Laura Prepon Talks Postpartum Anxiety, Self-Care, and Motherhood Tips

The actor and author, 40, opens up about the importance of making time for yourself.

Ray Kachatorian

When I became a mom, I felt completely blindsided. I had never suffered from anxiety, and I had really bad postpartum anxiety. [It wasn’t depression;] it was this heightened sense of alertness—I felt everything was a danger to my child. I spoke to other mothers of all ages, and a lot were suffering with the same thing. It made me think, “Why aren’t people talking about this?” It’s what prompted me to tackle the new book. I’ve realized that we are all in this together and that we can build a community by dropping our defenses and really speaking our truths. That’s what I do in my new book—it’s part memoir, part practical handbook, and part recipe book.

Your time and energy are even more limited after you become a mom. For me, preparation became key—specifically with food. If I can prepare ahead of time, I have more time for self-care and more time for my family.

Self-care is the first thing to go out the window. You think, “I don’t deserve it,” or, “I just want to be with my kids.” Or you’ve been gone all day at work and now you’re home [and you haven’t seen your kids], and you feel like you have no right to go take a bath. But I’ve realized that replenishing and fueling yourself is really important.

How you were mothered affects you as both a woman and as a mother. You either wind up thinking, “I am never going to do that,” or, “That was great, and I’m going to do it just like that.” One of the lessons I learned from my mom was to think outside the box. My mom walked to the beat of her own drum and didn’t concede to social norms. As a kid, I was embarrassed by it. But now I realize it’s amazing, and that’s what she instilled in us—this idea of being yourself. And I’d like to pass that on.

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