Despite being known for her candid social media presence, in a personal essay published on Monday, Model and mother of one, 31 year old Chrissy Teigen revealed she has been fighting one particular battle in private. A condition 1 in 9 women globally suffer after child birth.
Writing for the April issue of Glamour, the model has revealed she suffered postnatal depression following the birth of her first child last year. Teigen, who welcomed daughter Luna with her husband, singer John Legend, in April, said when the publication asked her to write an essay, she realised her tendency towards being a “chronic over-sharer” had left her with little material.
Read part of her essay below:
“When Glamour first told me I was going to be on the cover, I was freaking thrilled. Seriously. As a longtime reader, I couldn’t believe it. I’d always assumed that wearing swimsuits (or half a swimsuit) or having the occasional nip slip (or bit slip) wouldn’t make me the go-to choice for a women’s magazine I not only love but respect. Yet here I am! Next they asked me to write an essay. I was super into it, but then cringed every time I opened my laptop. Topics? I quickly realized I have truly talked about everything possible. I guess that’s the dilemma one faces when they…well…can’t shut up. I’ve been a chronic oversharer since birth. So I decided I’d talk about something no one really knows about me, mainly because I just learned about it myself. What is it? I’ll get there.
Let me start here: To a lot of you, I think, I seem like the happiest person on the planet. I have an incredible husband—John and I have been together for over 10 years. He has seen my successes and failures; I’ve seen his. He has seen me at my worst, but I will say I don’t think I have ever seen him at his. He’s exactly as compassionate, patient, loving, and understanding as he seems. And I hate it. OK, I don’t hate it. But it can certainly drive you nuts sometimes when you’re as cynical as I am. If I weren’t me, I would politely excuse myself to make the most epic eye roll of all time if a woman talked to me about her significant other the way I just did to you.
We had our daughter, Luna, who is perfect. She is somehow exactly me, exactly John, and exactly herself. I adore her. 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? I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that, and I hesitated to even talk about this, as everything becomes such a “thing.”
During pregnancy, what I thought were casual comments about IVF turned into headlines about me choosing the sex of my daughter. And I can already envision what will be said about me after this admission. But it’s such a major part of my life and so, so many other women’s lives. It would feel wrong to write anything else. So here goes.
I had such a wonderful, energetic pregnancy. Luna sat inside me like a little cross-legged Buddha facing toward my back for nine months. I never saw her face in a sonogram, just her butt or the back of her feet. Every time we kinnnnd of saw a nose, she would quickly dodge, and I was left guessing again. John, my mom, and my sister were all in the delivery room. John was DJ-ing. Luna, fittingly, popped out to the song “Superfly.” The first lyric is “Darkest of night. With the moon shining bright.” I immediately put her on my chest. And she had a face! I was so happy. And exhausted.
After I had Luna, our home was under construction, so we lived in a rental home, then a hotel, and I blamed whatever stress or detachment or sadness I was feeling at that time on the fact that there were so many odd circumstances. I remember thinking: “Maybe I’ll feel better when we have a home.”
I went back to work on Lip Sync Battle in August, when Luna was four months. The show treated me incredibly well—they put a nursery in my dressing room and blew up photos of Luna and John and my family for my wall. When Luna was on set, they lowered the noise levels. They turned down the air so she wouldn’t be cold. Only the most gentle knocking on the door. Pump breaks. I mean, there was no better place to get to go back to work to.
But I was different than before. 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. One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people.
I would be in my dressing room, sitting in a robe, getting hair and makeup done, and a crew member would knock on the door and ask: “Chrissy, do you know the lyrics to this song?” And I would lose it. Or “Chrissy, do you like these cat ears, or these panda hands?” And I’d be like: “Whatever you want. I don’t care.” They would leave. My eyes would well up and I would burst into tears. My makeup artist would pat them dry and give me a few minutes.
I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: “Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom.”
When I wasn’t in the studio, I never left the house. I mean, never. Not even a tiptoe outside. I’d ask people who came inside why they were wet. Was it raining? How would I know—I had every shade closed. Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.
Anytime I was seen out, it was because I had already had work or a work event that day. Meaning I wouldn’t have to muster up the energy to take a shower, because it was already done. It became the same story every day: Unless I had work, John knew there was not a chance in hell we were going on a date, going to the store, going anywhere. I didn’t have the energy.
Before, when I entered a room I had a presence: head high, shoulders back, big smile. Suddenly I had become this person whose shoulders would cower underneath her chin. I would keep my hands on my belly and try to make myself as small as possible.
During that time my bones hurt to the core. I had to go to the hospital; the back pain was so overwhelming. I felt like I was in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy: These kids were around me, asking questions. Maybe it was a kidney infection? No one could figure it out. I saw rheumatoid doctors for the wrist pain; we thought it might be rheumatoid arthritis. I felt nauseated all the time, so I saw a GI doctor. I wondered: Am I making this all up? Is this pain even real anymore?
By December I had started my second cookbook. With the first, I was in the kitchen the whole time. I stirred every pot, tasted everything. Had genuine excitement for Every. Single. Recipe. This one came at the height of my losing my appetite, and the idea of having to test and taste recipes actually made me vomit. I was still on the couch a lot.
Before the holidays I went to my GP for a physical. John sat next to me. I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll. My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, “Yep, yep, yep.” I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety. (The anxiety explains some of my physical symptoms.) Read the rest here on Glamour magazine.http://www.glamour.com/story/chrissy-teigen-postpartum-depression