In Glamour magazine’s April issue, Chrissy Teigen shares her experience of postpartum depression after the birth of her baby girl. In so doing, she joins a growing list of celebrities moms who have courageously divulged their struggles with perinatal mental health issues.
Too often, postpartum depression lives in the shadows, hidden by parents who feel ashamed of how they’re feeling. Society expects parents to feel overjoyed after the birth of their child(ren), ecstatic about bringing new life into the world, intoxicated by their baby scent, enthralled, infatuated, captivated, contented, connected, adoring, doting, instinctive, devoted, maternal.
For many parents, their experience simply doesn’t align with these idyllic depictions. On the contrary, the reality for many moms, dads too, is much darker; it’s a battle that demands, consumes, and weakens. For those who venture into parenthood with the weight of postpartum mood or anxiety disorders on their shoulders, the joy they thought they would feel is replaced by soul-crushing depression and/or combative, unrelenting anxiety. And even celebrities aren’t immune.
So, why should we care?
Because when celebrities offer us a glimpse into their journey, they highlight the indiscriminate nature of mental health issues. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders affect a wide array of individuals, crossing socioeconomic lines, ethnicities, ages, lifestyles, education levels, family structures, backgrounds, etc. This matters.
Because when celebrities speak out, they promote understanding. These voices permeate both the public milieu and private conversations, allowing awareness to fill the cracks through which some have fallen. This matters.
Because when celebrities extend their hearts, they unite us. Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. When we are able to share in the struggle, we empathize, and we grow stronger in our solidarity. This matters.
Because when celebrities illuminate the darkness shared by so many others, they lighten the burden of postpartum depression. Those who struggle in isolation feel less alone. More people feel seen and heard. This matters.
So, to Chrissy Teigen and the brave ones who have gone before her, celebrity or otherwise, thank you.