Vanessa Lachey Clarifies She Had Baby Blues, Not Postpartum Depression
Having a new baby can be a confusing, overwhelming, and yes, even a depressing time. But does crying and feeling overwhelmed mean you have postpartum depression?
Vanessa Lachey (nee Minnillo, famous for something or other) wrote an explicit blog post detailing her own stint with the "baby blues" when her baby Camden (with Nick Lachey famous for being Jessica Simpson's ex) was two weeks old. She wrote:
"No matter how many books you read, NOTHING prepares you better than the real thing. I felt lost, unloved, alone and at my wits end. It's weird, too, because I have an amazing and supportive husband, his loving family and wonderful friends. But at that moment… I felt like NO ONE understood me. No one knows my thoughts, my fears, my wishes… heck, I didn't even know my own wishes."
I started crying. I was feeding Camden and crying my eyes out. I felt like I had officially come undone. I imagined blissful days, tired nights, but quiet loving moments. I imagined family dinners with the 12 casseroles I prepared ahead of time, and a beautiful post-pregnancy glow that embodied me 24-7. But this was none of that. I didn’t feel like myself. Where was the super woman who always thought and knew she could do it all? Where was the organized Vanessa who had it all under control no matter what the obstacle? She was gone, and I thought... forever.
Nick came in and took Camden and she went out for a drive, roof down, music blaring then returned home, refreshed. She took a moment for herself and realized that she couldn't do it all and that kick-started her feeling better.
Sounds like Vanessa had a hard time and her story is one that many mothers can relate to. And she got a fair bit of press which is a good thing because anything that normalizes it for other women who have similar feelings about their new babies.
But a few days later she said she wanted to clarify that she did not have postpartum depression but had a temporary spat of the baby blues. She wrote on her blog and said to E! Online that she didn't want to "take anything away" from women who did suffer from postpartum depression.
There's a difference in the sense that baby blues happen to probably 70 to 80 per cent of women a couple weeks after the baby was born. It's just, you get sad, you get irritable, you feel confused, you feel lost…and then postpartum depression happens to 10 to 20 per cent of women and some celebrity moms have spoken up about it—Brooke Shields, Gwyneth Paltrow—but that's more severe and it can last up to six months or even further on than that, and you have serious thoughts that go through your head."
She says that she wants women to know that it can be normal to feel sad and overwhelmed a couple weeks after having a baby and not to let the baby blues take over.
Kudos to Lachey for not pretending that new motherhood is all gauzy, soft focus moments with the angels singing. I think it is important to know that new motherhood is a roller coaster of emotions because of the stew of hormones, sleeplessness and fear of taking care of newborn. But I do take exception with Lachey's statement when she says: "don't actually let the baby blues take over and become postpartum depression. You're fine. Most women have it."
Postpartum depression is not something that women can control by taking a drive in a convertible on a sunshine-filled highway. Postpartum depression is a disorder that needs to be treated by professionals, it is not just a step away from the baby blues.
The baby blues are not pleasant, but postpartum depression can derail relationships, and can strike anytime after the birth of a baby -- even 18 months later. If you, or someone you know shows signs, please get some professional help from someone who has dealt with PPD before. If you need assistance, Postpartum Progress is a great resource that lists a few ways to tell the difference between PPD and new mom stress.
Did you have the baby blues or postpartum depression?
Want more chaos? Last year, the breast milk truck arrived in Toronto.