Gwyneth Paltrow opens up on post-partum depression
July 23rd, 2010
08:42 AM ET

Gwyneth Paltrow opens up on post-partum depression

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.”

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Mica Dennin

    Postpartum psychosis is a separate mental health disorder which is sometimes erroneously referred to as postpartum depression. It is less common than PPD, and it involves the onset of psychotic symptoms that may include thought disturbances, delusions, hallucinations and/or disorganized speech or behavior. The prevalence of postpartum psychosis in the general population is 1—2 per 1,000 childbirths,`**:

    Newly released article from our online site <

    July 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
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    October 30, 2012 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Orthopaedic Specialists

    I was surprised to learn the same about your blog- I loved it.I am a big fan of your blog.i am so excited by read of your blog's content.really great post.Thanks for sharing.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
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  7. postpartum depression .

    Good Blog sir... your blog is very helpful... I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing.

    postpartum depression .

    September 20, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. jacklin

    Great blog...

    nice ...
    postpartum depression

    September 14, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tanya

    this is what helped me through the PPD and the constant worrying

    this the book that is called
    Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts: Breaking the Cycle of Unwanted Thoughts in Motherhood by Karen Kleiman

    have a read through and it really puts the mind at ease. cuz after a certain point you really want to stop worrying

    September 10, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. jacklin

    its a blog that help others for guide them ...

    August 31, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sarah

    PPD is so real. It's so complicated. I found a really great interview on PPD that really helped me here: Hopefully it helps you like it did me!

    August 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mortgage net branch california

    Hey there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren't loading properly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I've tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    August 17, 2012 at 3:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. MMD

    Bless Gwyneth Paltrow and Bryce Dallas Howard for the courage to publicly announce their struggle with this all to common problem. There should be no stigma attached to PPD only sympathy and understanding. So many women suffer silently, many not even understanding what is wrong only that something is wrong with them. There is a need for greater understanding of this condition and with that hopefully better treatment options. It is indeed hormonally based so one would expect a treatment to address this. I was treated with anti-depressants and talk therapy 21 years ago but it still took months to get well. The important thing to know is that you will get well with treatment.

    July 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MMD

    I suffered after each of my children were born. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't want to socialize and felt isolated. Things cleared up on their own by the sixth month. But, by my fourth child I could barely function. I felt that I would never be happy again. I did not want the stigma of psychiatric treatment so I went to a naturopath ...and continued to worsen. My dear brother, a doctor, told me I was suffering a clinical depression and needed to "get a floor under me." I argued with him but he was right and after a year of hell and treatment with a psychiatrist I returned to my old self. I believe many more women suffer than we, as a society, realize. I also believe it is hormonally based and cannot be avoided. It tends to happen more often to women who have boys and the more children the more susceptible. Fortunately, it is treatable and you will get better (I needed to hear this every day). My youngest is now 21 and my brother warned me that menopause would probably present another hurdle for me. And he was right, but I'm on top of it.

    July 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. davidreddy

    She has many freckles and looks ugly, she does not matter.

    July 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  16. PatG

    Paltrow she started GOOP so that she could share with the world her great life. You know, off to Spain, off to Italy, great restaurants only 1% of the country can afford to eat at. Now, even when she tries to explain the down side of her life, she uses someone else's experience. Gwyneth, go away.

    July 24, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  17. april

    I take huge offense to the individual who advised against seeking the help of a family physician! My Board Certified family phsician cared for me through two pregnancies and two severe cases of PPD. I can honestly say he saved my life and is absolutely knowledgeable about all medications as well as other forms of treatment. I trust him completely for every aspect of care for myself as well as my children!!

    July 24, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  18. Jeff

    Some celebswill talk about any issue just so they stay the center of attention. Kinda like high school.

    July 24, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  19. DCPam

    A woman in my family had postpartum psychosis. Its different than postpartum depression. Either way...its a bold move to talk about it. Best of luck to all the ladies on this chat that have opened up about it.

    July 24, 2010 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  20. Willie

    The name of this story should be, 'Gwyneth Paltrow and Bryce Dallas Howard experience post-partum depression.

    July 24, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  21. rphmom

    I had my 3rd child at age 32, & every thing was fine for about a week or two–then I started getting mood swings–I went to bed feeling fine, & woke up feeling like I was in the bottom of a well. I loved my baby dearly. I spoke with my gynecologist & he put me on progesterone( a female hormone). Within 2 days, I was out of the well-very dramatic change. I progressed for the next several months with no depression-but every time I had my menstural cycle I would get a week-long migraine headache. My doctor added estrogen to the therapy, & then put me on birth control pills. Everything was normal & fine, until my cycle, when I took the "blanks " of the birthcontrol–thus I got no estrogen/progesterone & had severe headaches , etc. The doctor told me to get on the birth control pills & stay on them-he told me not to take the "blanks"-This helped me tremendously. I know these tremendous mood swings happen because we go from having tremendously high levels of female hormones, then give birth, & our hormone levels drop –this causes the depression & mood swings. Ladies, PLEASE ask your gynecologist about this-preferrably a female doctor who is aware of what drops in hormone levels can do to your moods & depression. There is a very simple cure–you just have to ask a doctor who is skilled in these areas. Please, pass this on, I know how much it helped me within 2 days of starting the hormone therapy. I did not take any other drugs-I did not need them. THanks

    July 24, 2010 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
  22. zoe gold

    I never had PPD. I wonder why some women get PPD and some don`t.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  23. CeeCee

    Gwyneth is sooooo 15 years ago. Wish she would just STFU. Getting sick of her thinking anybody cares about anything she has to say.

    July 23, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Joe

    The ignorant idiot Chris, needs to start reading to educate his rather deficient brain. He needs to understand what the term " chemical imbalance" means and realize that depression is an illness that arises because the brain's chemistry has become messed up. And it is very easy to tell that he is uneducated because any dope who spells "chicks" as "chics" obviously didn't make it past 4th grade, if even that. What a complete moron! ....[I am a doctor].

    July 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Hojo

    I like how she tries to be poetic and deep but falters when she mentions something about some summer still being left??? Really?? After all that true talk and being an actual person you're grateful summer is still around?? Yeah, because that's a great thing to know when just a few weeks ago you probably wanted to punt your kid off of a rooftop.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  26. peg

    She probably got stretch marks. That'll do it for sure!

    July 23, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  27. zackjus

    When I had my second son in 1998, no one even knew what PPD was – all I knew was that I wanted to disappear. I couldn't understand what was wrong with me. I blamed myself for feeling this way – no one knew what to do. I felt a total mess and the worst mother in the world for the feelilngs I was feeling. I was also too embarassed to talk to my doctor about it, so I suffered in silence. Then one day I was watching a talk show and Marie Osmond was on talking about the same feelings she had and that was the first time I heard about PPD. I still feel really guilty about that time but fortunately my two boys don't remember any of it.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  28. blaaaaach

    I'm so sick of Gwyneth Paltrow I could puke!

    July 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  29. redplanet

    There is a LINK to Paltrow's blog in the first sentence. How much more clear do you need it? A big bold LINK. I think CNN gave you exactly what they promised – taking you straight to her words. AND then giving you more. This is not bait and switch. (nor is it 'bate' and switch.)

    July 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  30. st pooch

    I wish Gwyneth Paltrow opens up everything to me. i'd love that.... 😉

    July 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Cindy

    Chris you are about as dumb as someone saying that alcholism is not a disease. I agree with Darcey. So thankful to NOT have ignorance like you in the lives of these women.

    July 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Julie M

    To Chris.... As someone who suffered SEVERE DEPRESSION for a couple of years and was so embarrased to receive help (And I am in the medical field)...I am amused by your lack of knowledge regarding mental illness. HAve you ever been depressed? I bet not bc if so, you would understand how hard it is to make yourself get out of bed. To sleep 20 hours a day. It's not laziness. It's not some form for us "women" to just lie around the house, watch soaps and eat chocolate. Men get depression too. BEfore you start barking up this some research...or get a heart.

    July 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Darcey

    Chris, myself and every other married woman in the world thank our lucky stars every day that we aren't married to an insensitive ignorant person like yourself.

    July 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Jess

    I wouldn't consider this article a "bait & switch". It's talking about Gwyneth Paltrow's newsletter, which is about PPD this week. However, the article just tries to sum up the newsletter, which is why it comes across as poorly written. I recommend clicking on the GOOP link to read the full newsletter. I read it a couple of days ago and it was very moving, especially Bryce Dallas Howard's complete story.

    July 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Jake

    You forgot to mention she had to put up with listening to COLDPLAY through all that.

    July 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Chris

    Gwyneth Paltrow is very personable. She is warm an very much able to relate to hollywood "outsiders." She is a gift and I commend her for being so brave to speak about this difficult topic. I wish I could be more like her.

    July 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Michelle

    This was such a ridiculous article on such an important subject. Yes, CNN does this all the time-the old bait and switch. It is shoddy journalism, for sure.

    July 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Jessica

    How would anyone know the difference between true post-partum depression and a mother who's just realized she really didnt want another kid and is now depressed by the reality that she has this kid to take care of, that deep down she knows she didnt really want to begin with. Before anyone says "no mother would feel that way"...not true, it's apparent LOTS of mothers feel that way, because they give them up for adoption all the time. And then there's even the ones that dont give them up for adoption, but in general dont really take care of their kids beyond simple basics as if "well ive done my job here, what, you want me to love you too?" – dont think that mother doesnt exist, ive got a grandmother in that mold to prove it to you.

    July 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • scb

      For starters women who just don't want another child probably don't hear voices in their head telling them to "kill the baby." I don't think they agonize over being a rotten mother, either, especially if they aspire to doing Just the Basics. I think we can also rule out women who turn over their children to social service agencies. If they were depressed they couldn't think clearly enough to arrive at such a solution and definitely wouldn't have the energy to carry it out. In other words Post Partum Depression is real, not just a fancy label for women who don't want their kids.

      July 24, 2010 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  39. Cindy

    The article is not that confusing to read, though I agree there is more from Ms. Howard than Ms. Paltrow. It clearly says that 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", while the rest was pretty clearly Howard's more in depth response in Paltrow's newsletter. The specifics of Dallas Howard's very honest comments are perhaps more illuminating to this delicate, yet important subject, and so were quite useful.

    July 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nyl

      Cindy, I think after it has been explained, this is not as confusing to read. However I do agree with writer who points out the CNN tactic of using the big star's name to get you to read and then switches the content.
      I do agree with your observation that Dallas Howard's comments are illuminating. Also agree with earlier writer who actually gave helpful info. Article could have been much more helpful to those who suffer. Thank you Katelyn.

      July 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Nyl

    Shameful bate and switch article. Cleverly written to be 'accurate', but pretends to be Paltrow and is not. The topic is so important to cover, why must it be so poorly done?

    July 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Geri

    What was the point of this article? Just who was it about? No real information or good advise or who was doing the interview or doing the talking.

    July 23, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Katelyn

    I think that while this article is poorly written, it is a good thing to have more attention directed at this horrible disease. Postpartum Depression can hit any woman in the first year of having a baby. It doesn't matter if you are rich, poor, skinny, fat, beautiful or average. It can make you feel alone and scared almost all the time. There are variations to the illness, of course. You can have Postpartum Psychosis where voices and other auditory disruptions can be a problem or you can have Postpartum Depression where you can have a heavy sadness that you just can't shake. Both problems can be treated with the right combination of help from a psychiatrist and your OB/GYN. It is not a good thing to rely on your family doctor or a social worker for this disease. They do not know enough about the medications out there to help. Many family doctors play a guessing game with medication but a psychiatrist is your best bet.
    What this article needs is less talk about how Ms. Paltrow felt ugly and fat (even if these are the symptoms she experienced) and more information about how to treat this very treatable disease. Postpartum Support International is a very good place to start. They have chapters in every state in the country.

    July 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  43. natalie

    Gwyneth Paltrow is the most insufferable, pretentious woman on the planet.

    July 23, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Julia in NC

    I agree w/the comments about this being a poorly written article. You don't know what's, what while reading it. Ugh!

    July 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Stacy

    This article sucked! What a lack of information, no quotes from the "headliner" and a poorly written waste of space. Did GP even know you were writing this on her? You certainly didn't interview her. You should work for DT so he could say "YOU ARE FIRED!" Oh wait, YOU ALREADY DO!! MY BAD!!!! Well, he should fire you now for this crap!!!

    July 23, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  46. Stephanie

    My mother had post-partum depression after she had me, but never sought any help. This was something that women apparently didn't talk about in the '70's. She has told me that she heard voices in her head telling her to "kill the baby". She was afraid to even touch me and my father held me more than my mother did, in my first year of life. It's very sad what PPD can do to these new moms... I'm so glad that moms are opening up about this problem and are seeking help rather than just waiting for the feelings (and sometimes voices) to pass.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Suz

      Stephanie – same for me and my own mother (I was born in '76). My mom never got help, and she and I never, ever had a good relationship. I think that things would be different between us now had they known more about PPD then.

      July 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Brian

    What a poorly written article! You don't know if the quotes are Paltrow or Howard. It is headlined as an articele about Paltrow and then seems to only be about Howard. Who wrote this?

    July 23, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Laura S.

      It's a typical CNN bait-and-switch. Paltrow gets the headline so people will click, but the interview was really with the lesser known Howard. They pull this all the time.

      July 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • miliaxy

      I know same thing.. I read the article and I still dont know whether it was about some Howard or Paltrow..!!
      Very badly written!

      July 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  48. laura

    I had severe PPD with my first child–22 years ago, but the memory of it still brings me to tears. Perhaps the more it is discussed, the more compassion will be given to its sufferers.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  49. Beenthere

    Interesting that she's addressing this now. In a previous article she downplayed the situation and didn't mention depression at all. She said she just needed to go back to work and everything was better. Cue birds singing and the sun rising.

    Having had PPD with my preemie, it is a difficult journey to walk. I commend Ms. Howard on her bravery to speak about it, but find Ms. Paltrow's response without depth.

    July 23, 2010 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  50. jazzy135


    July 23, 2010 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
    • christy

      I still suffer from PPD and my premie was born in 2004. 🙁 you think your a loser no matter what you do.

      July 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gena

      I didn't bother reading the article. As soon as I saw that it was another Bait & Switch Article, I chose to read the comments instead. Thank you to the women who shared your ppd experiences, even if short, here on the comments.. It's relieving to know that I'm not alone.

      July 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |

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