A MOUTHFUL OF AIR!
Thank you Amanda Seyfried, Finn Wittrock,
Director/Writer: Amy Koppelman and
Medical Expert: Dr. Harvey Karp for sitting down and talking with me about “A MOUTHFUL OF AIR,” that will be released in limited theaters on October 29th.
This film deals with a serious topic that affects a lot of mothers - postpartum depression and new motherhood. It also has an interesting perspective from the father's point of view on this matter and how it affects him as well. The movie is based on a book by the same name and is a cautionary tale and conversation-starter that is crucial for new parents, family and friends of new parents.
Grab a box of tissue, this beautiful movie is made with love and understanding that reaching out for mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, if anything, embrace your strength and courage to ask for help.
Happiest Baby + Dr. Harvey Karp On Postpartum Depression
About Happiest Baby
Happiest Baby is a mission-driven company dedicated to helping parents succeed at their most important job: raising healthy, happy children. It engages in medical research to advance the health and safety of infants, mothers and families. Happiest Baby is developing science-based products, content and services to enhance child well-being and to help solve everyday parenting challenges.
Happiest Baby is the maker of SNOO, the award-winning, innovative baby bed that quickly boosts infant sleep by using womb-like sensations (motion, sound, swaddling). SNOO automatically responds to crying with incrementally higher levels of motion and sound, imitating the infant calming actions used by experienced caregivers. It is also the world’s smartest and safest baby bed - so safe in fact, it's being assessed by the FDA as a "breakthrough" life-saving device for its ability to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, which causes 3600 deaths annually in the U.S. alone.
Postpartum Depression and SNOO Exhaustion is one of the leading triggers of postpartum depression. During an internal study of more than 10,000 babies, the Happiest Baby team found that SNOO consistently added an average of over an hour of night sleep, with many babies sleeping seven straight hours at just two months old. When the baby is sleeping more, so are the parents, reducing the risk of PPD.
Read more about how SNOO helped real-life mom Jessica’s postpartum depression.
About Dr. Harvey Karp
Dr. Harvey Karp is one of America's most-trusted pediatricians and child development experts. He is on the faculty of the USC School of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of
Pediatrics. Dr. Karp practiced pediatrics in Los Angeles for over 25 years. His landmark discoveries and unique ability to translate
complex science into effective techniques to empower parents have revolutionized our understanding of the needs of young
children. He is the founder and CEO of Happiest Baby, a smart-tech and parenting solutions company that invented the SNOO Smart Sleeper, a responsive bassinet that mimics the
sounds and motions of the womb to extend infant sleep by one to three hours. SNOO is the safest baby bed ever made. It helps
prevent the top causes of SIDS, increase sleep, and treat and potentially prevent postpartum.
Dr. Karp is also the best-selling author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block. He is an advisor to Parents, Ser Padres and American Baby magazines and a pediatric expert on BabyCenter. He has appeared numerous times on Good Morning America, CNN, Today Show, The View, Dr. Oz, etc. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, LA Times, Parents, People magazine, among others.
More on Postpartum Depression
As many as 40% of people giving birth experience postpartum depression (PPD), and half of those whose partners develop PPD also experience depression. While most new parents experience the “baby blues”, some become deeply depressed, or even develop psychosis. “Beyond COVID-19, PPD is another pandemic facing Americans,” said Dr. Karp. “I’ve met far too many women who described the first months of motherhood as one of the hardest and loneliest experiences of their lives.”
The three top triggers of PPD are exhaustion, lack of support, and persistent crying from baby with symptoms manifesting as anxiety, fear, intrusive thoughts, fatigue, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness. The good news is, you’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of new parents experience postpartum depression every year.
“Thankfully, the taboo of women sharing the intimate details of their postpartum struggles has lifted in recent years—with representations in art and media being a critical part of this—but as a society it’s critical to continue spreading awareness and supporting new parents with resources on how to raise a new baby, and maintaining their own mental health,” said Dr. Karp.
If you think you’re experiencing postpartum depression, reach out and ask for help. PPD is treatable with therapy, medication, helping you and your baby sleep, and other therapeutic techniques.
SNOO Clinician and Parent Testimonials
"I have seen mothers with PPD benefit tremendously from SNOO. The earlier it’s used, the easier it is for bonding to occur and confidence to grow." – Nataly Cohen, LCSW. UCLA PPD Outpatient Program.
“My most recent patient with PPD said SNOO saved her from the depths of her depression.” – Alison Reminick, MD, Director of the Postpartum Depression Program at the University of California at San Diego.
A mother of twins with anxiety and depression, received SNOO as part of a UCLA research program. She noted that with SNOO’s assistance she had improved sleep and felt much better able to take care of her infants. (See a video interview here.)
Visit Happiest Baby’s website for additional mental health resources for new parents.
Julie Davis — warm, kind, loving to her husband and child — writes bestselling children’s books about unlocking your fears, but she has yet to unlock the dark secret that has haunted her own life. When her second child is born, that trauma is brought to the fore, and with it, a crushing battle to survive.
Stage 6 Films presents a Maven Screen Media production, an Ice Cream & Whiskey and an Off Media production, in association with Carte Blanche and Studio Mao, A Mouthful of Air. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Finn Wittrock, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael Gaston, with Amy Irving and Paul Giamatti. Directed by Amy Koppelman. Screenplay by Amy Koppelman, based on her novel. Produced by Mike Harrop, Amy Koppelman, Deline Rattray, and Trudie Styler. The executive producers are Jenny Halper, Nic Marshall, John Sloss, and Steven Farneth. The animation director is Mark Samsonovich. The director of photography is Frank G. DeMarco. Edited by Keith Fraase. The production designer is Franckie Diago. The music supervisors are Lauren Marie Mikus and Mirna Maddox. The costume designer is Hannah Kittell. Casting by Sig De Miguel and Stephen Vincent.
A Mouthful of Air has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association for the following reasons: some language. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on October 29, 2021.
There have been many movies written about depression. Black eyeliner, moody lighting, Bradley Cooper, and you have yourself a hit. But A Mouthful of Air isn’t that kind of movie. Julie Davis, played by Amanda Seyfried, is a children’s book writer and illustrator who sees life’s heartbreaking beauty — cherishes it — yet believes that the only way for her children to be safe is to live in this world without her.
In A Mouthful of Air, I try to explore this dichotomy. How can you love life, love your family, and still want to slip away?
In 1995 — when I gave birth to my son — postpartum depression was rarely talked about and remained largely undiagnosed. Today we know that one out of every five new moms suffer from it — and more and more women are willing to talk about it. But most are still too ashamed to share their feelings, so they suffer in silence. I was one of those women.
“Nothing’s stronger than a mother’s love.” There’s a phrase we’ve all heard a thousand times. And it’s true. It’s certainly something Julie Davis believes, right up until the moment she realizes she might be up against something stronger. This force isn’t coming from the outside. It’s living inside her own head. And feels impossible to escape.
I’ve spent the twenty-five years since I gave birth to my first child writing about motherhood and women’s mental health. As a novelist, I think about how to bend a sentence in a way that allows it to breathe, to convey the magnitude of loss in the description of a glance, capture love in the white space between paragraphs. Driving me — always — is a desire to reach through the page and connect to the reader. To form a communion of understanding. An acknowledgment of shared truth. And to try — in some small way — to remove the stigma of mental illness from motherhood.
A Mouthful of Air is my first undertaking as a director. It’s told, like my books, in a simple, straightforward, naturalistic manner. Before each scene, I didn’t only ask myself what images I wanted to show but also what I was trying to say in each frame about being human—and about being a mom. I believed if I stayed true to that truth, I could bring the story I had written in my book to the screen in a way that would reveal Julie’s inner thoughts — through her eyes, through her smiles, through the pain behind them — in a way the written word never could.
The film runs along three forms of narrative. The first is the exterior narrative— the visible action, the blunt human response — which informs the overall plot. The second is the interior narrative—the emotional arc of the story— the internal rumblings and silent intentions of protagonist Julie Davis. But what’s unique is the third narrative, the exploration into Julie’s subconscious through her art.
A beloved children’s author and illustrator, Julie is best known for creating Pinky Tinkerbink: a little girl, born with a pinky finger shaped like a key. Reading about Pinky helps thousands of children unlock their fears and, in the process discover their dreams. Bright eyed, full of light and hope, Pinky is Julie’s alter-ego. Through Pinky, we see the world the way Julie sees it.
For Julie the world is a magical place. She appreciatesthe beauty of life and it’s precisely that beauty that crushes her. And that’s what always crushed me. The fleeting beauty of life. Those little yellow flowers that push through the ice every spring. The sound of my son’s feet pitter-pattering down the hall. The site of my daughter being carried through the world on top her daddy’s shoulders…One day I will have to say goodbye. And the pain in that, of the inevitable goodbye. I still have a hard time with that.
The tools of film and fiction are different, but the human heart beats the same. I hope that what’s in my heart resonates in the film. That Julie’s story will bring to light the darkness of postpartum depression and women’s mental health, yes, but also the ineffable joy — the wonder — of motherhood that Amanda’s performance explores so fearlessly.
A Mouthful of Air is not autobiographical, but it is deeply personal. My son will turn twenty-six this December, my daughter is twenty-one. Not a day goes by —truly—that I don’t stop and appreciate how fortunate I am to be alive. How grateful I am that I got the help I needed, that I didn’t die. I was lucky.
Thank you for taking the time to read my director’s statement. I am excited and proud to finally be sharing A Mouthful of Air with you. It’s not an easy film, but I hope it will help women open up about how scary it is to be a new mom, so that they —we —no longer live in shame. Because it’s not the sadness Julie feels, but the happiness that she’s left behind, that is the tragedy of her story.