Celebrating Celebrity Baby Birthdays - Rowan Francis Henchy

Name: Rowan Francis Henchy

Birthday: May 15th, 2003

Famous for: Being the firstborn daughter of actress and model Brooke Shields and her husband, Chris Henchy; also being the catalyst for Brooke deciding to write a book about the postpartum depression she experienced after Rowan’s birth.

Siblings: Younger sister Grier Hammond, 13 months.

Names:Brooke explains Rowan’s name in her book, Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. She says,

We had chosen the name Rowan months ago…[but] it sounded strange to hear it out loud. I began wondering if we had made the right choice. Rowan is a Gaelic word meaning ‘little red one.’ We chose the name because we loved the sound of Irish names and there was folklore surrounding it. It was the name of a huge oak tree where roots went deep. In addition, Rowan Mayfair, the heroine in Anne Rice’s ‘The Witching Hour,’ is one of my favorite characters in any book.

Francis is after my father, who lost his battle with prostate cancer a few weeks before Rowan’s birth. He knew about her middle name.

Click Continue reading for more, including Rowan’s birth story, more on PPD, her hip dysplasia, Brooke’s one connection to her as an infant, her reaction to Grier, and a gear and photo roundup.

Birth story: Rowan was conceived after seven rounds of fertility treatments and one miscarriage. Of the experience of Rowan’s birth, Brooke said,

I had a strong desire to deliver vaginally. After 24 hours of labor and being shot up with antibiotics, Pitocin, and epidural medication, I had only dilated 3 centimeters. I had to have a c-section. I was trying not to feel overwhelmed by the fact that what was about to happen was major surgery and was the antithesis of the image of childbirth to which I had become quite attached to over the years…

I was jolted out of my reverie when I heard the words, ‘Cord wrapped! Cord wrapped!’ After what felt like hours, I heard the sound I had been praying for. At the same moment that the lyric, ‘How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You’ on the James Taylor CD I was playing filled the room, I heard my daughter. The doctor lifted her over the curtain so that I could see her, and I cried.


On initial problems: hip dsyplasia, lack of nursing support, and postpartum depression:

– Rowan presented with hip dysplasia, an instability of the hip joint, at birth, and had to wear a harness for the first few months of her life. Every time they tightenedthe harness, Rowan would scream. Chris always tightened the harness -Brooke didn’t want to. Rowan even had tobe baptized in the harness. Brooke wrote about how beautiful Rowanlooked in her dress, but that the harness sticking out underneath wasjust heartbreaking.

– Family encouraged Brooke to stop nursing, even though it was her only connection to her daughter while suffering from PPD. Brooke says,

I knew I had to give myself every opportunity to succeed at breastfeeding. Why was I so adamant? Was I more connected to her than I realized? It seemed to be one of the only maternal instincts I had, and I clung to it. My mother-in-law, my mother, my doctor, and even other moms who chose not breastfeed finally stopped telling me to quit. It became clear to me, and to Chris, that it was the only thing that was going well. While Rowan was nursing, we were both noticeably more relaxed.

-On her PPD:

I have always loved babies, and Rowan was amazing, alert and beautiful. But I felt no appreciation for the little miracle. I had no desire to pick her up.  Everybody always said I’d make a great mother one day. It shocked me that I didn’t want to hold my own daughter. I got hit by a wave of self-loathing and had an urge to smash my head against a wall repeatedly.

My crying increased as the days went by and no longer occurred between feedings but during them as well. I remember looking out of my bedroom window and considering jumping. But I concluded it wouldn’t be effective because we weren’t high enough. This upset me even more. I didn’t feel joy at all. I was in a bizarre state of mind…This was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away.

Brooke takes postpartum message to Congress.

On her new sister:

[Rowan]shared her blanket with her [Grier] so that was a huge step…she puther blanket in the bassinet and said ‘she might need this’.

Check out Brooke’s amazingly honest interview with Life Magazine.

Gear and Fashion:

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Rowan wears Adidas Kids Superstar II sneakers ($44).

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Rowan wearsCrocs in their cayman style in pink ($26).

Rowan wears Splendid’s Peony Cam Hoody ($65) and matching pants ($55).

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Baby Jogger City Series Double 12" in Black

($529) – click here for Danielle’s review.

Pictures and links:


Brooke, Rowan and Grier take a carriage ride.

The whole family at LAX.

Introducing Grier to the world, via PEOPLE.


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Photo by Splash News, splashnews.com, splashnewsonline.com.
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