Thomas Rhett + Wife Lauren Akins Open Up About Her Postpartum Depression Experience
They spoke about the experience during a recent episode of Akins' podcast, Live in Love With Lauren Akins, in which Rhett was a special guest. Lillie — who was born in November 2021 — is the couple's youngest daughter, and has three older sisters.
At the outset of the conversation, Akins describes experiencing difficult times, for different reasons, after welcoming all three children. Both she and Rhett have been open about going through a hard stage in their marriage after the birth of their second child Ada James, which came just a few months after they adopted their oldest, Willa Gray. The transition to parenthood, combined with the fact that their first two children arrived just as Rhett's country music career was taking off, took a toll on their marriage, and they ultimately sought counseling.
Then, just weeks after their third daughter Lennon Love was born in February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.
"After Ada James, our marriage had a falling apart. After Lennon, the world had a falling apart," Akins recounts in the podcast. "After Lillie, I had a falling apart."
Rhett remembers his wife's PPD experience as "scary," especially because he didn't initially realize what was going on — and he felt like there weren't many people he could talk to about what was going on in his family.
"You don't want it to sound like you're gossiping behind your wife's back," he explains. "It's not like you wanna call a buddy and be like, 'Hey, my wife's acting super strange.'"
It was alarming for him to see such an abrupt and dramatic shift in Akins' personality. "'Lifeless' is not the right word, but along the lines of, like, 'dull,'" he remembers. "It felt like a hopeless place for me."
Before he realized that she was suffering "chemical imbalances in her system," Rhett says, he was scouring his own behavior, looking for things he might be doing to upset his wife. "I'm getting up early. We're talking at night. I'm praying about this," he recalls thinking.
He ultimately did start talking about what was going on to a couple of his friends, who suggested that PPD could be a cause. Though they were already seasoned parents, Akins had never dealt with this particular postpartum symptom before, and they didn't know what to do.
"It's not something you think you're gonna experience eight, nine years into marriage," Rhett notes. "You kinda go, 'Are we falling apart?'"
Rhett asked Akins to go to the doctor "at least six times" before she realized that she might actually need help. Finally, they went to a couple of counseling sessions, which helped clarify and address the problem.
"I do feel like counseling was one way that helped confirm it. Because in the back of my mind, I was like, 'This is not normal,'" Akins adds. "I have experienced birthing children before, and I've not felt this. As I explained what I was feeling with other friends, a couple friends were like, 'I think you might be depressed.'"
The singer's wife underscores how critical it was to have a strong network of friends and loved ones in order for her to get the help she needed. "Having that community that you know and trust is crucial. Because then you know that they are coming from such a place of truth and loving you, you don't get offended by very much, because you know it's coming from a place of love.
"We had a lot of people walk through that with us, and I'm grateful for all of those people," she says. "Me too," Rhett adds.
"It was amazing, when she came out of it, the different human being that she was," he reflects further. "There was this loneliness about her, and she's not lonely. There was this un-peace about her, and she's a peaceful person. So it was like, every attribute about her was the complete 180 of herself, and I had never experienced that before."
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