Postpartum depression is a heavy topic and one that has a stigma of shame attached to it – although, when you discuss it among a group of mothers, I think you’d find more often than not, genuine empathy and support rather than judgment.
In recent years, more and more celebrities are coming out and discussing their battles with this sometimes debilitating disease. Courtney Cox, Amanda Peet and Brooke Shields – all of which have experienced varying levels of PPD following the birth of their children have all opened up about postpartum depression and it’s paralyzing affects.
Gwyneth Paltrow sat down recently with Amanda de Cadanet for a new Lifetime series The Conversations with Amanda de CadanetÂ to discuss her battle with postpartum depression – a fact not unknown to the general public since releasing the news as a part of herÂ GOOP newsletter back in 2010.
During the conversation, Gwyneth shared that she felt very disconnected from everyone following the birth of her son Moses in in 2006.Â ”I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. I couldn’t figure it out. It never occurred to me,” remarked Paltrow, when discussing her realization that she might be dealing with postpartum depression. It was her husband, Chris Martin, who brought it to her attention that it might, in fact, be PPD.
When when she looked up the symptoms of the condition (see below), she realized that it was in fact the condition she was dealing with. “I couldn’t connect with my son the way that I had with my daughter and I couldn’t understand why. I couldn’t connect to anyone. I felt like a zombie. I felt very detached.”
What I found most encouraging about this interview was what she had to say regarding the stigma and the judgement attached to things like postpartum depression and motherhood in general:
“We think that it makes us bad mothers or we didn’t do it right, but it’s like, we’re all in this together,” Paltrow said. “I never understand why mothers judge other mothers, like, ‘What do you mean you didn’t breastfeed? What do you mean you didn’t do this?’ It’s like, ‘Can’t we all just be on each other’s side?’ It’s so hard anyway. Can’t we all help each other get through it?”
I am so encouraged that celebrities are using their voices to open the discussion on important topics such as these. This, my friends, is what we should focus on when we hear and see friends going through the months following the birth’s of their children because it is not an easy time. We know when they are struggling – we see the signs – and when we do, we should offer them an olive branch, not a bunch of judgement.
Do not make it harder on them by making them feel bad about not choosing to breastfeed or for struggling to make it through the day with their newborn. Offer to babysit while they take a shower and have some time to themselves.
Offer them a listening ear and let them know that the parenting path they take is ok because it’s the right one for them.Â Make them feel normal for feeling overwhelmed at times. Perfection in parenting is not reality and we need to allow mothers the comfort of knowing, living and finding peace with that. Sometimes, it’s ok to be good enough.
Additionally, if you or a friend is experiencing what you think is PPD, work together to get help. Below are the signs and symptoms of this sometimes debilitating condition – it should not be ignored. PPD often requires therapy and medical intervention to remedy, along with emotional support from family and friends.
The signs and symptoms of postpartum depressionÂ according to the Mayo Clinic website:
Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first â€” but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Postpartum depression symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Intense irritability and anger
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Loss of interest in sex
- Lack of joy in life
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Severe mood swing
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for a year or more.
If you or someone you love is showing active signs of PPD, please be proactive in pursuing help so all involved can work towards getting back to a sense of happiness and normalcy sooner rather than later. This isn’t a journey that should be taken alone.
Photo: PR Photos
Quote Source: OTRC