Friday, July 23, 2010

Bryce Dallas Howard of "Twilight" on postpartum depression

Actress Bryce Dallas Howard recently shared her experience of postpartum depression in Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop newsletter. It's haunting and vivid and so well-written. Here are a few excerpts.
I recently saw an interview I did on TV while promoting a film. In it, I was asked about my experience with post-partum depression and as I watched, I cringed. I said things like “It was a nightmare,” or “I felt like I was in a black hole.” But I couldn’t even begin to express my true feelings. On screen, I had seemed so together, so okay, as if I had everything under control. As I watched, it dawned on me. If I had been able to truthfully convey my ordeal with post-partum depression under the glare of those lights, I most likely would have said no words at all. I simply would have stared at the interviewer with an expression of deep, deep loss....

It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time. I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn’t genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs....

Post-partum depression is hard to describe—the way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time. I cringed when I watched my interview on television because of my inability to share authentically what I was going through, what so many women go through. I fear more often than not, for this reason alone, we choose silence. And the danger of being silent means only that others will suffer in silence and may never be able to feel whole because of it.

Read the rest of her story here. Be sure to read the entire newsletter, which has other stories and articles about PPD.


  1. Emotional amnesia is a really good description... but it goes beyond forgetting how to feel... at least it did for me. I know I was doing "all the right things" because no one knew. But I don't remember a period of, at least, a few months of my first experience with PPD. Amazing stuff... the fracture some of us deal with after birth.

    The amazing thing for me is that each subsequent experience with PPD has been LESS tormenting and troublesome. I've still HAD is after each birth (now 3), but the depths seem to become less each time. My only explanation for this is my reliance upon the Lord currently... and how it has become deeper and more profound steadily since after my first PPD experience. I know the two are integrally connected.

    I appreciate your blog. Can't get here often as I'd like, but I like it when I get here! ^_^

  2. Does anyone know of any research done linking PPD to anaesthesia during delivery, or to C-sections? I've always wondered if natural childbirth lowers the incidences of PPD.

  3. Great post! Thank you for it. I suffered from PPD with my now 7 month old daughter. It was borderline post-partum psychosis. My OB treated it very successfully with natural progesterone.

  4. Good post! I had PPD even though I did all the "right" things (good family support, breastfeeding, natural birth, etc.) and it was just horrible. I couldn't exactly describe it either, the closest I can come is saying it was like this overwhelming sense of doom. I remember telling my midwife that I would of never gotten pregnant if I had of known I would feel that bad. Thankfully I was treated and quickly recovered. Yay Zoloft! :)


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