Postpartum depression is an illness that’s left many new moms feeling afraid, anxious and alone. But with more and more people speaking out about it, we’re all making progress—which is why we commend Alanis Morissette for opening up about her experience with postpartum depression (PPD).
“The stigma remains in a really big way,” the singer tells People. “There’s this version of eye contact that I have with women who have been through postpartum depression where it’s this silent, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I’m so sorry.’”
Like a lot of mothers, Morissette says she didn’t get help for PPD right away, instead suffering for a year and four months after the birth of her first baby.
Psychologist Venus Mahmoodi of the Seleni Institute, a nonprofit destigmatizing maternal mental health care, says this is common. “A lot of times they don’t realize that it’s depression or anxiety, they’re just so focused on their baby,” Mahmoodi explains. But as time goes on they start to notice something’s not right, and that’s when they realizing they need help, she says.
When Morisette became pregnant with her second child, she tried to prepare herself for the return of PPD best she could. She tells People, “I had a pretty good sense that it was going to happen again.” She was right. The You Oughta Know singer says she felt the return of PPD symptoms just minutes after daughter Onyx was born 14 months ago.
According to Mahmoodi, “If someone has experienced postpartum depression after their first child is born there is a higher chance of them developing postpartum depression after the second is born. It’s not necessarily worse, but if they’ve never gotten treatment they’re likely to just be feeling continuously worse and worse.”
The physical pain, scary thoughts about her family being harmed, insomnia and lethargy she’d struggled against the first time came flooding back. Morissette says her PPD was four times worse the second time around.
“I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering,” she tells People. “It had me question everything. I’ve known myself to be a really incredible decision-maker and a leader that people can rely on. [Now] I can barely decide what to eat for dinner.”
Morissette leaned on her husband, rapper Mario “Souleye” Treadway during her battles with PPD. And, according to People, she’s currently treating her depression with medication and homeopathics, exercise, therapy and—of course—music.
We applaud Morissette for making sure this illness doesn’t make her quiet. This is a song so many mamas need to hear.