Kylie Jenner has spoken candidly about her "very hard" postpartum experience, admitting she has faced both mental and physical challenges after giving birth to her second child six weeks ago.
In an honest update shared to her 318 million Instagram followers on Tuesday (local time), the reality TV star sought to normalise conversations around "not [feeling] okay" and suffering the 'baby blues' postpartum.
After childbirth, many new mums can struggle with postpartum depression, or PPD, with symptoms spanning insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability and sometimes difficulty bonding with their newborn.
Sharing her experience in a series of videos via her Instagram Story, Jenner, seated on an exercise machine, explained that the past six weeks have not been easy for her.
"I just want to say to my postpartum moms that postpartum has not been easy," the 24-year-old said. "It's not been easy - it's very hard. This experience for me personally has been a little harder than with my daughter.
"It's not easy mentally, physically, spiritually... it's just crazy."
Jenner admitted that social media, often a 'highlight reel' of people's lives, can make it appear as though other new mums aren't experiencing the same difficulties, meaning a mum struggling postpartum or suffering with PPD may feel isolated and alone in their experience.
"I didn't want to just get back to life without saying that," Jenner continued. "Because I think we can look on the internet and, you know, for other moms going through it right now, we can go on the internet and it might look a lot easier for other people and put the pressure on us. But it hasn't been easy for me either. It's been hard, and I just wanted to say that.
"I didn't even think I'd make it to this workout today. But I'm here, and I'm feeling better. So, you got this."
The Kylie Cosmetics founder also touched on how childbirth marks a significant transition in a mother's life, both mentally and physically. A study published in Nature Neuroscience in 2016 revealed that pregnancy prompts significant brain remodelling, with the hormonal and neurological changes persisting for at least two years after birth - or longer if someone continues to breastfeed.
According to an online resource on postpartum depression, between 70 and 80 percent of people will experience the 'baby blues' in the US alone. One recent study also found that one in seven may suffer postpartum depression in the year after giving birth.
Another study found that rates of postpartum depression in Asian countries could be at 65 percent or more.
And it's not just the new mums who are struggling. Some research has shown that approximately 10 percent of new dads will also experience symptoms of depression during the postpartum period, and half of men who have partners with postpartum depression will also develop depression themselves.
According to New Zealand's Ministry of Health, symptoms of postnatal depression may include constant fatigue, frequent crying, aches and pains, intrusive or bad thoughts, poor sleep, anxiety and uncertainty, irritability and anger, indifference to how you or things around you look, and feelings of inadequacy as a parent.
"Any woman who has a baby is quite likely to feel some of these things some of the time. Postnatal depression is when these feelings do not go away," the ministry says.
"Because postnatal depression can affect how women feel about and care for their babies and other children, your midwife or nurse will ask questions about your feelings when they visit, so they can help you to get the support you need.
"Postnatal depression can also affect men. Postnatal depression is more common among men who have been depressed before, or whose partners are suffering from depression."
Concluding her update, Jenner reiterated that "it's okay not to be okay", noting that new mums should never feel pressured or forced to 'bounce back' immediately after such a monumental and transitional event.
"I was putting some pressure on myself. I just keep reminding myself I made a whole human, a beautiful healthy boy," she added.
"We have to stop putting pressure on ourselves to be 'back'. Not even physically, just mentally after birth. So, yeah. Just sending some love."