Alanis Morissette Opens Up About Postpartum Depression
OK, we were already big fans of Alanis Morissette (and, let's be real, the entire '90s chick-rock pantheon), but her recent wonderfully honest video interview with People about living with postpartum depression sealed our allegiance to the Canadian singer and mother of two.
Morissette and her husband, rapper Souleye (Mario Treadway), have two children together: son Ever Imre, 6, and daughter Onyx Solace, 1. Both children were born at home with midwife and doula present — Ever was a 25-hour birth, while Onyx (born in June 2016) took all of 59 minutes to arrive according to Morissette.
Morissette struggled mightily with postpartum depression after Ever's birth, and she was acutely aware of the risk of its recurrence.
"I had a pretty good sense it was going to happen again," Morissette said in the video. "I was ready to do anything [to battle PPD]."
Sure enough, postpartum depression returned — with a vengeance — almost immediately after Onyx's birth — and Morissette continues to do all she can to manage it.
For her, it often manifests in "a lot of sleeplessness... I push through the being debilitated, but knowing I need to survive and show up. If [my kids] need me, they have me... I want to keep as much semblance of normalcy for my kids as I can; I don't want it to be their burden."
What helps Morissette most? The singer says she is a huge fan of exercise like Pilates and modalities like hot tubs and saunas. "Heat is such healer for me," she said.
Her biggest help? That would be Souleye. "God bless my husband," she said. "I say [to him], 'There's an end to this, and I'm sorry I'm not able to be who you typically know me to be.'"
Morissette emphasizes that PPD is insidious for its ability to debilitate anyone. "It doesn't matter what sort of lifestyle you have... PPD doesn't discriminate," she said. And now, when she encounters other PPD sufferers, she says her reaction is, "Oh, my God, I love you. I'm so sorry. Let's hold each other and cry for four hours." (Alanis, we are totally available to do that, BTW.)
Morissette has been a strong believer in talking about PPD since her first experience with it after Ever's birth — and she refuses to sweep it under the rug. As she told Good Morning Americain 2012, "I really think transparency really levels the playing field for all of us and renders our humanness. It was just a really intense time, and if I could share anything with anyone who's going through it, it would be to encourage them to seek help and reach out a little earlier than I did."
Also in 2012, Morissette spoke about her PPD with You magazine. "The degree and intensity of my post-natal depression shocked me. I am predisposed to depression, but what surprised me this time was the physical pain," she said. "I hadn't realized the depths to which you can ache — limbs, back, torso, head, everything hurt — and it went on for 15 months. I felt as if I was covered in tar and everything took 50 times more effort than normal."
Morissette often posts sweet pictures of her family to Instagram (like this recent one with her son, mid-wrestling match) and has told People she tries to think of her PPD struggle as something that will pass; she tries to hold onto thoughts of all the good her future holds. "I look forward to traveling more with my children... my daughter and I are little foodies. Just loving my kids and my family with every fiber of my being allows me to see [PPD] as a chapter."