Reese Witherspoon’s postpartum depression was different with every kid

Jameela Jamil has a podcast, which I did not know and have listened to exactly one episode. It’s called I Weigh and the bio blurb says the podcast, “challenges society’s definition of worth through weight by asking different thought-leaders, performers, activists, influencers, and friends about how they are working through their past shames to find where their value truly lie.” However, based on her discussion with Reese Witherspoon, it sounds like Jameela is trying to touch on a wide range of mental health issues and women’s issues. In their discussion, Jameela and Reese discussed looking after ourselves and how we benefit from therapy, something Reese said she started at the age of 15. But Reese said the one area she didn’t get help was when she experienced postpartum depression, which she had to varying extents with two of her kids, and had no information as she was going through it.

“After each child, I had a different experience,” she told Jameela. “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. And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all.”

“We don’t understand the kind of hormonal roller coaster that you go on when you stop nursing,” Reese continued. “No one explained that to me. 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.”

During the interview, the actor recalled not having any “guidance or help” during her postpartum depression. Instead, Reese said she “white-knuckled back” to herself.

“I think hormones are so under-studied and not understood,” she explained. “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. Postpartum [depression] is very real,” she declared.

[From Buzzfeed]

As I said, I did listen to the podcast, but I used Buzzfeed’s transcription because they hit on what I wanted to talk about (notice how I avoid saying I’m lazy). Part of the lead-in discussion to the PPD topic was both ladies saying that had women been allowed in medicine earlier, women’s issues would have been addressed sooner and more completely. I think this is a valid point. Reese said a couple of times that she was so young when she was going through her hormonal roller coaster and nobody talked to her about what she was experiencing. I was in my mid-to-late 30s when I went through mine and nobody talked to me about it either. I do think hormonal issues are still largely left out of the discussion unless someone brings it up and I cannot figure out why. I just had my expired IUD removed after being put on the pill for menopausal issues and have been suffering from a three-day, on-again, off again migraine as a result. I thought I brought it on myself with diet and stress but my very first google search said nope, it’s because I’m on the sugar pill week. It’s as if women are just expected to know everything about our bodies on our own. Or, even worse, we’re expected to simply deal with everything, preferably in silence.

Jameela brought up Reese’s Draper James giveaway as an example of how much Reese is giving back to teachers. The podcast dropped right around when we heard that the giveaway went awry. It’s possible Reese didn’t know how poorly things had turned out when they recorded, which is too bad because this would have been a great time to address the issue and take back the narrative.

Lastly and slightly unrelated, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. I loved that book and always get a little nervous about adaptations, but they did such an amazing job addressing all the messages in the story. And honestly, it might be the best work I’ve ever seen from both Reese and Kerry Washington. I know they’re talking sequel but I kind of hope they don’t. I’m sure they will do a nice job with whatever they create (the book does not have a sequel) but I feel like some of the questions brought up in the story need to be left unanswered for the reader/viewer to decide.

Photo credit: WENN Photos

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