Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Postpartum Depression

The "Nashville" actress speaks out for the first time after seeking treatment for postpartum depression.
3:00 | 01/19/16

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Transcript for Hayden Panettiere Opens Up About Postpartum Depression
star speaking out for the first time since seeking treatment for postpartum depression. And these back better than ever. ABC's juju Chang is here with that, great news, juju. Reporter: Good morning, robin and everyone, the "Nashville" star says stepping out publicly is empowering because she doesn't need to hide herself anymore. She says battling postpartum depression taught her people will accept your scars, bumps and bruises and will relate. Actress Hayden Panettiere gracing the red carpet at the critics' choice awards Sunday night and opening up about her struggles in the past year to E! News. Postpartum depression was not something I could understand. You can't understand it unless you have a personal involvement in it. Reporter: Speaking out has been good medicine. It's made my life better and I do feel and hope that it's made other people's lives better. Reporter: The 26-year-old "Nashvi "Nashville" star checked herself into a facility in November to help treat her postpartum depression. Something her character on the ABC show also struggled with. Life imitating art. Help me get my life back. A source of the show told us that story line was developed long before Hayden gave birth. The show did give her time, though, to go through the treatment off camera as her character on camera went through the similar situation. Reporter: The first time mom to 1-year-old Kaia is 1 of 600,000 moms across the country diagnosed with this form of depression every year and she hopes talking openly about it will help break the stigma of the disease. She believes that she's going to be a more positive role model for her daughter showing her that she can be a proud confident woman while admitting what's going on inside. I want to put out a good example for my daughter and tell her that she can be anyone she wants and she does not have to be afraid that somebody's not going to like it because no matter what you do, there's always going to be somebody who doesn't like it. Reporter: Sharing her story, she says, has helped her heal. I was floored by the positive response and really happy that I can stand up for the women who are out there suffering from this and let them know that it's okay and they're not alone. Reporter: Hayden says she is refusing to stay silent not just ace role model for her daughter but all those women struggling and wants to send a clear message that struggling with postpartum doesn't mean you're weak and certainly does not mean you're a bad mom. Robin. Not at all. Juju, thank you. Here with us now, ABC's chief women's health correspondent, Jen Ashton. I know you want to weigh in. You were watching and hearing the things that Hayden had to say, before we talk about postpartum in particular we want to acknowledge there is a wide range of feelings that women have following birth. Oh, absolutely. And as juju just said this doesn't make you a bad mom. This makes you Normal. It makes you human. In fact, we have a list of the life's most stressful psychological events and, you know, you have things on there like death of a spouse, divorce, pregnancy, birth of a child, that's on that list, that is a significant life stressor and we also have to bring -- we have to broaden the scope a little bit, robin. Yes, here we're talking about the natural birth mother. But make no mistake, if you bring a new baby into your hope, it can affect the partner, the spouse, the entire family. It's a major event. Sometimes we hear, oh, the mother -- just has the blues, has the baby blues. When, though, what's the criteria that you know that it has extended far beyond that to depression. You know, I've delivered over 1500 babies so I've seen every possible manifestation of maternal behavior here. I think postpartum blues is where you'll see some crying, some tearfulness and have some trouble sleeping and eating. You might be unsure how to care for your baby. That's kind of Normal and these symptoms or feelings typically will last about two weeks. When you make the jump to postpartum depression, which affects anywhere from 10% to 20% of moms so we're talking a lot of women here, this is not subtle. These are intense feelings, overwhelming sadness. You cannot perform what we call your activities of daily living. You can't care for yourself. You might have trouble caring for your baby and in severe situations you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. We heard in juju's report, 600,000 women a year. Right. Diagnosed with this. If you're a new mom or have a loved one and you suspect something isn't right, what do you do? You have to speak up and ask for help. It's a sign of strength. At the end of the day it's your health and your baby's health so asking for help is the first step. There are various treatments. A lot of Streeps. They range from medication, talk therapy in severe cases hospitalization but remember this is out there. It does not discriminate. It can affect the celebrity as well as the average everyday mom. We need to talk about it more. And we're so glad that Hayden is leading that conversation and the manner in which she's doing it. Going to be busy again. You can take your questions, seal's take them throughout the morning. Go to drjashton on Twitter or go

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