As a supermodel, cookbook author, and mother, and the wife of singer/songwriter John Legend, Chrissy Teigen seems to have it all -- as well as a terrific sense of humor.
But the 31-year-old host of Lip Sync Battle recently revealed she has been struggling with a serious health issue. “I’ll just say it: I have postpartum depression,” she wrote in a recent Instagram post. She shared more details about her experience in a personal essay for Glamour magazine’s April issue.
She opens up about going back to work following the birth of her daughter, Luna, in April 2016. “I was different than before. Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful,” she writes. “My lower back throbbed; my shoulders -- even my wrists -- hurt. I didn’t have an appetite.”
Teigen also recalls she was short with people, never left the house when she wasn’t working, and would start crying spontaneously. “Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed,” she told Glamour.
Teigen finally received a diagnosis last December when she saw her doctor for a physical. He listed the signs of postpartum depression and she checked off every single one.
“The signs and symptoms for postpartum depression are similar to signs of depression,” explains Traci Johnson, MD, an OB/GYN. These can include feelings of inadequacy, isolation, flat emotions, sadness or tears for no reason, trouble sleeping or too much sleep, or changes in appetite. Postpartum depression can also show itself in physical ways, such as stomachaches, headaches, and general achiness.
One reason Teigen wanted to talk about her struggle now is because she wanted people to know it can happen to anybody -- “and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.”
Up to 1 in 7 new mothers will have the mood disorder, says the American Psychological Association, and it can last for weeks or months if not treated.
Sometimes, new mothers will brush it off as the “baby blues,” but postpartum depression is different, says Joseph Goldberg, MD, a psychiatrist. The baby blues, which affects 80% of new moms, involve passing feelings of sadness or tearfulness. In contrast, postpartum depression is a type of major depression that lasts much longer and develops in women who are vulnerable to it, he says.
Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat postpartum depression, such as talk therapy and antidepressant medicines. Both are part of Teigen's treatment plan, and now, while there are still tough days, “all of the really bad days are gone,” she told Glamour. There are also medicines that are safe for breastfeeding moms to take, Johnson says.