Hayden Panettiere is one of the lucky ones. Ten months after giving birth, she has realized that she is in the throes of postpartum depression, and as a result of the public’s realization that she is getting treatment for the condition, awareness of how debilitating the condition can be is rising. Certainly, Brooke Shields raised a lot of awareness in the early 2000s when she admitted to similar feelings shortly after the birth of her daughter, Rowan, with husband Chris Henchy, but Panettiere’s willingness to seek help for her postpartum depression has swept Twitter, with almost every news agency and media outlet discussing the Nashville star’s desire to discuss the illness.
“Postpartum depression takes certain truths and turns them into the worst version of the truth,” she said. “The truth is, your life is changed forever when you have a child, but what you don’t factor in is that it might be better and it might be more enriched.”
According to Forbes, failing to recognize that you might be struggling with postpartum depression or even accept that you have it can lead to terrible consequences. The magazine lists statistics that show 1 to 2 out of every 1,000 women could possibly develop postpartum psychosis, which is an even more serious condition than postpartum depression. The problem with postpartum psychosis is that it can potentially lead to the woman harming herself or others, including the baby.
In an article entitled “25 Things You Don’t Know About Me,” Panettiere acknowledged struggling with postpartum depression and told her readership that they truly were not alone and that they were not crazy. Interestingly, Panettiere’s character on Nashville is also currently coping with symptoms of postpartum depression, though producers have reported that the storyline was designed well before Panettiere disclosed her illness, per People.
Current views on motherhood can harm a mother’s will to seek help for postpartum depression. Depictions of mothers doting on their children from the second they are born are sold to us daily in any one of a number of storylines, which makes it indeed difficult for women to feel confident in stepping forward and admitting to struggling with postpartum depression and wanting to seek help for it. Shame and guilt are two common feelings when it comes to discussing mental illness, but shame and guilt in mothers discussing postpartum depression seems especially bad, Forbes contributor Tara Haelle said.
Yahoo Health reports that treatment for postpartum depression may include talk therapy or antidepressants. However, there is some degree of stigma associated with mental health treatment, so it is important for the woman seeking help to be open to treatment; the husband or concerned loved one cannot force the woman to go for help. When it comes to postpartum depression and the troubling thoughts and symptoms that are associated with it, the woman needs to realize help is needed and that she does not have to be alone throughout the treatment. Like many mental health problems, postpartum depression is treatable; the new mother just has to ask for help.
[Featured image by Michael Buckner / Getty Images for Audi]