What kind of swimsuit model earns the adoration and respect of millennial women? The kind who instagrams her stretch marks, eats like she likes to, and pokes fun of herself without a whiff of self-disparage. Chrissy Teigen has built her celebrity on her willingness to let us in on the red-carpet glamour and real-world mess alike.
When Teigen open up in 2015 about her struggle to conceive, she struck a cord with women who came to identify with her as a real person with flaws and dreams like themselves. "I will say, just two years into being married, the questions just come from all over," she said on the daytime show FABLife about her plans to have children with her husband John Legend. "It's kind of crazy, because I can't imagine being that nosy to be like, 'So, when are the kids coming?' Because who knows what somebody's going through? Who knows if somebody's struggling to have children? Anytime somebody asks me if I'm gonna have kids, I'm like, 'One day, you're gonna ask that to the wrong girl who is really struggling, and it's gonna be really hurtful to them.'"
Teigen, then 29, had been struggling. "We would have had kids five, six years ago if it had happened, but my gosh, it's been a process," said the model, who at the time had seen fertility doctors to get help. "People think it happens so easily, but the stars really have to align to have a baby, and it is a little miracle. So when it happens...we will be so happy."
And so fans rejoiced at the sight of her pregnancy announcement later that month. "As many of you know, we've been trying to have a baby for a while now," she wrote on Instagram. "It hasn't been easy, but we kept trying because we can't wait to bring our first child into the world and grow our family. We're so excited it's finally happening." While the birth of Teigen's daughter Luna Simone last April might have seemed the happy ending to a difficult chapter, the full story hasn't been all easy.In an interview with Glamour, Tiegen reveals for the first time her debilitating struggle with postpartum depression, a condition that has made it difficult for her to resume work and enjoy motherhood. “Getting out of bed to get to set on time was painful. My lower back throbbed; my shoulders — even my wrists — hurt. I didn’t have an appetite. I would go two days without a bite of food, and you know how big of a deal food is for me,” she revealed. Physical pain and emotional swings left her feeling out of control. “I would be in my dressing room, sitting in a robe, getting hair and makeup done, and a crew member would knock on the door and ask: ‘Chrissy, do you know the lyrics to this song?’ And I would lose it. Or ‘Chrissy, do you like these cat ears, or these panda hands?’ And I’d be like: ‘Whatever you want. I don’t care.’ They would leave. My eyes would well up, and I would burst into tears. My makeup artist would pat them dry and give me a few minutes,” Teigen said. “I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: ‘Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom.'”
If Teigen wasn't working, she would stay inside, shades closed. “Most days were spent on the exact same spot on the couch and rarely would I muster up the energy to make it upstairs for bed. John would sleep on the couch with me, sometimes four nights in a row. I started keeping robes and comfy clothes in the pantry so I wouldn’t have to go upstairs when John went to work. There was a lot of spontaneous crying.”
It was just before the holidays, that Teigen found help. “I looked at my doctor, and my eyes welled up because I was so tired of being in pain. Of sleeping on the couch. Of waking up throughout the night. Of throwing up. Of taking things out on the wrong people. Of not enjoying life. Of not seeing my friends. Of not having the energy to take my baby for a stroll,” she shared. Her doctor's diagnosis? Postpartum depression.
Teigen credits her Legend for pulling her through her darkest days. “He’s exactly as compassionate, patient, loving, and understanding as he seems,” she writes of Legend in the women’s glossy. “I’m grateful for the people around me. John has been incredible over the last nine months, bringing me my medicine and watching horrible reality TV with me. He is not the goofiest guy, but he has gone out of his way to indulge my sense of humor. When I was having a good day, he would go to Medieval Times with me and put on the crazy period hat! He sees how much my eyes light up when he does that stuff, and he knows that’s what I need. I know he must look over at times and think: My God, get it together. But he has never made me feel that way. He wants me to be happy, silly, and energetic again, but he’s not making me feel bad when I’m not in that place.”
Postpartum depression is a condition still poorly understood by many, and suffered with in silence by mothers who feel ashamed for their pain. Teigen hopes her honesty might help dispel that, “Postpartum does not discriminate. I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do. I’m speaking up now because I want people to know it can happen to anybody, and I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone,’ she says. “I also don’t want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that — for me — just merely being open about it helps.”
Despite it all, Teigen's love for Luna and her faith in recovery, keep her hopeful for the future. “I love John and Luna more than I can imagine loving anything, and John and I still hope to give Luna a few siblings,” she says. “Postpartum hasn’t changed that.”