Mothers are usually seen as unconventionally loving beings who could never possibly do anything wrong by their children. So, when we hear stories about mothers throwing their newborns off from balconies, it becomes seems really bewildering as to how can a mother be as cruel? It is not a question of cruelty or apathy. You see, there’s this thing called postpartum depression or postnatal depression. And people’s unfamiliarity with this name is exactly what pushed model and TV presenter Chrissy Teigen to raise her voice about it.

Recently, Chrissy Teigen recounted her horrors with postpartum depression (PPD) on Glamour. Last year, the 31-year-old model had a daughter named Luna with her husband, singer John Legend. While everything was perfect in Chrissy’s life, nothing seemed to be doing well for her after Luna’s birth. Teigen, a lively soul, started to feel low on energy every time she had to conduct day-to-day tasks.

Chrissy Teigen with her husband John Legend.

Chrissy Teigen with her husband John Legend.

Teigen recalled the days of her pregnancy which she called “wonderful” and “energetic”. However, soon after delivering her child, she had trouble even waking up from her bed. In spite of having all the comfort in the world, she was not feeling like herself. “Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. 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 stated.

She went back to work to co-host the Lip Sync Battle where she found herself to be frequently losing her temper at people. She didn’t understand her own behaviour which made her break down every now and then. Teigen said that couldn’t get a grip on herself. She felt so irritable and energyless that she would shut herself in her house for days, sitting at just the one place, without eating food or showering.

“Before, when I entered a room I had a presence: head high, shoulders back, big smile. Suddenly I had become this person whose shoulders would cower underneath her chin. I would keep my hands on my belly and try to make myself as small as possible.”

After months of being in agonising pain and not understanding what was wrong with her, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression. She found herself to have a completely different understanding of PPD which caused her delayed diagnosis. “Growing up in the nineties, I associated postpartum depression with Susan Smith [a woman now serving life in prison for killing her two sons; her lawyer argued that she suffered from a long history of depression],” she wrote. The cause of this mental disorder, which can occur in both parents but is mostly known to inflict mothers, is not known. However, probable causes for the disorder have been reported to be hormonal changes, altered eating/sleeping patterns, among other reasons.

What people need to understand that it is not inhumane of a person to “go crazy” after childbirth. It is just as painful for the individual as it is for the people around them. Teigen explained how she let down a lot of people around her with her behaviour and she thought it was best that she openly apologise and thank all of them, especially her husband. She also wanted people to learn about PPD as “being open about it helps.”

Chrissy Teigen John Legend Child

From Chrissy’s ordeal, it is apparent that there are a lot of things still unknown about psychological disorders which causes people with the infliction to go unnoticed. Also, every time someone speaks up about depression, people choose to run the other way. Not only do we need to tackle ignorance, we also need to do away with the stigma surrounding it.

Even after Teigen’s request to not be treated differently, people inevitably are.

This further goes to show how desperately we need to learn more about PPD and even mental disorders in general. It will give us a greater understanding and have more respect for parents who suffer from the disorder. As Teigen puts it, “I’ve never had more respect for mothers, especially mothers with postpartum depression.”