Mother of two (and ethereal delight) Drew Barrymore recently opened up about her experiences with something that is rarely openly discussed, even though as many as 19% of new mothers in the United States experience it: postpartum depression.
In an interview with People, Barrymore said her "totally perfect and imperfect" life with her 3-year-old daughter Olive and 18-month-old son Frankie was prefaced by a "short-lived" struggle with postpartum depression.
"I didn't have postpartum the first time so I didn't understand it because I was like, 'I feel great!'" she told the magazine. "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."
In the past, postpartum depression has rarely been openly discussed, with young mothers discouraged from speaking up about their experiences. Due to the cloud of misunderstanding surrounding it, women who were diagnosed with postpartum depression in the 1950s and 1960s were typically diagnosed as "neurotic" and treated with electroshock therapy.
Yet postpartum depression has now entered the public conversation, in large part thanks to celebrities speaking openly about their struggles. In 2005, Courteney Cox shared her experience with postpartum depression with USA Today, saying she "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. I went to the doctor and found out my hormones had been pummeled."
Most recently, Nashville star Hayden Panettiere went public with her experience with postpartum depression, revealing on Live! With Kelly and Michael that she had extreme mood swings following the birth of her first child. On Oct. 13, it was reported Panettiere had checked herself into a treatment center to get help.
For her part, Barrymore said her strenuous work life contributed to her feelings of depression after giving birth. "Putting a negative stigma on work is a go-to," she told People. "It makes us feel like it proves to our children that we don't want to work, we'd rather be with you."
To combat her feelings of sadness after giving birth, Barrymore made it a priority to strive for work-life balance, which she says has helped.
"It was just really challenging and I felt overwhelmed," she told People, of trying to juggle her career with motherhood. "I made a lot of decisions and I definitely changed my work life to suit my parenthood."