From sparkling on the red carpet to sharing sweet snaps on Instagram, it would appear that celebrity mums have it all together.
But behind the glamour and glitz, many celebrities have experienced the struggle that comes with postpartum depression. And in recent years many have spoken about their postnatal depression battles as a way to raise awareness and stop the stigma that often accompanies this awful experience.
One in seven new mums experienced PND
Yet, it is often not discussed. Why? Because suffering with post natal depression can leave you feeling like you’re failing, like you’re done something wrong, like you’re not cut out to be a mum.
This is not the case, not even a little bit. Every mother who has experienced PND will have a different story to tell. And these celebrity mums have openly shared theirs.
1. Gwyneth Palthow
She founded a kingdom based on health and wellness but Gwyneth admits that she wasn’t immune to PND.
“At my lowest, I was a robot. I just didn’t feel anything. I had no maternal feelings for him – it was awful. I couldn’t connect, and still, when I look at pictures of him at 3 months old, I don’t remember that time.”
Gwyneth has credited exercise with helping her overcome this struggle, which she faced in 2006 after the birth of her second child, Moses. “I thought I really need to exercise… I needed to sweat… I was like, “I need to get this out of my body”
She became a mum to Angelo four years ago but Adele recently shared her PND story with Vanity Fair.
“I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant… My boyfriend said I should talk to other women who were pregnant, and I said, ‘F**k that, I ain’t hanging around with a f**kin’ bunch of mothers.”
3. Brooke Shields
Brooke was one of the first celebrities to open up about her struggle. Following her daughter Rowan’s (now 13) birth, she wrote Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression (published in 2005). Brooke has openly admitted that her battle left her with thoughts of suicide before seeking help.
“It has nothing to do with your love for [your children]. … It is something that is in your body, the loss of oestrogen, the amount of hormones. … Pay attention to the feelings that you’re feeling and talk about it and ask your doctor. … Find out what medicine’s available. You don’t have to be miserable.”
4. Elle Macpherson
Some mothers are able to recover from postnatal depression through therapy. Others, however, will require a little more assistance. Elle Macpherson falls into the latter category and bravely shares that she spent time in a clinic to help her cope with postnatal depression after the birth of her second son, Aurelius Cy (now 13).
“I took the steps I needed to take in order to recover. The truth was, I just did what I needed to do and addressed a lot of issues that needed addressing and had a well-earned break, which I really needed as well.”
Missing rings don’t mean the end of relationships. Blessed to be with my beautiful family ? pic.twitter.com/oCiTK0ziJf
— hayden panettiere (@haydenpanettier) 7 July 2016
5. Hayden Panettiere
Hayden is another mum who required medical intervention for her PND. She openly discusses her struggle after having daughter, Kaya, in December 2014.
“If you think for one second that a mother wants to feel that way toward her child, you’re outta your mind. It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel.”
“There is no overcoming [postnatal depression]. The only important thing to me is that I’m not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to.”
6. Alanis Morissette
Alanis looks blissfully relaxed with her second child, Onyx, but she has spoken out about facing postnatal depression with her first child, Ever. For Alanis, the post natal depression wasn’t just emotional. It was physical.
“The degree and intensity of my postnatal depression shocked me. I am predisposed to depression, but what surprised me this time was the physical pain. I hadn’t realised the depths to which you can ache – limbs, back, torso, head, everything hurt – and it went on for 15 months.”
7. Drew Barrymore
Drew has been through it all in her 40 years, from drug addiction as a youth to postnatal depression as a mum. Like many mums, Drew only experienced PND with her second child, Frankie, which made it even more confusing.
“The second time, I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.’ It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud.”
8. Tammin Sursok
Aussie actress Tammin Sursok gave birth to her daughter, Phoenix, two years ago, but with the recent launch of her website, Bottle + Heels and her return to Pretty Little Liars, she has also shared the darkness that she faced.
“I think after I had my child, I went through a period where I felt quite isolated and I felt quite lost. It took me a year and a half to find a tribe and a network of women where we could support and uplift each other rather than pit each other against one another.”
9. Jessica Rowe
Not one to sugarcoat parenthood (Jess has also admitted she is part of the elite “Pooing During Labour” club), Jess has spoken out several times about the impacts of postnatal depression.
“Although I knew where to get help, had family support and the financial means to pay for specialists I still felt ashamed. I thought, what right do I have to be depressed? I have everything I could wish for… a beautiful baby, a wonderful husband. I felt like such a failure.”
Jess is now an ambassador for Beyond Blue and aims to help mums get the help they deserve: “I realised that real strength came from admitting I needed help… I just had an illness. And I needed treatment to get better. It can be hard enough being a mum – even more so if you have PND.”
— Courteney Cox (@CourteneyCox) October 18, 2015
10. Courtney Cox
For Courtney, PND didn’t strike right away (and it often doesn’t). She experienced it six months after her daughter, Coco, was born.
“I couldn’t sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed. I went to the doctor and found out my hormones had been pummelled.”
Knowing that you are not alone, that many mums, celebrity and otherwise, have been through it (and countless others are experiencing it right this second), may not make you feel any better.
But we hope these celebrities’ stories inspire any mother out there who is having a hard time to speak up, to seek help and to look forward to brighter days ahead.