While having a child can be one of the most rewarding times in your life, it can also be one of the most unexpectedly difficult times because of conditions like postpartum depression. What most people don’t know is that postpartum depression can affect anyone — even musical powerhouse Adele.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Adele opened up about how she dealt with crippling postpartum depression following the birth of her son, Angelo. “I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me,” she said. “I didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was very reluctant.”
Adele explained that while she had always understood postpartum depression to mean you didn’t want to be with your child or you were worried you might hurt your child, her form of postpartum depression manifested in a different way: “I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate. I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life … it can come in many different forms.”
Postpartum mood disorders (PPMD) — including postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety — affect an estimated 20 percent of all women who’ve given birth in the United States alone. That number is an estimate because, as the nonprofit group Postpartum Progress points out, the statistics only reflect self-reported cases of PPMDs, but many instances may go unreported due to shame or fear.
Postpartum mood disorders are vastly underreported, considering how many women they affect. As a comparison, 1.3 million women will be affected by PPMDs annually, whereas 300,000 women will suffer from a stroke and 205,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer ever year, according to Postpartum Progress.
While medication can often be the answer for some mothers, in Adele’s case it was talk therapy and support from her partner, fellow mothers and pregnant women that proved to be most effective: “Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it.”