Out of the Dark: Celebrity Women Break the Silence on Postpartum Depression

Listing baby names, finding out the sex of the baby, setting up the nursery, and finally meeting the newborn are some of the joys of pregnancy, but what follows birth varies per women. Chrissy Tiegen, model and host of Lip Sync Battle, along with other celebrities, reflect on a topic of conversation that often affects thousands of women’s wellbeing.

Chrissy Tiegen

“I remember being so exhausted but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better,” Chrissy Teigen pens in her article in Glamour Magazine. Tiegen discusses her joy in realizing she could seek treatment for an unexplainable pain.

People don’t talk about this. It’s very, very scary and vulnerable.

It is not always a direct physical indication or pain that taunts women. Tiegen is one of many women who expressed her trials and tribulations regarding postpartum depression.

Tiegen is known as a happy spirit, often poking fun at herself or her husband, John Legend on social media. There is no holding back her quick-wit and commentary.

In her essay, she recalls her pregnancy as almost effortless. Tiegen states,  “I had such a wonderful, energetic pregnancy. Luna sat inside me like a little cross-legged Buddha facing toward my back for nine months.”

Following the birth of her first child, daughter Luna, Tiegen experienced angst as she tried to cope with an inexplicable sense of unhappiness.

Postpartum depression (PPD) does not choose one type of personality, age, or ethnicity. Any woman can be affected. What is expected to be a euphoric time for a mother and her child –also often a hectic time– can be deprived by anxiety, sadness and exhaustion.

After childbirth, hormone imbalance is common as estrogen and progesterone levels deplete, altering a woman’s state of mind. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue thus not allowing women to get sufficient rest to stabilize.

Courtney Cox, Hayde Panettiere, Lisa Rinna, Emily Maynard Johnson

Actress Courtney Cox, most commonly known as Monica from the hit-show Friends, suffered from a similar situation. Cox was instructed to take progesterone to help manage postpartum depression.

Tiegen along with other celebrities like Hayden Panettiere, Lisa Rinna, and Emily Maynard Johnson share similar stories. They highlight a sensitive topic that can be difficult to discuss in the limelight nonetheless within a household.   

Actress Lisa Rinna states in her book Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever, “People don’t talk about this. It’s very, very scary and vulnerable. I had visions of knives and guns. I made Harry [her husband] hide all the sharp knives and take the gun out of the house because I had visions of killing everybody. Now how horrific is that? I wanted to share it because I think women are so shamed by this and feel so horrible…I found help and got through it.” Rinna credits disclosing her depression to have helped her get through PPD.  

PPD is a hard-hitting subject to discuss for most mothers because it is presumed that a mother will experience immediate love for her child but that is not always the case.

Actress Hayden Panettiere sought treatment as she suffered her own version of postpartum depression. Although Panettiere’s was not as extreme as Rinna’s, she endured an overwhelming sense of sadness. She remained in a treatment center as she dealt with the aches and pains of postpartum.  

Panettiere shared how she felt “empowered” to be back into her routine and with her daughter Kaya post-treatment on the red carpet for the Critics’ Choice Awards. She said, “I feel like a different person walking on this red carpet. I always felt a little socially awkward—I mean, I’m still socially awkward, but I feel like I don’t have to hide myself as much anymore,” she told Access Hollywood.

Former Bachelorette Emily Maynard Johnson discussed managing a newborn as she dealt with her grief upon the passing of her fiance, at age 19. She dealt with anger and sadness but associated those emotions as part of grieving. She later would find she was also suffering from PPD.

PPD does not come with notable symptoms. Some of the symptoms can appear to correlate with other illnesses or current life circumstances. It can be helpful to observe and discuss current symptoms as you or someone you know may be experiencing PPD.

A commonality among these women’s stories is the willingness to speak out and discuss PPD. Women want to break the stigma that it is shameful or an embarrassing notion to suffer from PPD. Whether it be confiding with friends, visiting a physician or therapist it has helped these women better understand their circumstance.  

To contact the writer, email Leslie Rivera at [email protected]