Pregnancy and childhood for millennial women looks much different than it did for our mothers and grandmothers. We're blessed with the ability to conceive and pursue motherhood in the way that feels most natural to us because we're blessed with so many options. Chrissy Teigen is a testament to this fact, as she and John Legend recently announced the arrival of their second child, a baby boy, on Twitter.
Although we don't many details about the mini-Legend yet, in the past, Chrissy has been extremely candid about every aspect of her life. From her recipes to her struggles with infertility, Chrissy prides herself in being a self-proclaimed oversharer - giving us all more reasons to love her. With the help of IVF, Chrissy and John conceived their first child in 2015 and who made her entrance to the world April 2015.
Though postpartum depression (PPD) is rarely discussed among women of color, out of fear of seeming weak or vulnerable, a minimum of 70-80% of new mothers get baby blues and 10-20% of those cases develop into more severe perinatal or mood anxiety disorders (PMAD). Chrissy is among the estimated 900,000 individuals per year that experience PPD and opened up about her journey through navigating the disorder after giving birth to her daughter, Luna.
Last year, Chrissy shared her experience in an open letter published by Glamour and said that despite her happy, energetic pregnancy, things were much different after she gave birth.
"After I had Luna, our home was under construction, so we lived in a rental home, then a hotel, and I blamed whatever stress or detachment or sadness I was feeling at that time on the fact that there were so many odd circumstances. I remember thinking: 'Maybe I'll feel better when we have a home.'"
After only four months of going into labor, Chrissy returned to work on set at Lip Sync Battle and despite being an excellent work environment, she still didn't quite feel like herself. She continued in the letter:
"But I was different than before. Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my shoulders—even my wrists—hurt. I didn't have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people."
The now 32-year-old supermodel says that she lost interest in things that would normally excite her, and was constantly burdened by random emotional outbursts, making her question everything, including her career choices:
"I couldn't figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: 'Maybe I'm just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I'm just supposed to be a mom.'"
"Before, when I entered a room, I had a presence: head high, shoulders back, big smile. Suddenly, I had become this person whose shoulders would cower underneath her chin. I would keep my hands on my belly and try to make myself as small as possible."
Her lack of appetite, energy, and aching bones led her to be admitted to a hospital, but it wasn't until later when she saw a general practitioner that she discovered that her symptoms could be attributed to postpartum depression.
"I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll. My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, 'Yep, yep, yep.' I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety."
Having a definitive reasoning for her symptoms was pure excitement to Chrissy's ears, and after finding and starting an effective antidepressant regimen, she began to see improvement.
"I'm speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don't want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone. I also don't want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that—for me—just merely being open about it helps. This has become my open letter."
Although Chrissy had a traumatic journey to recovery after the birth of her first child, she made it clear that the opportunity to give life is worth it ten times over. She is a beacon of light for women who have had PPD and may be hesitant to conceive out of fear that they will encounter those scary symptoms all over again.
If you have suffered from a PMAD, know that you are not alone. Although the risk factors for developing PPD a second time are anywhere from 30-70%, there are support groups, coping methods, and medical alternatives available to women that weren't an option to the mothers who came before us; so it's important that we take advantage.
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