Mother of two Catherine Reitman describes to GMA the "awkward and hilarious and painful" moment that ultimately inspired her to develop Workin' Moms

By Jen Juneau
March 13, 2019 11:15 AM
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Catherine Reitman
| Credit: Catherine Reitman/Instagram

Producer, actress and mother of two Catherine Reitman will be the first to tell you that postpartum depression is no joke. But in her case, it also led to an “ah-ha” moment that ended up inspiring her newest project: the popular Canadian-borne comedy series Workin’ Moms.

“I went back to work about six weeks after I gave birth which was crazy early and experienced some pretty bad postpartum depression, but didn’t know it at the time,” she told Good Morning America in an interview published Tuesday.

“I would be driving, fantasizing that a car would hit me and put me in the hospital. [I thought] I would be in a coma and get taken care of and not have to worry about my responsibilities.”

Reitman, 37, recalled an incident that happened around that time that inspired her husband Philip Sternberg (who costars in and executive produces Workin’ Moms with his wife) to tell her, ” ‘You’ve got to write this.’ ”

“I was away from my 6-week-old child, there were all these male comedians on set and they were teasing me. They were saying, ‘Oh, is the baby calling the nanny Mom yet?’ ” she told GMA. “I started crying in front of them. They went completely silent. It was awkward and hilarious and painful all in one.”

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Reitman — who is the daughter of legendary filmmaker Ivan Reitman and sister of fellow filmmaker Jason Reitman — unveiled Workin’ Moms in 2017. The show follows four mothers (one of whom is played by Reitman) as they experience the ups and downs of new motherhood.

“It represents the battle cry that so many mothers feel whether they’re stay-at-home moms or working — it’s a battle to get to be seen as the person we were before we gave birth,” she told GMA.

“There’s just an incredible amount of loneliness as a mother, all this solitude no one really speaks to,” added Reitman, a mom of two sons. “There’s an identity crisis — a lot of us become mothers and all of a sudden we’re expected to become these selfless people. That’s not a really natural process. That, for me, never felt organic.”

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“The expectations on all of us to be full-time workers but pretend we don’t have kids and to be full-time mothers and pretend we don’t have a [career] is unrealistic and complicated and to look good while doing it all, it’s a feat that not many can pull off,” Reitman continued.

“Have a lot of compassion for yourself and love for yourself and [try] caring less of what everyone else has to say,” she advised fellow moms. “If you can find moments of success then you’re ahead of the curve.”

Workin’ Moms is currently on its third season, but season 1 is streaming on Netflix now.