Brooke Shields appears on the cover of the April issue of Life Magazine. Brooke, who poses with her daughters, Rowan Francis Henchy, 3 1/2, and Grier Hammond Henchy, 11 months, talks of the issues of the past that she has overcome for example, her postpartum depression with Rowan – and her hopes for the future.
Brooke has had an excellent career, from modeling to Broadway, to motherhood and beyond. She is open about her use of in vitro fertilization to conceive her first daughter, Rowan, and about the postpartum depression (PPD) she endured following the birth, which led to her book, Down Came the Rain; My Journey Through Postpartum Depression (from $7 at Amazon.com). Brooke has been through much personally, as well as professionally and as a mother;
I look back at myself, this innocent person, and I think, Gosh, she’s okay. I handled a lot, and I’m still here.
Brooke was brutally honest in her book. We have always wondered and were never entirely sure if she suffered from PPD after the birth of Grier;
No [I didn't]. I didn’t have IVF, either. I went in to start IVF, and I was already pregnant. All our jaws dropped. So biochemically I was in a different spot. But if it had come back, I would have been prepared; I wouldn’t have been blindsided.
What does that period feel like now that she looks back on it?
Depression is so smart—it uses all your references and patterns. [With motherhood] I felt like I was getting F’s across the board. It was all so clear: [Rowan] wasn’t going to love me, I had to go away and not come back.
The medication did work and the depression no longer remains;
I’ve become more of who I am. Someone said adversity builds character, but someone else said adversity reveals character. I’m pleasantly surprised with my resilience. I persevere, and not just blindly. I take the best, get rid of the rest, and move on, realizing that you can make a choice to take the good.
Continue reading for the rest of the interview – more on loving her children, even after PPD, the Tom Cruise scandal, Grier’s connection to Suri Cruise, what her girls are like (can you guess who is the quick wit and who is the ‘off with the fairies’ one?) and post-baby body issues.
Brooke tells us that people have misconceptions about depression. Just because you had PPD doesn’t mean you don’t love your children and Brooke has learnt that now;
I do think, ‘How is Rowan going to feel when she reads this?’ I had to make it clear it had nothing to do with her. For a long time I went around saying “I love my children!” As if I had to prove it to people. But I’m too tired to keep doing that.
And the Tom Cruise scandal?
I’ve known Tom since I was 15; he was in Endless Love. I don’t think I let anyone down by reconciling [with him]. I never changed my beliefs. I stand by what I wrote.So when Kate [Holmes, Cruise’s wife] called me herself to invite us to the wedding, it would have felt like a slap to say no. Our daughters were born the same day in the same hospital, so they’re connected too.
And what are Rowan and Grier like?
Rowan has a sharp wit. She came out looking like a shark—she cased the joint. And Grier came out like “La-la-la!” with little fairies flying around her head. But I’m careful to not label them, because I don’t want to set them up as [those people]. But 24/7 with the kids? I don’t know how people do it. If my main job was just to be with the two of them, I would not be as effective. I would be short-tempered; I would be less appreciative. Like when they tell you how to play: “Be the princess, but not like that. Say this. No, say it this way.” After a while I’m like, “I don’t even have directors do that to me!” Some people just revel in it, and that’s beautiful. I revel in a different way.
On her post-baby body.
The truth is, I like my body more when it’s thinner. I have a range of jeans, and I’m happier in the smaller ones. But I don’t have the same drive to get into those jeans. I’m not going to change my day to get there, whereas I used to.