'I didn't think it could happen to me': Chrissy Teigen opens up about her battle with postnatal depression

Chrissy Teigen with daughter Luna as a newborn.
Chrissy Teigen with daughter Luna as a newborn. Photo: Instagram/John Legend

We've been massive fans of Chrissy Teigen for her hilarious honesty when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood. She's shared her warts-and-all experiences from IVF right through to stretch marks and breastfeeding.

But Chrissy kept her battle with postnatal depression private until now. In her raw essay in April's Glamour magazine, Chrissy shares for the first time her struggle with depression after daughter Luna was born in April 2016.

Chrissy says she waited to share her story because "what basically everyone around me – but me – knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression. How can I feel this way when everything is so great? But it's such a major part of my life and so, so many other women's lives. It would feel wrong to write anything else."

Chrissy, her husband John Legend, and some of her closest family and friends started to realise over the past year that she wasn't the same woman as she was before, and Chrissy wants to share her experience in the hope that it will help others going through a similar journey.

Here is what she had to say about her experience:

About not leaving the house

"Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn't have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying."

About feeling unhappy

"I couldn't figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: 'Maybe I'm just not a goofy person any more. Maybe I'm just supposed to be a mum.'"

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About figuring out she had post-natal depression

"Before the holidays I went to my GP for a physical. John sat next to me. 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.

"My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, 'Yep, yep, yep.' I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety."

About being open about her condition

"I started taking an antidepressant, which helped. And I started sharing the news with friends and family – I felt like everyone deserved an explanation, and I didn't know how else to say it other than the only way I know: just saying it. It got easier and easier to say it aloud every time. (I still don't really like to say, 'I have postpartum depression,' because the word depression scares a lot of people. I often just call it 'postpartum'. Maybe I should say it, though. Maybe it will lessen the stigma a bit.)"

About why she never thought it would happen to her

"I looked at Luna every day, amazed by her. So I didn't think I had it. I also just didn't think it could happen to me. I have a great life. I have all the help I could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. 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."

About why she's sharing her story

"Plenty of people around the world in my situation have no help, no family, no access to medical care. I can't imagine not being able to go to the doctors that I need. It's hurtful to me to know that we have a president who wants to rip health care away from women. I look around every day and I don't know how people do it. I've never had more respect for mothers, especially mothers with postpartum depression. I'm speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don't want people to feel embarrassed or to feel alone."

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, contact BeyondBlue.org.au (call 1300 224 636) or LifeLine (call 13 11 14 or chat online after hours).