Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Postpartum Depression: It ‘Needs to Be Talked About’

09/28/2015 at 07:00 PM ET

Hayden Panettiere and her Nashville character Juliette have a lot more in common than some might know — they’ve both experienced postpartum depression.

“I can very much relate. It’s something a lot of women experience. When [you’re told] about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ — I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on. It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal,” Panettiere, 26, said during a Monday appearance on Live! with Kelly and Michael.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off. It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”

Hayden Panettiere Live with Kelly and Michael
Rob Tannenbaum/Disney-ABC

She adds, “Women are amazing. We do something that no man can do on this planet. I mean, we grow a human being in our body!”

While the actress praises women for being able to give birth, she jokes that she wishes that her fiancé, Wladimir Klitschko, 39, could “figure out a way to get pregnant.” Better yet, she admits he would “absolutely” go through with it.

“When I was pregnant, he would do this thing where he would suck in his stomach and then I would put my stomach to his so that he could feel when she was moving, almost like she was in his stomach,” explains Panettiere, who welcomed her daughter, Kaya Evdokia, with the professional Ukrainian boxer in December 2014.

“He wanted to feel what it was like to have a baby as close to him as it was to me.”

As for the bond between Klitschko and their 9-month-old baby girl, Panettiere shares the two are “inseparable.”

Over the summer, the happy family took a vacation to France, Germany and Klitschko’s native Ukraine, where Kaya was baptized. Sadly, Kaya didn’t think the moment was as special as the rest of the family.

“This kid loves water. She’s never cried anytime we’ve put her in the shower or the bath or the ocean — she loves swimming. Of course, the one time we need her to not cry … the priest dipping her into the holy water and this kid is just wailing,” Panettiere says with a laugh. “All the pictures — beautiful pictures, everyone is all dolled up and she’s like, “Ahhhh!!’

Hayden Panettiere Live with Kelly and Michael daughter Kaya photo

And when Mom and Dad didn’t come to the rescue, Kaya took the situation into her own hands — literally.

“At one point [the] priest takes a little bit of her hair and cuts it — it’s part of the tradition — and she was like, ‘Honey, you take my hair, I take yours,’ and she took his beard [and yanked],” says Panettiere. “My husband still has the [priest’s] beard hair, which is about this long. She’s a fighter.”

Panettiere is looking forward to adding to her brood, but she’s not ready to make a final decision on exactly how large her family might one day become.

“I would love to have a big family. I always said four, but I’m not gonna speak too soon. One at a time,” the proud mama shares.

— Nicole Sands

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Showing 44 comments

Justine on

Anyone else notice she says husband and also seems to be wearing a wedding band. Secretly married?

Megan on

While I appreciate everyone’s willingness to open about their experiences, I don’t appreciate the notion that women suffer in silence. Women have and will always have close friends or family that they talk to. Just because you didn’t read it in a book or magazine, doesn’t mean it isn’t being discussed and dealt with on an individual level.

NR Davis on

Actually, not all women do. I went through mine pretty much all alone and pretty much live my life all alone now. A public conversation would benefit many women.

Michelle on

@Megan – I respect your comment but it is not the truth for many, many women. There are many factors that prohibit a woman from openly seeking help for postpartum depression. How about the mother who drowned her children, she was suffocated by her husband and her religion and look what happened there. She had no support and couldn’t turn to anyone for help.

Guest on

That little girl looks like her daddy.

Laura on

Their little girl Kaya is half Ukrainian and a quarter German and Italian from Hayden’s side. What a good mix. She is going to be a beauty when she grows up.

Jenb on

@megan I had family and friends but I went through it alone. It’s a really dark place for a mother to be. I cry when I think about the things I went through. There are times where I felt out of love with my newly born son. My emotions were up and down. I cried constantly. My mom was a phone call away but didn’t even have the courage to tell her. You feel ashamed. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

SarahJane77 on

I had NO idea what I was feeling was PPD. I lost 40 lbs in the 3 months after giving birth to my daughter. The 22 I gained & an additional 20. People were praising me for looking so great, they had no idea I was too sad to eat & my husband didn’t notice anything too out of the ordinary bc he was working about 70-80 hours a week at the time. I felt helpless & alone. It’s real, it happens, and people don’t talk about it nearly as much as they should.

julie on

Beautiful baby!

Megan on

@ Megan: You are so right. Even the rebuttals mention family and how the mom chose to not seek help, so more discussions aren’t necessary. It is fine to have more publicity, but yes, it isn’t going to change the choices that moms make.

Carrotthebunny on

That is an adorable little baby.

Rebecca on

Megan, speak for yourself, or shut up. It’s very easy for you to say that women don’t suffer in silence, but for many they are under so much pressure to seem like the perfect mom, they may feel guilty, fearful, ashamed, or any other complicated feeling, or they are so busy with caring for their baby, they completely lose sight of their needs (including their coping strategies and mental health status). There is a HUGE amount of stigma re: addressing PPD on every level, and not every woman is lucky enough to A. be educated enough to know the signs of PPD, or B. have access to treatment services, personal coping skills, or social support networks. The other extremely problematic aspect that your ignorant comment ignores is the fact that PPD is an actual psychiatric condition that is very serious — chatting with your best friend for ten minutes is NOT going to alleviate that. If it does — then you did NOT have PPD. You are extremely ignorant, and it’s people like you who make PPD more difficult to talk about, and thus, more difficult to address and treat.

Rebecca on

Until you’ve been in that situation, then you should shut up. A mother suffering from PPD often isn’t able to self-diagnose. And even if she can, there are a bunch of complicated feelings that can cause one to withdraw into yourself and not seek help. It’s not a “choice” — many women feel that they can’t talk about it.

Tell me, would you be this cold and callous if someone close to you came out about their battle with depression? Would you belittle them for the “choice” they made in not telling you earlier? Would you assume that a quick little pep talk by you would have just fixed their issues? People with mental health issues (PPD is just one of these) do face stigma and torture in their lives, and they need help. What they DON’T need is judgment from people like Megan.

Rebecca on

WOW Megan. Someone quickly go tell the 10-15% of women struggling with PPD that all they have to do is just pick up a phone and chat with a pal for ten minutes and they’re instantly cured. What stigma towards depression and mental illness in general? What social pressure to be a perfect mother?

PPD is a PSYCHIATRIC condition. It requires awareness and consciousness of your being depressed (which is difficult if you’re a stressed out, busy new parent), intervention by a health care professional (which is also difficult if you’re a stressed out, busy new parent), and follow-up counselling or medical treatment (ditto). You also need to have a strong support system that is comfortable with discussing mental health issues, which NOT all women are lucky enough to have. PPD causes suicide, abuse, and significantly decreased quality of life for the mother and her family.

Please shut up and read a book before you spout more sanctimonious, ignorant garbage.

Anonymous on

Ppd is horrible…and she is right too many women suffer in silence..you can have all the family and friends but when you suffer with it…you are so debilitated from it you don’t want to talk to any one

Pam on

Oh my gosh Kaya is so cute! Look at those cheeks! ☺️

OpenHeart on

To majority of those women who feel they were “affected” by postpartum: STOP loving yourselves and just devote your cranky behinds to your new born baby, it’ll bring all the cure in the world!

Wendy on

@OpenHeart- Wow, what an ironic username, as you have clearly anything BUT an “open heart”. Post-partum Depression is caused by the severe chemical imbalance in the brain of a new mom, from all the hormone changes that happen with birth. It is NOT just “feeling sorry” for yourself or “being sad.” As a real, physical condition it has to be treated by medical professionals; just as strep throat needs antibiotics, PPD needs anti-depressants.

Your attitude, and others like you, are the reason that PPD has such a stigma about it. The condition gets brushed off as “selfishness” or whatever and goes untreated, with sometimes tragic results.

I am the proud mother of 2 kids and pregnant with my third, as well as having a family history of depression. After I gave birth to my first, I developed PPD pretty severely, since I was already pre-disposed towards depression. I had a terrible time with it, partially due to people like you- I was selfish, I was lazy, I was doing it wrong, blah blah blah. I blamed myself for the condition and spiraled down farther and farther, with-drawing from family and friends, hiding from everything, trying desperately to care for my new baby when I could barely take care of myself.

At my 6-week check-up with my midwife, I broke down crying in her office and was diagnosed with PPD. I was prescribed anti-depressants along with counseling, and it was INCREDIBLE the difference it made in my life! I could be a normal person again and give my baby the love and care he deserved.

PPD is NOT THE MOTHER’S FAULT. That is is the most important thing I could possibly say about it. It is a chemical imbalance that needs to be treated. If any mom out there is having trouble, or if you see a new mom struggling, PLEASE encourage her to get the help she needs from her doctor. Give her the support and love she needs to work through this incredibly difficult time of her life, don’t belittle her by saying she just “needs to get over it.”

Susan on

Boy, does that baby have some soup coolers on her!!! Lol!!!

Rebecca on

Ah, @OpenHeart, you are another idiot.

PPD is a legitimate psychiatric condition that requires more complicated treatment than a hug and a pep talk from a friend. With PPD, you often feel resentful, angry, frustrated, and even sometimes HOMICIDAL towards your baby. So no, spending all your time with your baby is actually a good way to make yourself worse. You need to get treatment ASAP, which includes counselling and antidepressants. This is MUCH more complicated than just feeling sad after having a baby.

I can’t believe how absolutely ignorant people are. It’s one thing to be ignorant but to imply that women suffering from PPD are just not taking care of their baby enough or making the wrong “choices”… REALLY! I’m just shaking my head here!

Anonymous on

Guys, don’t bother responding to Megan. Clearly she’s a troll (she posted a comment agreeing with herself, for goodness sake!).

Anyway, Kaya is adorable!

L on

Rebecca ‘s comment is severe ! I’d agreed with Wendy ( below comment).

Valarie on

Her daughter is so cute LOL.

torpian on

I’d love to read more stories or interviews with Hayden Panettiere – she’s my favourite celebrity and such a huge inspiration in my life.

lori on

What a beautiful baby

LRM on

Grateful that she spoke out about PPD, it definitely needs to be discussed more to help raise awareness and remove the stigma. When I had a panic attack my first night home from the hospital (and many days afterward) I had no idea it was PPD, my OB-GYN said it was the worst he’d ever seen and I had no clue. Needed drugs to recover. For my next pregnancy I took the medication with me to the hospital so I could start back on it as soon as my twins were born, and voila, no PPD. It’s chemical and its nothing to be ashamed of.

OpenHeart on

to Wendy: Dear Wendy, thank you for such well deserved attention response. I understand PPD foundation from mental and physical perspective as well as those mothers who are impacted by that and absolutely in need for social, medical and whichever else help they might find.

However, this serious and very scary condition is often misdiagnosed and terms are misused resulting many to be even more confused and medicated for no reason which I’ve seen quiet a bit.

It’s undisputed, if a person has any doubts it’s better to see a specialist and won’t feel suppressed to beam outloud about a topic.

Hence, my sincere apologies to you and many others like you, the real patients, for my previous comment.

Brooke on

She said “husband”, so I would guess they are married. And that little girl is the SPITTING IMAGE of her father.

Diane on

If someone tried to baptize me into the Catholic faith, I would be screaming bloody murder too.

Luna-tic on

Oh man, that is one odd looking baby!! I hope she grows out of it….yuk

Rebecca on

Yes, I was severe with my comment. Mental health stigma and victim-blaming is not something I take lightly! Sorry, not sorry. 🙂

Barb on

It is talked about. Where has she been?

Anonymous on

Barb- Where have YOU been? Yes, it’s talked about, but barely, and there’s still a huge stigma surrounding it.

Maxine on

Aww she is just so adorable.

Anonymous on

Many times women do suffer in silence because even with all of your friends and husbands good intentions you feel so alone. I feel it took me close to when my son was a year to snap out of it. I truly feel like it post partum should be something the hospitals and doctors deal with more. I have never felt more alone at a time when I was also extremely in love with my new baby. But it is scary and I wish there was more help available.

Anonymous on

She may not be secretly married. I read another interview of hers somewhere that even though she’s still engaged, she refers to her fiance as her husband all the time because she’s comfortable with it.

Props to Hayden for speaking out on something very important to new mothers. For the mothers currently suffering from PPD, know that there is someone out there (me) who is supporting you and that you don’t need to feel like you’re alone in this world. I may not be a mother myself, but I do suffer from depression in general. While PPD and depression from which I suffer are different most definitely, they both are categorized and depression overall. Either way, depression is debilitating and wrecks with your life.

And last but not least, I would like to say, Kaya is ridiculously adorable not only in looks, but also behavior in which Hayden describes her. Kaya is going to be a knockout when she’s older. She’s got a world class athlete as a father, who is also ridiculously smart from what I’ve read. And a mother who’s very beautiful and a talented actress herself. I am curious to see what her height will be like though since both her parents are on either side of the spectrum.

Mes on

Good job Hayden. The baby is weird looking. I have to find some other pics. I almost snapped my neck when her face popped up.

Debbe on

I had mild postpartum, just a few episodes occurred when I was breastfeeding as when the uterus starts contracting it flooded me with a sad spell, but just a few and they were gone. I knew what to expect, that it could happen and didn’t let it get the best of me. Because this is something we do not do to ourselves, it is something that we can’t really do to fix it either, and I have learned that because now I am going through perimenopause and I could cry an ocean right now. No one knows how to help so like Hayden said, we just have to support each other.

Brandi on

I had post-partum depression and cried at everything. My husband would just look at our baby and smile and I would bawl. I DID NOT have the kind that made me want to hurt my baby. Instead, I cried from worrying about somebody else hurting my baby, or, afraid something would happen to me and I wouldn’t be here to take care of him. It is very hard to talk about it to people who don’t understand. I didn’t want anybody to hold my baby except for me or my husband and my mom just couldn’t understand why she had this brand new grandson that she couldn’t get close to. Well, I couldn’t understand it either but it wasn’t something that I made up. That’s just how I felt and I didn’t know what to do about it. Thankfully it only lasted about two or three weeks, and those were some pretty long weeks. It definitely is easier to talk to somebody who understands. Not just a friend who has no idea.

Masha on

@Diane: I think the child was baptized in the Eastern Orthodox faith and not Catholic. Not that is makes much of a difference. Come to think of it, my mother told me I was screaming and crying during my baptism too, lol. Anyways, their baby is adorable and I am a fan of both her parents.

Caroline on

Beautiful baby girl ..!

TJ on

A close friend of my sisters committed suicide and had been suffering from postpartum depression. She was a vibrant, happy, loving young woman who felt it impossible to seek the help she needed for fear of disappointing people. She leaves behind a grieving husband and an infant daughter. PLEASE, SEEK HELP FOR DEPRESSION – POSTPARTUM OR OTHERWISE – YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS. Kudos to Ms. Pantettiere for speaking up. Doing so can save lives.

Nunya on

“Women are amazing. We do something that no man can do on this planet. I mean, we grow a human being in our body!”
Two words…
Seahorse BITCH!!!

*Drops Mic*

katieHammer on