Every week General Hospital’s Maurice Benard sits across from a guest and peels back the layers on very personal topics on his video podcast, State Of Mind. Often, it is because he is real and honest with them that it inspires his guests to be open and honest as well. It is not always easy, especially when you are private and reserved as GH alum Rebecca Budig, who portrayed Hayden Barnes on the show, but she opened up about a subject that affects millions of women every day — postpartum depression.
Rebecca Budig: The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times
In September 2014, Rebecca Budig gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte Jo. It should have been the happiest time in her life, but she was overwhelmed with anxiety and without support. “I don’t know how it really started, but the pressure of breastfeeding,” Budig pondered. The actress struggled with where the anxiety might be coming from. “She wasn’t gaining enough weight, so I wasn’t producing enough, so I just went down a rabbit hole. The whole breastfeeding thing…the pressure was enormous. When you have the baby in the hospital, they always try to push breastfeeding. The pediatrician pushes the breastfeeding. So I just put that pressure on myself.”
Budig grappled with the origins of her distress. “I guess I am kind of a perfectionist. Everything I did, I wanted to do well. Acting. Everything. So, I didn’t take any motherhood classes. I didn’t do any of that. I think that contributed to it as well. Not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to handle this baby.
“I was kind of alone,” she shared and found herself in the position that many new moms do. “I had my husband but not my mom because she couldn’t fly. I didn’t have my sisters because she was born at the beginning of the year, and they had kids and couldn’t fly out to be with me. So I didn’t have a tribe of people around me. I didn’t have a support system.
“My gynecologist never asked me, ‘How are you doing mentally? How are you doing emotionally?’ I just didn’t have someone taking care of me in that way,” admitted Budig. “I had had anxiety before but not to where I was thinking of killing myself, crying out of nowhere.
“She was born in September. By December, I knew I had a problem,” revealed Budig, who went on to describe her downward spiral. “I didn’t feel like myself. I went to see my therapist, and she said, ‘Rebecca, I need you to see this psychiatrist. He deals with postpartum. You need to run, not walk.’ I don’t know what I said to her but, obviously, she saw something.”
Like a good soldier, she carried on and continued to try and navigate her fluctuating emotions. “A lot of people I knew had no idea because I present well,” explained Budig. “That is another thing about postpartum depression is that you really present well because you get a lot of, ‘You have a healthy baby. You have nothing to be sad about. You have everything in the world. You have a great husband. You have nothing to be sad about.’ Which completely diminishes how you feel.”
It wasn’t until 2019 that the actress found an outlet for the emotions she kept hidden, in part, due to her GH co-star Michael Easton (Hamilton Finn), who found her at her most vulnerable. “How Michael Easton found out about it was one day I had a really hard day with her in the morning, and I came into work,” she shared with Benard, who is a mutual friend of her ex-castmate. “And, as you know how he is, he can just ask you a question, and it is so genuine. He said, ‘How are you?’ and I just started [crying]. I just had a really hard day. And I just started sharing with him what had been going on. Because we work together and that is when he told me I should write it all down.”
The two co-stars and friends worked together on a project that Budig wrote, and Easton directed titled, About a Girl, based on her experiences. The short film, which also stars Trevor St. John (Tucker McCall on Young and the Restless) and Sherri Saum (ex-Keri Reynolds, One Life to Live), has taken the festival circuit by storm and won five awards, including the Boden International Film Festival and the IndieFEST Film Awards.
Benard assured his lovely guest that what she had to say would help many others with this closing statement, “You don’t know, and I don’t know who out there is on the verge of doing something they shouldn’t do and because of that film or what you just said here or what I have said they won’t do it. That is the reality.”
More Ground Covered
The beloved actress had so much more to say about growing up in Cincinnati and Kentucky, the perils of being the youngest of eight children, attending a performing arts school from 4th grade through the 12th grade, and the burnout that followed.
Learn about how she almost gave up on acting to become a veterinarian, but a move to Los Angeles changed everything with steady work in commercials. Budig dishes about her early gigs in music videos for Aerosmith and REM, as well as her first on-screen kiss with Chris O’Donnell in Batman Forever, and she shares stories about her time on Guiding Light, All My Children, and General Hospital.
See what she considered to be the time of her life and what it was like working with Josh Duhamel (ex-Leo, AMC), Cameron Mathison (ex-Ryan, AMC, currently Drew on GH), and Alicia Minshew (ex-Kendall, AMC). She even offered up some inside scoop on her big win on Skating with the Stars. Catch the full episode of State Of Mind here.
*Note: For those who are struggling with postpartum depression or know someone who is, go to The Mayo Clinic online to find out more and where to get help.
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