Celebrity mothers courageously raise awareness of postpartum depression

Model and mother Chrissy Teigen shared her struggles with postpartum depression in an essay in Glamour to fight back against the negative stigma surrounding the disorder. (Courtesy of Creative Commons)

Postpartum depression is something many new mothers face, but is rarely spoken about. Celebrity mothers recently broke their silence about their experiences with postpartum depression, and it’s a step in the right direction for creating the kind of public support and acceptance those struggling with this condition deserve.

Postpartum depression is defined as “moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth … It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first three months after delivery,” according to the United States National Library of Medicine. 

Some noteworthy symptoms of postpartum depression are irritability, thoughts of death or suicide, being unable to care for yourself and your baby, being afraid to be alone with your baby or having little interest in the baby.

Roughly 950,000 women experience postpartum depression after giving birth each year, according to postpartumprogress.org. This disorder is one that is rarely addressed by the mainstream media, which unjustly causes women to feel ashamed of themselves. 

Recently, many celebrity mothers have been using their influence to speak out about pregnancy and motherhood in general—the good and the bad.

Model Chrissy Teigen is a prominent public figure and role model for women. She seems, according to Glamour, to have it all: she’s “a Sports Illustrated cover girl, a New York Times best-selling cookbook author, a host of the Emmy-nominated TV series ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and the soon-to-be designer of a fashion line with Revolve.”

What many didn’t know about Teigen, however, was that she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter.

In an essay for Glamour, Teigen said: “I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression.”

Teigen explored the complex emotions that accompany postpartum depression, while also addressing the physical changes in her body that contributed to the disorder.

She continued on, saying, “I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain … My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety.”

Teigen—someone who appears to be a happy, stylish and excited mother—sharing her battle with postpartum depression is imperative for awareness of the condition. Her ability to open and share her story with other mothers and the world sends an important message that postpartum depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. 

The negative stigma surrounding postpartum depression is extremely detrimental to women who suffer from it and to the families who watch their loved ones suffer. 

Celebrity mothers, like Teigen, sharing their stories will give many people hope and help society realize that mothers, regardless of their struggles, are strong. It is important that stories of postpartum depression continue to be shared and brought to the public eye in an accurate way.

Teigen closes her letter by saying, “I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.” 

These are wise words that everyone should take into consideration.