Chrissy Teigen on Battle with Postpartum Depression: “I Never Left the House”

Chrissy Teigen is getting real about motherhood — again. But this time, the model, television host, and author isn’t talking about mommy shaming or her struggles with infertility. Instead, Teigen is shedding light on her quiet battle with postpartum depression.

In a recent essay written for Glamour, the 31-year-old mother of one revealed that life wasn’t quite how she imagined it would be after she and her husband John Legend welcomed their daughter Luna Simone into the world last year.

She writes:

“A year ago, in April, John and I started our family together. We had our daughter, Luna, who is perfect. She is somehow exactly me, exactly John, and exactly herself. I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me — but me — knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression.”

Ironically, things were great at first, says Teigan. She had what she describes as a “wonderful, energetic pregnancy,” and immediately after giving birth she was happy. Exhausted, but happy.

And then things quickly went downhill.

“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,” she explains. “I remember thinking: ‘Maybe I’ll feel better when we have a home.'”

But Teigen didn’t “feel better” once they moved into their home, and before long, life was difficult. Life was hard. And according to Teigen, life was painful:

“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. [But the] one thing that really got me was just how short I was with people. I would be in my dressing room, sitting in a robe, getting hair and makeup done, and a crew member would knock on the door and ask: ‘Chrissy, do you know the lyrics to this song?’ And I would lose it.”

Teigen was emotional, she was apathetic, and she was unhappy. Deeply, painfully, and genuinely unhappy. But she didn’t know why, and so instead of getting help — instead of asking for help — Teigen pulled away.

“When I wasn’t in the studio, I never left the house,” continued Teigen. “I mean, never. Not even a tiptoe outside … [m]ost days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed … I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”

Eventually, Teigen learned why, when her general practitioner diagnosed her with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety last December. But it took Teigen eight months to reach out for help and get a diagnosis. Until then, Teigen struggled those long and difficult months in fear and in silence, feeling alone.

And as a warrior mama/postpartum survivor, I know all too well how dark those days can be. And how dismal and isolating and long they can feel, where every minute seems like an eternity.  The very idea of living can be exhausting, but there is light. And there is, as Teigen notes, hope:

“I remember being so exhausted but happy to know that we could finally get on the path of getting better. John had that same excitement. I started taking an antidepressant, which helped. And I started sharing the news with friends and family.”

Yet Teigen didn’t stop there. By opening up in Glamour, Teigen wants women everywhere to know that having PPD doesn’t make you bad, it doesn’t mean you are “crazy,” and you should not feel embarrassed. You are not alone.

“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,” she writes. “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.”

For more information about postpartum and perinatal mood disorders, visit Postpartum Support International.

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