Amanda Seyfried is a mom of two young children, and although she counts herself lucky to have not suffered postpartum depression following either birth, she takes great issue with the way women are treated in the days, weeks, and months after delivering a baby.
In fact, she decided to produce and star in her upcoming film A Mouthful of Air – which chronicles a new mom suffering from postpartum depression – in an attempt to cast a light on this otherwise dark, lonely time for new mothers.
She admits that "this tiny little movie" was hard to get made but they "found people who were passionate about it as well" and found the financing.
I hope people understand that there is a lot of help out there and we need more of it also. We can't be forgotten as women."
"It reflects how we talk about mental health in general and also how we treat mothers in the healthcare system, which is we don't," she said of the film's message. "As soon as you have a baby, you go home and that's it. There's no fourth trimester checkins."
In 2020, when she and husband Thomas Sadoski welcomed their second child, Seyfried endured a distressing birth experience. Although the baby was OK, she recalled it was painful, unnecessary, and added an "extra level of trauma" that she sees as systemic of these healthcare issues.
"It's so traumatic to deliver a baby even if you're not suffering from anxiety or depression or any kind of mental illness to begin with," she said. "Every mother I've ever spoken to is terrified of the nighttimes because you put your baby to sleep and you're just hoping they don't die in the middle of the night. It's grim, but it's the reality of motherhood."
She said she hopes her film generates that conversation.
"We don't talk about it enough, and I hope people understand that there is a lot of help out there and we need more of it also," she said. "We can't be forgotten as women, especially leaving the hospital, getting those $20,000 bills even after insurance. Lactation consultants aren't free and psychological help is not affordable."