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Bryce Dallas Howard's personal post-partum journey was heartbreaking

The Jurassic Park star has two children

bryce dallas howard post partum
Hannah Hargrave
Hannah HargraveUS Deputy Editor
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Bryce Dallas Howard was 25-years-old when she discovered she was pregnant with her first child, Theo, who is now 15.

At the time, she had been married for just seven days to her husband, Seth Gabel and she reveled in carrying their firstborn. 

MORE: Bryce Dallas Howard dazzles in bold gown for red carpet appearance

However, things took a dramatic and heartbreaking turn after he was born as the Jurassic Park: Dominion actress later recalled how she battled debilitating post-partum depression. 

WATCH: Bryce Dallas Howard celebrates birthday in beautiful setting 

While she initially described it as being like she was "in a black hole," or a "nightmare," she later confessed that those descriptions made her cringe.

Opening up to GOOP, Bryce wrote a candid essay about her own experience in the hopes of helping others. 

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The mom-of-two - she also has a daughter, Beatrice, ten - said that everything was fine until Theo was born and, "I felt nothing," she wrote. While everyone else cooed over her newborn, Bryce said: " I had no impression of my own."

bryce dallas howard pregnancy© Photo: Getty Images

Bryce loved being pregnant but things changed after the birth of her first child

Returning home from hospital was no better, in fact, things began to get worse, especially when left on her own.

Breastfeeding was such a challenge at one point the pain was so bad Bryce admitted, she felt like she was going to die.

READ: Postpartum psychosis - the crippling mental health illness as explained by Laura Dockrill

"For the sake of those around me, including my son, I pretended," Bryce revealed. "But when I began showering again in the second week, I let loose in the privacy of the bathroom, water flowing over me as I heaved uncontrollable sobs."

bryce dallas howard husband© Photo: Getty Images

Bryce shares her two children with her husband Seth Gabel 

She continued: "When I visited the midwife for a checkup, she gave me a questionnaire, rating things on a scale from 1-5 so that she could get a sense of my emotional state. I gave myself a perfect score. Despite my daily 'shower breakdowns' months passed before I even began to acknowledge my true feelings."

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In addition to her mental health, Bryce said her physical appearance was making her incredibly sad.  

"Before Theo was born, I had been in good humor about my 80-pound weight gain, but I was now mortified by it," she added. "I felt I was failing at breast-feeding. My house was a mess. I believed I was a terrible dog owner. I was certain I was an awful actress; I dreaded a film I was scheduled to shoot only a few weeks after the birth because I could barely focus enough to read the script. 

bryce dallas ron howard family© Photo: Getty Images

The love of her famous family helped Bryce through too 

"And worst of all, I definitely felt I was a rotten mother—not a bad one, a rotten one. Because the truth was, every time I looked at my son, I wanted to disappear."

Bryce suffered for more than a year and a half and until she finally listened to her friends who were gently urging her to seek help. 

Through a combination of homeopathic treatments, therapy and time, Bryce began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

One day she said: "I just got this feeling, like everything is going to be okay. My depression was lifting. 

"Later that day, I saw one of my closest friends; the person who had performed our wedding ceremony and had also videotaped Theo's birth. He looked at me and without skipping a beat he said, 'My friend is back.' I smiled. He added: 'It’s like you’ve been abducted by 'The Borg' for a year and a half, and now you're back."

Bryce's battle was long and hard, but it has been important to talk about it. "Postpartum depression is hard to describe," she also wrote. "The way the body and mind and spirit fracture and crumble in the wake of what most believe should be a celebratory time."

Bryce concluded: "Do I wish I had never endured postpartum depression? Absolutely. But to deny the experience is to deny who I am. I still mourn the loss of what could have been, but I also feel deep gratitude for those who stood by me, for the lesson that we must never be afraid to ask for help, and for the feeling of summer that still remains."

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