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Real Talk About Postpartum Depression: A Conversation with Comedian and Activist Angelina Spicer
Episode 2931st January 2023 • Baggage Check: Mental Health Talk and Advice • Dr. Andrea Bonior
00:00:00 00:52:57

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Beloved comedian Angelina Spicer didn't set out to become a spokesperson for the realities of postpartum depression. In fact, she calls herself an "accidental activist" speaking out about it. But having lived through a terrifying case herself which resulted in hospitalization, she decided she needed to help spread the word and help other mothers. In the years since, Angelina has lobbied for legislative action to support mothers and other birthing persons, helped those across the world who struggle with postpartum depression, and is preparing for an upcoming national tour. Did we tell you she also makes millions of people laugh on a regular basis?

So, we can't imagine a better person to go deep with about postpartum depression. Join us for today's episode-- from Angelina's personal story and the surprising thing that crossed her mind when she prepared to be hospitalized, to the cultural pressures on mothers and parents, the power of community and laughter, the joys and pains of real parenthood rather than the Instagram version, and the stigma that still faces so many people suffering with postpartum depression

And hear more about the documentary she is working on-- which you can support here!

Follow Baggage Check on Instagram @baggagecheckpodcast and get sneak peeks of upcoming episodes, give your take on guests and show topics, gawk at the very good boy Buster the Dog, and send us your questions!

Here's more on Dr. Andrea Bonior and her book Detox Your Thoughts.

Here's more on this podcast, which somehow you already found (thank you!)

Credits: Beautiful cover art by Danielle Merity, exquisitely lounge-y original music by Jordan Cooper


Angelina Spicer: I can't speak for all mothers, but anytime something feels wrong or you're throwing a curveball with your baby, mostly you feel like it's your fault. Your baby can't poop, or your baby doesn't know how to fart yet. It's like you think it's your fault.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah.

Angelina Spicer: You compound all of that with the anxiety, with the sleepless nights. And my therapist just looked at me and said, “I think you need to check into a psychiatric facility.”

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Today, there’ll be no filter about parenthood, no “shoulds” or judgment or perfect Instagram pictures of a glowing mother and an angelic baby. Nope, today we are getting real—with beloved comedian Angelina Spicer, who talks about her experience of postpartum depression, how it turned her into an activist, the mothers she has met all over the world, and how we all can look at the joys and pains of parenthood a little differently. If you know someone who has ever welcomed a baby, you’ll want to join us for today’s Baggage Check.

I’m Dr. Andrea Bonior and this is Baggage Check: Mental Health Talk and Advice, with new episodes every Tuesday and Friday. Baggage Check is not a show about luggage or travel. Incidentally, it is also not a show about whether a really big microphone should be called a microphone.

OK, on with things I have such a good conversation for you today ,and I am just really, honestly really excited about it. It’s a talk with Angelina Spicer. You might know her because she has about 670n gazillion followers on TikTok. She’s a standup comedian and she’s been on Conan …. Well there’s something else really important about her, and that is that she has become, as she would say an “accidental activist” speaking out about postpartum depression. She was hospitalized herself, about seven or eight years ago, and we get into all of it. Oh my goodness, there are so many good parts of this conversation, and I don’t want to belabor it by jabbering on myself, so here we go. Oh and she’s raising money for a documentary about postpartum depression, you can find a link to it in the episode notes if you’d like to support her. We will also update the notes when she goes on her comedy and awareness tour in her pink bus in the Spring! Okay, here we go.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: So welcome, Angelina, to Baggage Check. Thanks so much for taking the time to be here. I'm excited to talk to you today.

Angelina Spicer: I am, too. I'm so excited to connect with you, to connect with your audience, and to just spread the good word about postpartum depression. I feel like I'm, um, like the Jehovah's Witness of, uh, postpartum depression. Like, literally going door to door, knocking on doors. Like, is everybody all right in there? Have you heard about the PPD? [laughter] Because if not, I have a message for you. So I'm always thrilled to join and to join the conversation. I always feel super blessed is an understatement. But I feel really fortunate to have had this horrific experience, but then to have found a way to connect with so many people and validate my own experience and to be there to support men, women, families. So thank you for having me.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes, well, spreading the word is something that you are doing so, so well. And a lot of people know you because you're hilarious, and they know you from TikTok.

Angelina Spicer: They know me from TikTok.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: So why don't we start with that? How has that combination been? To take an issue that certainly is very serious in some ways, and you have really personal experience with which we'll get into. How is it to talk about such a serious issue but also blend your personality in there and be able to use humor? Do you find that those two things can go together?

Angelina Spicer: Well, comedy is tragedy plus time. So, um, you have a traumatic experience. You have any kind of experience, and you give it some time. And as a comic, it's just in your blood to see it through the lens of the funny and to figure out how to flip that experience and make it something that you can use on stage and tell the truth, but also find a way to make it relatable and humorous. That's just the job. But also, I tell people, I tell my business on stage for a living. So to deny this part of my life, to ignore my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety, would be a lie. It would be dishonest. And honestly, the truth gets laughs. So if I'm not being truthful, I'm not getting laughing. Honey, I won't laugh when I'm on stage. So you won't get this truth.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: It sounds actually really empowering when you put it that way. To be able to really own your story, to have your voice out there, to say, this is real, this is genuine, this is what I went through, and there is pain. It's almost like sometimes when we keep things in the shadows, and I think there can be so much shame about postpartum depression, that's when we disempower ourselves.

Angelina Spicer: And that's when we suffer. My daughter has a book called, um I forget the name. Look at me. I'm trying to quote a book. I'm trying to quote a children's book. You can't remember the name? Okay. It's something about that…

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Sounds like motherhood to me!

Angelina Spicer: I'm like, Lord, what book did we read last night? No, but this book is about a child who voices a ah, worry. It's about a child who voices a concern that she has. And the more she holds on to it, the bigger it gets. But the more she speaks it, the smaller and smaller it becomes in her mind, and it feels more doable. It feels like less of a challenge. And I find that with postpartum depression, even when I cry and talk about it, even when I'm sharing my experience with my girlfriends, my close friends, who I don't want to go through what I went through, and I might scare them a little bit, but even in that, it's like the more I talk about it, the more I share with other women, they share with me. People come to me and share. I feel like it becomes a little bit smaller. And I feel like the more we do that, we'll all be better for it, for voicing our concerns and voicing our worries and fears around postpartum depression and anxiety, truly.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: And that's how we help each other to destigmatize it and to break the silence.

Angelina Spicer: Yeah, but people say help each other. But we all know from COVID not everyone is committed to helping each other with masking, with vaccines. Everyone is not committed to that. But we should all be committed to ourselves to lessen the burden of, uh, worry and fear. And if we voice our own fears and worries, if it helps us, we never know what it's doing for someone else, even if it's a selfish move. But, um, the more we talk about it, the less we will worry, and hopefully the people around us will worry about it. Uh, do it for yourself, girl. Do it for yourself.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Absolutely. And there's a lot of research that backs that up, that by labeling our emotions and speaking aloud and giving voice to our feelings, those feelings become less scary. And it's one of the reasons why therapy can be helpful. I mean, obviously, there are a lot of different actions within therapy that can be beneficial, but one of them is just giving voice to our emotions, saying, hey, this is a thing. Uh, this isn't some weirdness that I don't want to face. This is a thing, and it has a name, and it has some space to take up, and I can talk about it, but it doesn't have to take over.

Angelina Spicer: Yeah. And, you know, had I known that going into motherhood, going into my experience with postpartum depression and anxiety, I would have been much better off just knowing that it had a name, that it could happen, that if I had known what specific feelings, emotions, triggers, I wouldn't have felt like, why am I failing. Why am I drowning? What is wrong with me? That's why I really am excited to share my experience, because I want women to know that it's not their fault. They're not doing anything wrong. It's just normal for some of us. And it's okay.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah.

Angelina Spicer: It's okay.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Mhm. Yeah. So how did it begin for you? It sounds like you weren't really expecting it. You're not someone who maybe knew that they had a heightened risk of this and had suffered a lot from depression before and knew, okay, let me have my arsenal support ready, because this is something that's going to happen. It sounds like it hits you without you having any real able to be predicted.

Angelina Spicer: No. And I should have been. I feel like even if you're low risk and you've never had any bouts of depression or anxious feelings or thoughts or any kind of mood disorders, that you should still be prepared with your arsenal of support. And that's really the message of the hashtag postpartum rebirth. That's really the message is like, even if you don't know anything about this and you find yourself pregnant or wanting to become pregnant, start at that moment. Start getting your resources together at that moment. Don't wait until baby is here. Don't wait until you're in crisis. Do it now. With me, my, uh, experience kind of manifested oddly. I had two girlfriends who ever uttered the words postpartum depression. I'd never heard of postpartum anxiety, but I had two friends, one who had experienced it. And she said, but it was not an in depth conversation. It was just like, yeah, it took me a long time to bond with Lincoln. It took me a while, so don't be surprised if it takes a while. My other girlfriend is a mentor of mine who has been on many television shows and films, and she's a veteran in the industry that I'm in. And she shared with me, again, a little teaspoon of her experience and just kind of glazed over. She mentioned it. I will say that she gave it a name, but it wasn't a real conversation. But I knew that it had a name. I just didn't know that what I was experiencing was this thing. So at 30 weeks, I was marked high risk. And when I perform in comedy club, I don't go into full depth. But you are a doctor. Most of your listeners are probably they're not waiting for a joke so they can hang for a couple of minutes. Um, but, yeah, I was marked high risk at 30 weeks, but my pregnancy was planned. I start there because I'm married, I'm educated, I'm in a stable relationship. We're homeowners. I'm not circumstantially high risk for postpartum depression or anxiety. And I'm a planner. So in my mind, I did everything right. You know, my husband and I, we traveled all over the world before we had a kid. We got married. I realized that, okay, it's been six years, so I actually like him. I still love him. I'm not a flight risk, so we can go ahead and do this right. And we got pregnant right away. And it was shocking, but it was amazing because it was what we wanted, uh, and what we planned for. And I felt like I had chosen the person that I wanted to share this experience with, and he felt the same. So everything was fine. I eat well. I work out. I was running 3 miles a day. I was very active and healthy and still working, still doing stand up, still booking television shows. I did Conan probably four times while I was pregnant before I started showing. I was working on the American Music Awards three years in a row. Breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, breast pumping. Pumping my breast ah, backstage in between acts. But I'm also very high functioning, clearly. And I didn't know that that's also a risk, uh, for most part, of depression and anxiety. So, yeah, 30 weeks, I was marked high risk because my daughter was growth restricted. I did not understand or fully grasp what that meant at the moment, and I did not feel like the doctor who diagnosed me with IUGR explained it fully. And he told me in these exact words, if you don't come into the office twice a week for the next eight weeks so that we can monitor you, your daughter might die in utero.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Oh, um my God.

Angelina Spicer: And then he left the room, and I was like, okay, so what do I do with that? So I'm left to Google and figure out, like, okay, what does this mean? Huh? How many babies actually die in utero when they're growth restricted? And why am I growth restricted? And then I went back to my regular OB GYN for my first non stress test, or NST. They are the opposite of non stress test. They are very freaking stressful.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Oh, goodness.

Angelina Spicer: And my doctor told me that it was because I wasn't eating enough calories. And I was like, okay, so calories it is. And I was like stuff in my face with all kinds of junk that I normally would not eat. But I was really committed to keeping my daughter inside and keeping her healthy and strong, and I wasn't even thinking about myself. And that was the thing. At 30 weeks, the focus shifted from this experience that I'm having with my husband and my new child to I got to keep her alive. And that was a turning point for me because, um, I didn't realize that I was experiencing anxiety during that time, those eight weeks. And I didn't know. I was just like, it's scary. Uh, you think your baby is going to die? You think every time you go in twice a week for these NSTS, you're afraid you won't hear a heartbeat? M. No one's asking, like, hey, are you okay? Oh, did you eat? Did you know, what are you doing for the baby? What are you doing to make sure that you are healthy enough to carry her to full term? So anyhow, I worked really hard to keep her in utero. Um, it worked. We delivered at 38 week, five days I will never forget. But I was induced, um, not with potassium, because one piece of advice that my girlfriend did share with me was not to get the pitocin. I'm not a medical professional, so advice coming from an accidental activist and comedian baggage check listener, but my friend told me, do not get the pitocin because it will likely end up in a cesarean section. Your labor will not progress. That was the advice I got. Right?

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah, I know. I've heard that plenty as well. I am not an obstetrician, to be clear.

Angelina Spicer: Like, I'm another kind of doctor, but.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: I certainly know a lot of folks who have had that experience, and so I'm not surprised.

Angelina Spicer: And I share that with my OB GYN. And she was like, oh, no. You want to know that your labor is progressing. You want to know that you're in active labor. Pitocin is not bad. But I still didn't want to do the pitotin, and I didn't do the pitocin. I was like my girlfriend said, and five of them who did the pitocin, who didn't listen, had C sections, unwanted C sections. That's my line. So luckily, I didn't have to. I delivered it. 38 weeks, five days. My daughter's heart rate kept dropping during labor, and we were afraid that her heart rate was going to stop. And that was traumatic, uh, for me, because during each push, I had to shift my legs from the right to the left so that her heart could continue to beat. And it was traumatic for me. It was very high stakes and really scary, but we did it. And there's a photo of me that I'm going to share in our documentary of, uh, when they first laid her on me. And when they first put her on my chest, I looked like I had seen a Klansman burning across in my face with a shotgun pointed directly at the middle of my head.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: You had been through so much at that point.

Angelina Spicer: I didn't know that it was building. I didn't know that it was I didn't know, nor did I know that that was just the birth. Now you got a mom. Now you have to function on no sleep. Now you have to try to waddle up the stairs with your broken vagina and your Depends. Now you got to spray the dermaplaque numbing spray on your vagina every time you pee. It was not what I expected, but I had a therapist, thankfully. I had already had that set up in my life because my husband is white, and a therapist comes with the white husband starter pack. You get a jar of mayonnaise, you get the jar of mayonnaise and your therapy. Okay. I had a relationship with my therapist, and we've been working together for like the past five years. She knew me. I knew her. But I went into her office at eight months postpartum. Um, and I used to bring my daughter to therapy. My therapist used to hold her, change her poopy diapers. I used to bring the play pin, the stroller, the tag, and play my breast pump. Like, I would bring all the things, and all the therapists in my therapist office would say, wow, you're really committed to your health, huh? You show up every week with your baby.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: I will say that's the beauty of online sessions is that a lot of new parents can still have a therapy session, even if their baby napping at home or whatever it might be, and.

Angelina Spicer: They don't have to pack up. That was the worst, like, packing her up. Um, and she hated the car. I think I had the only child that did not like the car seat. So she would scream Bloody Mary.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes. And then you feel like something's wrong with you. My son was the same way. And I was like, this is what people do, supposedly, to get their babies to sleep, whereas my son is acting like there's an axe murderer in the backseat every time we ride in the car.

Angelina Spicer: Like, what's wrong with me? What did I do wrong?

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Exactly.

Angelina Spicer: That's the guilt, um, that comes with being a parent. I know that that's the guilt that, to me, came with being a mother. And I can't speak for all mothers, but anytime something feels wrong or you're throwing a curveball with your baby, mostly you feel like it's your fault. Your baby can't poop, or your baby doesn't know how to fart yet. It's like you think it's your fault.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah.

Angelina Spicer: You compound all of that with the anxiety, with the sleepless nights. And my therapist just looked at me and said, I think you need to check into a psychiatric facility. And I felt relieved. I felt like, oh, ah. There's somewhere that I can actually go. And I'll never forget Dr. Olson. The only thing I was worried about was my meter for my car. And she was like, is that the only thing you're worried about? I was like, my meter? I can go. I want to go. I want to go right now. I said, can you call and make sure that they have a bed for me? She said absolutely. She called right there, made sure that they had a bed for me. And I said, I can't bring myself to call my husband. Will you call him for me? She called him for me. I said, can you call my mom? Because I knew that in that moment, had I called them, I would have been more worried about them than me. So she took that burden from me. And Dr. Olson walked she called my family, and then she walked downstairs. I was so shaken up by, like, oh, my God. She said I should go to a hospital. I just agreed. I felt like I was about to go to, uh, like, an intervention. Like, someone had, like, angelina, it's time for you to stop using heroin, and you must go to Sandy Hook. No, not Sandy Hook. You must go to, like, some resort or whatever. Some place way out.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes.

Angelina Spicer: And I had just agreed, and I'm like, well, wait a minute, I got things to do. But I was like, no, I don't have anything to do besides put money in this meter and take my black butt to, uh, the psychiatric facility. And that's exactly what I did. And I was there for ten days. Um, and it was a wild experience, um, wild in that I was the only black woman there. I was the only mother there. Um mhm. And that they checked on me every 15 minutes because apparently I was on suicide watch. And I was like, Wait, I don't want to hurt myself. Besides, there's nothing in here, in this room that can hurt me, because the bed doesn't move, the windows don't open, the shower curtain. Everything's nailed to the ground. So why are you in here? I came here for sleep. I came here to get some bees. And you keep showing up in my face every 15 minutes. But once I figured out how to sleep through those and tapped um into the right therapy, it felt like vacation.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: And mhm, it seems like despite you feeling confident that you wouldn't try to hurt yourself, it seems like there was obviously that concern, perhaps for good reason. Depending on how your therapist had started the admissions process, or even the fact that you needed to be admitted in the first place, things must have gotten really dark I’m imagining.

Angelina Spicer: I say that because I share this story so many times, and it's so complex that every time I share, there's, like, a new I discover new feelings that I had in those moments. I just remember feeling like I wanted to run away. I didn't want to be connected to this new life in any way. So I, uh, wasn't thinking of hurting anyone. I just wanted to go. I used to envision myself, like, leaving the house in my pajamas and getting on the city bus and just leaving, going. I live in Los Angeles, mhm. People don't really ride the bus in Los Angeles. Okay? So the fact that I was willing to get on the bus in my pajamas, uh, no bra. I was like, Ma'am, you are not well. You need to go somewhere. But also, another thing that I talk about and I joke about are intrusive thoughts that I was not expecting.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Mhm?

Angelina Spicer: I'm like and again, it's like, with the mom guilt, like, what is wrong with me? What are these dark thoughts. And then it turns out 70% of new mothers experience intrusive thoughts. Oh.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Uh, that's such an important thing to talk about because I think it creates this cycle of guilt and shame. And then people talk about it even less because they say, oh my gosh, this is somebody that I love more than anything in the world and this new baby. And I really am glad to be a mom, and I do love this child. Why am I having these strange, dark thoughts? And they're so common. They're so common. And of course we need to take them seriously, but we also need to destigmatize them by understanding that this is part of the way that the brain is adjusting. And when you have high anxiety and when you're highly stressed and you've had disruption and you've had no sleep and you might be feeling low because of hormonal shifts, your brain is going to start experimenting with some stuff. And it's really important to get help and support and talk about this. But it's also really important not to think, oh my goodness, I'm the worst parent in the world because I'm having these thoughts. I'm never going to be a good parent because how could I possibly have these thoughts? It struck me even as you were talking about the photo of you right. In the immediate aftermath of the birth and how you looked kind of horrified. Right. And I think culturally, we expect that moment to be so perfect.

Angelina Spicer: It's bliss. Oh, the radiant and all white with a diva fan, with the Beyonce diva fan, and the lashes and the makeup and the face with the baby on the boob and the girl. I looked like I had seen, uh, a dinosaur that was about to bite my head off. Okay. I was like, what is this? What? Why wait, I'm not ready. I'm not ready. That was the look on my face. Sheer horror of ah. The weight of the responsibility that lied on my breast. I'm like, my breasts ah. Are usually cushions for a man's head. What is this little infant? What is this creature doing on my beautiful bottom? What? Honey, this is a shift. This is a shift. This is a shift that I was not prepared for. Take it away.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: [Laughter]

Angelina Spicer: Mhm.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: And the folks who say and the second that I laid eyes on my child, everything changed. And my life had a purpose and it was a greater love than I'd ever felt before. And I think this is so alienating to the average new parent because I don't think the average new parent feels that. Or maybe in retrospect, five years later, they say they felt that because they do love their child so much and they look back with these blurred vision. But I think when we create this narrative, then the parent who has just had this baby and is sitting there thinking, oh my gosh, I'm confused. And scared and exhausted. And I'm not sure I want to hold them because what if I break them? Then they're like, oh, my God, I'm not cut out to be a parent anymore.

Angelina Spicer: Yes, we need to share that part of motherhood. It's not instant bliss and purposeful living for every single woman or, uh, birthing person out there. It just isn't. And it is okay to be afraid. It is okay to be worried. It's okay, I think, to wonder, am I cut out for this? Am I going to be a good mother? That means that you're going to work at it. You're going to work at being a good mother. You're going to work at being selfless and putting your best foot forward. I think. And I'm not a medical professional. I'm a comedian and an accidental activist. Okay? But I believe that that's a part of the journey is wondering and discovering and learning and deepening your purpose as a mother and deepening your love, not only for your child, but also for yourself and your own purpose is all a part of the journey. But we don't know that because we don't share it. So annoying. Uh, yes.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Well, that's exactly what you're working to counteract. Who have you met on this journey? I imagine when you speak to audiences and you are doing your accidental activisting…. Activism… laughter.

Angelina Spicer: Accidental activism. That's going to be the name of my sitcom one day.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: There you go.

Angelina Spicer: Accidental activist.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: There you go. So what kind of stories do you hear?

that. I think now, going into:

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah.

e kicking off our tour in May:

Dr. Andrea Bonior: So you’re going incognito, then you're trying to real low key.

Angelina Spicer: No, real low key with it. Um, but I'm like, we visit cities, we connect moms to care. Folks come out for the laughs, they come out for the joy. I mean, we host Mom's Night Out all in each of the cities that we go to. Dads come. But not only that, people come for the laugh and for the joy of community, but they also leave connected to care. It's important to me that I, um, uplift and include local businesses, local providers, be It therapists, uh, dulas, midwives, OB, gymes. It's important to me that people feel like, oh, wow, I just really heard an in depth comedy special about mhm this woman's experience. Man, maybe I should check on my cousin who just had a baby. Maybe I should refer my wife to this person who specializes in this. Maybe this mom group that's hosted every week at the park near our house is a good fit for my aunt. So it's important to me that we stay focused on connecting moms to care, that we start the conversation. And lastly, on our Postpartum Rebirth tour, we meet with legislators. My goal is to not only start these conversations, but, like, when moms scream out for help that there are laws in place so that women are protected and supported. There's no reason why I should have gone eight months suffering. Yes, I was getting help from my private therapist who I was paying out of pocket. But there are many women who don't have that privilege and opportunity and don't have the access. This is a whole equity access issue and sex education issue, and, uh, reproductive, um, rights issue and pregnant workers fairness issue. Like, it's all interconnected, uh, paid family leave and maternity leave, paternity leave. There's so much that needs to be done to support new families. And there's always these conversations of, like, when you have a baby, when are you having a baby? Oh, my gosh, when are you having a baby? Are you pregnant? Are you having a baby? Are you getting but once the baby's here, what are we doing? How are we supporting her?

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes.

Angelina Spicer: So that's the whole mission behind the Postpartum Rebirth. And our film will definitely when we finish getting funded, we will definitely be the conversation piece, the new millennial conversation piece, to kick this conversation off and to kick things off so that, uh, it's on the lips of every single person that views our film. And they can start to advocate for themselves and everyone they know who had a baby or is going to have a baby.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: I mean, that's remarkable, the way that you have truly put your money where your mouth is and truly fostered these connections and stepped in in a very personal way. I mean, it speaks to how much compassion and empathy you have, having been in the trenches yourself. And I think, uh, there's so much good that you're doing that is coming from that. And certainly, although you might not have the name recognition quite of Gwyneth Paltrow, you have a voice that is speaking up for a lot of people who don't have that level of voice.

Angelina Spicer: Speaking up for a lot of people that believe that this issue is important and they are putting their money where their mouths are. And they have supported us. Uh, they come out to the shows, they share the content. They send me DMs which I love chatting with folks over DM I love helping. I do, because there's so little tangible support out there for moms, and we're working on that, but there's so little tangible support in education that if women or families feel more comfortable coming to me, a comedian, then absolutely, I will step up and help. Who am I to say no or to turn a blind eye to it? Like, I really struggled. I really deeply felt lost for a long, long time. And m, it's the least that I can do. It's the least that I can do. I just feel so strongly that if, you know, a grandmother reaches out to me and shares that, uh, she had postpartum depression and anxiety 45 years ago, that I can listen and I can engage with her. It's the least, truly, that I can do.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: And it really speaks to, ultimately, what's so profound about all of us being in some sort of community together, that there are these shared experiences and that it's empowering to share those. And I imagine a grandmother now, there might be times when folks that are grandparents now look back, and this is the first time that someone's given them a name for what they went through. This is the first time.

Angelina Spicer: Yes, my Mom, this was the first time that she knew after my diagnosis. And the more she learned about my experience, the more she saw herself in my journey. And, um, that's a whole other conversation that we'll get into in the documentary. We'll see more of my mom's story. We'll hear from Joanna? Uh, we'll hear from a same sex couple, um, who was denied access to adoption, uh, and found a donor and were able to have a baby themselves and carry themselves and their experience with postpartum depression and what that's? Like as being two women in the relationship and how the partner felt helpless and wanting to support but not being able to breastfeed because she didn't have the milk. M and I even traveled to Israel this summer, and I met with lawmakers in Israel, I met with two parliament members who are just badass women, supporting and uplifting legislation to really help moms all over the country. In Israel, I met with, uh, the Bedwin women in Israel who are nomadic, uh, people that live in the desert, who have to literally ride a donkey while in active labor to get to a hospital.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Oh, my goodness.

Angelina Spicer: I met with the Hebrew Israelite community in Demona, Israel, who perform unmedicated home births. They've been doing this for the last 45 years in Israel. And I met with just so many women with varied experiences. I mean, I've changed the hearts of, uh, burly men, like at comedy clubs that are hanging out on the corner. I'm like, where's your wife? Where's your kids? Then you just have a baby. Why are you here? I'm like, no, put that cigarette out. You need to go home, sir. You have a wife and a child at home that need you. You don't need to be out here. Um, so it's like it's literally grassroots. I mean, not even grassroots. Concrete coming out from the concrete, girl. So it's like the advocacy just doesn't stop. But I hate to say Gwyneth Paltrow is not going to do that. She might have the name recognition, but she's not out here like I am. And these stories of the people that I meet and that reach out to me, these stories need to be heard. They need to be heard so that more people can see themselves in the joys and the pains in the heartache of early parenthood. So I look forward to more partnerships. I look forward to joining forces. I was so thrilled when you reached out to me. Maybe there was work that we can do alongside each other, both perhaps with Georgetown, perhaps with your private practice or with your teaching curricula. There's just so many opportunities for collaboration and to amplify this issue. That is the goal, amplify to normalize this conversation.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes. And you do it so well. And I'm so grateful that we are one of the places today that you can share that story and that we can listen to that story and that you can empower folks to talk more and share their own stories. And I can't wait to see this documentary, be able to come to fruition, to come to completion. I can't wait to cheer you on on your tour in the spring. It's remarkable. And your journey started years ago, so your daughter is far from babyhood at this point.

Angelina Spicer: We made it.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yeah. But what's striking to me is that you haven't left folks behind, right? That even though it's been seven years, you've said, you know what this is going to be.

Angelina Spicer: You know why? Because I'm still traumatized. Honey. Uh, the wounds have healed. The physical wounds have healed, but, honey, I am traumatized. So pray that I continue to be traumatized, because in my trauma, this advocacy continues. Okay.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Uh, well, that's a silver lining if I've ever heard one. For the rest of us, at least, we get to reap the benefits. And, yes, it's so true. Long after the days of the Depends, although those might come along…..

Angelina Spicer: We know our size. At least we know the size we need.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: That's right. Stock up on some of those extras. But long after I think people stop asking about how the birth was and the physical stuff. I mean, you're absolutely right. These emotional experiences stay with you for a long time, and I think, obviously, you've seen that with your mother as well and being able to sort of uncover what might have been buried for a while, but what certainly never went away. So you've done such a service for folks today, Angelina, and tell us how online we can connect with you and follow your work.

Angelina Spicer: I hope folks will see value in the work that we're doing and will support us even with a small gift of $5 or $5 million, whatever fits in your budget. Okay. I know I don't have 5 million, or else my film would have been made already. Um, but literally every single dollar is going towards the tour and the documentary to bring us around the country. Um, we share everyone's stories on the road, and we're so close to being done that, uh, every little gift really does truly matter. But folks can connect with me on Instagram, on Facebook, TikTok, if you're on it. Otherwise, your kids can follow me. Um, the content is clean over there. I make sure that the TikTok doesn't have any cuss words. We don't talk about PPD. It's all clean. Family, fun, comedy. Um, and come out to a show. I want to see folks in person. I like hugs. I like to give hugs and connect. And I love performing, and I love laughter, and I love just being in community with folks. So I really do hope folks will come out to the shows we'll announce which cities will be hitting, hopefully, fingers crossed, will be expanding and going abroad and going to Mexico this year in our bright pink bus. Um wow.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Yes.

Angelina Spicer: So, uh, more to come, and I'm thrilled that there's more to come and more people to help.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: That's amazing. And it all comes full circle with that sense of community, because comedy and tragedy, as you said, are interrelated. And it all comes full circle with you being able to connect people and give people a, uh, space and home, whether in the audience at your shows, laughing their heads off or being able to tell their story with you. So thank you so, so much for sharing your story today, and we can't wait to see everything come to fruition.

Angelina Spicer: Thank you. Now, let's pray. [laughter] Okay. This has been fun. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Andrea Bonior: Thanks for joining me today. Once again, I'm Dr. Andrea Bonior, and this has been Baggage Check, with new episodes every Tuesday and Friday. Join us on Instagram @BaggageCheckPodcast. Give us your take and opinions on topics and guests. And you know you've got that friend who listens to, like, 17 podcasts. We'd love it if you told him where to find us. Our original music is by Jordan Cooper, covered by Daniel Merrity and my studio security, it's Buster the Dog. Until next time, take good care




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