It’s been been two years since Alanis Morissette welcomed her third child, and the singer, known for her emotive voice and confessional lyrics, is just now starting to feel like herself again.
“I had postpartum depression after each pregnancy, and with each kid it got progressively worse,” Morissette, 47, told TODAY Parents on Wednesday. “I’m happy to say that I’m finally on the other side of it — but it just happened in the last three months.”
Morissette noticed a boost in her mood at around the time her youngest, Winter, decided he was ready to stop breastfeeding. "He didn't want it anymore, and I didn't force it," she said. The Canadian rocker also shares son Ever, 10, and daughter, Onyx, 5, with her husband, Mario “Souleye” Treadway.
“When I was in the thick of it, some people would say, ‘Oh, she just needs to go for a walk. Or, ‘She just needs some sleep!’” Morissette recalled. “But news flash: It’s so multilayered. It’s biochemical, it’s neurochemical, it’s circumstantial, it’s environmental. It’s not just one thing, it's not a quick fix."
Morissette, who calls her rapper spouse “a superhero,” acknowledged it hasn’t been easy on their marriage of 11 years.
“We’ve had our trainwreck moments because there’s no real way to show him what’s going on inside of my body no matter how many times I’ve attempted to articulate it,” she explained. “Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s very hard to put into words and have people grok it.”
In her worst moments, the Grammy-winning artist felt like she was “underwater and also covered in tar.”
To help manage her often debilitating depression and anxiety, Morissette said was prescribed medication. At first, she was reluctant to take the pills, but it was ultimately a matter of life and death.
“I had a lot of shame around being medicated,” she revealed. “But it kept me alive and I have zero regrets. If it’s needed, just do it.”
Dr. Marra Ackerman, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, noted that the longer you delay treatment, the longer symptoms may last. Ackerman said that 10% to 20% of women struggle with postpartum depression.
Some moms delay treatment because they’re nursing and afraid that it will harm the baby.
“There are a number of medications that are very safe in breastfeeding,” Ackerman assured TODAY Parents. Ackerman also noted that postpartum depression can present in many different ways.
"It's called postpartum depression, but it often manifests as anxiety," she said. "That's why some women don't realize they have it."
Now that the fog has lifted, Morissette, who kicked off her “Jagged Little Pill” anniversary tour earlier this month, is savoring each new day.
“I feel like I have myself back,” she said. “I didn’t have access to her for so long."
She's also able to be more present with her family.
Recently, Ever, Onyx and Winter watched their mom voice a singing and tap-dancing hermit crab in "Madagascar: A Little Wild.” The fourth season of the show is streaming on Peacock and Hulu. (Disclosure: TODAY and Peacock are owned by the same parent company.)
“The sweet smiles on their faces was next-level gratification,” she gushed.
The children were already familiar with the series as Morissette made it a point to show them earlier, unfinished versions.
“I was so excited to show them that it’s a process,” she said. “Today’s kids watch a video and with editing it looks like it was effortless when it really took months to edit. Now they understand it’s a process, and they appreciate it.”