Most women grow up dreaming of becoming a mother, but what they don’t expect is the devastating postpartum depression they might suffer after child birth.
In a new interview, Alanis Morissette, 43, opened up to PEOPLE about suffering from postpartum depression, (PPD) after the birth of her children, son Ever Imre, now 6½-year-old, and daughter Onyx Solace.
On her experience with PPD, the singer who’s still struggling with the illness 14 months after welcoming Onyx tells PEOPLE exclusively in the latest issue;
”There are days I’m debilitated to the point where I can barely move. As a kid, I imagined having children and being with an amazing partner. This is a whole other wrench I didn’t anticipate.”
Alanis had her first experience with PPD after giving birth to her first child. She immediately began feeling symptoms of the disorder, including intense physical pain, insomnia, lethargy and “horrifyingly scary” visions of her family being harmed, and wasn’t diagnosed until 16 months later.
This time, according to the ‘Jagged Little Pill’ songstress, she was prepared for the depression to return and as expected, her PPD set back in “seconds later” after she gave birth to Onyx last June.
”It’s very isolating. I’m used to being the Rock of Gibraltar, providing, protecting and maneuvering. It had me question everything.
I’ve known myself to be a really incredible decision-maker and a leader that people can rely on. [Now] I can barely decide what to eat for dinner.”
On her PPD being “four times worse” this time and currently on a combination of medication and homeopathic therapies, exercising daily, working with therapists and channeling her struggles into music:
”I wrote many, many songs over the last three months. It was a song a day. I had to start writing songs, or I was going to implode.”
On shattering the shame of PPD:
”The stigma remains in a really big way. There’s this version of eye contact that I have with women who have been through postpartum depression where it’s this silent, ‘Oh my God, I love you. I’m so sorry.’
There are people who are like, ‘Where’s the old Alanis?’ and I just think, ‘Well, she’s in here. She’s having a minute.’ I just know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and try not to beat myself up.”
On how her 7-year marriage to Mario “Souleye” Treadway has been challenged because of the illness:
”My main priority is that I want to make sure both of my children are loved and bonded with and provided for. Poor Souleye sometimes gets the dregs of my exhaustion at the end of the night.
Even holding hands at this point is a deeply intimate experience. I set him up to win as often as I can. He’s doing the best he can.
I just basically say to him, ‘There’s an end to this, and I’m in the middle of it. I’m so sorry for not being able to be who you typically know me to be.’ ”
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