When my first child was around 2 years old, my husband and I started talking about having another baby. I was equal parts excited and terrified.
I wanted another baby and was anxious for my son to have a sibling, but I knew I had to prepare myself. Having suffered with horrendous morning sickness (more like all-the-damn-day-long sickness) during my first pregnancy, as well as dealing with the challenges of caring for a colicky newborn — I was feeling some trepidation.
This time, I knew what could be thrown at me.
Chrissy Teigen seems to know exactly what I am talking about. The talented model who we love for speaking her truth about all things (including motherhood), recently revealed during an interview with friend and celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin during the Create and Cultivate Conference that she has fears that her postpartum depression may return following the birth of her son.
Teigen, who is expecting her second child with singer John Legend, first spoke about her PPD to Glamour back in April 2017 after giving birth to her daughter, Luna. In that interview, she described the mental and physical symptoms that confused her at first, but finally led her to seek help from her doctor.
“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,” Teigen said. “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 National Institute of Mental Health describes Postpartum Depression as a “mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.” This is right on par with the feelings and symptoms Teigen has discussed.
This time around, the wife of John Legend says she is prepared in case her PPD returns.
“Do I worry about it with this little boy? I do. But I also know that when it does happen — if it does —I’m so ready for it,” she said.
To prepare herself, Teigen is making sure she is surrounded by supportive people who can come to her aid.
“I have the perfect people around me for it. That’s why I stand for a real core group of people around me,” she explains.
I think this is such an important and powerful message for all new moms. I was once the type of mom who would almost never ask for help. Following the birth of my third child, I found myself in a dark place, and waited so long to talk to my doctor that when I finally went in, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
When I think back now, I realize that I was likely suffering with PPD following the birth of each of my kids and that it was exacerbated by the fact that I rarely reached out to anyone for help.
In my mind, I was their mother and this is what I signed up for. But in reality, I was being a martyr.
Reaching out for help does not mean you are weak. It means you are willing to do whatever it takes to be the best mother for your children. I sometimes feel like society causes mothers to think that they should be able to do it all, and that if they seek outside help, they’re “spoiled.” We have lost our “village” mentality, but it is up to us to choose to do better.
I applaud Chrissy Teigen for speaking out about her willingness to seek help and support from those around her. After all, it can be difficult once you are in a situation where you are struggling, to have the perspective necessary to know that you need help. My husband was the one who finally convinced me to make that appointment with my doctor, and I learned to lean on him as I worked on getting to a better place.
Teigen knows that she may have to face PPD again, but she is willing to be honest with herself and those around her — and that is what true strength is all about.