Alyssa Milano has opened up about her postpartum depression and how she checked herself into a psychiatric ward following the birth of her baby.
The 45-year-old actress penned a candid article for Time magazine where she talked about her battle with Generalised Anxiety Disorder after giving birth to her son Milo, writing that her “journey with mental illnesses began with her journey into motherhood.”
“That first night, after we returned from the hospital, I suffered my first anxiety attack,” she wrote. “I felt like I had already disappointed my child. I felt like I failed as a mother, since I was not able to give birth vaginally or nourish him with the breast milk that had not come in yet.”
“My heart raced. My stomach seized up. I felt like I was dying.”
In the article, Milano said that she suffered a miscarriage in 2011 before becoming pregnant with Milo, and while the miscarriage was “heartbreaking,” she described this pregnancy as “beautiful.”
“I did not experience morning sickness; I went to prenatal yoga five times a week; I walked two miles a day; and I took naps in the afternoon.”
Following this “idyllic image of motherhood,” the “Charmed” star wrote a strict birth plan which included no induction of labor, no pain medication and no c-sections.
“I equated a natural birth to my value as a woman and as a mother — and I was determined not to stray from that course.”
However, complications during labor meant that she was forced to deliver via c-section, and then had problems producing milk.
Milano also revealed that she would worry about Milo while at work, feeling “overwhelmed with guilt” for leaving him at home, and how her colleagues didn’t understand.
“Every day, I would drive to work and think about all the ways that Milo could die in the hands of his caretakers. Every night, after working 16-hour days, after I was finally able to hold my child and put him to sleep, my day’s anxiety would culminate into a debilitating anxiety attack.”
Eventually, Milano said she “hit a wall” and asked a psychiatrist to commit her. She stayed in a public psychiatric ward for three days.
“At last, I began to feel as if my pain was recognized, but it wasn’t easy. One of my doctors dismissed my symptoms, and many of my colleagues, even female colleagues, still had trouble understanding that I was hurting at all”
“But throughout this process, I also found angels — including my psychiatrist and my therapist. They convinced me that I had the bravery to face my illness, the value to seek help and the strength to recover.”
The actress said it’s time for a change and urged people to rededicate themselves on talking about mental health and to let each other know that no one should be facing these challenges alone.