Brooke Shields was photographed at the Hope for Depression Research Foundation annual seminar and luncheon in New York City on Monday (November 16). The 44-year-old mother of two girls – Rowan, 6, and Grier, 3 – was awarded the inaugural ‘Hope’ award for depression advocacy from the foundation.
During the seminar, Brooke expressed the true depths of her suffering with post-partum depression. “We think and we feel that we should just be able to handle it on our own.” People reports that Brooke went on to say, “I’ve always been strong enough to get through every single difficult situation in my life. I grew up in an addictive household. My mother [Teri] had acute alcoholism. It’s in my blood. I was never going to be the one to succumb to it.”
Brooke, who suffered a miscarriage and seven in-vitro fertilization attempts, gave birth to daughter Rowan in 2003 with her husband, TV writer Chris Henchy.
I finally had a healthy beautiful baby girl and I couldn’t look at her,” she said of the depression she felt after having her first child. “I couldn’t hold her and I couldn’t sing to her and I couldn’t smile at her … All I wanted to do was disappear and die.”
Click below to continue reading Brooke’s brave journey through PPD…
The brave mother-of-two went on to say that in her deepest moments of despair, the disease led her to believe, “I should not exist. The baby would be better off without me. Life was never going to get better – so I better just go.”
Brooke also spoke about going off her prescribed medication at one point, thinking she didn’t need them. “That was the week I almost did not resist driving my car straight into a wall on the side of the freeway,” she told the crowd. “My baby was in the back seat and that even pissed me off because I thought she’s even ruining this for me. I just wanted to drive into the wall and my friend stayed on the phone with me and made me safely get home.”
Brooke was eventually diagnosed with a chemical imbalance. “I learned what was going on inside my body and what was going on inside my brain,” she shared. “I learned I wasn’t doing anything wrong to feel that way. That it was actually out of my control.”
Looking back, Brooke said, “If I had been diagnosed with any other disease, I would have run to get help. I would have worn it like a badge … I didn’t at first – but finally I did fight. I survived.”
For more dialogue on PPD, go to Gena Lee Nolin‘s recent guest blog and leave your thoughts and questions.