12 Famous Moms Who've Furthered the Discussion About Postpartum Depression

Hayden Panettiere, Bryce Dallas Howard and more celebrity mothers who suffered emotionally after giving birth

By Kendall Fisher Jan 05, 2017 8:20 PMTags

Hayden Panettiere is one of the most influential names when it comes to raising awareness around postpartum depression.

The famous mama has been open about her battle against the illness since welcoming her 2-year-old daughter, Kaya, into the world with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko. In fact, on Thursday, she sat down with Good Morning America and furthered the coversation even more.

"It takes you a while and you feel off. You don't feel like yourself," she recalled the moment she realized something was wrong. "Women are so resilient, and that's the incredible thing about them. I think I'm all the stronger for it. I think I'm a better mom because of it because you never take that connection for granted."

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Today, Panettiere says she's "feeling fabulous," but more than that, she's helping other moms who are going through something similar, and she's not along.

Here are more famous moms who've opened up about postpartum depression in the past:

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Gwyneth Paltrow: Taking to her Goop website, the actress revealed she struggled with postpartum depression after giving birth to her son, Moses.

In 2011, she also opened up about it in an interview with Good Housekeeping. She revealed, "I felt like a zombie. I couldn't access my heart. I couldn't access my emotions. I couldn't connect. It was terrible. It was the exact opposite of what had happened when Apple was born. With her, I was on cloud nine. I couldn't believe it wasn't the same. I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person."

She continued, "About four months into it. Chris [Martin] came to me and said, 'Something's wrong. Something's wrong.' I kept saying, 'No, no, I'm fine.' But Chris identified it, and that sort of burst the bubble." 

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Bryce Dallas Howard: Speaking of Goop, the Black Mirror actress also opened up on Paltrow's website about her own struggle with postpartum depression.

"Before Theo was born, I had been in good humor about my 80-pound weight gain, but I was now mortified by it," Howard wrote. "I felt I was failing at breast feeding. My house was a mess. I believed I was a terrible dog owner. I was certain I was an awful actress." But worst of all, she revealed, "I definitely felt I was a rotten mother—not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear."

After diagnosing the issue and seeking help, she accepted what had happened. "Do I wish I had never endured post-partum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am," she said. "I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains."

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Brooke Shields: The actress dedicated an entire book to her battle with postpartum depression called, Down Came the Rain: My Journey With Postpartum Depression, which was released in 2006.

She wrote, "At first I thought what I was feeling was just exhaustion, but with it came an overriding sense of panic that I had never felt before. Rowan kept crying, and I began to dread the moment when Chris [Henchy] would bring her back to me. I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise were tightening around my chest. Instead of the nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of devastation overcame me."

She continued, "I wasn't afraid she was too fragile; I just felt no desire to pick her up. Every time I have been near a baby, any baby, I have always wanted to hold the child. It shocked me that I didn't want to hold my own daughter."

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Luckily, things changed, and Shields believes she's better for it. "I have come so far in my love for and appreciation of my unique, incredible child," she wrote. "Instead of feeling numb to her or envisioning her being hurt in some way, I now crave her and want to protect her with my life.

Courteney Cox: While talking with USA Today in 2005, the Friends star revealed, "I went through a really hard time—not right after the baby, but when (Coco) turned 6 months. I couldn't sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed."

After going to the doctor, Cox discovered her "hormones had been pummeled" and decided to seek help through medication as well as friends and family.

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Alanis Morissette: The singer admitted struggling with postpartum depression in an interview with the British You magazine.

"The degree and intensity of my post-natal depression shocked me. I am predisposed to depression, but what surprised me this time was the physical pain," she said. "I hadn't realized the depths to which you can ache—limbs, back, torso, head, everything hurt—and it went on for 15 months. I felt as if I was covered in tar and everything took 50 times more effort than normal."

When asked why she decided to share her story, she told Good Morning America, "I didn't feel the need the share. It just was part of the autobiographical transparency value that I have. I really think transparency really levels the playing field for all of us and renders our humanness. It was just a really intense time and if I could share anything with anyone who's going through it, it would be to encourage them to seek help and reach out a little earlier than I did."

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Celine Dion: In 2011, the mother opened up about battling the disease after giving birth to her twins in 2010.

"One moment, tremendous happiness; the next, fatigue sets in, and I cried for no reason, and then that took care of itself," she recalled of her postpartum depression. "Some of the first days after I came home, I was a little outside myself. I had no appetite, and that bothered me. My mother remarked that she noticed I had moments of lifelessness, but reassured me that this was entirely normal."

The experience, she said, made her want to help other mothers going through it, too. "It's for things like that after having a baby that mothers really need emotional support."

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Drew Barrymore: The actress dedicated a chapter of her book, Wildflower, to her struggle with postpartum depression. 

"The chapter that I wrote that includes Toni [Collette] is called Postpartum Me," she told E! News in 2015. "But really it's just a wonderful little exploration of how you just try to find the balance of it all. And it is a beautiful time and an emotional time and an overwhelming time. But it's where you call on yourself to become that strong and amazing nurturing animal and conquer everything and get ahead of it. It's just an amazing transition, but it is a transition." 

She first revealed her battle with People magazine, explaining, "I didn't have postpartum the first time so I didn't understand it because I was like, 'I feel great!'" she said. "The second time, I was like, 'Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.' It's a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud."

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Adele: In the December 2016 issue of Vanity Fair, the famous singer revealed she thought she'd made the "worst decision" of her life after giving birth to her son, Angelo.

"My knowledge of postpartum—or post-natal, as we call it in England—is that you don't want to be with your child; you're worried you might hurt your child; you're worried you weren't doing a good job," she said. "But I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I'd made the worst decision of my life."

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She continued, "It can come in many different forms...You're constantly trying to make up for stuff when you're a mom."

Amanda Peet: The actress opened up about her battle with postpartum depression in Gotham magazine, saying, "I had a fairly serious postpartum depression. I think it was because I had a really euphoric pregnancy." She said that state of euphoria "came crashing down" when her daughter was born, and she began feeling sleep-deprived "beyond belief."

"I want to be honest about it because I think there's still so much shame when you have mixed feelings about being a mom instead of feeling this sort of 'bliss,'" she added. "I think a lot of people still really struggle with that, but it's hard to find other people who are willing to talk about it."

Drew Barrymore's Struggle With Postpartum Depression
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Lisa Rinna: Opening up to Dr. Drew, Rinna explained, "After having my first daughter Delilah, I had severe postpartum depression. I kept it a secret. I didn't say a word to anybody in the world. [My husband, Harry Hamlin] thought I was just nuts. He had no idea what was going on and I was so hopeless and felt so lost."

She continued, "Ten months later, [I] opened up to him and told him how worthless I felt. My self-esteem was gone. I didn't want to have sex. It was opening up something that I felt so much shame about was the most valuable thing that I could have done."

Now, she said she wanted to share her story because, "I think women are so shamed by this and feel so horrible. I found help and got through it."


Vanessa Lachey: The former television host opened up on her blog about the rough time she had after welcoming her first child, Camden, into the world in 2012. 

One Saturday, she recalled her baby blues "got the best of me," explaining, "I started crying. I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out. I felt like I had officially come undone. I imagined blissful days, tired nights, but quiet loving moments. I imagined family dinners with the 12 casseroles I prepared ahead of time, and a beautiful post-pregnancy glow that embodied me 24-7. But This was none of that. I didn't feel like myself. Where was the super woman who always thought and knew she could do it all? Where was the organized Vanessa who had it all under control no matter what the obstacle? She was gone, and I thought…forever."

After taking some time for herself, she felt better and wanted to help other moms going through anything similar.

"Don't lose the Me in life," she wrote. "I hope this was helpful for those of you who asked, and I hope it raises for awareness about baby blues. I had never known anyone who was sad after having a baby (or at least they never mentioned it), and I never thought it would happen to me. Especially since I wanted to have a baby more than anything! I wish I had some knowledge on it so it wouldn't have taken me by complete surprise… So maybe sharing my story will help give all you expecting mamas a little bit of a perspective on it."