Chrissy Teigen is opening up about her secret, debilitating battle with postpartum depression and anxiety.
For Glamour‘s April cover story, the author and model penned a revealing essay about how her life changed after she and husband John Legend welcomed daughter Luna Simone, 11 months; PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the story.
“Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my shoulders — even my wrists — hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me,” she says.
The celebrity foodie also found herself more moody and emotional than before she became a mother.
“One thing that really got me was just how short I was with people. I would be in my dressing room, sitting in a robe, getting hair and makeup done, and a crew member would knock on the door and ask: ‘Chrissy, do you know the lyrics to this song?’ And I would lose it. Or ‘Chrissy, do you like these cat ears, or these panda hands?’ And I’d be like: ‘Whatever you want. I don’t care.’ They would leave. My eyes would well up, and I would burst into tears. My makeup artist would pat them dry and give me a few minutes,” Teigen adds.
“I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: ‘Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom.’”
At her lowest point, Teigen sequestered herself away at home for days at a time when she didn’t have to work.
“When I wasn’t in the studio, I never left the house. I mean, never. Not even a tiptoe outside. I’d ask people who came inside why they were wet. Was it raining? How would I know — I had every shade closed,” she says.
“Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
Concerned about how she was feeling, Teigen sought out her doctor.
“Before the holidays I went to my GP for a physical. John sat next to me. I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll,” she says.
“My doctor pulled out a book and started listing symptoms. And I was like, ‘Yep, yep, yep.’ I got my diagnosis: postpartum depression and anxiety. (The anxiety explains some of my physical symptoms.)”
Throughout her struggle and diagnosis, Teigen says her singer husband, 38, was her biggest supporter.
“He’s exactly as compassionate, patient, loving, and understanding as he seems,” she writes of Legend in the women’s glossy. “I’m grateful for the people around me. John has been incredible over the last nine months, bringing me my medicine and watching horrible reality TV with me. He is not the goofiest guy, but he has gone out of his way to indulge my sense of humor. When I was having a good day, he would go to Medieval Times with me and put on the crazy period hat! He sees how much my eyes light up when he does that stuff, and he knows that’s what I need. I know he must look over at times and think: My God, get it together. But he has never made me feel that way. He wants me to be happy, silly, and energetic again, but he’s not making me feel bad when I’m not in that place.”
After her initial diagnosis, the social media star was hesitant to open up about her secret.
“Postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do,” says Teigen, who is opening up about her postpartum today in hopes that it will help others.
“I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody, and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone,’ she says. “I also don’t want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that — for me — just merely being open about it helps.”
Despite everything she’s been through, Teigen says her battle with mental illness hasn’t deterred her desire to expand her family.
“I love John and Luna more than I can imagine loving anything, and John and I still hope to give Luna a few siblings,” she says. “Postpartum hasn’t changed that.”
The April issue of Glamour featuring Chrissy Teigen’s essay hits newsstands March 14.