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This post discusses Hayden Panettiere and her battle with postpartum depression and alcoholism postpartum.

postpartum depression

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Hayden Panettiere has been in the spotlight since childhood.

There are loads of Hayden Panettiere movies!

Winning the hearts of many as Coach Yost’s daughter Sheryl, Hayden Panettiere was a die-hard football lover like her father in Remember The Titans (2000).

She made many laugh in her leading role in Bring it On All or Nothing (2003).

As the head cheerleader of her team, she has to switch to an inner city squad with Solange Knowles as her parents move counties.

You probably missed that Hayden was also the voice of Princess Dot, Princess Atta’s younger sister, in A Bug’s Life (1999).

Hayden is a beacon of light with a fresh, childlike face, beautiful beaming smile, and magnetic energy.

You would never know; like many mothers, she struggled silently with postpartum depression.

While struggling silently and putting up with naysayers and criticisms for her condition, she turned to the bottle for comfort, as many mothers do.

Unfortunately, not only did this do nothing for her postpartum depression, but for Hayden, it spiraled into alcoholism.

After suffering in silence for so long, Hayden has spoken out on her struggles with alcoholism and postpartum depression in the hopes that she can shed light on this devastating condition that effects millions of women around the world where we can band together for camaraderie and safe treatment for moms everywhere.

This post covers Hayden Panettiere’s experience with postpartum depression.

Hayden Panettiere postpartum depression

Substance Abuse Influence

You would have never known she struggled with drug and alcohol abuse before she got pregnant.

Hollywood breeds a lot of addiction in adults and especially child stars.

These poor kids are growing up in a very adult/mature world and often aren’t given healthy boundaries for themselves or others to keep them safe.

These child stars often turn into addicts at an extremely young age.

13-year-old Drew Barrymore became an alcoholic after being given alcohol at parties since she was nine as a party joke to the adults.

Hayden mentions in an ABC interview:

“ When I was 16, someone that I was working with that was in my inner circle, introduced to me for the first time what she called “happy pills.” I had no idea what they were.” 
I know whenever I was given one and I was sent on the red carpet I was like lively and totally down to answer the questions and a chatterbox. I think they were a form of Adderall.”

Child stars often don’t have the proper protection and education needed to evade the darker shadows of Hollywood that prey on their innocence.

Although Hayden dappled in some of these substances, she didn’t drink much before her pregnancy.

Hayden continues by saying her alcoholism didn’t ramp up until after she had her daughter, when postpartum depression reared it’s ugly head.

Hayden Gave Birth to Her Daughter Kaya in 2014

Kaya is Born

In December 2014, Hayden gave birth to her first child.

A daughter they named Kaya.

As happy as they were for the arrival of their new daughter, Hayden was carrying an invisible burden nobody seemed to understand, postpartum depression.

Still, as moms, we fight the cultural ideal that motherhood is a 100% fun, joyous, and blissful experience all the time, and so when a mom feels even slightly different, she is deemed a monster unfit for motherhood.

Being in the public eye, Hayden initially feared scrutiny and criticism as a new mother.

Hayden was only 26 years old then, and her show Nashville was at its prime.

She was with her then partner Wladimir Klitschko and all should be bliss.

Postpartum Depression Hits

Unfortunately, like many new mothers, postpartum depression hit Hayden like a freight train.

How could this be?

Like many mothers, Hayden felt guilty and confused about her feelings and emotions.

Additionally, she wasn’t feeling happy.

She says in a 2015 interview on Live With Kelly & Michael:

“ When you’re told about postpartum depression you think it’s ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child’ —
I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do.
But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on.
It’s something that needs to be talked about. Women need to know that they’re not alone, and that it does heal,”

Hayden continues:

“ There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that ‘Oh, it’s hormones.’ They brush it off.
It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful and it’s really scary and women need a lot of support.”  

Unfortunately, our culture perpetuates toxic positivity and shuns any mother who dares to share that she is struggling with her new role.

The idea that postpartum depression is simply hormones or women being hysterical is patronizing and extremely unempathetic.

It’s no wonder Hayden being in the public eye, struggled so much to save face during her postpartum journey.

Nobody took her seriously and deemed she just needed to pick herself up by her bootstraps and embrace the suck of those early years of motherhood.

When mothers aren’t taken seriously for their struggles, we don’t get the help we need, which is bad for those mothers and their whole families, including their children.

The last thing mothers need is rejection when speaking up.

A Mothers Sacrifice

In the interview, Hayden Panettiere continues to praise women for their strength and ability to go through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

As it’s something men will never truly understand or know.

That what mothers sacrifice and do is hard.

Everyone, including other mothers, deems us as superhumans who don’t need to eat, rest, sleep, or take care of ourselves once we have kids, and this is an impossible pedestal to keep mothers on; it isn’t true or possible nor should we remotely entertain this standard of mothering.

We aren’t superhuman; there is no need to pretend to be.

It’s okay to be vulnerable and not to be okay.

The Postpartum Depression Spectrum

Where Was Hayden Panettiere?

Having gone through postpartum depression, Hayden has an in-depth understanding of how debilitating postpartum depression can be.

It has a spectrum, and it’s not just black and white.

She explains how there seems to be a misconception about postpartum depression and its meaning.

Many people think if you don’t have thoughts of self-harm or harming your child, you don’t have postpartum depression.

This is so far from the case.

Hayden is correct.

Postpartum depression has a spectrum of severity.

Like any medical condition.

Some may experience light baby blues shortly after birth, while some women experience full-on psychosis-like Andrea Yates.

Finding the proper postpartum depression help can be difficult.

Hayden mentioned that she never had suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming her daughter.

However, she still struggled immensely with her illness.

“ I didn’t have any negative feelings toward my child. I just knew I was deeply depressed.
I didn’t know where the alcoholism was ending and postpartum was beginning and then I ran myself pretty ragged.”


Alcoholism in mothers seems to be the modern demon mothers face today.

The lockdowns of 2020 substantially increased alcohol consumption in moms with kids under 5 by over 300%.

Yes, you read that right; Moms have increased their drinking habits tenfold since the lockdowns.

What do you expect when parents of young toddlers are cooped up in a house 24/7 with nowhere to go?

It’s a miserable place to be.

I can’t stand staying at home all day because it’s raining with my 20-month-old; I couldn’t fathom being stuck during the lockdowns for months with her too.

That is like stay-at-home mom isolation on steroids, so mothers self-medicated with alcohol, especially those mothers who weren’t used to it.

Not only that, those young children deprived of social interaction and being in the world are now showcasing behavioral and developmental delays similar to autism that parents must now navigate.

So you had moms struggling to cope with being cooped up with their toddlers and started drinking and toddlers who are now developmentally delayed socially and with their skills. 

I could go on about the cruel and absolute dumpster fire the lockdown decisions were, but that’s not why we’re here. 

When watching Hayden’s interview, you can see the sadness in her eyes when she reflects on that time.

She had an alcohol dependency and mentioned self-medicated long before her daughter was born.

The alcoholism and substance abuse was the leak on her ship.

She was able to get by before the baby.

Unfortunately, babies expose any life and relationship leaks that existed long before.

Babies, in a way, torpedo your life, just blasting your ship wide open.

If you don’t have the healthy support system you need, your boat starts sinking.

Her daughter came in and bombed that ship she was on, leaving her getting pounded by the water pouring in and sinking her boat.

She said her support system was the “bottom of the bottle.”

Related Reading

Andrea Yates⎢ A Devastating Tale of Postpartum Psychosis

Hayden Sought Treatment

Once some of her friends and family noticed her drinking and substance abuse, they stepped in.

They noticed she wasn’t herself and were concerned.

They could tell she was coping with alcohol and were becoming increasingly concerned for her well-being, considering her history of substance dependency.

After realizing she needed help, she sought treatment at a local hospital.

Her doctor diagnosed her with major depressive disorder.

She checked herself into a rehab facility back in 2015 for treatment.

Hayden mentioned that this was precisely what she needed.

It was nice to talk to other women in treatment who were going through exactly what she was going through.

Hayden felt validated that she wasn’t crazy, that it wasn’t all in her head or just a choice.

She felt heard and understood in treatment.

Knowing that you’re not alone does wonder for the recovery process.

A New Horizon

Hayden, now 32 (2022), is clean and sober.

She still fights daily to keep herself healthy and provide an open line of communication with her daughter about these struggles.

She mentions she wants her daughter to not fear seeking help if she ever experiences any kind of mental health problems.

That it’s okay if people don’t like it, you wont be able to please everyone.

How common is postpartum depression?

According to CDC, Postpartum Depression affects around 1 in 8 women.

Honestly, I’m willing to be it’s WAY more than 1 in 8 women.

After doing everything in my power to ensure I kept postpartum depression at bay, by having help with the baby, proper nutrituion, supplements and rest, I still suffered with severe and debilitating postpartum depression, rage and anxiety.

I’m not the only one.

I know women who never recieve help or diagnosis for their postpartum disorders.

Given the stigma and ridicule that comes with talking about not feeling good after birth, It isn’t hard to imagine many women are putting on a front to avoid backlash from friends and family.

As we slowly lost the village and support many women had generations before ours, we have been more isolated than ever.

Often times, husbands, dismissing thier wives mental state and are often just bothered they aren’t this happy go lucky childless women she was before baby.

I’ve seen a ton of that in Reddit forums and it’s incredibly dissapointing.

Hayden speaking out on her postpartum depression experience will give new moms the confidence they need to speak out and say:

“Hey, I’m actually not okay.”

Related Reading

9 Biggest Mom Burnout Realities For New Moms

What Is Hayden  Panettiere Doing These Days?

Hayden has completed working on her most recent project, coming back as Kirby Reed in Scream 6, set to debut in 2023.

She is now an advocate for creating awareness for those women struggling with postpartum disorders.

Hayden hopes that speaking out about her battle with alcoholism and postpartum depression will enable women to seek the help they need.

The biggest challenge Hayden talks about is how many people didn’t believe what she was going through was real:

” There were a lot of people who didn’t believe it. They just thought I was being crazy woman, an overly emotional female and that it was my choice whether or not to be depressed.”

She wants to erode this stigma as we acknowledge postpartum disorders as a real thing that affects real women daily.

Hayden Panettiere & Wladimir Klitschko

In 2018, Hayden and her partner Wladimir Klitschko separated.

It was amicable, and they still maintain a good relationship co-parenting their daughter Kaya.

Kaya, now 8 years old (2022), feels a connection to the efforts in Ukraine, given her dad’s citizenship there.

Klitschko was born in the Soviet Union and later became a Ukrainian citizen.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Klitschko joined the Kyiv Territorial Defense Brigade to protect the capital through armed forces.

His brother Vitali Klitschko is the Mayor of Kyiv, also pledged to join the fight to protect the capital.

For safety reasons, Hayden isn’t disclosing the whereabouts of Kaya at this time.

However, with her father and uncle on the front lines of war currently, Hayden reassures that Kaya is very safe where she is and has a lot of friends.

Hayden took action and created Hoplon International to ensure all donations go to medical kits, protective gear, helmets, and blood.

Hayden Panettiere & Her Renewed Sense of Purpose

Hayden is now clean, sober, and excited to debut this next chapter in her life.

She is ready to get back into the limelight, get involved with her charities, and act again.

Becoming a new mother was a roller coaster of an experience for her, and as a result, she learned a lot and hopes she can help and give back as much as she can.

She plans to continue acting, supporting Ukraine within her charity, and raising her 8-year-old daughter.

This post covers Hayden Panettiere’s experience with postpartum depression.

If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, you can get help. Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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