Brooke Shields was happily anticipating being a mother. The road had not been easy --- with several series of IVF treatments and a painful miscarriage --- but still she and her husband, comedy writer Chris Henchy, persevered. After many tries, she became pregnant. Then, following a cautious pregnancy and a harrowing delivery, Brooke finally had her baby, a beautiful daughter named Rowan Francis. What should have been the happiest time in her life quickly turned into a nightmare. "At first I thought what I was feeling was just exhaustion, but with it came an overriding sense of panic that I had never felt before." Only days after the birth of Rowan and returning home, Shields found herself in the throes of an inexplicable, crippling depression.
Something far worse than simply "baby blues." This was something she could not explain. Despite all her efforts to have a baby, she felt no connection at all to her newborn daughter. Where were all the carefree moments of playtime? Where was the euphoria she was supposed to be feeling? Why couldn't she revel in her new baby?
After consulting with many close friends and family members, she began to realize she was not alone in her feelings. Many new mothers experience postpartum depression. The first step is to realize that you need help and ask for it. Secondly, there's no shame in it --- one in every ten mothers suffers from some form of postpartum depression. Third, once diagnosed, it's a very treatable disease. And after some weeks, talking with her doctor and implementing a combination of talk therapy and medication, she soon felt the clouds lift and she began to fully enjoy her role of new mommy.
Shields's touching and candid memoir offers help and hope not only to new mothers who might be suffering some kind of depression, but also to those closest to them --- husbands, parents, siblings. Once awareness is raised about the disease and the symptoms to look out for, the easier it will be to overcome. This book will help offer comforting advice and insight on what can be a very confusing time in a new mother's life.
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on January 21, 2011