Sometimes moms need a break, so I have little breaks indulging myself with movies from the DVD store around the corner. Last week I bought the movie Tully with Charlize Theron. I thought I was going to have a little laugh and relax while watching this movie. I was wrong; this movie brought me to tears, and got me thinking.
Marlo (played by Theron) is a mother of two, pregnant with her third baby. Her brother, who is wealthier, gifts her with a night nanny. Marlo does not want to have anything to do with this, but taking care of her third child breaks her up and she decides to take him up on the offer. What unfolds is something each mother dreams of: the night nanny comes and stays with her newborn at night so Marlo can sleep, only waking her for night feeds.
The movie shows with much honesty the life of new moms: the feeds, the poops, the raw and the ugly. Nothing is off limits in this movie. Marlo develops a special bond with the night nanny. The night nanny cleans her home, bakes cupcakes, and gives Marlo the energy to be a great mother during the day, so she can play with her other two kids and prepare home-cooked meals.
The night nanny is a young woman, and Marlo recognizes much of her young self in her. At the end of the movie Marlo and the night nanny go out for a night together. The baby is sleeping through the night and is safe with dad. They both get drunk and decide to drive home, but they get into an accident. While Marlo is in the hospital the brutal truth comes out, as her husband speaks with the doctor.
[Warning: Spoiler to follow!]
Marlo never had a night nanny. She was severely depressed after the birth of her third child, and had not slept in ages. Her husband had no idea there was no night nanny at all, and that Marlo had imagined everything. Postnatal psychosis is a rare but severe form of depression.
I know this is a huge spoiler blog, but I could not let this moment pass to highlight the dangers of postnatal depression. This movie shows the truth behind mental illness, and does us a service by opening debate about these important topics. I was crushed when Marlo and the night nanny decide to say goodbye.