Hayden Panettiere hit up the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday night and she was absolutely glowing!!
The 26-year-old momma stopped along the red carpet to talk about her ongoing struggle with postpartum depression since welcoming her baby girl Kaya Evdokia in December 2014 with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko.
As for her first U.S. red carpet appearance since seeking treatment back in October, she told People the experience felt "so new:"
"It feels different for me because of things that I've gone through recently, over the last year. I've really gone, ‘You know what, I've been in this industry for so long, forget it!' I've been hiding myself. Just putting out the smiling face, showing people this, and allowing that veil to come down — it's like a weight off my shoulders. I'm 26 years old. I'm a mom. I don't need to be afraid of what people are going to think. I saw how much people rallied behind me when I was honest, and I didn't know that honesty could be such a gift."
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The Heroes alum's decision to go public with her illness made all the difference:
"Honestly, when I said [I had PPD] the first time on Kelly and Michael I didn't plan on it. We talked about it for a second, but it was just like a conversation, and I was like, ‘Why should I be ashamed or hide when it costs so much?' It costs me so much to hide. It costs you so much to lie."
And now she's becoming the mother her daughter can look up to:
"The only important thing to me is that I'm not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to. It would horrible for me to be going, ‘You can be whomever you want! You can do whatever you want in life!' yet I was unable to follow the same words."
The Nashville star told E! News she hopes to reduce the stigma around PPD through her openness about her personal journey:
"It made my life better. I do feel and hope it's made other people's lives better and more of an understanding because postpartum depression was not something that I ever understood. You could never understand it unless you have a personal involvement with it. I didn't realize how much of a stigma it had about it. I've been doing this for so long and I feel like I have been hiding who I was really am and was just afraid, terrified that someone was going to judge, someone wasn't going to like something that I said, something that I wore, something I did.
I want to put out a good example for my daughter and tell her that she could be anyone she wants to be, she does not have to be afraid that somebody's not going to like it because no matter what you do, there's always going to be somebody who doesn't like it. I was floored by the positive response and really happy I could stand up for the women who are out there suffering from this and let them know it's OK, they're not alone. It doesn't mean they're weak. It doesn't mean they're a bad mom. It doesn't mean they're strange and that they could get help if they need it."
We are so happy to see Hayden tackling this head on! She is such an inspiration!!
[Image via WENN.]
Tags: critics' choice awards, hayden panettiere, mental health, red carpet, rehab