As Total Bellas fans are well aware, the reality TV stars have gone through the various milestones at different stages in life, with Nikki only recently becoming a mom. Now, Nikki tells Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt in an Instagram Live on Nov. 12 that her newfound motherhood is helping her form a better understanding of the issues that Brie faced when she welcomed Birdie in 2017.
Nikki recalls, "You know, it's funny because until you're a mom, it is crazy how eye-opening that is and how difficult. And when Brie first had Birdie, I was just like c'mon, keep up, you can do this... I would just push her a lot and didn't understand when she was like, 'I can't do this.'"
Brie admits it was an "intense" time in her life, but says that her push to keep working as a new mom wasn't just because of Nikki. She explains that she had postpartum depression at the time and was working so hard to "keep up with my sister [and] to not lose that part of me."
"I think with Birdie—and maybe it was with being a new mom—I think what happened is you get this FOMO of the old you—who you were before your pregnancy, who you were before your child came into your life," she continues. "I'd be sitting there breast feeding or just over tired, thinking like am I ever going to be that person again? Does that life come back? I miss that life."
In response, Nikki shares she too is "dealing" with postpartum depression following Matteo's arrival, but for different reasons. She explains that when fiancé Artem Chigvintsev left to film Dancing With the Stars in Los Angeles, Calif., she wanted to be the supportive girlfriend, but instead began to "resent" him for leaving her with their newborn. Nikkie says, "I was like oh my gosh I can't do this on my own, why did I say I could do this on my own, but now I need to be supportive and just keep my mouth shut and not be negative."
As the days wore on, Nikki says she began to think the pro dancer was "having the time of his life," while she was stuck at home and "hating my body." But she also says that her thoughts and reactions made her feel like she was going "crazy."
It was only when she and Brie began to discuss how they were really doing that Nikki says she realized "this wasn't just me being sleep deprived." She adds, "I knew it was more because of just feelings I couldn't control."
To get through her baby blues, the new mom shares that she hired a life coach and began to open up to other moms about what she was feeling. The hard part though, was telling Artem what she was going through, which only happened after some nudging on Brie's part.
"I'll admit, I was just really mean just about certain things. And he was kind of like, 'Whoa.' And I would tell Brie, like, 'Brie, I'm being so mean and it's like I can't even stop myself.' And she's like you really need to talk to Artem," Nikki recalls of the situation. "It actually took Brie to call Artem and be like, 'This is what Nicole is going through and she's hiding it and you need to be aware.' So Brie called him."
This, of course, angered Nikki. As she recalls to Katherine, "I got so mad. I was like, ‘It's not your place. This is my life! This is my relationship!'"
It ended up being the right decision though, because Nikki says it pushed her to the point where they "could communicate." She tells Katherine, "It was so awesome and he felt terrible."
Now, there's a healthy amount of communication and Nikki tries to not be so hard on herself. She shares that when she begins to feel down in the dumps, she asks herself, "What will my future self want to look back on?"
And when it gets difficult, Nikki says she looks at her "protector" Matteo and all feels good in the world.
New mom Katherine, who welcomed daughter Lyla with husband Chris Pratt in August, agrees on all points, and shares that she too is hard on herself. "You definitely have days where it's harder some days than other days, then you have things of feeling bad with a partner, or wanting to make everything good again." Katherine reflects, "It's really hard."
Bottom line, both Katherine and Nikki feel that women need to be open about postpartum depression. Nikki says, "Women need to talk about it and know that it's okay. It's not failure. It's not their fault."