Celebrities with Postpartum Depression: Alanis Morissette

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Alanis MorissetteThe entertainment media world has exploded this week with news that singer Alanis Morissette struggled with postpartum depression.

Hundreds of thousands of women have PPD at any one time, of course, but whenever there are stories about celebrities with postpartum depression my Twitter stream gets throttled and my Google alerts go through the roof. Everyone wants to talk about famous moms with postpartum depression.

I’m glad she shared her experience with People magazine and other media outlets. It’s frustrating that we can’t get the media to talk about all the women who are suffering, and how few of them are able to get the help they deserve, but I’m glad they are willing to report on Alanis, along with other celebrities with postpartum depression, like Bryce. And Gwyneth. And Kendra. And Lisa. And Amanda. And Angie. And Brooke.

The more women who talk about PPD, the better.

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Former CIA Agent Says Espionage Is Easy Compared To Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum depression is harder than covert operations for the CIA. So says Valerie Plame Wilson, former agent and author who went through postpartum depression, in an interview with NPR:

” … her experience with postpartum depression after giving birth to twins in 2000 tested her in ways that espionage never did, she told NPR’s Tell Me More’sTuesday.”

Plame Wilson wrote a chapter about having had PPD in her book Fair Game. I interviewed her about the book in 2008 for BlogHer, and we went into much more depth about her experience with PPD. I thought you might like to listen to the 30-minute discussion, as she goes into further detail than the NPR story.

Wilson is now the honorary board chair of Postpartum Support Virginia.

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Actress Bryce Dallas Howard on Her Battle With Postpartum Depression

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NPR covered the topic of postpartum depression this week and featured Heidi Koss of PSI of Washington.  Way to go Heidi!!!

Also, I love this video from Access Hollywood featuring actress Bryce Dallas Howard talking about her second pregnancy and her experience the first time around with postpartum depression.  She doesn’t know it, but she’s a Warrior Mom!  (FYI, there’s a short ad prior to the video.)


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Does What Gwyneth Paltrow Says About Postpartum Depression Affect You?

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I read last week that Gwyneth Paltrow said she plans on avoiding having any more children to head off any potential recurrence of postpartum depression. The UK’s Daily Mirror quoted the famous celebrity as saying:

“Looking at Moses makes me want to have another one, he is sooo gorgeous! But I don’t think so. I don’t know if I can go there again, not sleep and be depressed for two years. I felt like a zombie.”

This statement, which was then republished all over entertainment websites and celebrity baby blogs, made me think. Will it lead other women who’ve been through postpartum depression to think they can’t or shouldn’t have more babies? Do they know that many of the women who have survived postpartum depression have gone on to have more children? Given that she is such a worldwide celebrity, I think it would be naive to assume that what Gwyneth says won’t have an impact on what some people think.

Whether to have another baby is a personal decision. No one has to go down that route again, nor are they expected to do so. At the same time, I think women should know that you can have another baby and be just fine. I did, thanks to my treatment team and support from family and friends. You can also have another baby, suffer a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder again, and recover. There is no one right answer.

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