In the essay, Teigen addressed her struggle with postpartum depression and detailed the struggles she faced after the birth of her daughter, Luna, in April 2016.
“I had everything I needed to be happy,” Teigen wrote of the year following her daughter’s birth. “And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me — but me — knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression.”
Teigen returned to her hosting duties for Lip Sync Battle four months after giving birth. She said that it was painful to get out of bed and arrive on set on time.
The new mom says that her lower back, shoulders and wrists hurt and confessed that she was short with her coworkers. She wrote the essay in part to explain why she’d been so unhappy in the past few months.
“I wanted to write an open letter to friends and employers to explain why I had been so unhappy. The mental pain of knowing I let so many people down at once was worse than the physical pain. To have people that you respect, who are the best in the business, witness you at your worst is tough.”
“I also just didn’t think it could happen to me,” she wrote. “I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. But postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it.”
She is taking an antidepressant and about to begin therapy for her depression.
Since Glamour published the essay online, many people have shown their appreciation for the Sports Illustrated model and for using her platform to speak about postpartum depression and mental health.
— Adriana Molina (@adridegiraut) March 6, 2017
thank you for publishing @chrissyteigen thank you for openness & honesty on a difficult topic. You are strong and beautiful! 💖
— MM (@mmeisterfunk) March 6, 2017
— Tracie Quigley (@tracie_wickline) March 6, 2017
— Sara M. Hefny (@saramhefny) March 6, 2017
Teigen is not alone. Many other famous women have openly battled postpartum depression.
In October 2015, Hayden Panettiere announced that she was seeking treatment for her postpartum depression after giving birth to her first daughter, Kaya, in December 2014. The Nashville star was very vocal about battling the depression.
“I can very much relate. It’s something a lot of women experience. When [you’re told] about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child.’ I’ve never, ever had those feelings,” Panettiere, said during an appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael. “Some women do. But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”
Gwyneth Paltrow experienced postpartum depression after having son Moses 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,” Paltrow wrote on GOOP. “Instead I was confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life.”
Friends actress Courteney Cox didn’t get postpartum depression until her daughter Coco was around six months old. “I couldn’t sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed,” she admitted to USA Today.
Postpartum depression is a mental illness that impacts a person’s mood – how people think about themselves, relate and interact with others, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) says. It can start during pregnancy or at any time up to a year after giving birth and both men and women can be impacted (although it is more commonly reported by women).
According to the Government of Canada’s Healthy Canadians website, 7.5 per cent of women report depressive symptoms in the postpartum period.
The CHMA describes the following as possible symptoms of postpartum depression:
- Feeling sad, worthless, hopeless, guilty or anxious a lot of the time
- Irritability or anger
- Loss of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Withdrawal from others
- Difficulty focusing on tasks and remembering information
- Finding it hard to concentrate, learn new things or participate in discussion
- Change in eating and/or sleeping habits
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health adds:
- Suffering from physical aches and pains, frequent headaches, stomach problem and muscle pain
- Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
- Feeling overwhelmed
Read Teigen’s full essay here.
— With files from Dani-Elle Dubé