Gretchen Rossi Talks 'Serious Postpartum' Depression After Daughter's Birth: I 'Broke Down'
Gretchen Rossi has learned that the highlights of new parenthood on social media don’t always tell the whole story.
“I make a joke that I’m gonna write a book called It’s All a Lie,” the former Real Housewives of Orange County star, 41, says on the Thursday episode of The Doctors, on which she and fiancé Slade Smiley appear to talk about how life has changed since they welcomed daughter Skylar Gray on July 10.
“Legitimately, I had no idea what I was in for. I just thought, ‘This is gonna be great,’ ” admits the first-time mom. “You see Instagram, you see social media, you see the media making it look like it’s so perfect, and you just sit there and breastfeed your child and you look magically into their eyes. It was nothing like that.”
Rossi goes on to share that she “went through a difficult period where, I realize now, I was depressed, and I had a lot of anxiety” — but it took a trip to the doctor’s office for her to understand what was really going on.
“I really wasn’t connecting with [Skylar] at the very beginning,” she says. “Then I came to realize [when] I went to my pediatrician’s appointment and I was crying and broke down in that appointment, and my pediatrician said, ‘You know, Gretchen, I think maybe you need to think about the fact that you might have some serious postpartum.’ ”
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Rossi’s initial reaction was denial, as she and Smiley, 50, couldn’t be happier with their “miracle baby” and the Bravo alum was used to always being a beacon of positivity.
“I was like, ‘No, not me. I don’t have that. I’m happy! I’m such a positive person all the time,’ ” she recalls of her response to the doctor’s suggestion.
“I was really struggling, and I was having an internal conflict with the fact that I had this beautiful, amazing miracle baby — literally, she was a miracle for us — and I just was having a hard time compartmentalizing how to manage my life now with this new baby,” Rossi explains.
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Rossi has been open about the ups and downs of adjusting in the first few weeks of motherhood, from leaving her baby girl for the first time for work to struggles with nursing.
“Breastfeeding has been nowhere near as magical as I imagined in my head,” she captioned an Aug. 8 image. “I have cried so many times from being frustrated, from being freaking exhausted, from the pain and horrible sore nipples (as they literally scabbed over and or were bright pink from all the skin being rubbed off).”
“From the guilt of feeling like ‘I don’t want to do this anymore because it is uncomfortable, exhausting, painful, takes way to much time, and quite honestly was not anything like I imagined in my head,’ ” she went on.
Rossi concluded her post by asking her followers to share their own stories in an effort to “help uplift each other up as woman and Moms who are just trying to do our very best, at one of the toughest jobs in the world.”