Take it from Adele: Postpartum depression is a very real, debilitating experience that no one, even a 10-time Grammy winner, is immune to potentially going through.
“I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me,” the 28-year-old British superstar, currently on her world tour until the end of November, tells Vanity Fair for her December cover interview.
“My knowledge of postpartum — or post-natal, as we call it in England — is that you don’t want to be with your child; you’re worried you might hurt your child; you’re worried you weren’t doing a good job,” she says. “But I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life.”
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The mom of one — who shares 4-year-old son Angelo James with partner of five years Simon Konecki, 42 — explains that she didn’t take antidepressants for her PPD, and that it took her a while to come around to the idea of connecting with other people about it even before Angelo was born.
“My boyfriend said I should talk to other women who were pregnant, and I said, ‘F— that, I ain’t hanging around with a f—in’ bunch of mothers,’ ” she says. “Then, without realizing it, I was gravitating towards pregnant women and other women with children, because I found they’re a bit more patient. You’ll be talking to someone, but you’re not really listening, because you’re so f—in’ tired.”
As it turns out, finding friends who were going through the same thing and willing to open up about their struggles was difficult to jump-start, but the key to helping the singer cope.
“My friends who didn’t have kids would get annoyed with me, whereas I knew I could just sit there and chat absolute mush with my friends who had children, and we wouldn’t judge each other,” she says. “One day I said to a friend, ‘I f—in’ hate this,’ and she just burst into tears and said, ‘I f—in’ hate this, too.’ And it was done. It lifted.”
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Adele, who recently purchased a $9.5 million home in Beverly Hills, also admits that as much as she loves her child, she wishes she had a bit more freedom.
“I love my son more than anything, but on a daily basis, if I have a minute or two, I wish I could do whatever the f— I wanted, whenever I want. Every single day I feel like that,” she says candidly.
“Eventually I just said, I’m going to give myself an afternoon a week, just to do whatever the f— I want without my baby. A friend of mine said, ‘Really? Don’t you feel bad?’ I said, I do, but not as bad as I’d feel if I didn’t do it,” she continues. “Four of my friends felt the same way I did, and everyone was too embarrassed to talk about it; they thought everyone would think they were a bad mom, and it’s not the case. It makes you a better mom if you give yourself a better time.”
The singer says she “will never write songs as good as the ones that are on 21, but I’m not as indulgent as I was then, and I don’t have time to fall apart like I did then.” But it all comes with the parenting territory.
“Since I’ve had my baby, I’m not as carefree as I used to be. I’m scared of a lot of things now because I don’t want to die; I want to be around for my kid,” she says. ”I’m very cautious, whereas I was never cautious before. I would never have done anything before that would make me die, but now I go out of my way to avoid anything that is remotely dangerous — like walking along a sidewalk. I’d rather walk on the grass or a lawn, rather than the pavement, in case a car crashes into me.”
Something else that has gone by the wayside? Smoking and excessive drinking.
“Having a hangover with a child is torture,” she says. “Just imagine an annoying 3-year-old who knows something’s wrong; it’s hell.”
Guilt is never not present for the “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” singer when she’s away from her son, but it’s something that she has grown accustomed to having as a natural reality by being a working mom.
“I’m enjoying touring, but at times I feel guilty because I’m doing this massive tour, and even though my son is with me all the time, on certain nights I can’t put him to bed,” she confesses.
“I never feel guilty when I’m not working,” she adds. “You’re constantly trying to make up for stuff when you’re a mom. I don’t mind, because of the love I feel for him … I don’t care if I don’t ever get to do anything for myself again.”
When asked if she felt “brave” for having a child in the middle of big career success, Adele’s reply is quite unexpected.
“I think it’s the bravest thing not to have a child; all my friends and I felt pressurized into having kids, because that’s what adults do,” she says.