Reese Witherspoon is mom to three kids, daughter Ava, 20, son Deacon, 16, and son Tennessee, 7, and the Oscar winner opened up about her experience with postpartum depression during an appearance on Friday's episode of Jameela Jamil's podcast, I Weigh. Witherspoon explained that she felt differently after giving birth to each of her kids, ranging from "no postpartum" to "severe postpartum."
"I've had three kids. After each child I had a different experience," she said. "One kid I had kind of mild postpartum, and one kid I had severe postpartum where I had to take pretty heavy medication because I just wasn’t thinking straight at all. And then I had one kid where I had no postpartum at all." The 44-year-old added that she was "completely out of control" after Ava was born.
"We don’t understand the kind of hormonal roller coaster that you go on when you stop nursing," she said. "No one explained that to me. I was 23 years old when I had my first baby and nobody explained to me that when you wean a baby, your hormones go into the toilet. I felt more depressed than I’d ever felt in my whole life. It was scary."
"I didn’t have the right kind of guidance or help, I just white-knuckled back," Witherspoon explained, adding that "there wasn’t the type of communication we have now." "I think hormones are so understudied and not understood," she said. "I kept reaching out to my doctors for answers, there just isn’t enough research about what happens to women’s bodies and the hormonal shifts that we have aren’t taken as seriously as I think they should be. I have deep compassion for women who are going through that. Postpartum is very real."
Witherspoon also opened up about her anxiety and depression, sharing that she began going to therapy at age 16. "I definitely had anxiety, my anxiety manifests as depression so I would get really depressed. My brain is like a hamster on a wheel and it won’t come off," she said. "I’ve been managing it my entire life."
She also recalled watching her grandmother struggle with the same issues. "I would see her struggle and the stigma around it really debilitated her," Witherspoon recalled. "She was punished within her community, her job, she was fired because she struggled a lot with anxiety and depression. I feel really fortunate that I am able to get help, at times that I've needed I've been able to take medicine, and it's something that I learned coping mechanisms around my entire life.