New mom and former professional wrestler Nikki Bella has shared candidly all the details of her recent pregnancy and delivery, from dishing about having sex with fiancé Artem Chigvintsev less than six weeks after giving birth to sharing her feelings on her postpartum body.
But Bella took her candor a step further this week on an episode of The Bellas Podcast, admitting to experiencing deep postpartum depression after her son, Matteo, was born in July 2020.
"I've been trying to be super mom, but lately I've been feeling more like super depressed," the 36-year-old shared.
Bella says she's found herself struggling to accept help with her 7-week-old son while Chigvintsev, a dance partner on "Dancing With the Stars," has been out of town filming the show. Hiring a nurse to help with Matteo added to Bella's emotions, as she felt guilt for not being able to handle things on her own.
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"I can't be the only mom like this," she said on the podcast, explaining she feels like having help with her son's care throws him off of his routine. "I get protective. They're not doing it how I'm doing it and I can sometimes feel these different feelings and then it causes me to want no help ... it's hard not to feel like I'm a failure as a mom when I'm not giving him those things."
Bella discussed a recent turning point in her emotional overwhelm when she burst into tears earlier this week after her twin sister, Brie, asked her how she was doing.
"I had a massive breakdown," she revealed. "I couldn't do it anymore. I broke down because I refused to ask for help."
Brie Bella, who gave birth to her second child, Buddy, in August 2020, shared that she and her husband, Bryan Danielson, had been concerned about Nikki, watching her struggle to keep things together in the postpartum period.
"To see you just be like, 'I have no idea what to do anymore,'" said Brie Bella, sharing that both herself and her husband had postpartum depression after their children were born. "Your tears were so big. I just saw it in your face ... Being parents was never supposed to be this lonely, and I think that's what I noticed with you is how lonely you are."
Bella says she's working to get help with her postpartum depression, explaining that having family members help care for Matteo has been a welcome break. Bella also saw her doctor and had "a very serious talk" about her feelings and how she's coping with her husband's absence while filming DWTS.
Bella realized she'd been harboring resentful feelings about her relationship with Chigvintsev but had been keeping them to herself.
"It's so much more when it comes to postpartum. It's the man not being there or the attention he's giving someone else and not you," said Bella. "There were things that I was starting to feel ... I didn't realize that at like week seven, you start to come out of your baby blues and you go one of two different paths — you go on the path of being healthy or you go on the path of being depressed."
Bella says she felt jealous of her fiancé's affection toward their baby, and felt invisible in her relationship, often feeling alone, unattractive and exhausted from long days with the baby.
"Dads come home and they're like, 'How's the baby? How's Matteo? I miss him, let me hold him, let me kiss him," she shared, adding that she has been almost entirely on her own with Matteo since she was four weeks postpartum due to the DWTS filming schedule. "As the woman, as the mom, you stand there and you're like, 'What about me?'"
"I'm not going to lie, I did have moments where I looked at him and I hated him," she admitted.
After a conversation with Chigvintsev, Bella is working through her feelings and the couple is focusing on understanding how one another prefer to receive love and encouragement.
Bella's advice to other moms dealing with postpartum? Don't try to handle things on your own.
"We cannot win this battle. We cannot fight postpartum depression — we just physically and mentally can't," she said. "And we have to talk to people."