Mental Health Month

Sarah Michelle Gellar Opens Up About Postpartum Depression To Make A Point About Health Care

"I got help, and made it through, and every day since has been the best gift I could ever have asked for."

May is Mental Health Month. Throughout the month we will bring you stories about mental health and the importance of breaking surrounding stigmas, as well as highlighting those who live with related conditions and are advocating awareness.

Sarah Michelle Gellar just joined a number of other celebrity women, including Chrissy Teigen and Adele, in speaking out about her experience with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a common mood disorder that occurs after childbirth, and is often characterized by feelings of deep sadness, guilt, and even anger toward the child. 

The former Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress revealed she struggled with the condition when her now-7-year-old daughter, Charlotte Grace Prinze, was born back in 2009. 

In an Instagram post, she shared a black-and-white photo of her and Charlotte writing, "Having kids is wonderful, and life changing, and rarely what you're prepared for. I love my children more than anything in the world. But like a lot of women, I too struggled with postpartum depression after my first baby was born." 

"I got help, and made it through, and every day since has been the best gift I could ever have asked for," she wrote. "To those of you going through this, know that you're not alone and that it really does get better." 

Gellar decided to open up about this difficult time in her life in response to the current debate surrounding health care reform. Earlier this month, the House passed the controversial American Health Care Act, which stands to jeopardize the lives of millions of Americans due to discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions. While it will be up to insurance companies to decide what's considered a pre-existing condition, postpartum depression could be on the list, along with domestic violence, sexual assault, and C-sections.

Although the bill has passed in the House, it has yet to pass in the Senate. Gellar spoke out about her experience in hopes that it would encourage others to reach out to their elected representatives and let them know where they stand on this bill.

"If you believe that postpartum depression should be covered by healthcare, please take a moment and go to callmycongress.com today, find your rep's numbers and let them know. #NotAPreExistingCondition," she wrote. 

Postpartum depression affects an estimated 1 in 7 moms, but often goes undiscussed because of the stigmas associated with the condition. Chrissy Teigen penned an essay about her experience with postpartum depression back in March to help raise awareness and show the importance of speaking out about it. 

"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," she wrote. "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. 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."

If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, you can find local support groups and resources by visiting Postpartum Support International's website or calling 1-800-944-4773

To reach out to your local representatives and tell them how you feel about the American Health Care Act, you can find their contact information here

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