Brooke Shields has spoken openly about her experience with postpartum depression after delivering her daughter Rowan.
She says the disorder is more prevalent than anyone wants to admit, and that it’s time for legislators to pass legislation to help new mothers.
“And it’s time, I believe, for Congress to step in and prevent that, and actually save lives and save potential tragedy,” she said.
Shields made headlines last year when she acknowledged taking antidepressants after her first child was born – and Tom Cruise publicly criticized her for using the drugs.
She told Stephanopoulos that she experienced acute postpartum depression after the birth of her first daughter, and it was devastating to her family.
“I had gone through numerous attempts to have a baby, and then I finally did have this perfect, beautiful, healthy baby, and it all but destroyed me,” she said.
She said a bill being considered by Congress would be “an easy gift to give to women everywhere.”
I love that Brooke has put herself out there to help other mothers. It is important for both men and women to understand the importance of awareness about postpartum depression.
A great majority of new mothers, about 80%, will experience a mild form of “baby blues”, usually within a few days after giving birth. These feelings will usually resolve on their own and disappear over a few weeks time. Postpartum depression affects about 10% to 15% of new mothers. This type of depression can affect women who have never been depressed before. Approximately 50% of women who were depressed during or after their pregnancy will also experience depression during future pregnancies.
There has been no single cause identified for postpartum depression. In fact, many factors can contribute to it. They may include:
- hormonal changes
- disappointment in birth experience
- a sense of loss from no longer being pregnant
- level of marital satisfaction
- caring for a very needy baby
- lack of family and social support
- family history of postpartum depression
- history of depression
If you feel that you have any of these symptoms (constant fatigue, lack of joy in life, social withdrawal from family and friends, lack of concern for self or the newborn baby, severe insomnia, overconcern for the baby, loss of sexual responsiveness, strong sense of failure and inadequacy or severe mood swings) please make an appointment with you doctor for them to discuss what is happening. They will have suggestions and possibly medications that will be able to help you start to feel like yourself again.
Brooke’s openness about her experiences let’s other women know that many new moms get postpartum depression and they shouldn’t be ashamed to get help.