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Postpartum Depression Health Center

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Out of the Blue

Brooke Shields discusses her painful struggle with postpartum depression.

Brooke Shields: Model Candidate continued...

Yet, "it was a surprise to me. How about that one?" she quips. "I think of myself as aware, and all of these things were staring me in the face," she says. But "for each individual thing, I had a justification for how I was going to get through it to make sure it didn't bring me to my knees. I just didn't assume I would be weakened to the point of being affected, and therein lies the stigma."

Now, two years later and seriously considering having more children, Shields is doing what she can to remove this stigma in her new book, Down Came the Rain, due out in May.

"There is a really unfortunate and not-so-pretty part of going through something like this, and nobody wants to admit it, so I figured let me just blow the lid off this, and hopefully it will be able to speak to somebody."

The good news is that treatment for postpartum depression is often extremely effective, says women's health expert Donnica Moore, MD, president of Sapphire Women's Health in Far Hills, N.J. "It is not like treating strep throat, where you are 50% better in 24 hours. It takes some time," she says. Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy and medication, along with plenty of rest and help from family and friends. Shields did all of the above.

"Without therapy, I wouldn't have understood as much, and I think that without medicine, I would not have been clear enough," Shields says.

"There was always a glimmer of something that kept me trying to get better," she says. "I attribute a lot to breastfeeding, because, for me, the physical connection is what I really needed, whether I enjoyed it or not. Somewhere along the line it was undeniable that she was stuck to me," she adds. "I think that was important to my recovery."

Brooke Shields: Pretty Baby

Despite all she went through, Shields considers herself lucky. "I was able to get help and I was able to have a support system and recognize [the postpartum depression] relatively early," she says.

Now, she, Rowan and Chris have settled into to a comfortable, bi-coastal routine. She just finished a run on Broadway in Wonderful Town and may do a new sitcom in the fall. And she's taking the family to London this May where she will star in Chicago as the publicity-hungry moll, Roxie Hart.

For the most part, Shields embraces her role as mother and cherishes each milestone that her strawberry-haired toddler experiences, including "cozy time" before naps, a first trip to the zoo, and graduating from a crib to a big-girl bed.

None of this is to say that motherhood is suddenly easy. "Did I want to get up at 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. last night? No. It doesn't get easier, but you start to acclimate, and it becomes less of a burden," she admits.

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