Welcoming a new baby into the world takes you on the journey of a lifetime. After having this human growing inside of your body for nine months, your baby is finally here, and now comes the real rollercoaster. For some women, that rollercoaster ride comes in the form of a severe case of the baby blues, also known as postpartum depression. And it's not just your average mom that experiences this debilitating post-baby sadness. There are several celebrities who have opened up about postpartum depression, which has helped dissipate the stigma of the experience.
Postpartum depression is simply the depression that occurs after childbirth, according to the Mayo Clinic. It typically arises typically due to the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to becoming a mother, and fatigue. Postpartum depression is fairly common, and is a universal challenge. It happens to moms all over the world, of all different demographics.
When celebrity mothers open up to the public about their struggles with postpartum depression, it helps normalize the struggles that some mother may feel in the months after they have a baby. It helps them recognize that they're not the only mothers who have felt this way, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how long that tunnel may be. Whether you're a single mother, a mother with a perfect partner, or a celebrity mother, postpartum depression can happen to you. Instead of feeling alone in your struggle, read on to hear the following celebrity mothers speak on their experience with postpartum depression.
Drew Barrymore didn't experience postpartum depression after she had her first daughter, Olive, so she couldn't figure out why she was feeling so off after the birth of her second daughter, Frankie. "The second time, I was like, 'Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.' It's a different type of overwhelming," she told People. "I really got under the cloud." Although her postpartum experience only lasted six months, Barrymore told people that she was grateful for the experience, and that it has since helped her to stay present in the moment when it comes to her daughters.
In September 2015, Hayden Panettiere revealed on Live with Kelly and Michael! that she suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter in 2014. "It's something that I can very much relate to, and it's something that I know a lot of women experience," she said. "When they tell you about postpartum depression, you think about, 'Ok, I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure my child, I want to hurt my child' —I've never ever had those feelings, and some women do." After her interview, Panettiere's rep confirmed to People that she was seeking treatment for her postpartum depression.
Brooke Shields has been very open about her struggle with the postpartum depression she faced after the birth of her first daughter in 2003. People reported that Shields addressed the matter in her speech for the the Hope for Depression Research Foundation in Manhattan. "We think and we feel that we should be able to handle it on our own," Shields said. "I finally had a healthy beautiful baby girl and I couldn't look at her... All I wanted to do was disappear and die." In her speech, Shields added that once she learned what was going on in her brain, she realized that she wasn't doing anything wrong to feel that way, and that treatment helped her out of her postpartum depression.
Amanda Peet told Gotham Magazine that she suffered from a fairly serious postpartum depression in 2007. "I think there's still so much shame when you have mixed feelings about being a mom instead of feeling this sort of 'bliss,'" she said. "I think a lot of people still really struggle with that, but it's hard to find other people who are willing to talk about it." Peet attributes her dip into postpartum depression to having such a euphoric experience while pregnant with her daughter.
Courteney Cox experienced a delayed case of postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter Coco. "I went through a really hard time — not right after the baby, but when she turned six months," she told USA Today. "I couldn't sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed." Cox sought treatment for the feelings she was having, and found that her hormones had taken a dive. With treatment, and help and encouragement from her friend Brooke Shields, Cox was able to conquer her postpartum depression.
Kendra Wilkinson opened up to OK Magazine about her experience with postpartum depression after each birth of her two children. "After giving birth, I never brushed my hair, my teeth, or took a shower," she told the magazine. "I looked in the mirror one day and was really depressed. I thought, 'Look at me!' I had this glamorous life in LA, and now [in Indianapolis] I didn't." Wilkinson faced her darkest days after childbirth, and came through with a better understanding of herself and her connection to her children each time.
After giving birth to her youngest son, Marie Osmond struggled with postpartum depression. She detailed the experience in her book, Behind the Smile: My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression. "I could get past the 'baby blues.' I could do whatever needed to be done," Osmond wrote. "Five minutes later, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, heaving with sobs and all I could think was, 'This can't be happening to me.'" Osmond went on to write how she felt she had to hide her condition, and how it took her several visits to several doctors to find a treatment plan that worked to help her overcome her postpartum depression.
8Bryce Dallas Howard
"It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time," Bryce Dallas Howard told Goop readers in an essay she penned for the site."I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn't genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs. Worst of all, I definitely felt I was a rotten mother — not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear."
Gwyneth Paltrow spoke out about her postpartum depression in Lifetime's The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet. "I couldn't connect with my son the way that I had with my daughter and I couldn't understand why," she said in the program. "I couldn't connect to anyone. I felt like a zombie. I felt very detached. I just didn't know what was wrong with me. My husband actually said, 'Something's wrong. I think you have postnatal depression.' I was mortified. 'No I don't!' And then I started researching what it was and the symptoms and I was like, 'Oh, yes I do.'" Like Paltrow, you may not think you have postpartum depression, but doing a little bit of research can help you come around to the idea, and help you through your struggle.
After giving birth to her son Camden, Vanessa Lachey had a plan. But when all didn't go according to her plan, she came undone. Us Magazine reported Lachey's experience that she shared on her now defunct blog. "I didn't feel like myself," she said. "Where was the super woman who always thought and knew she could do it all? Where was the organized Vanessa who had it all under control no matter what the obstacle? She was gone, and I thought... forever." After struggling with the idea of not being the perfect mother, Lachey realized that it's OK if you can't do it all as a mother, because you've already done so much.
Celine Dion gave birth to twins in 2010, and fell into a rut of postpartum depression shortly after. "One moment, tremendous happiness; the next, fatigue sets in, and I cried for no reason, and then that took care of itself. It’s for things like that after having a baby that mothers really need emotional support,” she told French magazine Gala. She described the birth of her youngest sons as a tiring and intense joy.
Alanis Morisette welcomed her son in 2010, and faced postpartum depression soon after. "I just felt like I woke up underwater every day and that tar was being poured all over me, and I just didn't want to be alive," Alanis said in an interview for Oprah's In Deep Shift. "I didn't want to be here." Morisette explained in the interview that she has struggled with depression for most of her life, and assumed that a life without depression simply didn't exist.
Kristen Bell was filled with worry while pregnant with her baby girl Lincoln. "I kept saying to Dax in all sincerity during my pregnancy, 'I just don't know how I'm going to like her as much as I like the dogs.' I was being serious," Bell told Flare magazine. Bell also opened up recently in a candid interview with Off Camera about her lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety.
In 2007, People reported that Britney Spears was struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of her sons. Though Spears never commented on the matter herself, sources reported to People that Spears suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first son Preston, and that things continued to spiral after the birth of her second son, Jayden.
Though Angelina Jolie never confirmed the rumors herself, after the birth of her twins Vivienne and Knox, Jolie reportedly suffered from postpartum depression. Rather than isolating herself from the rest of the world, Jolie pushed through and continued to participate in life. Glamour lauded her as a role model in 2008, saying that Jolie was an inspiration for women suffering with postpartum depression everywhere.