Written by Jana Angeles
It’s estimated that one in seven women will experience Postnatal Depression (PND) in their lives. While celebrities live such glamorous lives, working on cool projects and may have all the money in the world, some celebrity mothers around the world have openly shared their struggles in dealing with PND. It just goes to show that even the individuals who have everything will experience the darkness of PND. We believe that there is no substitute in expressing how you feel – whether it’s through a journal or on a post via Instagram. You have the power to be the voice and change to all the women who are going through PND. Here are some celebrities we personally think give great advice for the women out there struggling with PND.
South-African born Australian actress Tammin Sursok (Pretty Little Liars, Home & Away), wrote a deep and insightful essay on the day she was diagnosed with post-partum anxiety, which was published via news.com.au last year, writing her struggles and saying, “I remember not being able to swallow. Not being able to eat. Not being able to cry. Not being able to breathe. Just not being ‘able’.”
She is genuine with her words and describes the anxiety and loss of appetite you experience with PND. Tammin shares a powerful statement from her piece saying that “As mothers, women, parents and caregivers, we need to break the stigma. Lives are being lost. We need to speak up about our tales of sadness and hope and joy. We are no lesser because of it and only through heartache comes true resilience.”
Drew Barrymore has been an iconic figure when it comes to the household names of chick flicks such as Never Been Kissed, The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. Through her fame and glamour, she too is a mother that has experienced the grief that comes from PND. Her story about her experience with it became the cover story on People magazine and she describes the illness as being “under the cloud”. She experienced PND after giving birth to her second child. In the interview, she shares that the illness taught her to make sensible decisions while also making her work life suit her role as a parent.
Gwyneth Paltrow experienced PND first hand after giving birth to her second child. Her ex-husband Chris Martin (Coldplay), noticed the change in behaviour when comparing the experience to their first-born. In a Goop podcast episode, she opens up about her experience with PND and speaks so honestly about what the illness did to her. She says, “I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. I couldn’t figure it out. It never occurred to me.” While experiencing the symptoms of PND, Gwyneth felt like she was a failure and she encourages women to speak about PND openly for increased awareness. She says, “I thought postpartum depression meant you were sobbing every single day and incapable of looking after a child. But there are different shades of it and depths of it, which is why I think it’s so important for women to talk about.”
Known for her powerful hit single “Ironic”, Canadian-American rockstar Alanis Morissette opened up her struggle with PND for 14-months in an interview with People magazine last year. Alanis talks about how the illness has put a strain on her marriage with rapper Mario “Souleye” Treadway, although he has been extremely supportive throughout her struggles with PND and tries to find activities, like watching Game of Thrones together as an opportunity to bond. Alanis talks honestly and says, “I just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and try not to beat myself up.”
When her debut album, 19 was released in 2008, Adele’s career has flourished and with her incredible voice and talent in penning such emotive lyrics, reaching both critical and commercial success, the illness of PND stole the spotlight from her when she gave birth to her son. In a Vanity Fair cover story in 2016, she shares that speaking to mothers who experienced similar struggles with PND helped her through the illness as she refused to take antidepressants to deal with its symptoms. She recognised that it was important that she took the time to recharge and get some alone time, at least one afternoon a week. She says, “You’re constantly trying to make up for stuff when you’re a mum. I don’t mind, because of the love I feel for him. I don’t care if I don’t ever get to do anything for myself again.”