Alanis Morissette Describes Third Bout With Postpartum Depression

By Victoria Kim 10/09/19

“I have been here before. I know there is another side. And the other side is greater than my PPD-riddled-temporarily-adjusted-brain could have ever imagined.”

Alanis Morissette

Singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette is in the midst of her third bout with postpartum depression—but she was better prepared for it this time around, she revealed in a recent blog post.

“I wasn’t sure if I would have postpartum depression/anxiety this time around,” said Morissette, who gave birth to her third child, Winter Mercy Morissette-Treadway, on August 8.

Morissette had previously shared that she struggled with depression after the births of her son Ever Imre in 2010 and daughter Onyx Solace in 2016.

“I have been here before. I know there is another side. And the other side is greater than my PPD-riddled-temporarily-adjusted-brain could have ever imagined,” she wrote in her October 6 post on her website. “I saw how things got richer after I came through it the last two times.”

Learning From Past Experiences

This time around, the “Ironic” singer was better prepared for the impending “postpartum tar-drenched trenches” that came with sleep deprivation, hormones, physical pain, isolation, anxiety, marriage and “all kinds of PTSD triggers,” she wrote.

“There is so much more support this time. I knew better so I set it up to win as much as I could beforehand,” she wrote. “Support. Food. Friends. Sun. Bio-identical hormones and SSRIs at the ready… PPD is still a sneaky monkey with a machete—working its way through my psyche and body and days and thoughts and blood work levels.”

Morissette described the anticipation of PPD ahead of Winter’s birth in a previous interview with SELF from June. “I have said to my friends, I want you to not necessarily go by the words I’m saying and as best as I can, I’ll try to be honest, but I can’t personally rely on the degree of honesty if I reference the last two experiences.”

History Of Depression

She revealed in the same interview that she had a history of depression, so while PPD was no joke, it was a somewhat familiar experience for her.

“For me I would just wake up and feel like I was covered in tar and it wasn’t the first time I’d experienced depression so I just thought ‘Oh well, this feels familiar, I’m depressed, I think.’ And then simultaneously, my personal history of depression where it was so normalized for me to be in the quicksand, as I call it, or in the tar. It does feel like tar, like everything feels heavy.”

Morissette added that her nature of “over-giving, over-serving, over-do-ing, over-over-ing”—i.e. her “work addiction”—set an unsustainable standard for her after each birth.

She also noted, “This culture is not set up to honor women properly after birth,” seemingly referencing the lack of priority given to allowing women a healthy period of recovery and bonding after giving birth in the United States.

“I see it changing, which is so heartening," she added, "but the general way is bereft of the honoring and tenderness and attunement and village-ness that postpartum deeply warrants.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr