BookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxFilledCheckBoxCircleBumpCheckedFilledMedical

Reese Witherspoon Opens Up About Struggle With Postpartum Depression

“Postpartum is very real.”
save article
profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published April 17, 2020
actress reese witherspoon opens up about her struggles with postpartum depression
Image: Shutterstock

Many moms experience postpartum depression, and in recent years, to normalize the topic, more and more women have been speaking out about their experiences—including celebrities. Reese Witherspoon is adding her name to the list, as she candidly spoke about her postpartum experiences in a recent interview with fellow actress Jameela Jamil.

On Jamil’s podcast, I Weigh, Witherspoon, 44, spoke about how she’s been dealing with depression and anxiety pretty much all her life and began therapy when she was 16.

“I definitely had anxiety, my anxiety manifests as depression so I would get really depressed. My brain is like a hamster on a wheel and it won’t come off,” the mother of three, said in the interview. “I’ve been managing it my entire life.”

The Little Fires Everywhere star then explained that her mental health struggles increased the most when she began to have kids—and her postpartum experience was different with each. “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.”

Witherspoon has two kids with ex Ryan Phillipe, daughter Ava, 20, and son, Deacon, 16, as well as a son Tennessee, 7, with husband Jim Toth. She explained that she was “completely out of control” after giving birth to her first kid.

“We don’t understand the kind of hormonal roller coaster that you go on when you stop nursing. No one explained that to me,” Witherspoon said. “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…I didn’t have the right kind of guidance or help, I just white-knuckled back.”

Witherspoon explained that her mother, who worked as a pediatric nurse for over three decades and has always been open about topics concerning mental health, was working in a different state and wasn’t able to be with her during her postpartum period. She didn’t have, at the time, “the type of communication we have now.”

She and Jamil, who has been a longtime advocate for women empowerment, discussed how topics of mental health need to be completely be-stigmatized and women need to be taken more seriously.

According to the actress, hormones are understudied and not as understood as they need to be. “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.”

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

depressed mother holding newborn baby at home
Women With Autoimmune Diseases at Higher Risk of Postpartum Depression
By Wyndi Kappes
mother massaging baby feet
Participating in Baby Massage Lessens Postpartum Depression Symptoms
By Wyndi Kappes
mom holding newborn baby at home
First Pill to Treat Postpartum Depression Set to Cost $15,900
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Britney Spears arrives for the premiere of Sony Pictures' "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood" at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California on July 22, 2019
Britney Spears Reflects on Postpartum Depression in New Memoir
By Wyndi Kappes
dad holding crying baby at home
Dads Should Be Screened for Postpartum Depression Too, Study Says
By Wyndi Kappes
the mom therapist postpartum math reel
Postpartum Math: Therapist’s Reel Addresses New Mom Struggles
By Wyndi Kappes
mother and baby smiling and cuddling
10 Actionable Ways to Boost Your Postpartum Mental Health
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Kylie Jenner attends the 2022 Baby2Baby Gala presented by Paul Mitchell at Pacific Design Center on November 12, 2022 in West Hollywood, California
Kylie Jenner Encourages Postpartum Moms to ‘Stay Inside That Moment’
By Wyndi Kappes
Illustrations of disney princesses postpartum
Artist Reimagines Disney Princesses as Relatable Postpartum Parents
By Wyndi Kappes
close up of mother holding baby
How the New National Maternal Mental Health Taskforce Will Help Moms
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
Elyse Myers attends TikTok House Party at VidCon 2022 at a private venue on June 23, 2022 in Anaheim, California
Elyse Myers Shares How Her Postpartum Struggles Led to Her First Video
By Wyndi Kappes
mother holding newborn baby's head
New Discovery Could Revolutionize How We Treat Postpartum Depression
By Wyndi Kappes
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott are expecting their second baby.
Kylie Jenner's Story Reminds Us All Postpartum Journeys Are Different
By Wyndi Kappes
ADVERTISEMENT
mother holding newborn baby in hospital bed after giving birth
8 Ways Black Moms Can Lower Their Risk of Postpartum Depression
By Ericka Sóuter
mother lying with newborn baby in bed at home
These States Join a Growing List Offering a Full Year of Postpartum Care
By Wyndi Kappes
baby twins in mother's lap on bed
New Study Identifies Women at Highest Risk of Postpartum Depression
By Wyndi Kappes
pregnant woman doing yoga
Study: Yoga and Mindfulness Can Help Prevent Postpartum Depression
By Nehal Aggarwal
ADVERTISEMENT
What to Expect Emotionally After Birth
What to Expect Emotionally After Birth
By Yelena Moroz Alpert
writer posing with her newborn and husband
I’m an OB and I Suffered From Postpartum Depression
By Temeka Zore, MD
first dad holding his newborn
New York City Will Now Provide Home Visits to First-Time Parents
By Nehal Aggarwal
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.