Gwyneth Paltrow Speaks Out About Her Experience With Postpartum Depression
Gwyneth Paltrow's weekly newsletter, GOOP, normally focuses on topics such as shopping, recipes and travel, but in her latest issue, she gets personal, opening up about her own experience with postpartum depression.
"When my son, Moses, came into the world in 2006, I expected to have another period of euphoria following his birth, much the way I had when my daughter was born two years earlier," she writes. "Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life. For about five months I had, what I can see in hindsight as postnatal depression, and since that time, I have wanted to know more about it. Not only from a hormonal and scientific standpoint, and why so many of us experience it, but from the perspective of other women who have gone through it."
Paltrow is not alone. About 10 percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, according to Dr. Laura Schiller, who also writes about it in GOOP.
"Symptoms are similar to a major depression and include feelings of sadness, helplessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and having trouble sleeping, eating and making choices," the New York-based OB-GYN writes. "Sometimes she is not able to care for herself or her baby and she has a difficult time functioning at home and at work. Most importantly, women with postpartum depression need treatment with counseling and sometimes medication so that the depression does not become worse and last even longer."
Actress Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of director Ron Howard who stars in "Twilight: Eclipse," "Spider-Man 3" and "Terminator Salvation," shares her own experience with the condition after the birth of her son, Theo, now 3, in an honest essay in GOOP.
"Before Theo was born, I had been in good humor about my 80-pound weight gain, but I was now mortified by it," Howard writes. "I felt I was failing at breast-feeding. My house was a mess. I believed I was a terrible dog owner. I was certain I was an awful actress; I dreaded a film I was scheduled to shoot only a few weeks after the birth because I could barely focus enough to read the script. And worst of all, I definitely felt I was a rotten mother -- not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear."
Howard says she eventually saw a therapist who diagnosed her with severe postpartum depression, which slowly lifted.
"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 writes. "... Do I wish I had never endured postpartum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains."
Related: Dads Also Experience Postpartum Depression, Study Says
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