Reese Witherspoon Got Real About Her Experience with Postpartum Depression
"I didn’t have the right kind of guidance or help."
Reese Witherspoon opened up recently about a delicate topic: her experiences with postpartum depression and how it's affected her life after having three children.
Taking to Friday's episode (April 17) of Jameela Jamil's podcast I Weigh, Witherspoon discussed how she's been in therapy ever since she was 16 and has been managing stress and anxiety throughout most of her adolescence.
"I definitely had anxiety, my anxiety manifests as depression so I would get really depressed," she said. "My brain is like a hamster on a wheel and it won’t come off. I’ve been managing it my entire life.”
The actress pointed out that one of her biggest stressors came about when she became a mother, with each birth a "different experience." She currently has a 20-year-old daughter named Ava and a 16-year-old son named Deacon with ex Ryan Phillippe. Then there's 7-year-old Tennessee, who she shares with current husband Jim Toth.
"One kid I had kind of mild postpartum, and one kid I had severe postpartum where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn’t thinking straight at all," she said. "And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all."
Unfortunately, it was her first child that made Reese feel as though she had gone "Completely out of control" after she stopped nursing.
"I was 23 years old when I had my first baby and nobody explained to me that when you wean a baby, your hormones go into the toilet. I felt more depressed than I’d ever felt in my whole life. It was scary," Witherspoon said of the experience.
"I didn’t have the right kind of guidance or help, I just white-knuckled back,” she said, explaining that she couldn't even spend time with her pediatric nurse mother at the time, and there just "wasn't the type of communication we have now." Witherspoon stressed the importance of listening to and taking women seriously when it comes to mental health issues.
"I think hormones are so understudied and not understood," she said of the topic. "I kept reaching out to my doctors for answers, there just isn’t enough research about what happens to women’s bodies and the hormonal shifts that we have aren’t taken as seriously as I think they should be."
"I have deep compassion for women who are going through that," she said. "Postpartum is very real.