Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression

( 52 )

Overview

In her bestselling memoir, now in paperback, Brooke Shields shares with the world her deeply personal experience with postpartum depression

When Brooke Shields welcomed her newborn daughter to the world, her joyful expectations were quickly followed by something unexpected—a crippling depression. In what is sure to strike a chord with the millions of women who suffer from depression after childbirth, Brooke Shields shares how she, too, battled a condition that is widely ...

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Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression

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Overview

In her bestselling memoir, now in paperback, Brooke Shields shares with the world her deeply personal experience with postpartum depression

When Brooke Shields welcomed her newborn daughter to the world, her joyful expectations were quickly followed by something unexpected—a crippling depression. In what is sure to strike a chord with the millions of women who suffer from depression after childbirth, Brooke Shields shares how she, too, battled a condition that is widely misunderstood, despite the fact that it affects many new mothers. She discusses the illness in the context of her life, including her struggle to get pregnant, the high expectations she had for herself and that others placed on her as a new mom, and the role of her husband, friends, and family as she struggled to attain her maternal footing in the midst of a disabling depression.

Ultimately, Brooke shares how she found a way out through talk therapy, medication, and time.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When sitcom star Brooke Shields gave birth to her daughter, Rowan Francis, in May 2003, she didn't think that the arrival of her adorable infant would mark the onset of a crippling depression. Soon after the delivery, the famed actress found herself overwhelmed by waves of panic and quiet devastation. At first unable to identify her problem, she struggled to cope with motherhood and marriage while experiencing feelings of abject despair and fear. This disarmingly candid memoir follows Shields as she learns to battle her postpartum depression and describes how she eased this debilitating condition with talk therapy, medication, and reading. This is an informed, personal view of a serious illness affecting 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.
Los Angeles Times
"With an utter lack of vanity and a surfeit of clinical detail, Down Came the Rain is a personal story told with candor and grace."
Library Journal
Sometime model and actress Shields takes on the role of author here, wielding her celebrity status to convey a crucial message: that postpartum depression is a serious but treatable condition that can strike any mother. Shields tells her own story to emphasize this point, relating her struggle to become pregnant and her excitement at the prospect of her baby's birth. What happens afterward, though, is entirely unexpected-instead of feeling exhilaration like most other mothers, Shields becomes depressed. With the encouragement of her husband, family, and friends, she eventually seeks professional treatment that enables her to experience the full joys of motherhood. Her afterword is replete with helpful resources, including books, web sites, and hotline numbers. Highly recommended for all public libraries, alongside titles like Natasha S. Mauthner's The Darkest Days of My Life: Stories of Postpartum Depression. Confirmed appearances on Oprah and Today will guarantee heavy demand. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Unsparing account of the actress's experience with acute postpartum anxiety disorder following the birth of her daughter in 2003. Shields also shares details about the pressures and frustrations of her struggle to get pregnant, her joy at finally conceiving, her uneventful pregnancy and the long labor that ended with a C-section. But the central story begins in the operating room, where the sight of her husband holding newborn Rowan filled her with "jealousy, fear, and rage." Recovering in the hospital, she assumed that her feelings of misery and alienation would change, but when her baby was brought to her to nurse, she felt no bond with the infant, whom she regarded as "a complete stranger." At home, physical exhaustion was accompanied by panic, dread and enormous sadness. Shields pulls no punches in describing her profound detachment from her child. She had no desire to pick up or care for Rowan, she admits; what she wanted was to run away. In the weeks following the birth, it became clear that Shields was suffering from a condition much more serious than "the baby blues." The antidepressant Paxil helped some, but her decision to go off it cold turkey was a serious mistake. Trying to reconcile motherhood and an acting career added to the pressure. (Shields's awareness of herself as a celebrity gives this memoir special interest.) She finally pulled out of her unnervingly severe postpartum depression with the help of psychotherapy in combination with other antidepressants. Educating herself about the condition and reading about other women's experiences also helped, as did the simple passage of time. In addition to her personal story, the author has included solid information aboutpostpartum depression; an afterword lists helpful books, Web sites and hot lines. Shields's forthright admission of feelings that many similarly afflicted new mothers deny could well spark valuable discussions about "this large white elephant sitting in the room that no one was supposed to talk about." First serial to Good Housekeeping; full hour on Oprah on pub date; three-parter on the Today Show
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401308469
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 167,688
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields has starred in many feature films, including Pretty Baby, Blue Lagoon, and Black and White. She earned critical acclaim on Broadway for The Vagina Monologues and Cabaret, among other shows. She earned a People's Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for Suddenly Susan. Brooke continues to lend aid to issues involving children's welfare and education, and has established Hands of Change, an organization which benefits young women.

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Read an Excerpt

"At first I thought what I was feeling was just exhaustion, but with it came an overriding sense of panic that I had never felt before with fatigue. Rowan kept crying and I suddenly began to fear the moment when Chris would bring her back to me. I started to experience a sick sensation in my stomach; it was as if a vise was tightening around my chest. Instead of the nervous anxiety that often accompanies panic, a feeling of quiet devastation overcame me. I hardly moved. Sitting on my bed, I let out a deep, slow, guttural wail. I wasn't simply emotional or weepy like I had been told I might be. This was something quite different. When PMS made me introspective or melancholy or when the pressures of life made me gloomy, I knew these feelings wouldn't last forever. But this was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away."
--Brooke Shields, from Down Came the Rain
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Brooke Shields

Barnes & Noble.com: I'm sure many people have asked you to write a book. Why did you decide to write one now and on this subject?

Brooke Shields: I feel too young to write a memoir of my life, especially because I feel my life is just now becoming even more interesting and I have so much further to go in my career and in my personal life. This subject, however, became unavoidable to me, and after having experienced it so dramatically, I felt the need to share how I was altered and how those close to me were affected. It did not stem so much from a desire for catharsis as it did from an obligation to help others by shining a harsh light on the reality of PPD [postpartum depression] in my life. My longtime friend and past agent urged me to tell my story, and I found my own reasons for choosing to do so. This is a subject that is too often pushed aside or rationalized away. So many are affected, and still there is such a taboo surrounding it that many suffer in silence. I wanted to take the mute button off.

B&N.com: Do you feel your difficulties in getting pregnant contributed to postpartum depression?

BS: I feel a great deal of my PPD was exacerbated by the trials I endured just trying to get pregnant. However many non-IVF [in vitro fertilization] or at-risk mothers suffer from the same symptoms. The medication and hormone treatment I underwent helped throw my system off balance, and the failed attempts depressed me as well. But I know many moms who got pregnant naturally and had easy deliveries that experience similar emotions to those I describe in the book.

B&N.com: How was your pregnancy? Did you feel it was easier or harder than average?

BS: My pregnancy was easy and actually quite uneventful. I had carpal tunnel syndrome rather severely towards the end of the third trimester, but I had no morning sickness and didn't even gain an excessive amount of weight. I had an easier-than-average pregnancy and went full term.

B&N.com: Your father, with whom you were so close, died just before Rowan was born. In addition, you moved apartments and had a very difficult delivery. These are three enormous stressors occurring at the same time. How do you think these experiences affected you?

BS: In hindsight, my father's death, my move, and my frightening and difficult delivery created a tremendous amount of stress, pain, and sadness for me. These events added to my depression, but because I then experienced PPD, I was practically devastated beyond recovery. However, the feelings I was conscious of revolved around my being a mother, having had a baby, my baby herself, and the monumental change that resulted from giving birth. I believe even if my dad hadn't passed away or we hadn't moved I would have still experienced PPD. The chemistry in my system had been so altered during delivery (as well as during two years of IVF) that even without the emotional and psychological traumas, I was in line for depression.

B&N.com: In your book, you discuss your evolving relationship with your mother, and how you've made peace. Can you tell us about that and her role in your life today?

BS: My mom is in love with her granddaughter and wants to spend as much time with her as she can. She has not been my manager since the very early '90s, and we have no working relationship. We speak many times a week and see each other quite often. She lives on the East Coast permanently, and I go back and forth between the two coasts. Being a mother has given my own mom and me a common ground.

B&N.com: Can you talk about the stigma many women seem to feel regarding postpartum depression?

BS: PPD causes one to feel so ashamed and desolate that it is very difficult to admit to. There is such a stigma around not being attached to your baby and happy with motherhood. The image has been ingrained in our minds and our culture, and any picture less than an ideal one seems to be cause for shame.

B&N.com: How did being part of "Hollywood" affect your ability to function within your depression?

BS: I don't believe Hollywood had any affect on my ability to function (or not function) within my depression. Almost all of the women I spoke to about their PPD were not in the movie and television business. The biggest pressure I felt was to power through to "happiness" for those closest to me. This was of course not possible or realistic. PPD seemed to erase the concept of Hollywood and level the field and unify all women.

B&N.com: What do you hope this book will do for women, and the people who love them, who suffer from postpartum depression?

BS: I hope this book will help new moms not feel alone or desperate, and that there is no shame in their feelings. PPD is out of their control, but the treatment and healing process is not. There is help and it works. For those who love women affected by PPD, I hope this book will shed light on a very upsetting and confusing affliction. I hope it will help them feel less hopeless and supported by knowledge of available treatments. They also need to know that PPD is also something they can't fix on their own.

B&N.com: Do you have any advice for doctors who speak to women after they've given birth? They may know what to look for medically, but what kind of questions might they ask a woman who's not sure what's wrong with her?

BS: Speak to the women before they give birth. Say to them that after birth, if they should feel unconnected, or depressed, hopeless, or unusually sad, that they should inform their doctor ASAP. Especially if the feelings don't go away after a few days. The families, husbands, partners need to have someone to call to ask questions and also provide knowledge and help from the professionals who are treating the mom. A follow-up on the psychological progress of the mom is necessary. The psychological questions need to be as important as the medical/physical ones with regard to the healing period.

B&N.com: Tell us about Rowan -- how old is she now, and what makes her happy?

BS: My baby girl, Rowan, is the delight of my life. Every day brings new surprises in her growth. She loves music and dancing and would eat "eggies" for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She squeals at the sight of our dog, Darla, and has to be the one to feed her, saying, "Wait, wait, okay!" She loves kissing her dad's face all over and smushing her cheeks against mine repeatedly before saying goodbye. She has a favorite blanket called a "cachcach" and likes any drink with ice in it. She prefers "cold water" in the shower and sink and adores "wash hands, wash hands." Lip gloss makes her very happy!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    Postpartum Depression as Brook Shields felt.

    I was very intrigued by this book. Brook Shields told every account to her full capacity. I was a new mother struggling with postpartum depression and it is a real disease and a growing problem in the world. I truly hope that people will get the help they need and other family members will join with them to help. I also learned that people need others to help themselves in life. Please don't go at it alone, always ask for help. There is no shame in it at all. After you have learned how to cope with depression; be proud of yourself and your knowledge you have acquired. You never know when you can help someone else in need.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    Excellent Book For Any New Mom

    I bought this book for my sister in law when she started showing signs of PPD. She absolutely loved it. She said it helps her knowing that she is not alone, that other mothers go through the ups and downs of 'what in the world am I doing' when they get home from the hospital, and that it helped her put a lot into perspective. Thankfully, she only had a mild case of the baby blues, but she credits this book with opening her eyes to what it is REALLY like to be a first time mom, and what you can possibly deal with.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2005

    Amazing!

    I got this at the bookstore on a Friday afternoon and finished it the next day. My husband is now reading it, because Brooke does a fantastic job of putting into words much of what I felt after the birth of my son, but was unable to explain clearly. She pulls no punches, and is brutally honest about her thoughts of disconnect from her baby, her anger at family and friends for not getting it, and even her thoughts of suicide. But what she does best is show the help that is available, so that no mother should ever have to feel alone and hopeless. This is a book for every parent-to-be, so they are prepared for the possiblity; for every family member or friend who will be in frequent contact with a new mother, so they might recognize the problem before it gets out of control; and for anyone who has ever wondered 'Can it really be all that bad?' Yes, it can, yes, it is, and yes, there is help and hope.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 22, 2013

    A must read for sufferers of PPD

    An excellent description of signs and symptoms of Post Partum Depression. A bit over-the-top at times, as Brook describes how life is like for a celebrity, but well-written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    I found this book to be very enlightening. It would be a great help to a new mother's family when she is acting in an uncharacteristic manner. Also, there are other resources for help listed in the book.
    Most of all, it shows new mothers feeling this depression that they are not crazy, selfish or alone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Great book

    She could have been writing my story of postpartum depression. This book is a very tender and truthful memoir of a struggle many women go through. I would recomend it for any age or gender. Amazing!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Love

    This gave me a look at what i was going through but couldn't see for my self. She was very brave to open up like this and help struggeling post partum women get a voice to get help.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am glad I read this book since I didn't know much about postpa

    I am glad I read this book since I didn't know much about postpartum depression and couldn't imagine having the feelings that PPD brings. Not that I wasn't sympathetic to it, I had just never dealt with it myself or with a friend. After reading about Brooke's experiences, I feel that I now have a better understanding.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

    Great Book!!

    As a mother who went through PPD this was a great book to turn to. I felt the same way as Brooke Sheilds and it was great to know that I was not alone!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Surprisingly good read!

    I received this book from my sister when she found it at a discount and we read it together. It was so good! I had no idea the severity of Brooke Shields' experience postpartum, but I most definitely looked at postpartum depression in a whole new light after reading this book. I don't necessarily know if I would recommend reading it while pregnant, but I don't even have any children and I found it to hold my attention the whole time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2009

    Good book

    Recommended for anyone curious about a personal story of a battle with postpartum depression.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    Humbling

    I too had post-partum depression after I had my 2nd daughter. It is a relief to know that there are other women out there that went through the same thing I did. It was interesting to find out that someone so famous had/has a normal life behind all the glamour. I want to give Brooke a big thanks for sharing her heroic story with everyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    GREAT!!

    I am not a mother yet I found this book to be very interesting. Brooke writes it beautifully and I truly enjoyed reading it. I felt like I actually knew her! I would recommend this to both mothers and women who don't have children but are fans of Brooke. A great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    It gave me time to realize I am another woman who needs to talk about the ever increasing intrest in depression

    Reading the book has given me a boost of condfidence. Knowing that the Author has blessed this world with her honesty, has given me hope in reading. I love to read Biographies of women who will tell the rest of us how they really feel. Having a Boost in confidence has given me the added realization that I am a great mother!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2006

    very helpful and wonderful book

    This book was so helpful to me. I am glad she decided to write this book. It has made me realize I shouldn't be ashamed of having PPD. It was the first book that read on this condition and I would reccomend it to anyone who thinks they suffer from PPD.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    Must read

    Please read if you are or are planning on getting pregnant. This book could help, i found it very honest and it was probably very hard for her to write. The taboo regarding ppd still exists.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2006

    Not a self-help book

    I have PPD and was hoping this book would help me but it's really not focused on the disorder. It's an autobiography, in fact it's even in that section of the book store. I don't recommend this for anyone who is in the depths of depression. Sure, you see how she felt and the similarities there but then it gets a little too gushy sweet. She seems like a very nice person but if the parts in this book on PPD were put together it might equal one chapter. Maybe two. Not much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2006

    YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK

    Everyone must read this book! I believe that her book portrays many feelings and thoughts that women experience when they have postpartum depression. It also enables women to have an understanding that they are not alone and that it is ok to seek help.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2006

    PPD is more common than we think

    As a mom with PPD, I can honestly say that I related to the words of this book. However, I am sure that most mothers have experienced at least some depression or ill feelings after childbirth, and unfortunately, not all of us can afford the Hollywood entourage of nannies, psychologists, and personal trainers to help us recover.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2005

    Incredible book!

    I received this book from my husband's mother. I, too, had severe PPD, similar to Ms. Shield's PPD. This book described, very intricately, every emotion and feeling that is felt when you have PPD. I would recommend this to ANYONE who currently is suffering from PPD or had it in the past.

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