Postnatal depression is not only debilitating, it’s indiscriminate and isolating. In the latest Vanity Fair cover story, Adele opens up about her own experience of postnatal depression and reveals how spilling the beans about her struggle to a friend set her on the path to recovery.
Adele is mum to 4-year-old Angelo and step-mum to a 9-year-old daughter with boyfriend Simon Konecki. Speaking to Vanity Fair, she revealed that the pressure of being a new parent combined with crippling PND symptoms pushed her to breaking point.
It was only when she reached out to another mum that the feelings of isolation and panic began to lift.
“One day I said to a friend, ‘I f–kin’ hate this,’ and she just burst into tears and said, ‘I f–kin’ hate this, too.’ And it was done. It lifted,” the star reveals.
Adele admits her perception of postnatal depression was not in line with her own experience.
“My knowledge of postpartum – or post-natal, as we call it in England – is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job.”
For Adele it played out differently.
“I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life,” she recalls.
Adele says taking time away from her son helped her to begin to recover and find some sense of herself and normalcy again.
“Eventually I just said, ‘I’m going to give myself an afternoon a week, just to do whatever the f–k I want without my baby.'”
Yet one of Adele’s mates questioned her choice. Thank goodness she had the fortitude to stand firm on her time-out requirements.
“A friend of mine said, ‘Really? Don’t you feel bad?’ I said, I do, but not as bad as I’d feel if I didn’t do it,” Adele recalls.
When mums are in the grip of PND, the last thing they need is to be discouraged from taking respite, however well-meaning the friend or family member might be. Parenting is for life and an afternoon (or more) a week away is going to make little difference to a baby. The difference it can make to a mum’s peace of mind, health and happiness should not be under-estimated.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with postnatal depression, please get in touch with PANDA for support and advice.