Volunteers Needed

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the May 4, 2005 issue of U.S. 1

Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Brooke Shields on Postpartum Depression

When Brooke Shields welcomed her newborn daughter, Rowan Francis

Henchy, into the world, somthing unexpected followed – a crippling

depression. In her new book, "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through

Postpartum Depression," Shields, who will give a book signing and talk

on Tuesday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Marketfair,

talks about her personal experience with one of the most widely

misunderstood conditions that affects many new mothers. Following is a

prepared interview from the actress, model, and Princeton University

graduate, Class of 1987. She is currently in London rehearsing for

"Chicago."

I’m sure many people have asked you to write a book. Why did you

decide to write one now and on this subject?

I feel too young to write a memoir of my life, especially because I

feel my life is just now becoming even more interesting and I have so

much further to go in my career and in my personal life. This subject,

however, became unavoidable to me, and after having experienced it so

dramatically, I felt the need to share how I was altered and how those

close to me were affected. It did not stem so much from a desire for

catharsis as it did from an obligation to help others by shining a

harsh light on the reality of PPD in my life. This is a subject that

is too often pushed aside or rationalized away. So many are affected

and still there is such a taboo surrounding it that many suffer in

silence. I wanted to take the mute button off.

Do you feel your difficulties in getting pregnant contributed to

postpartum depression?

I feel a great deal of my PPD was exacerbated by the trials I endured

just trying to get pregnant. However many non-IVF or at-risk mothers

suffer from the same symptoms. The medication and hormone treatment I

underwent helped throw my system off balance, and the failed attempts

depressed me as well. But I know many moms who got pregnant naturally

and had easy deliveries who experience similar emotions to those I

describe in the book.

How was your pregnancy? Did you feel it was easier or harder than

average?

My pregnancy was easy and actually quite uneventful. I had carpal

tunnel syndrome rather severely towards the end of the third

trimester, but I had no morning sickness and didn’t even gain an

excessive amount of weight. I had an easier than average pregnancy and

went full term.

Your father, with whom you were so close, died just before Rowan was

born. In addition, you moved apartments and had a very difficult

delivery. These are three enormous stressors occurring at the same

time. How do you think these experiences affected you?

My father’s death, my move, and my frightening and difficult delivery,

in hindsight created a tremendous amount of stress, pain, and sadness

for me. These events added to my depression, but because I then

experienced PPD, I was practically devastated beyond recovery.

However, the feelings I was conscious of revolved around my being a

mother, having had a baby, my baby herself, and the monumental change

that resulted from giving birth. I believe even if my dad hadn’t

passed away or we hadn’t moved I would have still experienced PPD.

In your book, you discuss your evolving relationship with your mother,

and how you have made peace. Can you tell us about that and her role

in your life today?

My mom is in love with her granddaughter and wants to spend as much

time with her as she can. She has not been my manager since the very

early 1990s and we have no working relationship. We speak many times a

week and see each other quite often. She lives on the east coast

permanently, and I go back and forth between the two coasts. Being a

mother has given my own mom and me a common ground.

Can you talk about the stigma many women seem to feel regarding

postpartum depression?

PPD causes one to feel so ashamed and desolate that it is very

difficult to admit to. There is such a stigma around not being

attached to your baby and happy with motherhood. The image has been

ingrained in our minds and our culture and any picture less than an

ideal one seems to be cause for shame.

How did being part of "Hollywood" affect your ability to function

within your depression?

I don’t believe Hollywood had any affect on my ability to function (or

not function) within my depression. Almost all of the women I spoke to

about their PPD were not in the movie and television business. PPD

seemed to erase the concept of Hollywood and level the field and unify

all women.

What do you hope this book will do for women – and the people who love

them – who suffer from postpartum depression?

I hope this book will help new moms not feel alone or desperate, and

know that there is no shame in their feelings. PPD is out of their

control, but the treatment and healing process is not. There is help

and it works. For those who love women affected by PPD, I hope this

book will shed light on a very upsetting and confusing affliction. I

hope it will help them feel less hopeless and supported by knowledge

of available treatments. They also need to know that PPD is also

something they can’t fix on their own.

Do you have any advice for doctors who speak to women after they have

given birth? They may know what to look for medically, but what kind

of questions might they ask a woman who is not sure what is wrong with

her?

Speak to the women before they give birth. Say to them that after

birth, if they should feel unconnected, or depressed, hopeless, or

unusually sad, that they should inform their doctor ASAP. Especially

if the feelings don’t go away after a few days. The families,

husbands, partners need to have someone to call to ask questions and

also provide knowledge and help from the professionals who are

treating the mom. A follow-up on the psychological progress of the mom

is necessary.

Tell us about Rowan – what makes her happy?

My baby girl, Rowan, is the delight of my life. She loves music and

dancing. She loves kissing my husband’s (her dad’s) face all over and

smushing her cheeks against mine repeatedly before saying goodbye. She

has a favorite blanket called a "cachcach" and likes any drink with

ice in it. Lip-gloss makes her very happy!

"Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartem Depression, book

signing and talk by author/actress/model Brooke Shields, Tuesday, May

10, 7:30 p.m., Barnes and Noble, Marketfair, Princeton. 609-716-1570.

Top Of Page
Volunteers Needed

Ellarslie: Trenton Museum Society seeks volunteers to help

with all aspects of the society, a small camcorder to document student

puppetry sketches, and donations of perennials to plant in the front

garden. Call 609-989-1191.

Kids Essay Contest

Arm & Hammer seeks the "Kid with the Sharpest Taste Buds"

in an essay contest for kids ages 8 to 12. Submit an essay of 100

words or less to the Good Taste Labs describing the taste sensations

of your favorite food. Five winners will be chose to participate in

the championship competition. Deadline Sunday, July 31. Send essay and

photo to Arm & Hammer, PMI Station, Box 3564, Southbury, CT

06488-3564. Visit www.armhammergoodtastelabs.com for entry form and

more information.

Free Ice Cream

Thomas Sweet is donating a pint of ice cream to each donor

of a pint of blood at the University Medical Center of Princeton for

the next year in honor of their 25th anniversary. Call 609-497-4366 to

make an appointment to donate.

Audition

Stars in the Park seeks actors for "The Wizard of Oz" to

open at Open Air Theater on Thursday, August 18. Roles to be cast

include the Wizard, Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, Nikko, adults for singing,

dancing, and speaking roles, and close to 16 Munchkins. Auditions are

Saturday, June 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call Lorraine Wargo at

609-530-0912 for appointment.

For Aspiring Thespians

Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey is accepting

applications for acting apprenticeships and internships in all areas

for young adults ages 18 and older. "Take the Summer On!" runs from

May 29 to August 15. Application deadline is Friday, May 13. Tuition

is $1,475 for the apprentice program. Most internships are unpaid.

Housing is $840. For information call 973-408-3806.


Next Story


Corrections or additions?


This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments