In a moving essay earlier this month, model and Twitter hero Chrissy Teigen opened up about her struggles with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Luna. It was a great, important essay, in large part because it showed that postpartum depression can affect people who seem to have it all. But postpartum depression can devastate anybody, and it affects families too. This week Teigen’s husband, Grammy- and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter John Legend, opened up a bit about what it’s like when one’s partner is suffering from postpartum depression and how to be supportive.
“For me as a husband, it was my job to do the best I could to support her and understand what she was going through and do whatever I could do to help her. I feel like that’s the least I could do,” he told People Magazine.
Legend says he’s glad Teigen wrote about her struggles with postpartum depression, because he thinks–as I do–that it will help a lot of women to know they aren’t alone, and to recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression. In her essay, Teigen wrote that she didn’t know what could possibly be wrong, and she thought this is just who she was now. She knew that she objectively had a great family, a supportive work environment, and a baby she loved, so she thought that meant that what she was going through must just be motherhood, and this was just who she was now. It wasn’t until after her diagnosis and she began treatment that she realized that degree of misery is not just what “normal motherhood” feels like, and that it could be treated and would get better.
Legend also said that as a partner to someone suffering from postpartum depression, one has to be present and compassionate and to try to learn about depression, because it’s not something that can be fixed by saying, “But the baby is great, so nothing’s really wrong, right?”
“You don’t know internally what it feels like. You should read about it and understand what it is and really just be there to help,” he said to People. “You need to be present and you need to be compassionate. And we’re all learning and trying to figure it out as we go. At least do that and try to figure it out together.”
Postpartum depression is an extreme struggle, and a supportive, engaged, and compassionate partner is a big help.