Singer Rachel Platten is known for using her voice to empower people through music, like her hit single “Fight Song,” but recently she’s using it to spread awareness about postpartum anxiety that many new mothers -- like herself -- experience.
On Mother’s Day, Platten initially shared a throwback photo of her and her daughter, Violet Skye, on Instagram describing the love she has for her and the happiness she experiences as a mother, but days later, the singer came clean and opened up about what she was really going through that day, which was far from picture perfect.
“I couldn’t even get out of bed on Sunday, until finally after hours of feeling the second arrow of hating and pushing away what I was feeling, I surrendered into it,” she wrote on Instagram underneath a photo of her and her daughter, Violet. “I let myself feel as sad and ashamed as I needed to.”
“I found myself on Mother’s Day just like putting up, you know, an old picture of me and violet laughing,” Platten told “Good Morning America” in an interview. “And that wasn’t at all real because the feelings that I was having this summer, that postpartum anxiety brought up all this guilt. And I didn’t really feel like I deserved to be celebrated on Sunday on Mother’s Day.”
Platten -- who says her daughter's birth inspired her to write a children's book, "You Belong" -- first opened up about experiencing postpartum anxiety last summer after giving birth to her daughter. At the time, the singer was on tour when she began feeling waves of emotions and at times even feeling her lowest.
“I was miserable,” said Platten. “I was having panic attacks. I was you know, trying to get enough milk breastfeeding to make her OK and then trying to entertain 15,000 people and then trying to keep it together as a boss and trying to be a good wife.”
While an estimated 1 in 8 pregnant women experiencing some form of it, according to the CDC, Platten was experiencing postpartum anxiety, which is often grouped under postpartum depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, symptoms of postpartum anxiety include changes in eating and sleeping and the inability to sit still. Around 10% of postpartum women develop anxiety.
When the singer finally confided to a friend about what she was going through, she realized something was wrong and reached out to a therapist.
“I think these feelings are bigger than just the anxiety of being a new mom,” she said. “It took a minute to find the right one [therapist], but when I did, it was like the first conversation. It was finally getting the hug that I needed.”
Along with the help of a therapist, Platten also leaned on her husband, Kevin, who she describes has been her support system.
“It is a true blessing to have a man that is strong enough to sit there, hold space while I’m going through what I’m going through the waves of my emotions,” she said.
With the coronavirus pandemic keeping many families at home due to stay-at-home orders, it’s important for new moms now more than ever to trust themselves and their instincts if they’re experiencing postpartum anxiety.
“There are a lot of ways in which anxiety makes sense when you’re a new mother,” said author Sarah Menkedick, who talks about postpartum anxiety in “Ordinary Insanity: Fear and the Silent Crisis of Motherhood in America.” “It’s very easy to sort of wander over the line and have it become this obsession in women’s lives.”
After some time, the “Fight Song” singer was able to fully understand her struggles and publicly addressed them to her fans. The first time she did so was at a concert at Madison Square Garden.
“I started to own it, acknowledge it, give it a name and then speak it,” said Platten. “I said for the first time, look I’m gonna be brave tonight and share that I’m a new mother and I am struggling with postpartum. And I have the most thunderous applause. I had women stand up and I could see some women in the couple front rows crying.”
As for now, life with a toddler isn’t easy but Platten says she is feeling good and sharing her journey is what matters.
“If I can be one example of someone who’s actually sharing the truth about who I am and what I’m feeling when I’m going through what I look like without makeup and you know what my real life is like, I really want to be able to give that,” she said.
ABC News' Katie Kindelan contributed to this report.
Singer Rachel Platten opens up about postpartum anxiety in Instagram post originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com