Brooke Shields Opens Up About Suicidal Thoughts After Giving Birth

Brooke Shields has been honest and forthcoming about her painful struggles with post-partum depression, but in revealing new comments she shares the true depths of her suffering.

Brooke, 44, spoke movingly about the stigma of depression and her experience battling the disease on Monday while receiving an advocacy award from the Hope for Depression Research Foundation in Manhattan.

“We think and we feel that we should just be able to handle it on our own,” said Brooke, who is mom to two girls, Rowan, 6, and Grier, 3. “I’ve always been strong enough to get through every single difficult situation in my life. I grew up in an addictive household. My mother [Teri] had acute alcoholism. It’s in my blood. I was never going to be the one to succumb to it.”

After a miscarriage and seven IVF attempts, she welcomed daughter Rowan in 2003 with her husband, Chris Henchy. “I finally had a healthy beautiful baby girl and I couldn’t look at her,” she said of the depression she felt. “I couldn’t hold her and I couldn’t sing to her and I couldn’t smile at her … All I wanted to do was disappear and die.”

In her deepest moments of despair she said, that the disease led her to believe, “I should not exist. The baby would be better off without me. Life was never going to get better – so I better just go.”

Brooke was prescribed medication, though she stopping taking it one point, thinking she didn’t need them. “That was the week I almost did not resist driving my car straight into a wall on the side of the freeway,” she told the crowd. “My baby was in the back seat and that even pissed me off because I thought she’s even ruining this for me. I just wanted to drive into the wall and my friend stayed on the phone with me and made me safely get home.”

She later called her doctor to ask for more help, and was eventually diagnosed with a chemical imbalance. “I learned what was going on inside my body and what was going on inside my brain,” she said. “I learned I wasn’t doing anything wrong to feel that way. That it was actually out of my control.”

Looking back, she said, “If I had been diagnosed with any other disease, I would have run to get help. I would have worn it like a badge … I didn’t at first – but finally I did fight. I survived.”

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  1. says

    “she shares the true depths of her suffering.”
    It is good that she was able to express what she felt. Finding the right treatment is easy, once she realized that there was something wrong.

  2. Clo says

    Please tell me she doesn’t want more children. Sorry If I offend anyone but I read somewhere that she’s trying for another baby after everything. She already has two beautiful daughters, she should give it a rest.

  3. HeyJude says

    To so called ‘Bella’, no one wants to hear your snare remarks. We all are ‘sick of you’, as you are sick of Brooke. You are one remarkable & beautiful lady, Brooke Shields! It’s a good thing you are speaking about it, so many other people suffer from this.

  4. Randi says

    Hey Morvicaud – her name is Brooke Shields, not Shield. There is an S at the end of her name.
    And it’s pretty obvious from your post #10 you have no sympathy for this fine lady.
    Whatever – have your opinion. Why don’t you and Tom Cruise have a little ScientO party. (Nobody with depression, post-partum depression, ADHD, ADD, Autism, Agoraphobia, ANY-phobia will be allowed to attend Morvicaud & Tom’s party because these conditions do not exist according to scientolo-dorks)

  5. M says

    Att 10: Thats the whole point, celebs never want to admit to this. They put on a show that having kids is easy. Celebs like Brooke Burke, Angelina J, and TomKat all make it ‘look’ wonderful, when its not. The fact that Shield has pointed it out makes the situation more open. I have only admitted my thing with knife here on this blog and being annon about it. I cant tell my friends and family about it, no matter how close i am to them. But now its like ‘okay you have that problem, well actually so have I’- yey for sisterhood!!!

  6. morvicaud says

    Has Brooke Shield nothing else to talk about? This is really oooooold news. I don’t mind the topic but Brooke Shield is so over. Find somebody else with the same experience …

  7. Adele (UK) says

    I think Brooke should be applauded for being so open. I was diagnosed 2 years ago next month when my youngest daughter was 5 months old. I left it too late & suffered so bad it turned in Agoraphobia. I felt like I was living in a bubble & everyone else was living outside, I felt trapped in my world of Depression.
    Thankfully I am over this & expecting another daughter next month. I know the signs this time so if I feel myself slipping back into the bubble, I will get help ASAP.
    I feel like this illness is such a taboo topic but it should definately be talked about more. Because I didn’t have it after the birth of my first daughter, I didn’t think it would happen to me, how naive was I.

  8. frankie goes says

    Oh M. I am sorry that your mum in law was not more supportive. It doesnt help you and if anything makes you feel more worthless and useless. Yes different cultures have very different approaches to baby raising. In india the baby is seen as belonging to everyone in the family whereas in western society mum is supposed to do everything and be smiling throughout. My husband is indian and it would have been easier and maybe i would not have suffered like i did had the extended family had been around, however we were living in another country so my husband and i only had each other. My mum quipped the other day ” oh yeah, you were on anti depressant but you never really knew why they gave you those did you? I was utterly amazed and remained silent in shock. If i hadnt had taken the meds and sought help i truly believe i would be veru menatlly unstable or dead now. Parents just want to bury their heads to this and pretend it is not real. That’s why Brooke is doing such a service to all by breaking her silence. Sorry to write so much. x

  9. M says

    I still have my moments, my hubby was fed by his mum that its nothing she would regulary say ‘mothers in villages or the depths of Africa dont suffer, so why do you?!’ I actully feel that people in rural places like that are better off. A friend of mine from Uganda told me she has sister with 6 kids, after having each infant her only job was to breastfeed the baby for 18 months- no cooking, cleaning, doing school work, going back to a job- nothing.
    There is so much pressure on todays women to have it all and do it all and make it look effortless. Lossing weight is another thing. I dont remember anyone of my mothers genertion who looked slim and fit, after having kids. Today we have to look as though we never had children. So ofcourse our minds are going to go potty!

  10. Nicole says

    I still suffer from it- it really sucks. I seriously wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. To me, it’s just as bad as cancer and it can kill too if you don’t get help. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. This is why there are Psychiatrists.

  11. RubyJackson says

    Good girl. Life is so hard. I honor her honesty.

    God bless us all, we have to press on, every day.

  12. frankie goes says

    I hope you are doing better now M. I too suffered from this and it felt like there was a wall seperating me and wonderful family to the extent that life at times felt not worth living.Everything loss its meaning, my life felt pointless. Thankfully i am better now.

  13. anti says

    Bravo to Brooke for being so candid! While I never had post-partum depression after my deliveries, I would NEVER deny that it exists and that women who get it suffer tremendously. It shouldn’t be a stigma but thanks to narrow-minded individuals (read: Tom Cruise) it is, so I congratulate Brooke for her bravery and efforts to impart compassion and understanding on this subject.

  14. M says

    PND really can be that bad- i remember holding a kitchen knife and thinking it wouldnt be so bad to stab myself 100 times.

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