This week, Chrissy Teigen shared her story in Cosmopolitan and Us Magazine about her struggles with postpartum depression (aka postnatal depression). It’s often surprising when a celebrity who can afford the best childcare has the same struggles as less privileged women, but I believe there was a major warning sign that might have helped Teigen and her husband, musician John Legend, get help sooner. Teigen had a long history with infertility and my research is showing that this may be a significant indicator.
One of the surprising findings of a study we’re currently conducting at the University of Calgary indicates that couples who are undergoing infertility treatments have higher rates of depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after delivery. While this may seem unsettling, it could give a couple a head start. Armed with this information, pregnant women and their partners who fall into this category could find a therapist to help them navigate the difficult emotions they may be experiencing and head off worse problems down the road.
There’s a lot to learn from Teigen’s story. As she shared during her interview, she had these common warning signs:
· Numbness: “I lost all interest in everything.”
· Constant exhaustion: “I couldn’t get out of bed.”
· Self-blame: “It’s really hard to know how privileged you are and still feel frustrated, angry and lonely. It makes you feel like more of a b****.”
· Desire to escape: The doctor asked, “’Do you have these feelings? Would you be happier tomorrow if you didn’t wake up?’ And yes, I probably would be. That’s a big deal! I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was out of it.”
If any of these symptoms ring a bell, during pregnancy or after delivery, please don’t hesitate to discuss it with your doctor and get help. There’s no need to suffer in silence and a lot to be gained from getting assistance right away.
Bottom line: Teigen and Legend are hoping to add a second child to their family and the fact that she got help and recovered is hopeful for their future. As Teigen said, “Now I know how to catch it quicker.” With good mental health care from an experienced therapist, couples who have experienced infertility, as well as mothers who have lived with PPD during their previous pregnancy, can find help to ameliorate the effects when expecting subsequent children.