In a new interview, Jenna Dewan talks about her struggles when she was a first-time mom.
Jenna Dewan has been a mother for eight years, but she's just now opening up about her struggles in those early days with her first child, Everly. She touches on a majorly relatable pain point for many new parents: postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum depression is, of course, a major issue that affects many, many new parents. But postpartum anxiety doesn't get quite as much attention (or, at least, it didn't used to), despite it being a very common experience.
In an episode of the Dear Gabby podcast, Dewan says after giving birth to Everly in 2013, she was away from her ex-husband (and Everly's proud dad), Channing Tatum and experiencing "a lot of postpartum anxiety" at the time. She says she and Tatum both had hectic work schedules that separated them for the first six weeks of Everly's life.
"I had to travel with her and at the time, Chan wasn't available to be with us for the most part. So, it was me, my doula, and Evie all by ourselves traveling at six weeks," she said. She explained that balancing everything was "really hard" and she was filming on sets for long hours . "I did have her on set with me constantly," she said. "It was just really difficult."
Dealing with postpartum anxiety and working and traveling just six weeks after giving birth to your first child would be extremely difficult to navigate and cope with. I had never experienced a genuine bout of anxiety in my entire life until my first daughter was born, and the feeling was so foreign to me that I barely kept my head above water for two months. I had been educated on what to look for in terms of postpartum depression, but what I was enduring wasn't necessarily that. I lost 30 pounds in three weeks, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, and I had no idea what was happening. It took me a full year before I realized it was postpartum anxiety (that has since just turned into a generalized anxiety disorder that will probably never dissipate, because parenthood).
"It was like, I just never stopped," Dewan explained. "You know, you're up a couple times in the night and then you're working all day. I was breastfeeding, I was pumping, I was without a partner, I mean it was just craziness."Luckily after the birth of her second child with fiancé Steve Kazee, Callum, who was born in early 2020 right before the pandemic shut things down in the U.S., Dewan had a radically different experience.
Even though the world was crazy, I was home and in this love nest and it was different," she said.
Many parents have a different experience the second time around—myself included. Even if all the same anxieties are there, you typically have better coping strategies when you know what to expect. We need more moms like Jenna Dewan to keep the dialogue open about postpartum mental health.