"I saw a doctor for the medical check, and I just burst into tears," Lena Headey says of finding out she had postpartum depression after her son was born

By Jen Juneau
July 07, 2017 01:40 PM
Credit: Stefano Galuzzi

Lena Headey‘s formidable character Cersei Lannister may have looked icy as a cucumber in the first (and subsequent) seasons of Game of Thrones, but the actress wasn’t without her own inner turmoil.

For her cover story in the newest issue of Net-A-Porter’s The EDIT magazine, Headey opened up to GoT costar Maisie Williams about her experience balancing filming the show’s first season and battling postpartum depression following the birth of her son Wylie, now 7.

“Really horrendous – I was postnatally depressed, but I didn’t know it,” she explained of how she felt filming traumatic scenes while juggling her new life as a mom. “I saw a doctor for the medical check, and I just burst into tears. She said I was postnatally depressed and I went, ‘Am I? Why is that?’ ”

“I saw a great guy and he sorted me out, but I did the first year [on GoT] in that space, figuring out motherhood and going through a weird time personally,” adds Headey, 43. “It was tricky.”

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

Credit: Stefano Galuzzi

RELATED VIDEO: Chrissy Teigen Pens Essay on ‘Painful’ Battle With Postpartum Depression: “I Couldn’t Figure Out Why I Was So Unhappy”

Headey tells Williams that playing Cersei over the past six years hasn’t had an effect on how she wants to raise her children (including daughter Teddy, who turns 2 on Monday). In fact, she calls herself “very different” from her Iron Throne-thirsty character.

“What I want for my children is for them to be kind and conscious and happy and that’s it, really,” she explains. “I don’t want them to think, ‘You have to achieve that in order to have that,’ because that’s not true anymore.”

Adds the mother of two, “And I want my daughter to have a good voice and to use it, to not feel restricted by being a woman in any way, to make her choices freely.”

Credit: Stefano Galuzzi

FROM PEN: Ricki Lake Wants To Help Others Struggling With Depression After Her Ex-Husband’s Suicide

As a mom to both a daughter and a son, the actress confesses that her own younger-days penchant for “[sneaking] boys into [her] house all the time” has made her own mother pull out the “karma” card on her.

“I was talking to a colleague the other day about raising children, and I said, ‘I’ve got a son and a daughter, and I know my son is going to enjoy his time sleeping with girls’ – well, I know he is,” Headey begins.

“But then I thought of my daughter and had an instinctive reaction: ‘No! No one’s touching you!’ ” she adds. “My mum’s like, welcome to the world of children.”