People reports that one week after Tom Cruise‘s fiery denunciation of psychiatry and antidepressants on the Today show, (read a transcript here) the cause of the lecture – Brooke Shields, for the way she treated her postpartum depression – has answered Tom in a 715 word essay in the New York Times op-ed page.
Brooke writes: "I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but after Tom Cruise’s interview with Matt Lauer on the NBC show Today last week, I feel compelled to speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered from postpartum depression."
Countering Cruise’s claim that she and Lauer do not "understand the history of psychiatry," Shields says, "I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression."
She calls the remarks "like those made by Tom Cruise … a disservice to mothers everywhere. To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression, and that instead I should have taken vitamins and exercised shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general."
Explaining the physical and emotional reactions to "the depression … caused by the hormonal shifts that occur after childbirth," Shields reveals her own problems dealing with the birth of her daughter, Rowan Francis. "I attributed feelings of doom to simple fatigue and figured that they would eventually go away. But they didn’t; in fact, they got worse," writes Brooke. Once diagnosed, she says, "I wasn’t thrilled to be taking drugs. … But the drugs, along with weekly therapy sessions, are what saved me – and my family."
As for postpartum depression, "Experts estimate that one in 10 women suffer, usually in silence, with this treatable disease…We are living in an era of so-called family values, yet because almost all of the postnatal focus is on the baby, mothers are overlooked and left behind to endure what can be very dark times. If any good can come of Mr. Cruise’s ridiculous rant, let’s hope that it gives much-needed attention to a serious disease."
Go Brooke! I couldn’t believe Tom last week on the Today show. Good for him to believe what he does, but to brush off decades of research in psychiatry and suggest exercise and vitamins is beyond me. (And obviously others, since many, many groups have come out against his remarks in the past week-including members of Congress and the American Psychiatric Association!)
Marie Osmond, who wrote a book about postpartum depression in 2001, also commented that "What he said is very harsh for women who live it or have lived through it," says Osmond. "He should not sit in judgment." However, fellow Scientologists (and celeb moms) Kelly Preston and Leah Remini have defended his actions-although not specifically addressing the issue-by saying that Tom is a caring guy, and that raising the issue was helpful, because now it is being talked about in the media.