Alyssa Milano is opening up about experiencing flashbacks of being sexually assaulted while giving birth for the first time.
During an appearance on People magazine's "Me Becoming Mom" podcast, the former "Who's the Boss?" and "Charmed" star recalled that being in the delivery room with her oldest child, Milo, now 10, triggered an "invasive" feeling that left her profoundly uncomfortable.
"I remembered at one point (while giving birth) really not enjoying the fact that lots of people had access to my vagina," said Milano, 48. "And thinking to myself, 'Why does— I don't like this. Why does it feel so familiar? I've never had a baby before. Why does this invasive feeling feel so familiar?' That was just a fleeting moment, a tick in time, but I didn't forget about it."
The actor, who details the experience in her new memoir, "Sorry Not Sorry," learned later during therapy for postpartum anxiety and depression why she felt so uneasy in the delivery room.
"After going through therapy after giving birth to Milo and remembering that one moment of feeling like I was being held down and had things being done to me that I didn't want, to me, was very reminiscent of being sexually assaulted. And so it triggered all of these memories that I thought I had dealt with."
She continued, "I think anyone who has dealt with trauma has the moments where you're like, 'Yeah, I'm fine. I've dealt with that,' versus the moments where you go, 'Oh, no, I didn't. I just tried to tuck it away so no one could see them or I couldn't see them or I couldn't see them or feel them anymore.'"
Milano, who shares Milo and daughter Elizabella, 7, with husband David Bugliari, had never before heard anyone else describe childbirth as a traumatizing experience for survivors of sexual abuse.
"But that's what it felt like for me," she said. "I've got to think that because it felt that way for me, it must have felt that way for other women. And I wonder how much of my postpartum anxiety was due to — of course, hormones and all of the things — but also that feeling that felt like I wasn't in control."
Milano, who helped bring awareness to the #MeToo movement in 2017, has previously spoken about being sexually assaulted in her teens. In a since-deleted video she tweeted in October 2018, the actor recalled being groped and punched in her vagina during a "stampede" at a pop concert when she was 19.
“From behind me, I felt a hand up my skirt and I was punched repeatedly in the vagina,” she said in the video, according to People. “I couldn’t turn around. I looked to the stage, and I looked to the security guards, and I said, ‘Please help me’ and they couldn’t help me. ...
“I managed to break free and I climbed up the stage to get away from my predator,” she continued. “And I turned around and I didn’t know which one it was. And I looked to the sea of people and I couldn’t find him.”