Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Postpartum Depression

At her first red carpet appearance in the U.S. since entering treatment for postpartum depression last fall, Hayden Panettiere spoke to People about what it was like to be in front of the cameras again.

“It feels different for me because of things that I’ve gone through recently, over the last year,” the actress said at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday. “I’ve really gone, ‘You know what, I’ve been in this industry for so long, forget it!’ I’ve been hiding myself. Just putting out the smiling face, showing people this, and allowing that veil to come down—it’s like a weight off my shoulders.”

RELATED: Hayden Panettiere Talks About Her Postpartum Depression

Panettiere welcomed daughter Kaya Evdokia with her fiancé Wladimir Klitschko in December 2014. During an interview on Live! With Kelly and Michael in September, the Nashville star opened up about her experience with postpartum depression, which also affected her character on the ABC hit show.

“[It’s] something that I can very much relate to, and it’s something that I know a lot of women experience,” she told the hosts. “When they tell you about postpartum depression, you think about, ‘Okay, I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure my child, I want to hurt my child’—I’ve never ever had those feelings, and some women do… You don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something I think needs to be talked about, and women need to know they’re not alone, and that it does heal.”

A few weeks after the interview aired, Panettiere released a statement saying she had entered a treatment center for her postpartum depression.

RELATED: 11 Celebrities Who Battled Postpartum Depression

About 13% of women who give birth develop postpartum depression. Although it’s often referred to as the “baby blues,” it’s a serious mood disorder that can strike anyone (yes, even dads). It can occur up to a year after childbirth, but typically begins within one to three weeks. Symptoms include crying for no apparent reason, trouble eating or sleeping, and questioning your abilities as a parent.

On Sunday, Panettiere told People that being back in the public eye for the awards show was easier now “because I don’t feel like I have to hide anymore.”

“The only important thing to me is that I’m not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to,” she said. “It would horrible for me to be going, ‘You can be whomever you want! You can do whatever you want in life!’ yet I was unable to follow the same words.”

The actress added that the positive response to her statements has been encouraging. “I’m 26 years old. I’m a mom. I don’t need to be afraid of what people are going to think,” she said. “I saw how much people rallied behind me when I was honest, and I didn’t know that honesty could be such a gift.”


High Levels of This Hormone in Pregnancy Linked to Postpartum Depression Risk

THURSDAY, March 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Higher levels of the mother-child bonding hormone oxytocin during pregnancy may be associated with increased risk of postpartum depression in some women, researchers say.

The findings suggest it may eventually be possible to develop a test to predict postpartum depression and provide preventive treatment during pregnancy.

The study results are “not ready to become a new blood test yet,” said lead investigator Dr. Suena Massey, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. “But it tells us that we are on the track to identifying biomarkers to help predict postpartum depression,” she said.

According to background notes with the study, oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in aiding delivery and lactation, social bonding and stress management.

The study included 66 healthy pregnant women who were not depressed. Researchers measured their oxytocin levels in the third trimester of pregnancy and their depression symptoms six weeks after they gave birth.

Among the 13 women with a history of depression before pregnancy, the higher their oxytocin levels, the more depression symptoms they had six weeks after giving birth, according to the study.

The finding was a surprise, said Massey.

“There’s emerging research that a past history of depression can change the oxytocin receptor in such a way that it becomes less efficient,” she said in a university news release. “Perhaps, when women are starting to experience early signs of depression, their bodies release more oxytocin to combat it.”

The study was recently published in the journal Archives of Women’s Mental Health.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on postpartum depression.

Adele on Postpartum Depression: 'I Felt Like I’d Made the Worst Decision'

We already love Adele for her brutal honesty about the side effects of childbirth. Remember when she joked about her pregnancy “beard” (one of the many weird ways having a baby can change your hair)? Now the singer is speaking out about a more serious issue that many new moms face.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Adele opened up about her struggle with postpartum depression, which she says she experienced in a way she never expected. “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.”

As Adele points out, postpartum depression “can come in many different forms.” She eventually found relief by connecting with other moms, though even holding a conversation was a challenge because she was “so f—in’ tired,” she admits.

“My friends who didn’t have kids would get annoyed with me, whereas I knew I could just sit there and chat absolute mush with my friends who had children, and we wouldn’t judge each other,” she explained. “One day I said to a friend, ‘I f—in’ hate this,’ and she just burst into tears and said, ‘I f—in’ hate this, too.’ And it was done. It lifted.”

RELATED: An Epidural May Lower Risk of Postpartum Depression

To cope with the stress of motherhood, Adele said she scheduled much-needed time for self-care—one afternoon a week to “do whatever the f— I want without my baby.” When someone asked her if she felt bad about that, she told the truth: “I do, but not as bad as I’d feel if I didn’t do it.”

Adele went on to explain that some of her friends who felt the same way were too embarrassed to talk about it. “They thought everyone would think they were a bad mom,” she said, when really, the opposite is true: “It makes you a better mom if you give yourself time.”

If you think you may be suffering from , don’t be afraid to get help. Treatment (which may involve therapy, drugs, or a combination of the two) is very effective. You can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional, or check out Postpartum Support International, an organization that lists resources (including support groups and providers) in every state. 

The Type of Postpartum Depression No One Talks About

Postpartum depression is recognized and understood today more than ever before, thanks to advances in research and public awareness campaigns. While the stigma around the disorder isn’t entirely gone, many new moms who might have once suffered in silence are reaching out for help—and speaking out about their experiences.

But women aren’t the only group that can be affected by postpartum depression: New dads can struggle with it too. Fathers don’t suffer from depression in the same way, or at the same rates, as new moms, so it makes sense that most of the attention would be paid to women. But a new study sheds some light on just how many men may have it, and some of the reasons why.

The research, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, examined depression screenings of 3,532 men in New Zealand both during and after their partners’ pregnancies. About 2.3% of the men had elevated depression symptoms during their partners’ third trimesters, and that number rose to 4.3% when their babies were nine months old.

These rates are lower than those of in women, which the authors previously reported at 8% in New Zealand. (In the United States, it’s estimated to affect between 11% and 20% of new mothers.) And they’re not much different from the rate of depression in the general population. The authors note that about 2.6% of men have had a depressive episode in the past year.

But the findings do highlight a very real phenomenon that’s often not included in conversations about mental health during major life events, says Gail Saltz, MD, Health’s contributing psychology editor and author of The Power of Different.

For women, postpartum depression can be caused—at least in part—by hormonal, chemical, and biological changes that go along with pregnancy and childbirth. This isn’t the case with men, says Dr. Saltz, but it can still be a vulnerable time for them.

“Joyful events, like having a baby, can still be stressful for everyone involved,” says Dr. Saltz. “There’s the added feeling of responsibility, of being a provider, the changes in your relationship dynamic. And when the baby is born, you both have sleep deprivation on top of that.” These things can add up, she says, and they can pile on to other stressors that already exist in a man’s life.

RELATED: 12 Signs of Depression in Men

The new study found that men who were depressed during their partners’ pregnancies were more likely to report poor health and high levels of stress. Men who were depressed after the birth of their babies were also more likely to report that they were unemployed and no longer in a relationship with their partner by the time their babies were nine months old.

The study authors point out that, while new mothers in New Zealand are assessed for postpartum depression, there’s no recommendation for new fathers. In the U.S., the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology also recommends that women be screened at least once during the perinatal period.

“Discussing the risks of depression with expectant mothers and fathers would provide information about where to seek help and social support should one of them develop symptoms,” the authors wrote. “Our studies suggest that family and couple-based interventions that focus on improving relationship quality and alleviating stress in both men and women may benefit those at risk.”

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Dr. Saltz agrees. “New parents do experience and anxiety at pretty good rates, and we should all try to be aware of the signs and symptoms for ourselves and for our loved ones,” she says. “You may be able to see what’s going on with someone when they can’t see themselves.”

It’s also important that new mothers and fathers are open to seeking help when needed. “Treatment does work, and it can get you back on track,” says Dr. Saltz. “And that’s especially important when you have a new baby to take care of.”

This Mom Embraced Her C

Beauty blogger Ruth Lee says she felt “horrified” when she snapped this photo of her c-section scar and stretch marks a few days after she gave birth to her baby girl, just as her postpartum depression was starting to settle in. But weeks later, the 25-year-old mom decided to share the picture on social media, for anyone else who might be facing a similar struggle with body image—and the post quickly went viral.

Lee explained in the caption that she had had high hopes for her postpartum recovery: “I followed SO many pregnant models during my pregnancy. And when they photographed themselves pool-side 5 minutes postpartum, I thought, ‘Wow! I hope that happens to me!’”

She kept exercising as her belly grew, and used “every kind of stretch mark prevention you could think of.” Lee was planning for a vaginal delivery, and studied natural childbirth. She took birthing classes and read every book she could get her hands on. But despite her best efforts, things didn’t turn out the way she hoped. “I STILL ended up with a traumatic labor, cesarean section, scars, stretch marks, and unfortunately the inability to breastfeed long term,” Lee said.

The new mom admitted in her post—which has been liked nearly 5,000 times—that she couldn’t believe the photo was of her own body. “I’m sharing it because I know in my heart that there are people out there that struggle with inadequacy. That might think they are not beautiful, that they might be ruined, less worthy, or not good enough.”

Her message is simple: “Be kind to yourself. And know that you are not alone.”

Indeed. Women who relate to Lee’s experience are expressing their gratitude for her candid post in comments. “For my c-section the emotional scars run deep,” wrote one Instagram user. “I’m almost 8 months post partum and still struggle. [B]ut your words spoke to my heart.”

Another mom wrote: “Thank you for this picture reminding me … my body now is something to be proud of.”

Mom Admits She “Hates” Her Baby and the Internet Understands

Whether or not you’ve have kids, you’re probably aware that delivering one ain’t easy. What about the hardships that come after birth, though? Tons of new moms keep quiet about how challenging it is to care for an infant, but one woman challenged that silence when she aired her frustrations on the UK parenting site Mumsnet.com last week—and got a slew of empathetic responses.

Titling her post “I Hate My Baby,” the anonymous mama promised readers that her child is safe with her, but she is at a loss for how to handle his behavior. “He cries all day and all night he sleeps a total of around 4/24 hours all day the rest of it he is crying,” she wrote. “He cries when I’m feeding him. He cries when I’m holding him.”

The mom said she’s tried everything to help soothe her son, but nothing has worked. “I’ve tried keeping him close and I’ve tried getting him used to being put down. I’ve tried white noise. I’ve tried a jumperoo. I’ve tried swaddling,” she continued. “I’m always consistent with what I’m trying but nothing helps.”

Later in the post, the mom said the last five months with her son (who is her third child) have been torturous: “I honestly feel like climbing out my window and jumping, if it wasn’t for my other children I probably would. Help me. I know other people have been through this. What Can I do?”

RELATED: Adele on Postpartum Depression: ‘I Felt Like I’d Made the Worst Decision’

The callout didn’t go unanswered. Hundreds of responders replied with advice for the struggling mother, including the best sleep positions for babies with reflux (which her son has) and recommendations for allergy tests that might shed light on the cause of his ongoing discomfort. They also pushed her to pressure her doctors for help, since the mom said they never take her complaints seriously, brushing her off with the explanation, “Babies cry.”

Sweetest (and perhaps most surprising) of all were the kind words the mama received from her fellow Mumsnet users. “I remember how soul destroying the endless nights of no sleep felt,” wrote one commenter. “You’re not doing anything wrong,” wrote another. Yet another replied, “Massive hugs as you need it. I’ve been there. It’s sh*t but you CAN do this.”

The takeaway? Feeling frustrated by your newborn doesn’t make you a bad mother. And if you’ve ever felt less than obsessed with your kiddo, know you’re not alone. 

St. Louis Mom Who Killed Husband, Baby and Dog in Murder

The St. Louis mother believed to have fatally shot her husband and infant daughter before turning the gun on herself in a double-murder suicide suffered from postpartum depression, according to multiple reports.

On Friday, Mary Jo Trokey and her husband, Matthew, were found fatally shot along with their 3-month-old daughter, Taylor Rose, in their St. Louis home. While authorities have not formally identified the shooter or revealed a motive, local outlets are reporting that the new mother shot and killed her husband, baby and family dog while suffering from postpartum depression, KMOV reports.

At a funeral Wednesday, the family was remembered at Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque church.

The couple were originally from the St. Louis area, a relative who asked not to be identified told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They became engaged in the fall of 2013 and married months later, according to the paper. Both received their bachelor degrees from the University of Missouri, where Mary Jo also earned a masters in social work.

Rev. Bob Reiker of St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, which the couple attended for nearly two years, previously told PEOPLE he baptized the couple’s daughter last month.

Reiker tells PEOPLE that Mary Jo worked for two years with the church’s St. Vincent de Paul Society, which worked with low-income people in the neighborhood.

“It’s hard to imagine what happened,” said Reiker, who christened the couple’s daughter. “People are baffled by it. It’s inexplicable how someone could do this to themselves, let alone their little girl.”

In an interview with local station KMOV, Kim Martino-Sexton, a postpartum resource coordinator in the SSM Health system, said one in seven mothers experience postpartum depression.

“They often have trouble sleeping, they cry a lot, they feel overwhelmed, they don’t feel like themselves, they’re sometimes very protective of their baby or they sometimes don’t feel like they’re connecting with their baby,” Martino-Sexton told the station.

Martino-Sexton urges anyone experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression to call MOMS Line at 314-768-MOMS.