My Twitter feed is going amileaminute right now with people tweeting about the fact that mother Hayden Panettiere, who also happens to be a Hollywood actress, has entered treatment for postpartum depression. So many of you are sending me Facebook messages with links to EOnline and ET and People and the rest that my phone is pinging nonstop.
I have three reactions to this:
- Please heavens above, universe and all powers that be let the purported “postpartum depression treatment center” she’s in be one of the amazing organizations or specialists that truly specializes in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Because they’re amazing, they know what they’re doing, and they can make a huge difference in her life. And good help is EVERYTHING.
- Hayden Panettiere is just a person. That’s it. She’s a person who has an illness that can be serious and devastating without help, that anyone can get no matter who they are or where they live or what color they are or what kind of work they do. And right now she deserves to be just a person who has gone to do something important to take care of herself. Like so many of you in the Postpartum Progress community are doing and have done. And none of us had the press following us wanting to know exactly what we were doing and what type of treatment it was and when we’d be done. It’s so difficult to reach out for help and admit to others when you are struggling. You feel like the whole world will judge you and think that you “can’t handle” being a mom. Like you’re a failure. Except you aren’t, of course, but that’s how it feels and no one can convince you otherwise. And to be in that vulnerable position and end up with your bizness on TMZ? That would suck. Big time. It takes a lot of courage to do what you need to do for yourself and your family knowing that lots of idiots who know nothing about maternal mental health will weigh in on your situation. I’m at least minimally comforted by the assumption that she’s been in the public eye long enough that she knows NEVER to read the comments.
- As much courage as Hayden Panettiere has shown — and we surely congratulate her for it — you show it too. Every day. All of you. And every single one of you has an important story. And every single one of you has an experience that matters to us, whether it’s PPD, postpartum anxiety/OCD, postpartum bipolar disorder, postpartum PTSD, post-adoption depression, postpartum psychosis, or depression and anxiety during pregnancy. You single Warrior Moms show courage. You military Warrior Moms show courage. You Warrior Moms with babies in the NICU show courage. Those of you who have no idea how to pay for a single cent of your treatment show courage. Those of you who come from cultures that don’t believe PPD exists show courage. You, and many more, are the brave faces of postpartum depression. So while I know that the media loves to jump on the PPD bandwagon whenever a celeb is struggling, I also know they tend to disappear just as quickly when the story dies down. And yet all of you will still be struggling, and wishing there were more services, and wishing you didn’t have to wait months for an appointment, and wishing you had family members or friends who understood, and wishing you had insurance that covered more care, and wishing you really felt safe telling someone what’s going on inside your head, and wishing wishing wishing for more and better for all moms struggling with maternal mental illness. And Postpartum Progress will continue to be here and continue to work our collective asses off for all of you. We love you.
So, go Hayden. The Warrior Moms are behind you. And go YOU. Because you can do this. You can get the help you need and deserve. Be patient with yourself as you go through this difficult time, and know there are women here who have gone before you and know what it’s like and are dedicated to reaching down to pull our sisters up out of the darkness.