Emily Maynard Johnson Opens Up About Battling Postpartum Depression As a Teen Mom: There Were Times ‘I Didn’t Want to Get Out of Bed’

02/25/2016 at 11:00 AM ET

When most teenagers are choosing colleges and partying with their friends, former Bachelorette Emily Maynard Johnson was a 19-year-old new mom, coping with the tragedy of losing the father of her infant daughter.

“The first couple of years were so hard,” Maynard Johnson, 30, tells PEOPLE of life as a single mom following the death of her fiancé Ricky Hendrick. “I didn’t know if I was coming or going. At the time, I didn’t know it was postpartum. I had never heard of that.”

It was only days after Hendrick was tragically killed in a plane crash that Maynard Johnson learned she was pregnant with their daughter Ricki, now 10.

“I read online that [intense emotions] can hurt the baby,” says Maynard Johnson, whose new book about her life, I Said Yes, is on stands March 1. “So I was suppressing those feelings. I tried to just look to the future and my due date.”

Emily Maynard postpartum depression
Photographs by Gabrielle Revere

RELATED BLOG: Emily Maynard’s Biggest Fears About Having Another Baby

Continues Maynard Johnson: “Then after she was born, it was immediate. I was like, Ricky’s not here. I knew something was missing from that moment. Holding [my daughter Ricki] I thought, this is the closest I’m going to get to him in this lifetime and it brought all these emotions I never thought I would feel. It opened up this whole bag.”

The jewelry designer says she vacillated between intense feelings of anger and sadness during her grief process, all while she adjusted to life with a newborn.

“I definitely went through depression, where I didn’t want to get out of bed,” says Maynard Johnson. “I always joke that I’ve seen every therapist in Charlotte. But nothing they could tell me was going to make me feel better. The only thing that was going to make me feel better was if Ricky walked through that door.”

Emily Maynard book
Photographs by Gabrielle Revere

In time, Maynard Johnson moved on from her grief, and after two stints on reality TV (The Bachelor and The Bachelorette), she finally found the one in auto management consultant Tyler Johnson. The pair welcomed son Jennings Tyler last July.

“I had postpartum high with Jennings!” says Maynard Johnson with a laugh. “That’s such a testament to where I was in my life. I love Ricki so much, but I was young and I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Continues Maynard Johnson: “With Ricki, I never really saw the joy in it. I was getting up at night and all of those things, but I never took a minute to breathe her in and appreciate those moments. Now, I want to remember everything more. Because it goes by so fast.”

Maynard Johnson’s book, I Said Yes, hits stands March 1.

For exclusive photos and much more from Emily Maynard Johnson, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

— Aili Nahas

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Showing 13 comments

Poppy on

Looks like she’s pregnant again.

Mia on

Again? Really? Enough with this I need attention chick!

Serena on

When will women ever support when instead of bashing them. She doesn’t look pregnant; she is balancing a toddler on her body. And, why can’t she write a book?

taxi21 on

Sounds more like she had delayed grief than postpartum depression. The clue: “I had postpartum high with Jennings!” says Maynard Johnson with a laugh. “That’s such a testament to where I was in my life.”

Postpartum depression is a mental illness, not about where you are in life.

Lia on

Why would anyone read her book? Why? She was on the Bachelor, she had a kid at 19…So?

K on

Stop making average women famous! Get over it.

Ally1 on

I’m afraid there will come a time when her daughter doesn’t appreciate this story being so public.

suks on

“I definitely went through depression, where I didn’t want to get out of bed,”

Awww, poor baby! Who would pay good money for this boring read??


Appears to me, all she wants to do is be in the spot light and make easey money by selling her book. She’s not famous. She has no talent. I wouldn’t by her book. Millions of women have sufferd with the same problems as Emily. You dont see them writing a book. Money hungry woman!

Abby on

She should had used a condom when she was a teen. Teen moms are the absolute worst moms.

Jacky on

Hahaha. Funny to read all that bitter comments on here. Jealous much? 😀

“Boring read” but people still come here actually READING it.

Make something of yourself you cry-babies and don’t hurt your head over other persons lives.

Good luck for the future Emily. 😉

Katie on

I am more convinced every day that there are too many bitter, jealous, hateful women with too much time on their hands, who use that time to get on sites like tis one so they can spew venom and hate, insults and curel comments about women who are no worse, no better than the posters. Women should be saying supportive things about other women, and frankly…how can so many posters be so dumb they don’t know birth control doesn’t always work?? I have worked in the field of ob-gyn, and I can’t even tell you how many babies I’ve seen conceived while mom was using BC which was supposed to be very effective. If you are having sex, you can get pregnant…period! The shot, the pill, condoms, IUDs, whatever…it can all fail. So stop being judgmental, and if you hate her for having gotten pregnant at 19, don’t read any articles about her. Move it on, and read about someone else…..and can the cruelty, it’s just plain rude!

Anonymous on

Abby, teen moms aren’t the worst. There are plenty of moms that do not make good moms, no matter their age. And there are some moms that will be good moms, no matter their age. I had my first at 18 (and surprise, surprise, we were using condoms!) and it was the best thing that happened to us. It motivated my husband and I to better ourselves and our lives and we are much better off than 90% of the people I graduated high school with. Hate to sound conceited but we are pretty great parents too, that baby I had at 18 is 12 now and she is an awesome, smart, caring kid. We didn’t fall into the “Poor me, I wasn’t ready” category….we said “well, this is life, let’s make the best of it”.