In the latest issue of Us Weekly available on newsstands today, reality TV star Melissa Rycroft opens up about being diagnosed with postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter Ava in 2011 and how struggling with its emotionally crippling effects made her question her mothering abilities.
In an emotional account, the former Bachelor contestant chronicles the difficulties she faced as a new mom and how her postpartum depression sent her into a “bad, dark place.”
Melissa and her husband Tye Strickland were rather surprised when they discovered they were expecting mere months after their December 2009 wedding.
“We had a baby in our five-year plan, but we weren’t trying,” she reveals. “There was excitement but shock too.”
Once little Ava made her debut in February, the erratic feelings she suffered during her pregnancy worsened.
“Almost immediately I didn’t feel right,” she says. “I had just given birth to this perfect baby, but absolutely nothing made me happy anymore. I had no idea what was wrong. I had these great blessings, but I felt empty. I’d put Ava in her crib and go outside and scream for a minute.”
She also began to resent Tye’s absence at home due to his busy work and life schedule. After roughly 3 months, Melissa realized that she needed to seek professional help to work through her issues.
“I told Tye, ‘I don’t know how to make this better. I need help,’” she reveals. “Now Tye and I go once a week [to therapy]. We talk about getting over my guilt, and the tears really flow. She reaffirms that what’s going on is chemical. But talking to someone is only going to help so much until my body gets back to the way it was.”
Although the couple eventually want to add another member to their family, Melissa states she needs to concentrate on becoming “100 percent healthy and back to [her] best emotional state” first.