Repeat after us: If you're struggling with postpartum depression, you're not alone. While many women feel the 'baby blues' after delivery, it's estimated that up to 25 percent will have some form of more serious postpartum depression, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It's a scary time for most moms, and celeb moms are no different. From actresses to musicians and TV hosts, read these brave stories of celebrities who have spoken out about their postpartum depression.
To her fans, Chrissy Teigen often seems like the happiest person on the planet. One look at the Sports Illustrated model and New York Times-bestselling cookbook author's social media, and you'd think her life was picture-perfect 24/7. Although she and swoon-worthy hubby John Legend struggled with infertility on their journey to becoming parents to baby girl Luna Simone, Teigen was honest and open about the challenges and seemed to take everything in stride, with an unshakeable sense of humor.
After giving birth, Teigen seemed to be loving new motherhood, stretch marks and all. But just a month shy of Luna's first birthday, she penned an essay for Glamour magazine revealing her struggle with postpartum depression. "I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy," she wrote. Teigen had a hard time coming to terms with PPD, but realized she was "different than before. Getting out of bed to get to [the set of Lip Sync Battle] on time was painful," she wrote. "My lower back throbbed; my shoulders—even my wrists—hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food." She added: "There was a lot of spontaneous crying."
Finally, eight months after Luna's birth, Teigen received a diagnosis of postpartum depression and anxiety. "I remember being so exhausted but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better," she wrote. Teigen began taking an antidepressant and talking to friends and family about her diagnosis, and says she plans to start seeing a therapist. "I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody," she wrote, "and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone."
The 8 Simple Rules alum gave birth to son Lennox Sawyer—with husband and fellow actor Kacy Lockwood—back in March, and now she’s finally getting real about how hard these last eight months have been. In a recent blog post for People, Davidson detailed her struggle with PPD after her little guy arrived three weeks early. “I guess you could say I started to tailspin a bit,” she reveals. “The first month, I just couldn’t stop crying.” And while Davidson knew all about postpartum depression, she had hoped it wouldn’t affect her. “But it did,” she admits. “It hit me hard. Those first four weeks were so incredibly challenging. I was sad and it didn’t make sense, and that made me more sad.” Eventually, however, the lifestyle blogger sought the professional help she needed. “That was the best thing I ever could’ve done,” she says. “Things started to change and the clouds started to lift, and I was able to fully experience one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever been blessed with.”
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard
The actress has been very vocal about struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of her son Theodore in 2007. "Postpartum depression is hard to describe—the way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time," she wrote in an article on goop.com. Howard said that even though they named Theo, she would refer to him as 'It' and often feel disgusted when she saw him. "It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time. I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn't genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs." Howard overcame that dark time, though, with the help of a physician and a therapist over 18 months. She went on to have another child, a girl named Beatrice, in 2012.
For actress Courteney Cox, her postpartum depression didn't set in until her daughter Coco was around six months old. She told USA Today that she couldn't sleep, her heart would race, and that she became very depressed. When Cox went to the doctor, she was told her "hormones had been pummeled," and she took a progesterone to recover from the disease. She also said she relied on friends such as Brooke Shields (who also suffered from PPD) and Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston.
To describe postpartum depression, actress Gwyneth Paltrow called herself a "zombie" that "couldn't access my heart." After she gave birth to her son Moses in 2006, she told Good Housekeeping that she couldn't connect to him. "It was terrible. It was the exact opposite of what had happened when Apple was born. With her, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe it wasn't the same [after Moses was born]. I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person." Paltrow didn't reveal how she overcome PPD, but did say that it lasted about two years after Moses was born.
Often touted as the spokesmom for PPD, actress and model Brooke Shields wrote about her experience in a book called Down Came the Rain: My Journey With Postpartum Depression. When she first started having symptoms after daughter Rowan was born, Shields initially thought she was just an exhausted new mom. But then it became evident it was something more. "Rowan kept crying, and I began to dread the moment when Chris would bring her back to me. I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise were tightening around my chest. Instead of the nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of devastation overcame me." She also said she never felt a desire to pick Rowan up when she cried, and instead didn't want to get close to her. To get the help she needed, Shields took medicine, sought therapy, and relied on friends and family. She told WebMD, "I attribute a lot to breastfeeding, because, for me, the physical connection is what I really needed, whether I enjoyed it or not. Somewhere along the line it was undeniable that she was stuck to me. I think that was important to my recovery."
When the model and TV personality had her first baby, Camden, she wrote about struggling with postpartum depression on her blog. "I started crying. I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out. I felt like I had officially come undone," she wrote. "I imagined blissful days, tired nights, but quiet loving moments. I imagined family dinners with the 12 casseroles I prepared ahead of time, and a beautiful post-pregnancy glow that embodied me 24-7. But this was none of that." While she didn't reveal how she overcame PPD, Lachey said that giving herself permission to be imperfect and needing a break was helpful, along with taking a shower, going for a drive, and collecting her thoughts.
Following what actress Amanda Peet described as a "euphoric pregnancy," she suffered from postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter Frankie. "I want to be honest about it because I think there's still so much shame when you have mixed feelings about being a mom instead of feeling this sort of 'bliss,'" Peet told Gotham magazine. "I think a lot of people still really struggle with that, but it's hard to find other people who are willing to talk about it." To cope, Peet turned to anti-depression medicine.
After revealing she was struggling with postpartum depression on Live With Kelly and Michael, Panettiere voluntary sought professional help and checked herself into a treatment center to overcome her feelings of sadness. "It's something a lot of women experience," she said on the show. "When [you're told] about postpartum depression, you think it's 'I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child'—I've never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don't realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It's something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they're not alone, and that it does heal."
Several months later, Panettiere was feeling much better. On the red carpet for the Critics' Choice Awards, she said she felt "empowered" to be back into her routine and with her daughter Kaya post-treatment. "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. "And I can be true, and people will accept your scars and your bumps and your bruises and will relate to them, and I didn't really know that until everything happened over this past year or so."
After giving birth to her baby, Lola Sofia Bonfiglio, Carnie Wilson told People that she felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and would cry frequently. "It's a physical feeling. I don't know how to describe it. You're overwhelmed with love and joy, then sadness and fear. You're so afraid you're going to fail this baby. What if you drop her or hurt her? She's totally dependent on you and it's scary," she said. While she didn't take medication, Wilson said that exercise helped somewhat with her feelings, but it was really time that healed everything, along with bonding via breastfeeding and hypnosis with her therapist. "He takes me to a hypnotic state and repeats life-affirming words that help me have the confidence that all will be all right with my child," she said.
Probably one of the most severe PPD cases revealed by a celebrity came from TV host Lisa Rinna, who wrote in her book Rinnavation: Getting Your Best Life Ever that she had severe, "soul crushing" postpartum depression after both pregnancies. She wrote: "I set out to write a diet and fitness book period and that was about it. That isn't exactly who I am, I'm much more than that. I just started to open up and it became this cathartic event... People don't talk about this. It's very, very scary and vulnerable. I had visions of knives and guns. I made Harry 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."
After the birth of both of her children, Hank IV and Alijah, reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson said she struggled with postpartum depression. "I was at a real low. I even questioned my life," Kendra said on her show Kendra. "If it wasn't for Alijah, the bond I had with her, I feel like I would have probably ended my life. I felt like I'm not even supposed to be here."
Emily Maynard Johnson
Emily Maynard Johnson
The former Bachelorette opened up about battling postpartum depression at age 19 after daughter Ricki was born, following the death of her fiancé Ricky Hendrick. "The first couple of years were so hard," Maynard Johnson told People. "I didn't know if I was coming or going. At the time, I didn't know it was postpartum [depression]. I had never heard of that."
The jewelry designer said she felt "intense anger and sadness" during her grief process, all while trying to care for her newborn. "I definitely went through depression, where I didn't want to get out of bed," she said. "I always joke that I've seen every therapist in Charlotte. But nothing they could tell me was going to make me feel better."
Maynard Johnson eventually worked her way out of her dark place and found love again with auto management consultant Tyler Johnson. The couple welcomed son Jennings Tyler in 2015.