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Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault which may be upsetting for some readers.
Alyssa Milano is opening up about how childbirth affected her mental health.
The 48-year-old actress revealed on People's Me Becoming Mom podcast that giving birth to her eldest son, Milo, now 10, was a triggering experience for her and reminded her of being sexually assaulted.
The "Charmed" star and mother-of-two recalled being in the delivery room and feeling exposed.
"I remembered at one point [while giving birth] really not enjoying the fact that lots of people had access to my vagina," she explained. "And thinking to myself, 'Why does— I don't like this. Why does it feel so familiar? I've never had a baby before. Why does this invasive feeling feel so familiar?' That was just a fleeting moment, a tick in time, but I didn't forget about it."
After welcoming her son, Milano sought help to unpack why childbirth triggered memories of being sexually assaulted.
“After going through therapy after giving birth to Milo and remembering that one moment of feeling like I was being held down and had things being done to me that I didn’t want, to me, was very reminiscent of being sexually assaulted,” she said. “It triggered all of these memories that I thought I had dealt with.”
Milano added that the emotional stress she felt during childbirth likely contributed to postpartum anxiety she struggled with. The actress said not feeling "in control" made it difficult for her in the months that followed her son's birth.
"I think anyone who has dealt with trauma has the moments where you're like, 'Yeah, I'm fine. I've dealt with that.' Versus the moments where you go, 'Oh, no I didn't. I just tried to tuck it away so no one could see them or I couldn't see them or feel them anymore,'" she explained.
This isn't the first time the activist has gotten candid about pregnancy and mental health. In 2019, she shared that she had "crippling anxiety" after having two abortions in 1993.
"It was devastating. I was raised Catholic and was suddenly put in conflict with my faith," she said on her "Sorry Not Sorry" podcast. I had a career and a future and potential. And also, I suffered from sometimes crippling anxiety."