Any woman who has gone through pregnancy and childbirth can relate to how overwhelming the whole process can be. While the body goes through huge hormonal and physical transformations, a new mother will experience many different emotions. That part is expected and normal.
It can be difficult, therefore, to differentiate between this and the beginnings of postpartum depression, especially for a first-time mother. Grammy-winner, Adele, learned that lesson firsthand.
The 28-year-old singer recently explained: “I had really bad postpartum depression after I had my son, and it frightened me. 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… but I was obsessed with my child. I felt very inadequate; I felt like I’d made the worst decision of my life.”
She raises a very good point. While she mentions some of the traditional symptoms of postpartum depression, she also illustrates that the condition can present itself in different forms.
Adele began to notice that things weren’t right while she was still pregnant. Her partner of five years, Simon Konecki, encouraged her to reach out to other expectant moms for support but she shot down his suggestion initially.
The mother of 4-year-old Angelo explained: “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.’ 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.”
While she found that her childless friends would “get annoyed” with her behavior, she did find it easy to relate to those who were raising a family.
She recounted the moment that things started to improve for her and it was surprisingly simple. 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.”
It’s great that Adele was able to find relief through her friendships. Many other women are not as lucky, however. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year experience postpartum depression symptoms. Some find that changes to their diet, getting enough rest (which is hard to do with a newborn!) and getting regular exercise helps improve their mood while others are prescribed medication to cope with the symptoms.
It can be a very serious condition so, while it’s great that things went well for Adele, it’s important to note that her sudden improvement is not the norm.
While she’s highly successful and was able to purchase an almost $10 million home in Beverly Hills, she finds herself wishing she had a bit more time on her own. “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 said.
Many (if not most) mothers, fathers and caregivers have felt the same way. It’s natural to long for those days when you could just roam freely, use the bathroom alone, or sleep in as long as you needed or wanted. After having children, those moments we took for granted feel like such a luxury.
Adele did finally make changes that many parents struggle with. She decided to give herself an afternoon a week to do something without Angelo. She said that her friends were surprised by this choice and even asked her if she felt bad. She said: “I do, but not as bad as I’d feel if I didn’t do it.”
Sadly, this revelation helped four of her other friends admit that the felt similarly but were “too embarrassed to talk about it” since they feared being labelled “a bad mom.” Adele hits the head on the nail when she said that making time for yourself can actually improve your ability to be a good parent.
Anyone who has ever traveled by plane will know that, in the event of a crash or other emergency, the flight attendants tell caregivers to place an oxygen mask on themselves first before tending to their children. The reason for this is that, if they are strong and safe, they are better able to take care of those around them. The same is true in our everyday lives.
Effect on Her Work
Known for her heartbreaking music, Adele freely admits that she “will never write songs as good as the ones that are on 21” because she doesn’t have the time to “fall apart” like she did when she was younger and isn’t as “indulgent” as she used to be.
She also admits that, having a child to care for, has changed her ability to be carefree. “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 said. “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.”
As a result, she has also curbed her drinking and smoking and has also become committed to living a more active, healthy lifestyle. She regularly shares pictures from workout sessions and her weight loss is obvious to anyone who has eyes.
Still, her work keeps her very busy and it can be hard to find a balance. “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 confessed. “I never feel guilty when I’m not working. 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.”
Certainly, most parents can identify with feeling this exact way.