Hayden Panettiere on getting through postnatal depression: “I’m all the stronger for it”

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray

Hayden Panettiere has always been open about her struggles with postnatal depression in a bid to tackle the stigma so many women often face.

Now, in a new interview with Good Morning America, Panetteire has given fans an update on her nearly two-year mental health battle, revealing she feels she can take some positives from her experience.

“It takes you a while, and you feel off,” she told Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer. “You don’t feel like yourself, [but] women are so resilient, and that’s the incredible thing about them.

“I think I’m all the stronger for it. I think I’m a better mum because of it, because you never take that connection for granted.”

Panettiere welcomed her first child with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, a daughter named Kaya, in December 2014. In September 2015, the actor revealed that she had been suffering from postnatal depression – know as postpartum depression, or PPD, in the US – and voluntarily checked into a treatment centre the following month.

Since then, her character on Nashville, Juliette Barnes, has been dealing with PPD in her own storyline and the 27-year-old found it reassuring.

“I think it helped me identify what was going on and to let women know that it’s OK to have a moment of weakness,” she said. “It doesn’t make you a bad person, doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you a very strong, resilient woman.

“You’ve just got to let it make you stronger.”

In March 2016, Panettiere discussed the misconceptions that many people still have about the condition, saying: “If you think for one second that a mother wants to feel that way toward her child, you’re outta your mind. It is one of the most debilitating, scary, guilty feelings that you can ever feel.

“That a mother would not be able to connect with their child, would not be able to get a grip, or would not know what’s going on, for anybody to say that it’s false or created by us, you must have your head examined.”

Just two months later, Panettiere confirmed on Twitter that she was taking time out to undergo further treatment.

Admitting that the debilitating condition had “impacted every aspect of my life”, she continued: “Rather than stay stuck due to unhealthy coping mechanisms, I have chosen to take time to reflect holistically on my health and life.”

Panettiere has previously said that she hopes her personal struggles will encourage other mums to seek help, and other big names have been similarly open of late.

In October 2015, Drew Barrymore told People she was depressed after the birth of her second daughter Frankie, saying: “I really got under the cloud”.

The 41-year-old said it came as a surprise to her as her first pregnancy, with daughter Olive, was relatively straightforward.

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Barrymore said: “I didn’t have postpartum the first time so I didn’t understand it because I was like, ‘I feel great!’ The second time, I was like, ‘Oh, whoa, I see what people talk about now. I understand.’”

“It’s a different type of overwhelming with the second. I really got under the cloud,” she added.

If you or someone you know would like advice on postnatal depression, visit the NHS website here or Mind's website here.