Shay Mitchell made her first major television debut in 2010 as the sexually explorative, possibly murderous Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars and in June, the now 32-year-old actress proved that she's still up to her old antics and announced that she's been keeping another big secret. In a pregnancy announcement that has since gained more than 4.8 million likes, Shay Mitchell revealed that she and her 38-year-old Canadian partner Matte Babel would be expecting their first child together. In a recent interview with The Hatch, Shay opened up about the real reason that she hid her pregnancy for almost six months. She explained:
"The first five months of this pregnancy were super isolating, and I went through a severe depression. I previously had a miscarriage and that experience gave me anxiety about sharing the news of this pregnancy with anyone outside of our parents."
Shay said that while during her first pregnancy, she couldn't wait to tell her family and friends about her newfound blessing, this time around was much different:
"With the first pregnancy, I was elated and told everyone at eight weeks. However, I wanted to be sure that this second pregnancy would be viable before shouting it from the rooftops, so I hid it for nearly six months and became very anti-social. Usually, I'm incredibly active and outgoing, but instead, I mainly stayed home to avoid stares and questions. I was extremely lonely."
Shay said that even though keeping this secret was essential to keeping her sanity, it also made her feel more distant from her family and friends than ever before. Before long, loved ones began to question Shay's sudden and unexplained weight gain and over time, the burden of her silence only added to her loneliness. It wasn't until later that Shay would learn that she was suffering from what she now knows is prepartum depression. She explained:
"As long as I can remember, I've heard about POSTpartum depression. However, to be depressed at the beginning came as a shock. The isolation and anxiety I experienced was crippling. I thought I was going out of my mind and questioned why nobody ever talked to me about this phase."
Shay went on to say that sharing her experience has been a huge part of healing from her miscarriage. Although at the beginning of her pregnancy, she and her partner felt that privacy was a priority, today Shay says that opening up about her experience has helped her redefine her own strength:
"I think it's really interesting that prepartum depression or feelings of isolation in pregnancy are not more vastly discussed…feeling that I was alone in my depression compounded my state of mind, but have found since sharing the news publicly that many women feel as I did…pregnancy can be a hard time, especially if you're having to hide it. After I came out publicly, I felt an enormous wave of relief and was finally able to start enjoying the pregnancy."
Although Shay struggles with the reality of her miscarriage every day, she reminds herself that everything happens for a reason while she patiently awaits the arrival of her baby girl.
Read Shay's full interview here!
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com