Alanis Morissette on Her ‘Swampy’ Postpartum Struggle

08/22/2012 at 02:00 PM ET
Jeff Kravitz/AMA2011/FilmMagic

After welcoming her “precious” son Ever Imre in 2010, Alanis Morissette‘s baby bliss quickly turned to baby blues.

“I just thought it was a swampy chapter, if I soldiered it out, that it would go away,” the singer, 38, tells ET Canada.

“I came to realize that the longer I waited, the more intense it would become.”

In sharing her own experiences, Morissette — who has been open about her attachment parenting approach — hopes to inspire fellow moms who find themselves struggling with similar postpartum problems to seek help.

“I think if there is any goal in me talking about it, it would be to eradicate the shame around it,” she explains. “It’s just what happens sometimes and, for me, I just waited way too long to reach out for help.”

– Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 66 comments

olsontwins on

Been there. For me it took another friend going through the actual baby blues as opposed to PPD/PPA and seeing how quickly those went away and how I was still muddling through after months. That shocked me into realizing that what I was feeling wasn’t normal for that long. Got some help and felt 100% better in a matter of weeks (which felt like AGES at the time).

lovely123 on

Hopefully Tom Cruise doesn’t know where she lives!! All kidding aside, if it doesn’t go away within a month check with a doctor.

Melissa on

Then why on earth are we calling it a struggle and not depression if we are trying to eliminate stigma?

Chelsey on

I like how she has been so self-righteous about her parenting style, and she bashed other people who didn’t feel the same as her, saying their children would be messed up and require therapy if not parented the way she does…all the while she is struggling with depression…really lady, your nuts.

Nina on

And that imbecile Tom Cruise would insist that vitamins would make everything all better. Brooke Shields can tell you that’s not true. Good for Alanis for being smart enough to finally realize she can’t tackle postpartum depression on her own. It’s a chemical reaction in her brain that only a doctor can fix. I really hope she’s found the relief and peace that she needs.

Shawnalee on

Im sorry, but there is a vast wealth of info on PPD and how to recognize the signs and symptoms. Any woman who does not take advantage of it is potentially exposing herself as well as her infant to possible harm. You have 40 weeks to scour the internet and educate yourself before giving birth. My 19 year old daughter did it before becoming a first time mom, and she recognized what was happening right away and called her doctor.

terri on

Keep yourself medicated. You were messed up long before you had a baby.

Melisa on

I think moms experience a lot of guilt with postpartum depression. I know that I personally struggled with PD with all three of my children, and I felt like a horrible person….here I had this beautiful new baby and I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I was lucky, I had a great support system and a fantastic doctor. Women should never be ashamed to seek help.

Ana on

Maybe we as women need to stop being so hateful and judgemental about childbirth, etc. and what we’re supposed to be feeling. We need to support one another and stop being so quick to call another woman ‘nuts’. There’s a lot of pressure on women to be and look a certain way after having a child for celebrities and everyday people. That’s insane. There’s no shame in not being perfect. Good for her for opening up. Good for her.

Anonymous on

@shawnalee, my experience was that the shame was so great that reading about PPD did no help, only made me think that I was better than that and could pull myself up by my bootstraps. Fully into depression is the most impossible place to ask for help. Empathy, please.

Anonymous on

UMMM attachment parenting is a recipe for disaster! A good balance would probably help her feel less overwhelmed – yes depression post partum is real but perhaps she should be realistic about her expecations as a parent and what she can and cannot do – a healthier approach

Brittany on

Shawnalee,
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much research you do before giving birth. Speaking from my own experience, the shame surrounding ppd was what kept me from reaching out. We all jut want to believe we are the best for our babies and when that doesn’t seem to be the case, just coming to a place of asking for help can be a beautiful part of the journey. Shame on you for judging and momma with ppd (past or present) when you personally, don’t sound like you have walked in our shoes. And I am so thankful for celebrities who aren’t afraid to share that sometimes, motherhood isn’t what they thought it would be.

mel on

Huh. What’d she actually reveal? Swampy?

mel on

Huh, what did she actually say here? Swampy?

DCwriter on

Exactly, @Melissa–”postpartum problems” make it seem so much more innocuous. Please say postpartum depression, People, and man up.

B on

I am in the middle of it myself and I’ve been writing a pretty candid blog about it all. Not easy to put it all out there but I’m hoping it helps someone else feel like they aren’t alone.

http://hystericallyeverafter.wordpress.com

Anonymous on

LOVING Alanis for being yet another celeb to speak out about PPD. Women need to realize that if they are having feelings that they are embarrassed to share (not feeling connected to the baby, feeling scared and anxious about it all) then that could very well be PPD. The “blues” go away, PPD gets very, very dark. Reach out!!!

Lisa on

Thank You Alanis! With you amazing voice (no pun intended) we can stop ‘chipping’ away at this very real and often debilitating problem of Postpartum Blues/Depression, and begin to ‘chop’ away at it for everyone’s sake. It is time to eradicate the stigma.

I, like you, tried to self-heal and talk myself out of ‘feeling that way’, and like you, I waited much too long to seek help. Unfortunately now I am playing catch-up for lost time which is much harder!

I encourage every woman who feels even the slightest bit ‘blue’/sad/or insignificant, to simply be evaluated for postpartum depression. Perhaps you will be told that you are experiencing normal feelings, but if you are truly heading down the path of Postpartum Blues/Depression, you will catch it early and have support and a safety net. What is the harm in getting evaluated right? Do something for yourself to ultimately help your child/family!

I wish you all of the best on your journey to wellness Alanis and fellow readers. Please know that other people support you 100%.

Emmaleigh on

Shawnalee, Internet diagnosis is rediculios. It can lead a healthy person to believe that they are suffering a condition in which they are not. Baby blues and PPD have many of the same signs and symptoms and there your daughter was hopping herself up to have PPD. The weatlh of information available on the internet about any condition under the sun can drive a person into hysteria. DO NOT encourage people to self diagnose on the internet. Doctors hate it, nurses hate it, paramedics and EMTs hate it. It leads to unnecessary confusion and misdiagnosis. People that self diagnosis on the internet look at the signs and symptoms and think I have this, this and this and before long a person suffering from migraines has determined they have a brain tumor.

Mick on

swampy?

Melissa on

ok…haters…she said a stupid thing about attachment parenting…get over it. I believe in attachment parenting and I work full-time. We are all responsible for our own education. PPD is serious. Reading about it can help some, and other not. We are not all bred from the same cloth…be real folks. Take the log out of your own eye before you judge what’s in someone else’s…

Jenny on

Many, Many new Moms have been there. It’s natural and a reality. Just don’t let Tom Cruise and his ilk hear of it. He’s living in a different world. My blessings to Morissette and others who come forward, it can’t be easy!

Anonymous on

well of course this diva would have post partum…she is mother earth and knows what better than anyone else, just like everything she has done. Forget the attached parenting crap…get the baby out of your bedroom and get some rest. start to focus on you the person. Babies are resilient, its our guilt that drives us this way. Wake up, deal with your depression as you need to and get back some of your independence. I have 2 kids and other than the bassinet in the bedroom for the first few weeks, they learned tom have their own space. Parents and children should not be jouned at the hip. We cannot be their best friends, we are their parents. Grow Up and be a good mama, cut the umbilical and it will help healyour depression.

Amber on

No one should judge another. If you have had a baby, you have experienced some sort of PPD. I just cried for about a wk and then I was good. I will pray for those women who cannot shake it and move on. I could not imagine it being worse for me so I truely feel for those that have it worse. God bless!

fanofboardwalkempire on

thank you for sharing your struggles with us- I know that your being brave and confronting you post baby depresssion will help others who face the same dilemna. So proud of you for seeking professional help!

eliza on

can’t stand this obnoxious woman. She is so ‘transy’ looking.

Heather on

Hmm…Should we be bragging about a pregnant 19 year old???

sad on

Depression from a medical stand point does not mean sad. If your breathing is depressed, it means your breathing is less than it should be. If your heart rate is depressed, it means your heart rate is less than it should be. If the person is depressed it means their emotions are less than it should be – happy, sad, mad, all of it. It’s not so much a sad feeling as it is no feeling whatsoever. That is real depression and it ends up with physical manifestations too. Those are quite numerous and different in everyone. I think if it had a different name, it wouldn’t be so misunderstood or ignored. Unfortunately it has the same name as how you feel when your boyfriend breaks up with you in high school or how you feel if you didn’t get the promotion you wanted.

Mom on

This ppd crap is something society made up to make it sound like a real issue like fibromyalgia. This is emotions peope not physical. Oh you had a baby and freak out about your new life what to do can’t take it back. Well guess what don’t have kids until you are ready and willing to put them first. Not ready then don’t have them. It’s easy to pop pills and call yourself cured when this is a matter of realization that this is your new life.

farrell on

come on people. Getting medicated isn’t always the answer. Some people are sensitive to meds and if they are an at home mom and have to watch the child and the drug makes them really tired. Then what… try more drugs and get more side effects. Basically you are a lab rat and finding someone to help you is now adays impossible because everyone always says that they have their own life to live and go find a babysitter. Well if you are living on one income and have other bills to pay. How the hell are you going to afford it. Explain that people.

Jan on

It’s real !!! I had it and tried to slit my wrists. Get help !!! I’m fine today —

Youfailed on

You’re*
Nice try though /golfclap

Mimi on

Why does is seem like EVERY female celeb has PPD. Call me Tom Cruise, but I don’t buy it!

Anonymous on

It would help if our society was not so damn pronatalist. It’s the fairytales of how great parenthood is that drive women to have unrealistic expectations and become depressed when reality sets in.

Elle on

What does attachment parenting have to do with postpartum? I have raised my little boy as an AP parent (not on purpose, it’s how I naturally leaned). I never suffered from postpartum. Let’s stop beating each other up about other methods of parenting. It’s like religion and all paths leading us to God. Most people just want to lead their kids down the right path…and however they get there, we just want whats best.

Been There on

No one fully understands unless they’ve gone thru PPD. Stop judging another’s experience based on your own. Just because you were able to “shake it off” in a week or think moms should get over it doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about. In fact, it states the opposite. I am so grateful for people who are willing & able to open up about PPD. I was too scared & ashamed. But I now know if I ever have another child what to watch out for. Thank you Alanis for sharing. It helps me realize I’m not weak or alone. PPD is real & other moms experience it too.

P.S.
Every mother will choose her own parenting style. It doesn’t mean YOU have to choose the same style.

Been There on

No it’s not a dose of reality bashing mom’s fairy tale beliefs that cause PPD. Become educated before you comment on something you’ve apparently not experienced. If you don’t understand what you’re talking about, well I guess you just don’t really get it.

Been There on

PPD is not limited to the non-famous. It’s more common than any mom really wants to admit.

LC on

@Mom, you have no idea what you’re talking about. As such, you should just keep your mouth shut and spare us all your two cents.

ellasmom on

shame on those of you making remarks if you have never had ppd/ppa you can’t possilby understand how isolating and scary it can be.

Emma on

How is she bragging?

I had my first at 20. Want me to tell you all about how much education and money we have? Want me to tell you all about my amazing husband?

You need to take that stick out of your ass and learn how to treat people properly, sweetheart.

CMAYTON4 on

BLESS YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY ALANIS!

B on

I am SHOCKED at “Mom” down there who says it’s all emotion. It’s a chemical imbalance that can be terrifying and LIFE THREATENING if not treated. It can lead to thoughts of harming yourself or worse, your children. I’ve been lucky to only have had those dark thoughts about myself, I’d never hurt my kids, but it’s not just a made up affliction, how utterly ridiculous.

I have 3 children and had my first at 26. I own a home, am married, and was WELL prepared to become a mother. It’s not MY FAULT that I have been sidelined by this illness, and how DARE you imply that it is.

It’s people like YOU who made me WRITE this blog. I will never be ashamed of what I’m going through and I hope that someday every suffering mother will feel that they can be open about what they are going through.

Your screen name is “Mom”… what a sad example of one you are if you cannot even support other moms. I am so beyond disappointed in you. We should support one another NOT tear each other down.

You can read about my Postpartum Depression journey here:

http://hystericallyeverafter.wordpress.com

RayZ on

Get over it already. It’s life. Deal with it and stop whining.

RayZ on

It’s life. Deal with it. And stop whining.

binro on

crappy article, no facts, no studies sited, big deal. AM has the baby blues, so do a lot of people. If you’re going to write an article about it, make it informative.

Sheryl on

SO GLAD she’s coming out and talking about this. So many women don’t seek help or talk about it. Some are shamed by friends and family members about it and don’t do anything to get treatment.

If more women, high profile, came forward and began talking about postpartum depression, we’d absolutely be able to eradicate it.

Layla on

@ annonymous: attatchment parenting is not a recipe for disaster. We all do what works for us and what we feel is best for our families. Don’t be judgemental because it does not work for you. It has been amazing for some of us.

That said, I don’t really undestand ppd, and 3 babies in, I doubt I ever will, but I feel for those who suffer through it. How about a little compassion for Morrissette?

liz on

I agree when woman have kids we are under a lot of pressure to look a certain way.Everyone does things a little differently and that’s ok motherhood doesn’t come with instructions we all learn as we go as women we need to support eachother

completely disgusted on

“Mom” I have never had a child but have suffered depression most of my life and you are a HORRIBLE human being and should not even be a parent if this is how you think. Society didn’t make any of this up science and doctors did. Maybe you need some education

Meep on

I have nothing against her or her parenting style, but she’s been quite self righteous when it comes to what she thinks mother should do when raising kids. Maybe, and this is ONLY MY OPINION, she’s putting much too much pressure on herself to be this “perfect parent”. I’m not saying it’s one in the same, but I know another mother who practices Attachment Parenting and she too suffered with really bad PPD.

I think that mothers, parents, but mothers in specific are putting to much pressure on themselves. They listen to these stories that celebs tell about how perfect their life is with baby and how they can do it all and still work full time and breastfeed and think that if they can’t do it too then they are somehow failing as a mother. Maybe if we as mother’s helped each other more instead of judging each others choices… there wouldn’t be that unneeded pressure to “do it all”.

Meep on

@Mom (which is not really a great nickname for you)… it’s amazing that you compare this to Fibro… there is an entire community of doctors that will argue that Fibro isn’t real. Fibromyalgia is an umbrella term for an unexplained bone/joint condition that causes pain. So… you’re argument is invalid. PPD and depression are proven condition that have a determined cause.

Anonymous on

Good for her for coming out about this. We need more awareness on ppd. Ppd often gets swept under the rug.

Lynette on

So happy when a public figure opens up about this very serious situation. It allows people to talk about it and that is the way one can get the help they need and enjoy their baby and life!

jaci on

i truly wish there was a course you HAVE to take when pregnant, all about post partum and how it can affect you. personally, i had no idea about it, and i put wayyyy too much pressure on myself that i couldnt live up to, and all the advice from my mom/sisters fell on deaf ears (at the time) bc i thought they were just patting me on the head……if youre feeling blue, TELL someone and get help.

Eri on

Wow Ana it’s like you where inside my head. I was thinking the same thing.

Eri on

SOME OF YOU WOMAN ARE EVIL BITCHES MAKES ME SOMETIMES WISH I WAS A GUY. MAN DONT TEAR EACH OTHER APART LIKE WE DO. THIS NEEDS TO STOP, EVEN ANIMALS TREAT EACH OTHER BETTER THAN WE DO. I’M A STAY AT HOME MOM OF A 5 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND A 11MONTH OLD SON WHO IS FIGHTING DEPRESSION SINCE I WAS 5 YEARS OLD AND NEVER WENT FOR HELP. I WANT HELP BUT I DON’T WANT TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE LIKE HALF YOU FOOLS ON HERE FOR THAT I’LL DEAL WITH IT AND BE PATIENT.
BUT THE LADY WITH YOUR BLOG I’M GOING TO HEAR IT BECAUSE YOU UNDERSTAND ME THE MOST AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME.

Eri on

I’m going to read your blog. Thank you!

HeatherM on

NONE. Not any one of you have any RIGHT to judge this woman. Its amazing how many of you think you do, but you simply don’t.

cloudtripper on

Shawnalee I think she said it herself – she was ashamed, wanted to be the superwoman as many woman do – it is not that easy to acknowledge that you need antidepressants, especially if you’ve fought them your whole life as I had done. But 5 months in I realized it was affecting my marriage, my mothering, all my relationships and the well being of myself and my family. Things are so much better now. Glad Alanis is speaking out.

Marie on

Well said!

Marie on

@completely discussed- I couldn’t agree with you more. My sister struggles with depression. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy! Horrible illness. I wish you well.

FIFI on

You people and your crap! Women have been giving birth since the beginning of time. You people have become so accustomed to naming your problems. You had a baby..your tired and stressed…SO WHAT! Get over your excuses and take care of your children. You sound stupid. Stop giving each other excuses and buying into this garbage.

jpratm on

love me some alanis anytime. so articulate and poetic.Hope new albums makes a splash. So sick of the flare and vapid ” singers”

Anonymous on

I had my second baby almost a year ago and still dealing with postpartum :( it makes it even harder when your husband doesn’t understand what’s going on with you and you have to deal with it on your own. Wish no mother had to go through it because its hell but what doesn’t kill us ladies only makes us stronger!

Rizi on

It’s probably not PMS as your cycle isn’t noamrl yet. It sounds like it could be PPD. I had it too, for a long time after I had my son. I went to a therapist (my work paid for it as it was affecting my performance) and she had a checklist of signs for PPD, and I was off the chart! I mean, I still felt like me, but I was so sad, disconnected, not happy, lack of concentration, anger- lots of anger at the world, and overall melancholy. I got some anti-depressants and they helped a lot. I was only on them a few months.Anyway It’s been two years and I am my old happy noamrl self. So, I would totally recommend you call you OBGYN and tell him/her how you feel and you will get the help you need.

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