5 Celebrities who have opened up about their struggles with Postpartum Depression

Chrissy Teigen opens up about her PPD journey after Luna

Maternal mental health is an important part of public health, and a major challenge across the world. According to WHO, 13% of women who have just delivered will suffer some form of mental disorder. This figure is known to be higher in developing countries where the statistics paint a grim picture of 19.8% of women affected after child birth. In extremely severe cases, many moms die by suicide following unaddressed mental health challenges.

It is important to mention that postpartum depression (PPD), one of the most common perinatal mood disorders, can affect anyone including celebrities. Contrary to popular belief, the risk factors associated with PPD do not exempt the rich and famous. A number of celebrity moms have gone public with their PPD stories. I am an advocate for celebrity moms creating a shift with this because it is a loud message to the ‘ordinary’ mom that motherhood may not always be a glowing bubble.

Read More: ‘Free PPD Test’ – The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS)

Adele

Adele opened up about her struggles with Postpartum Depression in an interview with Vanity Fair. She admits to having bad PPD and been so scared. She made a point to add that it helps one become a better mom to cut themselves some slack and take some time off. In her words,

“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. But I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life . . . . It can come in many different forms.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

American actress and singer,Paltrow has admitted to struggling with PPD following her son’s birth in 2006. In an interview with People, the mom of two confessed to feeling nothing, and having no maternal instincts for her son. She added that, while she harbored no thoughts of harm, she did not experience the blissful doting emotions either.

“I couldn’t connect, and still, when I look at pictures of him at three months old, I don’t remember that time.”

Fortunately for Paltrow, support from her husband helped her on the journey to recovery.

Read More: WE celebrated with PPDKenya support group cycle 01!

Kendra Wilkinson

In an interview with OK!, Kendra, a reality TV star and mother of two spoke in detail about experiencing PPD after her son’s birth. Her account shows that PPD does manifest in different forms, and can be a very subtle thing. For many affected moms, there is little energy to do the most basic of daily tasks, and this includes showering and combing hair.

“After giving birth, I never brushed my hair, my teeth, or took a shower. I looked in the mirror one day and was really depressed.”

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen wears many feathers on her hat: model, TV host, best -selling cookbook author and mother. It is the latter that has, in 2017, endeared her to many moms following her admission that she struggled with PPD after giving birth to her daughter Luna. In her candid interview with Glamour, Chrissy wrote,

“I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of the last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me—but me—knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great?”

She goes on to add some of the symptoms she had:

“Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my ­shoulders—even my wrists—hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me… I also just didn’t think it could happen to me.”

She admits to never leaving the house and spending days on end on the couch, with endless bouts of spontaneous tears before she was finally diagnosed with PPD and postpartum anxiety. Chrissy got professional help, medication and had a support system especially from her man, John Legend.

Chemutai Sage

Locally, Chemutai Sage, a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist went public about her struggles with PPD. In an interview with MumsVillage, the singer mentioned realizing something was amiss when her daughter was about 5 months. During this period, she would experience crazy emotions which she often associated with her child. She kept thinking to herself,

“If I didn’t have the baby…”

In the MumsVillage show, Sage shared that she did realize these were not commonplace emotions, something which got more pronounced with her inability to leave her room for days – there was simply no joy in doing so. Sage did get help, and had a strong support system that helped her in her recovery journey.

Read More: Blackish addresses PPD in Season 4

This post is a reminder that, if you are struggling with PPD, you are not alone. By speaking openly about this form of maternal disorder, celebrities amplify the voices of many moms who may be going through the motions in silence. Remember too, that you can get in touch (via the contact page) if you are wondering where to get help or need someone to talk to.

 

Celebrating with PPDKenya Support Group Cycle 01

The past week has been a series of amazing events for the PPD-Kenya team. Among the highlights of the week that we would love to share is the culmination of the first cycle of our support group therapy. We began the cycle on Saturday 13th January 2018, and over the ten weeks that followed, we have held meetings every other Saturday. Our resident psychologist has tirelessly offered of herself to help the moms in their recovery journeys, and we are so glad she is part of our team, alongside our founder Samoina who is a PPD survivor herself.

We recall in vivid, the emotions that peppered our first meeting that Saturday as the moms poured out their journeys and shared their experience with Postpartum depression (PPD). We cried together, we talked, we held hands, we hugged… we began the road to recovery, and oh what a beautiful journey it has been.

Saturday 10th March 2018 marked the last of five sessions, what has been a truly rewarding and humbling experience. Seeing the progress that each of our five moms has made is a reminder of why we began these support group meetings in the first place. They are at a better place than they were when they first came for the meetings. We continue to remind the moms that PPD is treatable, that there is hope, and even with this hope, recovery can be a long journey.

Even though the sessions for the first cycle have ended, we continue to check in on the moms and have scheduled a meeting after 8 weeks to keep abreast with their journeys. In line with our mission to raise awareness and reduce stigma associated with PPD by providing psychosocial support for moms going through PPD, we are hopeful that this start is a step in the right direction as far as Maternal Mental Health in Kenya is concerned.

Below are some of the photos that we took on Saturday, with cake, lots of it for such a sweet moment. One of the lovely moms brought us cake too, and we couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful gesture. Congratulations to the moms of PPD-Kenya cycle 01!

PS: We will be posting details on the second cycle of the PPDKenya support groups soon.

PPS: We do not post any photos of the moms because we respect their privacy, and because one of our core values is confidentiality.

Lastly, Blueberry Cake by Shanna Elle Bakers

 

 

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS)

Postpartum Depression (PPD), same as Postnatal Depression (PND – which by the way, I have found is used a lot in the UK) is one of the most common mental health disorders in women. Statistics show that between 11 and 20% of women who deliver every year will experience symptoms of PPD. That’s about 2 in every 10 women are going to get PPD. One of the tools that has been developed to identify women who are at risk of perinatal (that is both antenatal and postpartum) depression is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). EPDS is an efficient screening tool that consists of 10 questions listed alongside a set of values. Below are the guidelines for using the EPDS.

  1. The mom-to-be/ mom is asked to tick the answer that describes closely how she has been feeling in the previous 7 days.
  2. All questions must be answered.
  3. Caution should be exercised to ensure that answers are not discussed as this could skew the results. That is, answers should only come from the expectant woman or mother herself.

NOTE: The EPDS is not a diagnostic tool and must be used alongside clinical assessment. For this reason, it should not be used for self-diagnosis. If you go through this set of questions and suspect that you may be suffering, consult a doctor to ensure you get professional help. Secondly, one of the questions (#10) is on suicidal thoughts and must be answered before the report is submitted. If the item is checked, a follow up should be made so as to ascertain the level of risk and make the necessary arrangements for mother and child.

Read More: Why is a PPD support group important?

As you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, we would like to know how you are feeling. Please check the answer that comes closest to how you have felt IN THE PAST 7 DAYS, not just how you feel today. 

Here is an example, already completed. 

I have felt happy:

 [ ] Yes, all the time 

 [X ] Yes, most of the time 

[ ] No, not very often

[ ] No, not at all

This would mean: “I have felt happy most of the time” during the past week. 

Please complete the other questions in the same way.

 

In the past 7 days:

  1. I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things

[ ] As much as I always could

[ ] Not quite so much now

[ ] Definitely not so much now

[ ] Not at all

 

  1. I have looked forward with enjoyment to things

[ ] As much as I ever did

[ ] Rather less than I used to

[ ] Definitely less than I used to

[ ] Hardly at all

 

*3   .I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, some of the time

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, never

 

  1. I have been anxious or worried for no good reason

[ ] No, not at all

[ ] Hardly ever Yes

[ ] sometimes Yes

[ ] very often

 

*5.  I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason

[ ] Yes, quite a lot

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] No, not much

[ ] No, not at all

 

*6.  Things have been getting on top of me

[ ] Yes, most of the time I haven’t been able to cope at all

[ ] Yes, sometimes I haven’t been coping as well as usual

[ ] No, most of the time I have coped quite well

[ ] No, have been coping as well as ever

 

*7.  I have been so unhappy that I have had difficulty sleeping

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, sometimes

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

 

 

*8.  I have felt sad or miserable

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Not very often

[ ] No, not at all

 

*9   I have been so unhappy that I have been crying

[ ] Yes, most of the time

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Only occasionally

[ ] No, never

 

 

*10.The thought of harming myself has occurred to me

[ ] Yes, quite often

[ ] Sometimes

[ ] Hardly ever

[ ] Never

 

SCORING

QUESTIONS 1, 2, & 4 (without an *)

Are scored 0, 1, 2 or 3 with top box scored as 0 and the bottom box scored as 3

QUESTIONS 3, 5¬10 (marked with an *)

Are reverse scored, with the top box scored as a 3 and the bottom box scored as 0

Scores

0-9: Scores in this range may indicate the presence of some symptoms of distress that may be short-lived and are less likely to interfere with day to day ability to function at home or at work. However if these symptoms have persisted more than a week or two further enquiry is warranted.

10-12 : Scores within this range indicate presence of symptoms of distress that may be discomforting. Repeat the EPDS in 2 weeks time and continue monitoring progress regularly

. If the scores increase to above 12 assess further and consider referral as needed.

13 +: Scores above 12 require further assessment and appropriate management as the likelihood of depression is high. Referral to a psychiatrist/psychologist may be necessary.

Item 10: Any woman who scores 1, 2 or 3 on item 10 requires further evaluation before leaving the office to ensure her own safety and that of her baby.

 

Resource Material

Source: Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987. Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry 150:782-786.

Screening for antenatal depression with the Edinburgh Depression Scale

Blackish addresses Postpartum Depression in Season 4

One of the things we believe in at PPDKenya is awareness and advocacy for Postpartum depression and maternal Mental Health. So, when a popular TV Show, no less on ABC, does that, anyone in the maternal mental health heaves a sigh – or relief, of excitement and certainly, of the hope that this ushers in a new era where TV shows will not be afraid to tackle mental health and highlight the numerous intricate complexities thereof ” class=”wp-more-tag mce-wp-more” alt=”” title=”Read more…” data-mce-resize=”false” data-mce-placeholder=”1″ />

(PS: We are late to the party because this particular episode aired in late 2017, but it is never too late to talk about PPD, now is it?  )

The TV show in question is Blackish, a family sitcom that brings to light the challenges of a modern black family living in a predominantly white neighbourhood. In S04E02 that highlights PPD, Rainbow Johnson, who is fondly referred to as Bow (and played by the phenomenal Tracee Ellis Ross), is seen to be a tad bit anxious. Having just given birth to her fifth child, she fusses a lot over the heat in her house. We also get to see her caught up in an emptiness of sorts, staring at the baby monitor and wondering if her new born son is still breathing (something that many moms who have gone through PPD can attest to – a perpetual fear of death seems to hang over).

There are a couple of instances where Bow is also seen sobbing endlessly, seemingly over nothing. This is another symptom that characterises PPD. Most affected moms are weepy and irritable, even when they cannot point out exactly why. Another instance that stood out is when, staring into the empty space, Bow pours over tea into a glass. This remarkable change in behaviour, from the usually boisterous Bow, to a weepy mom is picked up by her mother-in-law, Ruby Johnson (played by Jenifer Lewis). According to Ruby, however, ‘This is what new motherhood looks like… She (Bow) is just weak.”

Again, the show brings to the front the stigma associated with PPD where struggling moms are deemed to be weak, or seeking for attention. Dre, Rainbow’s husband (played by Anthony Anderson) realizes that Bow has postpartum depression, but at first, she is denial saying, “I don’t have postpartum. I am a doctor and I would know.” In the end however, she admits she is struggling and is willing to get help.

In the end, this is an incredibly powerful show that steers conversation on PPD right where it matters. Not only does it show the challenges a family faces when mom is suffering from PPD, it also addresses the issue of medication in a sensitive manner that gives perspective. It is worth watching for anyone who has had/ is struggling with PPD, or for anyone interested in one of the most common perinatal mood disorders.

Catch the preview here on their fb page

 

 

PPDKenya support group therapy is now underway

Offering hope through PPDKenya support groups

The second weekend of January 2018 will probably remain the highlight of the year (so far) because it ushered in a new chapter for PPDKenya. We (finally) stepped away from the fear of the unknown, and into the heart of where our true passion lies – we held our very first support group therapy meeting! Words do not quite capture the excitement and sense of purpose we felt that day.

Read More: Why is a PPD support group important?

Of the seven who had confirmed, four showed up Continue Reading…

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