- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Hachette Books; 1 edition (May 2 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401308465
- ISBN-13: 978-1401308469
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression Paperback – May 2 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1980, when she was 15, Shields starred in The Blue Lagoon. In the movie, her character accidentally becomes pregnant, and when her son is born, he intuitively finds his way to her breast as Shields looks on with love and contentment. The irony of this scene isn't lost on the grown-up Shields, who not only did not become pregnant accidentally—numerous IVF cycles and a miscarriage preceded the 2003 birth of her daughter—but suffered a devastating aftermath to that birth. "I was in a bizarre state of mind," Shields describes, "experiencing feelings that ranged from embarrassment to stoicism to melancholy to shock, practically at once. I didn't feel at all joyful." Shields assumed she'd bounce back in a few days, after resting from her difficult labor. Instead, her feelings intensified: "This was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away." While Shields denied anything was wrong, the persistence of friends and her husband persuaded her to seek treatment through medication and therapy. This brave memoir doesn't shy away from Shields's most difficult moments, including her suicidal thoughts, clearly showing the despair postpartum depression can wreak. While the writing is sometimes repetitive and clichéd, it does emphasize the depth of Shields's depression. This tale will bring awareness of a problem that so many mothers have been afraid to discuss; look for this book to touch off a flurry of lifestyle pieces.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
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.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Also recommended: A Paper Life and Nightmares Echo
And yet, the author has confronted a subject that many of us find uncomfortable (and -- dare I say -- disdainful?) to talk about openly in today's "supermom" society.
What is important to take away from this story is that husbands/in-laws/relations and friends of *any* sort need to be aware that as tragic (and unexpected, in most cases) as PPD is, it is treatable. And that as difficult as it seems to believe at the time, with appropriate help, mom WILL get better.
I know I did.
That is the heart of Brooke Shields' memoir "Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression." This is not a glitzy showbiz autobiography, but a wrenching look at one woman's struggle to have a baby, and then to regain her own happiness.
In 2001, Shields married producer/writer Chris Henchy, and soon they were trying for a baby. But because of cervical scarring, getting pregnant was difficult, and despite all the people prattling about adoption and relaxation, Shields and Henchy tried in vitro fertilization (IVF), and after a traumatic miscarriage, finally had a baby girl.
But baby Rowan was less than a day old when Shields began feeling depression and anxiety attacks. Initially she chalked this up to the difficult C-section birth and the newness of the experience, but her feelings continued over the months that followed. Though she tried to tackle her postpartum depression by herself, the help of friends and the drug Paxil were what brought her back out of the pit.
The first fifty pages of "Down Came the Rain" make it seem like this will be an up-and-down story, with generous amounts of self-deprecating humour. Shields lightens the mood with humour and a willingness to reveal her unflattering or goofy thoughts, such as thinking about those chest-bursting scenes from "Alien" during a C-section.
But after that, a grimmer tone takes over the book. Shields' detailed descriptions of her torment, doubts and increasingly deteriorated life are almost harrowing, as well as her description of how she couldn't even connect with her newborn daughter. It's exhilarating when she finally beats the postpartum depression and relearns how to enjoy herself with her husband and child.
An obvious motive is sprinkled through the story: Anyone who finds themselves in a similar position should get help, and get it right away. The afterword is basically devoted to that, and includes some phone numbers and websites to check out. Kudos to Shields for not keeping it just about her, but about all women with that problem.
Perhaps the book is best summed up by the only two photographs of Shields. On the cover, we see her looking sad and lonely. But by the end of the book (specifically, the back flap), she's joyously kissing her smiling daughter.
I listened to the book on cd, and I enjoyed getting to know her and hear her tell her tale herself. I expected to be bawling buckets repeatedly through the listening, but found it actually not that depressing to listen to. It is very rational and realistic, told from the perspective and strength of afterwards, with maturity and level headedness. I appreciated hearing her experience, of something that is taboo in our culture, and was even more so 10 years ago.
Bravo to Brooke for speaking out. I think also it would help any expectant mother to know about this, that it might happen (it happens to one in ten mothers), and knowing about it may prevent it from happening. Doctors and nurses take note, please watch and care for your new mothers, as well as the babies.
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