LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Model Chrissy Teigen attends the VIP sneak peek of the go90 Social Entertainment Platform at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for go90)
John Sciulli/Getty Images North America
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Model Chrissy Teigen attends the VIP sneak peek of the go90 Social Entertainment Platform at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on September 24, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for go90)
Now playing
00:51
Chrissy Teigen reveals postpartum depression (2017)
NBC/Broadway Video
Now playing
01:25
Cardi B reveals apparent baby bump on 'SNL'
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26:  Actor Kate Hudson attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Kate Hudson attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:45
Watch Kate Hudson's big reveal
orig celebrities reveal baby news via social media_00002417.jpg
Instagram/Facebook
orig celebrities reveal baby news via social media_00002417.jpg
Now playing
01:18
Fun ways celebs reveal they're pregnant
Kylie Jenner at the Met Gala in May.
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images/GC Images
Kylie Jenner at the Met Gala in May.
Now playing
01:00
Kylie Jenner announces a baby girl
chip and joanna gaines
HGTV
chip and joanna gaines
Now playing
00:44
'Fixer Upper' stars expecting 5th child
Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner host a  dinner and preview of their new apps launching soon at Nobu Malibu on September 1, 2015 in Malibu, California.  (
Charley Gallay/Getty Images North America
Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner host a dinner and preview of their new apps launching soon at Nobu Malibu on September 1, 2015 in Malibu, California. (
Now playing
01:03
Khloé Kardashian confirms pregnancy
jason biggs baby meets eugene levy
Jason Biggs
jason biggs baby meets eugene levy
Now playing
01:05
Jason Biggs introduces baby to movie dad
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West attend Harper's Bazaar's celebration of "ICONS By Carine Roitfeld" presented by Infor, Laura Mercier, and Stella Artois  at The Plaza Hotel on September 9, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar)
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West attend Harper's Bazaar's celebration of "ICONS By Carine Roitfeld" presented by Infor, Laura Mercier, and Stella Artois at The Plaza Hotel on September 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Harper's Bazaar)
Now playing
00:44
Kim and Kanye welcome third child
John Legend (R) and US model and wife of John Legend Chrissy Teigen arrive on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  / AFP / VALERIE MACON        (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
VALERIE MACON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
John Legend (R) and US model and wife of John Legend Chrissy Teigen arrive on the red carpet for the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. / AFP / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:57
Chrissy Teigen pregnant with second child
anna kournikova baby
Instagram: @enriqueiglesias
anna kournikova baby
Now playing
00:29
Iglesias, Kournikova share new baby photos
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 24:  (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE)  John Stamos (L) and Caitlin McHugh attend The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and mothers2mothers dinner at Ron Burkle's Green Acres Estate on October 24, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for mothers2mothers and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation )
Rachel Murray/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for mothers2mothers
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 24: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) John Stamos (L) and Caitlin McHugh attend The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and mothers2mothers dinner at Ron Burkle's Green Acres Estate on October 24, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for mothers2mothers and The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation )
Now playing
01:02
John Stamos expecting first child with fiancée
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte walk on the tarmac of the Airbus compound prior boarding their plane in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 21,2017.
 The British royal couple are on the last stage of their three-day visit to Germany. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Christian Charisius        (Photo credit should read CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte walk on the tarmac of the Airbus compound prior boarding their plane in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 21,2017. The British royal couple are on the last stage of their three-day visit to Germany. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Christian Charisius (Photo credit should read CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:48
William and Kate expecting third child
Alexis Ohanian/YouTube
Now playing
00:57
Serena Williams shows off new baby girl
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Now playing
01:11
Beyonce posts first photo of twins
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Amal Alamuddin (L) and actor George Clooney attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Our Brand Is Crisis" at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 26, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
HOLLYWOOD, CA - OCTOBER 26: Amal Alamuddin (L) and actor George Clooney attend the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' "Our Brand Is Crisis" at TCL Chinese Theatre on October 26, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:35
George and Amal Clooney welcome twin babies
MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 25:  Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson attend the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2013/14 on February 25, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 25: Wissam al Mana and Janet Jackson attend the Giorgio Armani fashion show during Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2013/14 on February 25, 2013 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:58
Janet Jackson welcomes baby boy

Story highlights

In an essay, Chrissy Teigen said she was diagnosed with postpartum depression in December

About one in seven women experiences a pregnancy-related mental illness, experts say

Editor’s Note: Kelly Wallace is CNN’s digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter @kellywallacetv.

(CNN) —  

Model, television host and social media maven Chrissy Teigen has developed a reputation as a person who is willing to talk about just about anything in Twitter posts to her more than 4.5 million followers. But she has been silent about one topic until now: Her own struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, which affects as many as one in seven women in the United States, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

In an essay for Glamour magazine, Teigen shares how she got the diagnosis before the holidays, several months after giving birth to her daughter, Luna, in April.

“Before this, I had never, ever – in my whole entire life – had one person say to me: ‘I have postpartum depression,’ ” writes Teigen, who is married to Grammy- and Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter John Legend.

She said she associated it with people who didn’t like their babies or felt like they had to harm their children, people like Susan Smith, who was convicted in the drowning deaths of her two young sons in South Carolina in 1995.

“I didn’t have anything remotely close to those feelings. I looked at Luna every day, amazed by her. So I didn’t think I had it,” she writes.

What she had were months of mental and physical struggles. Getting out of bed was painful. She didn’t have an appetite. She’d lose it on the set of her show “Lip Sync Battle” and burst into tears. Eventually, she left the house only when she had to go to the studio. Soon, she couldn’t make her way upstairs to bed and spent most of her days on the exact same spot on the couch.

“I couldn’t figure out why I was so unhappy. I blamed it on being tired and possibly growing out of the role: ‘Maybe I’m just not a goofy person anymore. Maybe I’m just supposed to be a mom,’ ” she wrote.

Teigen also said she didn’t think a diagnosis of postpartum depression could happen to her.

“I have a great life. I have all the help l could need: John, my mother (who lives with us), a nanny. But postpartum does not discriminate: I couldn’t control it. And that’s part of the reason it took me so long to speak up: I felt selfish, icky, and weird saying aloud that I’m struggling. Sometimes I still do.”

Teigen said that at the time she wrote the essay in February, she was already a “much different human,” with one month of an antidepressant under her belt and with the name of a therapist she planned to see.

After her essay was published Monday, she shared a picture on Twitter of herself and her husband along with daughter Luna. Teigen and Luna held up a sheet of paper that said #LoveMeNow, also the name of a recent hit of Legend’s that features Teigen and Luna in the music video.

Teigen thanked Glamour for the chance to tell her story.

She says she’s prepared for backlash from people who think she might sound like a “whiny, entitled girl.” Plenty of people in her situation have no help, no family and no access to medical care, she writes: “I can’t imagine not being able to go to the doctors that I need.”

Women most in need often don’t get help

In fact, it is women in low-income communities who are more at risk for postpartum depression or any other form of pregnancy-related mental illness during or after pregnancy, according to research. The spectrum of illnesses impacting women goes beyond depression to include anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and, in the rarest and most serious cases, postpartum psychosis. That affects just one or two of every 1,000 new mothers.

According to a 2008 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mothers who received Medicaid benefits for their delivery, mothers with less education and younger women were the groups most likely to report postpartum depressive symptoms. A 2010 study by the University of Rochester Medical Center, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that more than 50% of low-income mothers living in urban areas met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression at some point between two weeks and 14 weeks after delivery.

And yet for a host of reasons including access, financial barriers, stigma and cultural differences, these mothers are often not getting the treatment they need.

“I have had African-American friends tell me – so it was firsthand – they were on the receiving end of messages including ‘That’s a white woman’s disease. We don’t get that,’ ” said Lynne McIntyre, herself a survivor of postpartum depression and founding manager and consultant to the maternal health program at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care in Washington, D.C., in 2015.

Women in low-income communities may also not step forward to seek help out of fear of what might happen to their babies.

“There’s a fear that if one opens up … that child protective services would become involved, and it’s not uncommon for women to fear the extreme that their children will be taken away from them,” said Dr. Judy Greene, a reproductive psychiatrist at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue Hospital Center in New York.

Celebrities help raise awareness

Teigen joins a list celebrities who have come forward to open up about their bouts with postpartum depression such as singer-songwriter Adele last year and actress Hayden Panettiere, who revealed that she entered treatment for postpartum depression in 2015.

When celebrities open up, it helps raise awareness, but there is still much more to be done, experts say.

“People come to me and say, ‘I’m a social worker, and I suffer from postpartum depression, and I had no idea,’ so if a social worker’s telling you that, we know there is a problem. We have a crisis on our hands,” said Nitzia Logothetis, founder and interim CEO of the Seleni Institute, a nonprofit focused on serving the reproductive and maternal mental health care needs of women.

Join the conversation

  • See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

“So I think it’s really about changing the conversation and getting the word out, educating people,” she said in 2015.

Teigen hopes that by sharing her story, she is letting people know that postpartum depression, anxiety or any other pregnancy-related mental illness can happen to anybody.

“I don’t want people who have it to feel embarrassed or to feel alone,” she said. “I also don’t want to pretend like I know everything about postpartum depression, because it can be different for everybody. But one thing I do know is that – for me – just merely being open about it helps. This has become my open letter.”

Have you or someone you know suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety? Share your thoughts with Kelly Wallace on Twitter @kellywallacetv.