All the strength, beauty, and wealth that Brie and Nikki Bella have couldn’t prevent them from experiencing postpartum depression just like so many other mothers. Which is why it’s wonderful to see that they have chosen to share their experience with others, even though both Bellas said they were embarrassed to admit what they were going through at first.
In an Instagram Live interview with Katherine Schwarzenegger, Nikki Bella went into great detail about how she finally owned up to the postpartum depression she’s had after giving birth to son Matteo in July. Sister Brie also stopped by for a few minutes to discuss how she had postpartum depression with daughter Birdie.
“When Brie first had Birdie, I was just like, C’mon, keep up, you can do this.’ … I would just push her a lot and didn’t understand when she was like, ‘I can’t do this,'” Nikki said, admitting that she’d had no idea what her sister had experienced until she did herself. “Why did you not put me in check?”
Brie was still working as a wrestler when she had her first child, so she was still pushing herself pretty hard, and missing her pre-mom self. “I would be sitting there breastfeeding or just over-tired, thinking, ‘Am I ever going to be that person again? Is that life going come back? I miss that life.’ But you’re too embarrassed to say that out loud.”
Now, with son Buddy, she’s easier on herself, and also has retired from wrestling, so she hasn’t experienced PPD this time around. Meanwhile, it hit her sister hard.
“I was like on a cliff about to be pushed over, to go into a super dark place, but now I’m in a place that’s much better,” Nikki told Schwarzenegger.
She said had been doing OK for the first few weeks of Matteo’s life, because even though he was colicky, she had fiancé Artem Chigvintsev around to help her. But when their baby was just four weeks old, he had to leave them for the new season of Dancing With the Stars.
Though flying solo scared her, she was afraid to admit it at first, thinking, “I need to be supportive and just keep my mouth shut and not be negative, support him.”
This was when Nikki started to have a really hard time. She felt resentful of how happy Artem looked on TV, while she sat at home and felt exhausted and insecure about her body. Then it began to feel like she was losing control of her emotions and barely able to force herself out of bed to take care of her son. Still, she was reluctant to tell anyone about what she was going through.
“As moms we feel like if we talk about postpartum depression, we feel like a we’re a failure as a mother, it means we hate our child when that’s not it at all,” she said.
But one day, while filming their show, Brie asked Nikki how she was doing, and she broke down in front of everyone.
“I’ve never realized the importance of the words ‘How are you?'” she said. She spoke to her doctor, too, and the more people she talked to, the better she felt. She hired a life coach and began to open up to her friends, who then disclosed their postpartum depression experiences too.
Still, she was reluctant to tell Artem about it, so it took Brie going behind her back, which she was none too pleased about at first. But she’s grateful for it in the end, because one key to helping her out of that dark place was having the important people in her life prepared to react to her when she felt out of control.
Nikki also said she’s relied on meditation and prayer, as well as the rewarding sight of Matteo.
“I love my baby boy so much that I just look at him like, ‘Are you my protector?'” she said. “There’s something about him that makes me stronger.”
Not everyone reacts to or recovers from postpartum depression in the same way. So if you’re going through PPD now, don’t feel bad if the same things that helped Nikki Bella don’t cure you. Speak to your doctor, visit Postpartum Support International, or call or text them at 800-944-4773.