Lately, there's been an encouraging trend by celebrities -- and regular people, too -- to open up about their struggles with mental illness, whether it be anxiety or depression or something else entirely.
And now, Nashville and former Heroes actress, Hayden Panettiere, is the latest celebrity to open up about her struggles, namely with postpartum depression. Her daughter, Kaya, was born to Panettiere and her fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko, last December, and the actress revealed on Live! with Kelly and Michael that she struggled with it in the months after Kaya was born.
"I can very much relate. It’s something a lot of women experience. When [you’re told] about postpartum depression you think it’s, ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ - I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do.
But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal."
What she said there is so important. While there's still a stigma attached to mental illness, society is becoming more and more open to discussing it with compassion and understanding. But there are certain kinds that still carry with them a negative connotation full of misunderstanding, and postpartum depression is one of them. People tend to associate it with the worst, most extreme examples, like Andrea Yates and Susan Smith, so many women suffer in silence. Guilt is a powerful motivator to keep silent about an issue, and there is no greater guilt than a mother who feels she's failing in her most fundamental role, even when she's not.
Panettiere spoke to that, as well, saying that women need support, urging them to come forward rather than struggle silently.
"There’s a lot of misunderstanding - there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.
Women are amazing. We do something that no man can do on this planet. I mean, we grow a human being in our body!"
The interview came a few days after she posted an honest and encouraging note, revealing that she's also had struggles with postpartum depression, showing it doesn't matter how much money you have or how famous you are, it can affect any new mother.
"I suffered a bout of postpartum depression. You're not alone or crazy, ladies!"
Good for Hayden for speaking up, and good for her for being so passionate about it. Hopefully, women who are suffering silently will read her words and know they're not alone and that they have nothing to be ashamed of. And, most importantly, get the help they need so they can enjoy their new motherhood to the fullest.