Out of the Blue
Brooke Shields discusses her painful struggle with postpartum depression.
Blue Lagoon continued...
"Chris would say, 'Oh, my God, she's crying,' and I would respond, 'Yeah,
baby. She's crying. I wonder what she wants?'" she recalls. "It was like this
weird alien overtook my body and every appropriate response was answered with
the antithesis of what you would assume."
Today, Rowan can cry a mile away and Shields boasts that she can tell
whether her daughter is angry, hungry, scared, sad or just looking for the
family's 7-year-old American bulldog, Darla. "That's the instinct stuff that
you hear about and expect to have on day one," she says.
She claims that she had no mother's intuition at all.
Friends and family were quick to dismiss her sorrow and disinterest as a
case of the "baby blues" that would disappear with some much-needed rest. But
her sadness escalated rapidly into postpartum depression. Shields found herself
crying more than Rowan did, and she says she suffered a mini-breakdown on her
first post-pregnancy job interview to do a commercial for Bright Beginnings
infant formula. She was plagued by feelings of self-doubt and self-harm. And if
thoughts of suicide weren't frightening enough, Shields also suffered
disturbing visions of seeing her daughter flying through the air, hitting a
wall and then sliding down it, although, she is quick to clarify, she was never
the one throwing her.
The words "postpartum depression" didn't mean much to her at first, but they
finally hit home when a virtual stranger told her about the guilt, shame, and
reclusiveness that were connected to postpartum depression -- the same symptoms
she had struggled with since the baby was born.
Brooke Shields: Model Candidate
Exactly which mothers will develop postpartum depression is not fully
understood, but risk factors do exist. In Shields' case, these risk factors may
have been red flags. They can include a complicated or difficult labor. Rowan
was delivered via an emergency C-section with an umbilical cord wrapped around
her neck. In addition, Shields' uterus herniated during the surgery, and she
lost a lot of blood. Her doctors even considered performing a hysterectomy (the
removal of a woman's uterus) if the bleeding did not stop. Fortunately, it did
and her uterus was successfully repaired.