Britney Spears Details Postpartum Depression Struggles After Welcoming Sons Sean and Jayden Federline

Britney Spears opened up about her struggles with postpartum depression, recalling in The Woman in Me how she suffered from "just about every symptom" after giving birth to her two sons.

By Gabrielle Chung Oct 23, 2023 11:39 PMTags
Watch: Britney Spears Reveals Why She Shaved Her Head in 2007

More than a decade after overcoming postpartum depression, Britney Spears is feeling stronger.

The pop superstar reflected on her past mental health struggles in her highly anticipated memoir The Woman in Me, recalling how the incessant paparazzi attention on her two then-infant sons Sean Preston and  Jayden James with ex-husband Kevin Federline only exacerbated the disorder in the mid 2000s.

"Unfortunately, there wasn't the same conversation about mental health back then that there is now," she wrote, according to an excerpt published by CBS News. "I hope any new mothers reading this who are having a hard time will get help early."

She added, "Because I now know that I was displaying just about every symptom of perinatal depression: sadness, anxiety, fatigue."

Elsewhere in the book, out Oct. 24, the 41-year-old shared how her infamous 2007 head-shaving was linked to her mental health struggles. Recalling how she was "out of my mind with grief" at the time, Britney wrote, per the New York Times, "I am willing to admit that in the throes of severe postpartum depression, abandonment by my husband, the torture of being separated from my two babies, the death of my adored aunt Sandra, and the constant drumbeat of pressure from paparazzi, I'd begin to think in some ways like a child." 

Britney Spears Through the Years

"With my head shaved, everyone was scared of me, even my mom," she confessed. "Flailing those weeks without my children, I lost it, over and over again. I didn't even really know how to take care of myself."

Ultimately, the "Toxic" singer was placed in a court-ordered conservatorship in 2008, with dad Jamie Spears and his associates overseeing her personal and financial affairs. Looking back, Britney—whose conservatorship was terminated in November 2021 after 13 years—said she initially "went along" with it for "one very good reason." 

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The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

In this powerful memoir, Britney tells her own story on her own terms.

David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

"I did it for my kids," she wrote in another excerpt published by CBS News. "Because I played by the rules, I was reunited with my boys."

Last month, the boys both celebrated important milestones, with Jayden ringing in his 17th birthday on Sept. 12 and his older brother Sean turning 18 two days later. After spending their younger years in the spotlight, the two are now living quieter lives in Hawaii with their dad Kevin and his wife of 10 years Victoria Prince.

"It's so crazy how time flies...My boys are so big now!" Britney wrote in a March 2021 Instagram post, adding at the time that they're "at the age where they want to express their own identities and I totally get it."

As for Britney, keep reading for a deep dive into her post-conservatorship life.

Cherishing the Moment

"Good God I love my fans so much it's crazy !!!" Britney Spears wrote on Instagram after her conservatorship was terminated on Nov. 12, 2021. "I think I'm gonna cry the rest of the day !!!! Best day ever."

She wasn't in court for the big moment, but had been awaiting the expected good news from home with fiancé Sam Asghari.

Tensions Heighten Between Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears

Britney heatedly took issue with Jamie Lynn Spears' bombshell memoir Things I Should Have Said (and the press she was doing along with it), accusing her little sister of trying to sell a book at her expense.

Jamie Lynn said "my behavior was out of control," Britney—after unfollowing her sibling on Instagram—wrote Jan. 13, 2022, referring to comments the younger Spears made on Good Morning America. "She was never around me much 15 years ago at that time …. So why are they even talking about that unless she wants to sell a book at my expense ??? REALLY ???"

She accused Jamie Lynn of lying, writing Jan. 14, "NOW and only NOW I do know only a scum person would make up such things about someone."

The next day, Jamie Lynn posted, "Nobody trashes your name more than someone who's afraid you'll tell people the truth."

Britney kept posting Jan. 16, writing, "All I know is I love you unconditionally !!! So go ahead and say whatever you want ... it's so tacky for a family to fight publicly like this !!!" 

After that missive, Jamie Lynn encouraged her big sister through her Instagram Story, "Britney- Just call me."

Appearing on E!'s Daily Pop Jan. 18, Jamie Lynn said of her ongoing issues with Britney, "We go back and forth, but at the end of the day, the love and support will always be there...I can't help the family I was born into. I just think we're all in a situation, and a process that we're working through. And each of us have the right to work through that however feels best for us."

A Major Disappointment

On April 11, 2022, Britney shared on Instagram that she was pregnant with her and Sam's first child together.

"I mean this should have happened three years ago to be honest with you," Sam said in a BBC interview that was conducted before the baby announcement and published April 12. "When you're in a relationship with someone that you're truly in love with, you want to re-create, and so this is something I want to do."

Sadly, the couple said in a joint statement May 14 that they had lost their "miracle baby."

Britney and Sam Get Married

Sam and Britney tied the knot on June 9, 2022, in an intimate ceremony at their L.A.-area home.

Selena Gomez, Madonna, Drew Barrymore and Paris Hilton were among the guests. Sean and Jayden, Britney's teenage sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline, were not in attendance and her mother, father, sister and brother Bryan Spears were not invited.

Mom and sis later liked some of the wedding content on Instagram, though, with Lynne Spears commenting on one of her daughter's posts, "You look radiant and so happy! Your wedding is the 'Dream' wedding! And having it at your home makes it so sentimental and special! I am soooo happy for you! I love you!"

Uninvited but there anyway was Britney's husband-for-55-hours Jason Alexander (he of their 2004 annulment), who livestreamed his arrival before the ceremony. "I'm her first husband," he could be heard telling a worker outside the house. "I'm here to crash the wedding because nobody is here except Sam. Where the f--k is the family?"

Jason was arrested and later pleaded no contest to trespassing.

Kevin Federline Speaks Out About Their Kids

Kevin Federline told ITV in an August 2022 interview that Sean and Jayden chose not to attend their mom's wedding and "have decided they are not seeing her right now," nor had they seen her for "a few months."

Britney's ex said the boys distanced themselves from her in part due to the NSFW photos of herself she would post on Instagram. "I try to explain to them, 'Look, maybe that's just another way she tries to express herself,'" Kevin said. "But that doesn't take away from the fact of what it does to them. It's tough."

Britney responded after excerpts from the then-yet-to-air interview were published. "It saddens me to hear that my ex husband has decided to discuss the relationship between me and my children," she wrote. Aug. 6. "As we all know, raising teenage boys is never easy for anyone."

Sam came to Britney's defense the next day, calling Kevin "a father who hasn't worked much in over 15 years" whose "gravy train will end soon" once he no longer was receiving child support from his ex-wife. In response, Kevin's longtime attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan told TMZ, "Sam really doesn't know Kevin. He doesn't know what is going on in Kevin's household.''

After Kevin appeared to post old videos that showed then-12-year-old Sean and 11-year-old Jayden arguing with their mother (that were later deleted), Britney's attorney fired back, calling the move "cruel, bottom of the barrel stuff."

"Britney has faithfully supported her children and she loves them dearly," the lawyer told E! News in an Aug. 11, 2022, statement. "Whether he realizes it or not, Mr. Federline has not only violated the privacy and dignity of the mother of his children, he has undermined his own children, whose privacy he should protect."

Speculation About Britney's Well-Being

In January 2023, TMZ obtained a video of Britney sitting at a restaurant table seemingly talking to herself and a report circulated that she'd had a meltdown at the establishment and Sam had angrily left.

"People get a little too excited to see my wife," Sam told a paparazzo afterward, per video posted by TMZ." When you sit down to have a meal and people get their cameras out and start filming, it's disrespectful." So, Britney may have been acting strangely to observers, according to Sam, but that's because she was frustrated by the perceived intrusions. (He also explained that he had simply gone ahead to get the car.)

Later that month, Ventura County Sheriff's deputies showed up at Britney's house for a welfare check "out of an abundance of caution" after a number of her fans called to report their concerns because she had (temporarily) deleted her Instagram account, a sheriff's office spokesperson told PeopleHe said that authorities quickly determined Britney was "safe and in no danger."

Britney Slams Reports That She's Struggling

Britney wrote Feb. 9 on Instagram that the most dire speculation about her well-being made her "sick to [her] stomach."

"No folks, it's not 2007 … it's 2023 and I'm making my first homemade lasagna at home !!!" she shared. "I finally got my fireplace to work in my living room !!! As my hubby says it best: don't believe everything you read !!!"

The next day she added, "This week in the news it said that I almost died and that I have a manager and 'doctors' !!! I don't have a management team nor will I ever again in my life !!! I don't have 'medical doctors' !!! I take Prozac for depression and that's about it !!! I'm an extremely boring person !!!"

Sam told Access Hollywood at the time, "My wife is in full control of her life and will continue to make all decisions involving her care regardless of circumstances. Speculation on her health is inappropriate and should end immediately."

Reuniting With Family

Britney and mom Lynne reconnected in person this past May. "My sweet mama showed up at my door step yesterday after 3 years. it's been such a long time," Britney wrote on Instagram. "...with family there's always things that need to be worked out … but time heals all wounds !!!"

"And after being able to communicate what I've held in for an extremely long time," she continued, "I feel so blessed we were able to try to make things RIGHT !!! I love you so much !!!"

On June 21, Britney shared that she'd also visited Jamie Lynn on the set of Zoey 102.

Britney's Sons Move to Hawaii With Kevin Federline

Britney's attorney communicated to Kevin's lawyer in a May 31 letter that the singer wouldn't oppose 17-year-old Sean and 16-year-old Jayden's move to Hawaii with their dad, stepmom Victoria Prince and stepsisters, and the Federlines relocated in early August.

Page Six reported Aug. 11 that Kevin's lawyer said Britney had talked to the boys "probably a couple of weeks ago," but wasn't sure if they had spoken since the move.

Britney and Sam Split Up

Months after swatting down split rumors sparked when Britney vacationed without her husband and Sam was spotted sans wedding ring (he was bare-handed while filming, his rep clarified), the pair broke up after 14 months of marriage.

"They're separated and it's best for Britney," a source familiar to the situation told NBC News. Sam filed for divorce Aug. 16, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason, per court documents obtained by E! News. 

Sam's rep denied a report that he was challenging their prenuptial agreement and threatening to exploit Britney with videos. "All these claims are false, as no negative intention has ever been directed towards her and never will be," BAC Talent's Brandon Cohen told E! News. "Sam has always and will always support her."

Britney, who's since welcomed puppy Snow into her household, acknowledged the split Aug. 18 on Instagram, admitting she was "a little shocked" by how quickly everything unraveled. "I'm not here to explain why because its honestly nobody's business !!!" she wrote. "But, I couldn't take the pain anymore honestly !!!"

The 41-year-old said she'd try to stay strong. And, she concluded, "I'm actually doing pretty damn good !!! Anyways have a good day and don't forget to smile !!!"

Or, as she captioned a throwback pic from the '00s on Aug. 24, "F--k with me...I dare you."

Britney's Book Comes Out

In February 2022, Britney signed a reported $15 million deal with Simon & Schuster to write a memoir.

And reader, she did. The Woman in Me came out Oct. 24, 2023 in all its bombshell-packed glory.

Since finishing the manuscript, which concluded shy of her split from Sam, the star declared in an Instagram post a few days before the book's release, "I have moved on and it's a beautiful clean slate from here!!! Either way this is the last of it and s--t happens!!!"

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