Canadian singer and songwriter Alanis Morissette is often lauded for her lyrical honesty. This year marks the 24th anniversary of her Grammy-winning “Jagged Little Pill,” an unapologetic and fearless album that’s still considered groundbreaking today.
Now, Morissette’s vulnerability is cutting to the core of an experience that affects nearly one in four Canadian mothers: postpartum depression (PPD), a condition the singer is struggling with for a third time.
In an essay penned Sunday by the 45-year-old mother-of-three on her personal website, Morissette shared her raw reflections on struggling with recurring PPD, which she’s had since giving birth a few months ago.
Even though she experienced PPD following the births of Ever, 8, and Onyx, 3, and set up a support system in advance, the depressive symptoms still took the superstar from Ottawa by surprise when they came out in full force.
“I knew better so I set it up to win as much as I could beforehand ... but for all this preparation, PPD is still a sneaky monkey with a machete — working its way through my psyche and body and days and thoughts and bloodwork levels,” the singer wrote.
The singer gave birth to her third child, Winter, in August. Winter is the latest addition to Morissette and husband Mario Treadway, a rapper who also goes by “Souleye.”
Morissette listed some of her struggles she’s dealt with since August.
“Sleep deprivation. Fogginess. Physical pain. Isolation. Anxiety. Cortisol. Recovery from childbirth ... Marriage. All kinds of PTSD triggers,” the singer wrote.
Morissette is no stranger to these symptoms and has spoken up about her previous postpartum challenges.
She told Self that after giving birth to her first child, Ever, it took her more than a year before she sought help for PPD. She reached out for portpartum help a second time, four months after the birth of her second child, Onyx.
Learning from those experiences, Morissette said she made sure not to isolate herself once Winter arrived. In her post, she credits her friends, family, her diet, and antidepressants for helping her get through the symptoms.
The singer also acknowledged fellow moms struggling with postpartum depression, ending her post with words of solidarity and support.
“I love you. I am here. With you. We’re not alone,” she wrote.
The messaging of her honest post, which she referenced in a related Instagram post, was received by her followers who have also gone through or currently have PPD.
“Sending you love, strength and peace as you travel down this road once again,” one user wrote.
Coping with PPD
Symptoms of prolonged sadness, worry, fatigue, and anxiety can last anywhere from a few months to years, a Statistics Canada survey found. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) states that mothers often choose to hide their symptoms or not seek treatment in order to meet societal and family expectations.
Those experiencing PPD symptoms are suggested to seek professional help; treatment can include counselling, medication, and sharing one’s feelings with their support system.
Studies have shown that alternative treatments might also make a difference. One possible method would be right up Morissette’s alley; a 2018 British Journal of Psychiatry study found that singing might ease PPD symptoms.
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