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Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Postpartum Depression

Hayden Panettiere Shares Message to New Parents With Postpartum Depression: "It's OK"

Hayden Panettiere wishes she'd known more about postpartum depression before the birth of her daughter, Kaya. "I wish somebody told me that that was a possibility," the 33-year-old star said in a March 24 interview with "E! News." After realizing she hadn't formed an immediate emotional connection to her child, Panettiere blamed herself and tried to self-medicate, instead of seeking professional help. "I just thought there was something seriously wrong with me, so I thought, you know, Fireball will fix this — duh. And it didn't. It does for a moment, but then it makes everything worse."

Panettiere has been open about her experience with addiction in the past, explaining how her postpartum depression played a role in her alcoholism. "I should have gone on antidepressants [to cope with my postpartum depression], but you have to find the right one that works for you," she told Women's Health. "They don't mix well with alcohol, and I wasn't ready to stop drinking."

After going through rehab and eight months of intensive therapy and identifying healthy coping mechanisms, Panettiere is currently sober and in recovery. "I did a lot of work on myself," she said, saying she felt like she finally had a "blank canvas" to work with. Now, she knows that postpartum depression, which can affect one in seven people, per the National Institutes of Health, is not entirely uncommon. Symptoms manifest differently in everyone and can include mood swings, feelings of guilt, irritability, and fatigue. And, as Panettiere shared with E! News, these are natural experiences (although, of course, ones that often require medical care and support; don't put off asking for help).

"It's OK if you birth your child, and you're not immediately like, 'Oh my God, I love you more than anything in the entire world!'" she said. "It's OK and not abnormal if [your baby] comes out and it's a blob, and you're like, 'Oh my gosh, this is like a crazy little creation that I'm going to love when I get to know you.'"

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