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postpartum depression

Chrissy Teigen has written a powerful open letter about her struggle with postpartum depression

“I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody.”

OVER THE PAST few years, Chrissy Teigen has come to be regarded as one of the sharpest, wittiest, brutally honest women on social media.

Now the model and television personality is winning praise for writing a frank, unflinching essay about being diagnosed with postpartum depression.

In an essay for Glamour, Teigen explains that she “felt unhappy” after the birth of her daughter Luna, but was unable to figure out why.

At first she attributed the “detachment and sadness” she was experiencing to living in a rental home while her house was under construction, but the depression was exacerbated when she returned to work on Lip Sync Battle.

I went back to work on Lip Sync Battle in August, when Luna was four months. The show treated me incredibly well—they put a nursery in my dressing room and blew up photos of Luna and John and my family for my wall.

She experienced a number of physical symptoms, including back pain and loss of appetite.

But I was different than before. Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. 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, and you know how big of a deal food is for me. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people.
I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: “Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom.”

She explains that she “never left the house” and spent her days indoors, unable to muster the energy to do much of anything.

Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row.

In December, she consulted a doctor about the symptoms she was experiencing and she was quickly diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. Since then, she has started taking antidepressants and writes that the “really bad days” are mostly a thing of the past.

She explained that she wrote the essay to reduce the stigma of postpartum depression and help other mothers to feel less alone.

I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone. I also don’t want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that—for me—just merely being open about it helps. This has become my open letter.

Postpartum depression is not uncommon. In fact, it reportedly affects up to 1 in 7 mothers. But there’s still a great deal of stigma around the illness.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Medicine noted that many instances go undiagnosed due to “the social stigma of being labeled an ‘unhappy mother’”.

Women attempt to hide their distress or struggle alone in fear of being labeled an unfit parent or, worse, having their baby taken from them. They may minimise their symptoms or attribute them to feeling overwhelmed by the demands of a new baby, lack of sleep or difficult infant temperament.

Hence why Teigen is to be commended for being so forthright and open about her struggles.

This evening, Chrissy Teigen thanked Glamour for allowing her to discuss postpartum depression and noted that people shouldn’t feel compelled to “tiptoe” around her.

You can read Chrissy’s essay in full here.

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