Bryce Dallas Howard was 25 when she found out she was expecting her first kid, Theo, who is now 15 years old. She had only been married to her husband, Seth Gabel, for seven days at the time, and she was ecstatic to be carrying their firstborn.
After he was born, however, things took a dramatic and devastating turn, as the Jurassic Park: Dominion actor later said that she suffered from acute post-partum depression. She initially characterized it as though she were “in a black hole” or in a “nightmare,” but she later admitted that those phrases made her squirm. Bryce published a forthright piece about her own experience for GOOP in the hopes of assisting others.
Everything was well until Theo was born, she wrote, and “I felt nothing.” She also has a ten-year-old daughter, Beatrice. “I had no impression of my own,” Bryce stated as everyone else cooed over her infant. When she got home from the hospital, things didn’t get any better; in fact, they became worse, especially when she was left alone. Breastfeeding was such a struggle that Bryce stated she felt like she was going to die at one point.
“I feigned for the sake of everyone around me, especially my son,” Bryce admitted. “However, when I resumed showering in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water pouring down on me as I sobbed uncontrollably.” She went on to say: “When I went to the midwife for a checkup, she handed me a questionnaire on which I had to rate everything on a scale of 1 to 5, so she could get a sense of how I was feeling. I gave myself an A+ grade. Despite my regular “shower tears,” it took months for me to recognize my genuine feelings.”
Bryce claimed her physical appearance, in addition to her mental condition, made her quite miserable. “I was amused by my 80-pound weight gain before Theo was born, but I was humiliated by it now,” she continued. “I was worried that I wasn’t doing a good job of breast-feeding. My home was in a state of disarray. I had the impression that I was a bad dog owner. I was convinced I was a terrible actress, and I dreaded shooting a film only a few weeks after the birth since I couldn’t even read the screenplay.
“And, worst of all, I had the distinct impression that I was a rotten mother—not just a bad one, but a nasty one.” Because the reality was, I wanted to vanish every time I looked at my son.” Bryce suffered for over a year and a half before ultimately listening to her friends who gently encouraged her to get treatment.
Bryce began to see the light at the end of the tunnel after a mix of homoeopathic medications, therapy, and time. “I just got this feeling, like everything is going to be okay,” she stated one day. My depression was beginning to fade.
“Later that day, I ran into one of my best friends, the person who had officiated at our wedding and recorded Theo’s birth. ‘My friend is back,’ he continued without missing a beat as he stared at me. I grinned. ‘It’s like you were kidnapped by ‘The Borg’ for a year and a half, and now you’re back,’ he said.”
Bryce’s struggle was lengthy and difficult, but it was necessary to discuss it. “It’s difficult to characterize postpartum depression,” she added. “How the body, mind, and spirit crack and crumble in the aftermath of what most people assume should be a joyous occasion.”
Bryce came to this conclusion: “Do I wish I hadn’t had to go through postpartum depression? Absolutely. Denying the experience, on the other hand, is denying who I am. I still lament the loss of what could have been, but I’m grateful for people who stood by me, for the lesson that we should never be hesitant to seek for help, and for the lingering summer feeling.”