Life is now imitating art for actress Hayden Panettiere, who, like her character, Juliette on TV’s “Nashville” has announced that she is battling postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter Kaya (with her partner, boxer Wladimir Klitschko) last December. Panettiere recently spoke candidly to Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan on “Live with Kelly and Michael” about the condition, stating that, “There’s a lot of misunderstanding and I feel like there’s a lot of people out there who think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds and, ‘oh, it’s hormones’ It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”
Now, as a result of her struggle, a representative for the actress has told media sources that Panettiere has voluntarily checked into a treatment facility. She is just the latest in a line of celebrity moms who have come out publicly about their own cases of PPD including Marie Osmond and Brooke Shields, who admitted that she even thought about killing herself by crashing her car after having her first child, Rowan. According to Shields, she stopped at the last minute because the baby was in the car at the time, and even blamed her little girl for interfering with the plan just by being there. Luckily for Shields she recovered and did not suffer from it again following the birth of her second child, Greer. However, she did write about it in her book, “Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression” in 2006.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, approximately 1 in 7 women (or 15% of new moms) in the US have been found to suffer from some form of mental illness during or after pregnancy. PPD is a type of clinical depression which can actually affect both sexes after childbirth, although far less prevalent in new fathers than new mothers. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, and irritability, as well as anxiety over caring for an infant, identity crisis, and feelings of loss of control over life, and lack of support from a romantic or sexual partner. Many women recover with treatment such as a support group, counseling, or medication. While it is normal for some women to experience “self-limited, mild symptoms” after delivery, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and have lasted longer than 2-weeks.It has also been reported that postpartum depression is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age in the united States (which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births).