Sold Out? Kendra Wilkinson & Postpartum Depression


In March 2010, the media wrangled the story of Kendra Wilkinson’s struggle as a new mother into tabloid stories about Postpartum Depression. Kendra pushed back, claiming she was never diagnosed with Postpartum Depression but that she did have depression. The following excerpt is from a post I authored on the topic:

“She didn’t brush her teeth or hair. Didn’t shower. Finally looked in a mirror and was mortified at the reflection. Even remembers stating she “had nothing to live for.”

The media took immediately jumped on the express to Postpartumville. Postpartum Depression hits ex-Playboy Bunny Kendra Wilkinson. See? Even the perfectly beautiful people have drama and struggle! Cha-Ching!

Yet this week, the week her show premieres, Kendra is pushing back at the media.

According to Kendra, she didn’t suffer from Postpartum Depression as she was never officially diagnosed. And she should know as she’s been in and out of therapy her whole life. Kendra admits it was indeed depression but not postpartum.”

Instead of calling it Postpartum Depression and educating her fans, she labeled it as “Post-Pregnancy Sadness” and moved on with her life.

Think I was upset then?

Try now.

Kendra has a new memoir coming out next month which chronicles her life as a new mother. One of the terms being used to promote the book?

Yup.

Postpartum Depression.

You know, now that Gwyneth and Bryce Dallas-Howard have chic’d it up, Kendra seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. Am I judging, something I repeatedly say I’m not cool with? Hell yes. Why? Because I am absolutely against using the term Postpartum Depression solely to move merchandise.

Yes, she may have had Postpartum Depression. Yes, she may have ended up diagnosed and perhaps her story is indeed detailed in the book. Maybe I should give her some wiggle room. But when you have a celeb vehemently deny the usage of a term and then suddenly embrace said term, it’s a bit hard to swallow. Yes, I realize there is denial involved in Postpartum Depression. All of us have struggled with denial related to PMD. I really want to feel like giving her a break but given her prior behavior in shunning the entire issue, it’s hard to feel compassionate right now. It’s hard not to see this as anything beyond a publicity stunt.

If she did indeed struggle from Postpartum Depression and has since recovered, I’m truly happy for her and wish her all the best with her continued success. I hope she learned a lot as she journeyed through Postpartum Depression. It’s a dark valley but there are many lessons there.

But if this is merely a marketing ploy, I am deeply saddened and disappointed to see we’ve reached this point with Postpartum Depression. Maybe I shouldn’t care so much. Maybe I should just be happy the term is being used. Perhaps I should hope someone among her fans will identify with the term and research it.. find help.. save herself. Any publicity is good publicity, right? I’m not able to come to good terms with this one right now. Maybe one day, just not right now.

My Postpartum Voice of the Week: Bryce Dallas Howard


If you have not taken a few moments to read Bryce Dallas Howard’s piece about her experience with Postpartum Depression in the most recent GOOP newsletter, you really really should. (It’s the third section down)

Bryce shares so openly. She even includes a description about emotions felt as she watched an interview she gave while promoting a film during which she was asked about Postpartum Depression, admitting she was unable at the time to truly put into words how bad things really were.

This time around, she found her words. And folks, she doesn’t mince them or shy away from the intensity Postpartum Depression brought into her life.

One of the most powerful paragraphs Bryce penned: “It is strange for me to recall what I was like at that time. I seemed to be suffering emotional amnesia. I couldn’t genuinely cry, or laugh, or be moved by anything. For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended, but when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs.”

The imagery of isolation thrusts through her words, leaving no doubt to how alone Bryce felt at the depths of her struggles.

Bryce, thank you so much for your bravery. For being one of the rare celebrities to open up about this difficult path on which so many new moms find themselves.

I love, absolutely love that she also addresses the danger in not speaking up about Postpartum Depression: “Post-partum depression is hard to describe—the way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time. I cringed when I watched my interview on television because of my inability to share authentically what I was going through, what so many women go through. I fear more often than not, for this reason alone, we choose silence. And the danger of being silent means only that others will suffer in silence and may never be able to feel whole because of it.”

Last but not least, I have to share my absolute favorite paragraph of her piece with you. It’s a retrospective of her experience with Postpartum Depression and speaks volumes:

“Do I wish I had never endured post-partum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains.” ~Bryce Dallas Howard~