Mental health has a long history of stigma, which has sadly kept many people from feeling safe enough to seek help. Postpartum depression, which impacts as many as one of of five women, is no exception. The symptoms can be difficult to recognize—and the fear of ridicule or shame can be overwhelming.
But there are so many forces for good out there; in this case, it's celebrities who have come forward to share their journeys with postpartum depression. We are so grateful for their honesty and bravery which is quite literally saving lives by reminding women every where that they are not alone, and there is help available.
Here are 10 celebrities who have been open about their postpartum depression stories:
Tennis super-star Serena Williams told Harpers Bazaar that after her traumatic birth experience (she had blood clots in her lungs), she experienced postpartum depression. She said, "Honestly, sometimes I still think I have to deal with it... I think people need to talk about it more because it's almost like the fourth trimester, it's part of the pregnancy. I remember one day, I couldn't find Olympia's bottle and I got so upset I started crying... because I wanted to be perfect for her."
We can identify with this so much.
Williams says she prefers to use the phrase "postpartum emotions" to help combat the stigma that is associated with the word depression.
Singer Adele that at the moment she's not considering having another childly, partly because she's worried about postpartum depression.
"I'm too scared," she told Vanity Fair. "I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me." Her most pressing symptom was feeling like an inadequate mother.
For Adele, connecting with other mom-friends and taking time for herself were instrumental in helping her to feel better. "Eventually I just said, I'm going to give myself an afternoon a week, just to do whatever... I want without my baby."
Postpartum depression caught rapper Cardi B by surprise. "I thought I was going to avoid it," she told Harpers Bazzar. "When I gave birth, the doctor told me about postpartum, and I was like, 'Well, I'm doing good right now, I don't think that's going to happen.' But out of nowhere, the world was heavy on my shoulders."
During her third pregnancy in 2019, Alanis Morissette spoke openly about her previous experiences with postpartum depression, stating that readied her for this pregnancy and for getting help afterward.
"Not singularly relying on myself to diagnose myself is key," she told SELF. "Because the first time around I waited."
This isn't the first time Alanis has talked publicly about waiting a long time to get help when she was suffering from PPD. Like a lot of mothers, she didn't get help for PPD right away, instead suffering for a year and four months after the birth of her first baby.
"The stigma remains in a really big way," the singer previously told 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.'"
Actress Reese Witherspoon has had postpartum depression several times. In an episode of Jameela Jamil's "I Weigh" podcast she said, "I've had three kids. After each child I had a different experience. One kid I had kind of mild postpartum, and one kid I had severe postpartum where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn't thinking straight at all."
Previous postpartum depression does increase the risk of having another occurrence, though it's not always the case. Witherspoon continued, "And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all."
Model Behati Prinsloo wrote about her experience with postpartum depression with Today. "I had moments of postpartum after our first baby that I felt like it was coming through. But my husband was so incredibly supportive and always got me out of it."
She has been vocal about helping other women feel less alone about their experiences; even if it doesn't seem like a severe case of depression. "And I think that the message is just that it's never too little to ask for help. So no matter how small your feelings and stress—or whatever it is about being a new mom—there's always help out there and support from family and friends. And I think nobody judges anyone."
Model, TV personality and author Chrissy Teigen has been incredibly vocal about her struggles with postpartum depression, very much with the intention of helping other women who are going through it.
She told Today that she didn't know that was she was feeling was postpartum depression at first.
"Since it happened with Luna, it happened with my first one, I just didn't know that there was any other way to feel... I thought it was very natural to be in this low, low point and I just assumed that was motherhood and there was no other way around it."
She didn't truly understand how many women are impacted by postpartum depression until the first time she went public with her story.
"I didn't really realize it until I'd written an article with Glamour magazine and spoken out about it how many women are going through this...I think more than anything I've ever done, more women on the street come up to me and talk about that article than anything else."
Actor Drew Barrymore did not experience postpartum depression with her first child. She told People, "I didn't have postpartum [depression] the first time so I didn't understand it because I was like, 'I feel great!'"
"The second time, I was like, 'Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.' It's a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud."
Barrymore shared that although it was difficult, she feels a sense of gratitude to her postpartum depression because it helped her learn how to focus on the present.
For actress Courtney Cox, postpartum depression set in months after her baby was born (which can be normal).
"I went through a really hard time—not right after the baby, but when (Coco) turned 6 months," she told USA Today. "I couldn't sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed. I went to the doctor and found out my hormones had been pummeled."
Talking to friends and seeking treatment from her doctor were incredibly helpful for Cox.
For actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, postpartum depression didn't strike until she gave birth to her second child.
"It was really shocking to me because I never thought that I would be a person who got postnatal depression," Paltrow shared during an episode of the goop podcast. "I was so euphoric when Apple was born, and I assumed it would happen with Mosey and it just… it took a while. I really went into a dark place."
Gwyneth's ex-husband helped her to identify what was going on. "About four months into it, Chris came to me and said, 'Something's wrong. Something's wrong.' I kept saying, 'No, no, I'm fine.' But Chris identified it, and that sort of burst the bubble," Paltrow said. "There are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it's so important for women to talk about it. It was a trying time. I felt like a failure."
The bottom line is this: Postpartum depression can impact anyone. There is absolutely no shame in it, and help is absolutely available—and effective. You are not alone, mama.
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