Written by Sarah Henning
Actress Hayden Panettiere made headlines this week when it was announced she entered a treatment facility to aid in her recovery from postpartum depression. She has been open about her struggle since giving birth to her first child in December 2014, and in doing so, has been raising awareness about this condition that many mothers experience. The Mayo Clinic defines postpartum depression as a “severe, long-lasting form of depression,” and states that it “isn't a character flaw or a weakness ... it's simply a complication of giving birth.”
Unfortunately, postpartum depression is often overlooked as being fictitious, uncontrollable, or not very serious. Panettiere points out that “there's a lot of people out there who think that it's not real, that it's not true, that it's something that's made up in their minds and, oh, it's hormones,” although in reality it can be painful and debilitating to mothers who experience it.
It is also a common condition. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that around 15% of new mothers in the United States suffer from a mental illness, such as postpartum depression, throughout or after a pregnancy. This should not be a condition that gets swept under the rug, or that women should be made to feel ashamed of. Rather, as Panettiere stated, “it's something I think that needs to be talked about and women need to know that they're not alone and that it does heal.”
For help coping with postpartum depression, or depression of any kind, reach out to a doctor. For additional resources, visit http://www.postpartum.net/, and know that you are not alone.
CNN. (13 October, 2015). Hayden Panettiere enters treatment for postpartum depression. http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/13/entertainment/hayden-panettiere-postpartum-depression-feat/
Mayo Clinic. (2015). Postpartum Depression. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/definition/con-20029130