She’s one of my favorite actresses. She’s known for her frequent roles with a British accent. And she lives in England with her husband, Chris Martin (lead sinder of Coldplay), her daughter Apple, and her son Moses. She was the leading lady in three of my favorite movies: Sliding Doors, Emma, and Shakespeare in Love.
Yes, I’m talking about Gwyneth Paltrow.
I’m now more in admiration of her than ever before. And why is that? Today, I stumbled across her blog “Goop” where she offers lifestyle advice in the form of weekly newsletters in the following categories:
- MAKE: cooking
- GO: travel
- GET: gifts – fashion – wine – etc
- DO: health – diet – self care – spirituality
- SEE: films – events – books
- BE: parenting – family – friendships
This week’s newsletter happens to be about her PPD experience after the birth of her son, Moses. The newsletter also features Dr. Laura Schiller – a NYC-based OB/GYN – who provides a brief overview of PPD; actress Bryce Dallas Howard; Heather Armstrong, author of dooce.com and author of “It Sucked and Then I Cried;” and psychologist and frequent GOOP contributor Dr. Karen Binder-Brynes.
Thank you, Gwyneth and Bryce, for your courage in speaking up about your PPD experiences! Thank you for joining the ranks of celebrities such as Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond who have spoken up about their PPD experiences and have a desire to educate others about PPD. It’s thanks to these celebrities being open and public about their PPD experiences that PPD is now being discussed more openly among mothers, on blogs, and in the media.
Celebrities are generally viewed as financially capable of hiring all the household staff that is needed to help around the house and with any babies that come along. From chauffeurs to maids and nannies, they lead the life the average mom like me can only dream of having. Celebrity moms are the last ones the public would ever think would experience PPD. After all, they have all the help they can get around the house, with cooking, laundry, childcare — you name it. FYI, Gwyneth refused to hire a nanny for her 2 children, even taking time out from acting to focus on motherhood for a number of years, and it was only in the past year that she disclosed that she finally hired one.
But just as PPD is blind to race and culture, it is blind to socioeconomic status as well. With an occurrence rate as high as one out of every eight moms, PPD is a serious condition that requires more public awareness and destigmatization…which is why Brooke, Marie, and now Gwyneth and Bryce are speaking up. PPD surprised them and debilitated them. Much the same way as PPD surprised me and debilitated me. PPD can happen to anyone, really. But there are certain risk factors to be cognizant of. We need more moms to speak up. Those who are already in the spotlight have more ready access to the public’s attention, which is why it’s wonderful that these celebrity moms are speaking up!
Gwyneth and Bryce….I just hope you’re not going to stop with this one newsletter. I hope you can take advantage of that media spotlight of yours and continue to speak and write in different venues about PPD. Yes, take advantage of your celebrity status and help educate the public about resources that can help mothers get through their PPD experiences.
Anyhoo….one last thing I wanted to point out is that Gwyneth’s PPD experience shows us that just because you didn’t have PPD after your first child doesn’t mean you will be completely immune from having PPD in subsequent births. And on the flip side, while Brooke suffered from PPD after her first child, she was able to avoid PPD after her second child….and that was due to awareness of her risk factors and minimizing them. One woman’s pregnancy experience will vary from one pregnancy to the next, just like her childbirth experience will vary from one childbirth to the next. We can only improve our chances for a good motherhood experience if we are empowered with knowledge about PPD, not caught up in any motherhood myths or thoughts of “PPD? That can’t happen to me.”