Life Parenting
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It’s hard to believe Hayden Panettiere is 26. Maybe because we’ve been watching her since she was a child star, or perhaps it’s because she’s so tiny we can put her in our pocket. Whatever the case, she’s been through a lot but it was this past year that was truly the toughest of her young life as she suffered from postpartum depression after having daughter Kaya.

And it’s not just going through and recovering from postpartum — it’s dealing with it so publicly. But because of that, it’s been a blessing for everyone around her. She’s been able to talk about it openly and in doing so, has helped other women more than she possibly knows.

“The biggest message that I’ve been trying to promote for women is that it’s OK to ask for help,” Panettiere told People magazine. “You feel mommy guilt — it’s for real.”

Panettiere — who gave birth to Kaya in December 2014 — knows that many moms can judge themselves too harshly for their perceived shortcomings and went on to describe just how it feels.

“It’s like being in a tunnel,” details Hayden. “You can’t even remember when you felt good. You try and think back to when you felt good, when you felt positive, when you felt happy, and you can’t. All you see is this enveloping darkness.”

Wow. Powerful words, especially if you’ve ever experienced it. It truly sucks but it’s also kind of comforting to know that women aren’t alone in this. Postpartum is something tons of moms go through — albeit, in varying degrees — and it’s something that needs to be talked about, a stigma that needs to be quashed. That feeling of not being able to control your emotions, that wave of overwhelming sadness you can’t control, the thoughts of failure that run through your head, and the rises and falls that come with all that? It’s scary stuff. Good for Panettiere for keeping the topic alive and not sweeping it under the rug. And good to know she’s doing OK.