Chrissy Teigen knows how good she has it. It was that very self-awareness that may have made it harder for her to figure out she was suffering from postpartum depression.
“I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone," said the model, "Lip Sync Battle" host and snarky Twitter savant in a revealing essay for Glamour.
After she and husband John Legend welcomed daughter Luna in April, she said, she couldn’t figure out why she was so unhappy. She blamed it on being tired, or maybe she was just growing up.
“Maybe I'm just not a goofy person anymore,” the 31-year-old said she thought at the time. “Maybe I'm just supposed to be a mom."
Teigen returned to work on “Lip Sync Battle” when Luna was 4 months old, supported by an employer she said treated her “incredibly well” as she adapted to life as a mom. But it didn’t go well.
“Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful,” she wrote. “My lower back throbbed; my shoulders — even my wrists — hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me,” she said. “One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people.”
Teigen left her house only for work, and at home she barely left the couch, even when it was time for bed. “There was a lot of spontaneous crying,” she said. She even started keeping comfy clothes in the pantry so she wouldn’t have to go upstairs after Legend left for work.
Then, before the holidays, with her husband at her side, she went to get a physical.
“I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll,” she wrote.
The doctor went down a list of symptoms with her, and as she ticked them off one by one she got her diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety. The latter, she said, explained some of her physical symptoms.
Teigen said she’s now on an antidepressant and coming to grips with what happened to her. Postpartum depression, she said, isn’t what she always thought it was. It wasn’t about feeling like she wanted to harm her child, or not liking Luna, she wrote.
“I looked at Luna every day, amazed by her. So I didn’t think I had it,” Teigen said. “I also just didn’t think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need. … But postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it.
“And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do.”
Teigen said she is “dealing.” Therapy is part of the plan. There are good days and bad days, but no more really bad days. Plus, she said, she’s no longer hiding what’s been going on.