal Mental Health is at the heart of every inch of support that we provide here at Northern Mama, and it is not something we ever want to see used simply for dramatic effect.

Postpartum Depression is NOT the same as Postpartum Psychosis

Diana Spalding shared on Motherly a review of the film, the details of what the main character Marlo’s symptoms were, including delusions, strange beliefs and hallucinations.  While a doctor in the film mentions that she has postpartum depression, Spalding explains that her symptoms are more in line with a diagnosis of postpartum psychosis.

Both postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are a form of Perinatal Mental Health Disorders, but they are VERY different disorders. “Postpartum depression is characterized by feelings of anger, irritability, guilt, shame, hopelessness, and sadness, but delusions, strange beliefs and hallucinations are symptoms more in line with a diagnosis of postpartum psychosis, as are cases of infanticide, according to Postpartum Support International (PSI).”

How Common is Postpartum Depression and Psychosis

Postpartum depression affects 15-20% of women after having a baby, however postpartum psychosis is much rarer affecting 0.1-0.2% (1 or 2 of every 1000). “As with all mental illness, it’s essential that we do not make any blanket statements about women with PPP because everyone’s story is different. That said, postpartum psychosis “can lead to devastating consequences in which the safety and well-being of the affected mother and her offspring are jeopardized,” according to Dr. Dorothy Sit and colleagues.”

Maternal Mental Health Needs To Be Taken Seriously

 At Northern Mama we are passionate about maternal mental health. Every single one of our team members has a background in psychology or social work because we know wholeheartedly that women who are pregnant or who have just had a baby NEED SUPPORT. Our emotional health is JUST AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH.

We work tirelessly to try and diminish the stigma associated with maternal mental health and encourage women who are going through the struggles of maternal mental health challenges to reach out. We encourage them to talk about it, share it, and know that it is something to be taken seriously.

Why Talking About this Matters

Nowhere in the film’s trailer does it remotely lead to the dark twist within the movie, what the film is being portrayed as is an “ode to motherhood”. And while shining a light on maternal mental health is so incredibly needed, that is not what it is doing.

“The reason that people are so excited about Tully is because they feel like it is the first time that true motherhood is being portrayed on the big screen—but this is not true motherhood. Motherhood is hard, yes, but it is not thisThis is mental illness. Brushing aside her mental illness again refuses to give it the attention it deserves.” Spalding says. 

#1 Complication from Childbirth

Perinatal Mood Disorders are the #1 complication from childbirth. Seriously think about it. The number 1 complication from having a baby. Postpartum depression and anxiety (or psychosis in the form of the character Marlo) should not be taken lightly. Women experiencing these disorders are literally fighting every day to try to get better. They are struggling and working their asses off just to stay a float.

We are so disappointed. This film (from what we have seen in the previews) had the potential to be an honest dose of motherhood shared on the big screen that so many mothers are craving to see right now. But apparently, we will simply have to wait for a different film. We will definitely be doing a community viewing party some time, but definitely NOT with Tully.

What are your thoughts about this movie? Will you be seeing it? Feel free to comment below, or over on our  Facebook or Instagram . 

The Northern Mama team is always working to help make your journey into pregnancy, birth or early days of parenting less stressful if you would like to find out more click here. Or as always send us an email at

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