Alanis Morissette Talks Postpartum Depression, Her Love of Moms, and Her Decision to Be Breastfeeding on the Cover of Health Magazine

In August, singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette became a mom of three. She and her husband of 10 years, Mario Treadway welcomed a son, who they named Winter Mercy.

An now, as Winter reaches his 8-month birthday, he and his mom are gracing the cover of Health magazine’s May issue. And Morissette is opening up about why she wanted to be breastfeeding on the cover of the popular magazine.

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Alanis Morissette on Why She’s Breastfeeding on the Cover of Heath Magazine

As Health reported, because May is both Mental Health Month and the month America celebrates Mother’s Day, the singer said she wanted to be breastfeeding on the cover “because I love women.”

“I love moms so much. If I talk about it too much, I’ll start crying,” Morissette continued. “I just think moms are so selfless day in and day out—women are just killing it all the time. And they are so often quietly suffering, or not-so-quietly suffering, and still going—functioning sufferers. And if there can be even one moment of respite that my humor around it or my validation of it can help—that’s why I did it. Plus, I love education and teaching.”

Morissette also opened up about her past struggles with postpartum depression, depression before motherhood, and how that affected how she bonded with each of her three children when they were born.

“My first two children, it was mostly depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. But the depression was so in my face that the anxiety was just background music,” the singer explained.

However the postpartum depression she experienced after welcoming Winter into the world was different, Morissette added. “With this one, it’s mostly anxiety and almost no depression. I’ve come to understand that this is purely animal.”

“With breastfeeding, your oxytocin goes sky-high,” she continued. “Then cortisol goes sky-high because you’re trying to protect the baby from, you know, a potential saber-toothed tiger. You’ve got these two competing hormones. Ideally, we’re supposed to be ensconced with, like, 51 women, broths, soups, and warmth as the body is reconstructing—as your identity is reconstructing. Cut to modern times, where the world is very masculine, very alpha, which is completely the opposite. On that animal level, you’re just supposed to be up all night feeding your baby and sleeping all day when they’re napping. Who the f— does that? I don’t know any mom that is like, “I totally sleep when they sleep.”

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Morissette also told Health that the depression she dealt with before becoming a mother is “not that different” from the postpartum depression she experienced after becoming a mom of three. Thankfully, Morissette was able to manage her PPD enough that, although it threatened to affect her bond with her children, “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” and that fact always carried her through.

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