July 23rd, 2010
08:42 AM ET
Post-partum depression is a sticky subject, as Tom Cruise can surely attest, but Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t hold back as she explores the topic in her GOOP newsletter.
Instead of the same “euphoria” she felt with her first child, Paltrow said when she gave birth to her son Moses in 2006, she was “confronted with one of the darkest and most painfully debilitating chapters of my life.”
It's an experience that "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" star Bryce Dallas Howard is also familiar with; the actress was diagnosed with severe post-partum depression after she gave birth to her first child at the age of 25.
“Before Theo was born, I had been in good humor about my 80-pound weight gain,” the actress said in Paltrow’s newsletter. But after the birth, she said, “I was mortified by it. I felt I was failing at breast-feeding. My house was a mess. I believed I was a terrible dog owner. I was certain I was an awful actress; I dreaded a film I was scheduled to shoot only a few weeks after the birth because I could barely focus enough to read the script.”
Worst of all, she went on, “I definitely felt I was a rotten mother–not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear.”
Dallas Howard did receive treatment and slowly worked her way out of depression, and has lessons to show for it. "Do I wish I had never endured post-partum depression? Absolutely," Dallas Howard said. "But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains."
Paltrow enlisted the help of psychologist Dr. Karen Binder-Bynes, to give suggestions for remedies for those who may be suffering from post-partum depression.
“The most important steps a woman can take,” Dr. Binder-Bynes said, “besides professional help…is to not be isolated; try to find a supportive network; ask for help from partner or friends and family when feeling overwhelmed.”
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