Model, author and TV host Chrissy Teigen has decided to tell the world about her recent experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter Luna last April. She is joining the ranks of other celebrities who have spoken out, including Hayden Panettiere, Kristen Bell, Brook Shields, Drew Barrymore, and Marie Osmond, to name a few.
“I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy,” Tiegen said. She said that she didn’t have energy, she laid on the couch a lot, and “there was a lot of spontaneous crying.” She was not enjoying life. She didn’t see her friends and didn’t have the energy to take her baby for a stroll.
You Are Not Alone
Teigen makes a great point that “postpartum does not discriminate…I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone.” Many women experience these postpartum symptoms, and like Teigen, it’s hard for them to admit that they are not feeling happy after the birth of their child. They feel guilty because this is supposed to be the happiest time of their life.
There is no shame in admitting that you don’t feel well. Talk about it with your friends and family. It is also important to share this with your doctor so that you can get the help you need. However, be cautioned that conventional doctors often fail to treat the underlying cause of postpartum depression and prescribe drugs like antidepressants.
Why Antidepressants Aren’t the Answer
Antidepressants are usually offered as the solution for postpartum depression, which is the case with Teigen. While the intent of the doctor might be well-meaning, antidepressants do not solve the underlying cause of what’s really going on. They may help to mask some of the depression, but the problem still exists.
While this may seem harmless, antidepressants aren’t to be taken lightly. They are addicting drugs with many negative side effects, including more depression, and suicidal and homicidal behavior. Before you let your doctor talk you into taking antidepressants, please do yourself a favor and get evaluated for hormone imbalance first. You aren’t depressed because you have low levels of Prozac in your blood. Treating depression lies in treating the underlying cause, which is often a decline in your hormones.
What Happens to Your Hormones After Childbirth
During pregnancy, the placenta produces progesterone at higher levels than your body normally produces. Progesterone is known as the “feel good” hormone. How many times have you heard a woman say how great she felt while she was pregnant? That is why.
Upon the birth of the baby, the placenta is expelled resulting in an immediate drop in a woman’s progesterone level. Meanwhile, estrogen levels remain high, creating a hormonal imbalance. Oftentimes, this imbalance in progesterone and estrogen, referred to as estrogen dominance, does not normalize after childbirth, and causes postpartum depression. The symptoms of estrogen dominance can be weight gain or mood-related symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Estrogen dominance also becomes a catalyst for hypothyroidism, which zaps your energy as a result.
Progesterone for Postpartum and Anxiety
Did you know that progesterone is found in brain cells at levels twenty times higher than in the blood? Progesterone is a key component of the myelin sheath, the protective layer that insulates each nerve fiber. Research has shown that progesterone has high anti-anxiety properties.(1) It activates GABA receptors in the brain resulting in a calming effect and positively affects mood. Since the drastic drop in progesterone causes the low moods of postpartum depression, it only makes sense to restore the body’s progesterone levels with bioidentical progesterone.