In the February issue of Good Housekeeping, Gwyneth Paltrow opens up about her struggle with postpartum depression after the birth of her second child, Moses.
With her first baby, Apple, she says she felt blissful and happy, and expected things to go similarly after her second delivery. Instead, months into her son’s life her husband Chris Martin knew something was wrong and kept approaching Paltrow about it. The idea that she could have postpartum depression didn’t really land with her, because she assumed to suffer with it meant sobbing continuously and being incapacitated — that wasn’t her.
Instead, here’s how she described it:
“I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect.”
It was a revelation to Paltrow that her experience of postpartum depression didn’t necessarily fit the textbook definition (or her notion of it).
This seems like an important point to make about PPD — sometimes the symptoms aren’t as obvious. Or they reveal themselves in unique ways depending on the person. Being emotionally cut off can be just as painful and isolating as feeling sad and tearful all day.
I also liked reading Paltrow’s comments because it reminds us how much expectation we can bring to a new baby — the idea that we should instantly feel bonded and overjoyed comes with so much pressure. It doesn’t always happen that way — our relationships and attachments to our babies grow. For some reason we seem more willing to give dads leeway in that regard, while we expect moms to be instantly in love.
Babble co-founders Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman recently spoke to this point and other “parenting taboos” at TEDWOMEN. “Love is a process,” said Griscom. How true.