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Watch: Gwyneth Paltrow 'almost died' giving birth to Apple
Giving birth is supposed to be a joyous - if somewhat painful - experience. But for A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow, it was one of the most terrifying moments of her life.
This week, she revealed to the Armchair Expert podcast that back in May 2004, she nearly died giving birth to her first child, and daughter Apple was also in danger.
She explained, “I had two Caesareans. My daughter was an emergency. It was crazy - we almost died. It was, like, not good.”
She has also previously talked about enduring a miscarriage, saying, "I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third.’
‘It didn’t work out, and I nearly died.”
At the time, just after Apple's birth, Gwyneth and her then-husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, said they were "ecstatic" after the long labour.
A statement read: "Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are delighted to announce the birth of their first child, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, who was born in London, after a long labour, on May 14th, and weighed 9lb 11oz."
They added: "We are 900 miles over the moon. We would like to thank everyone at the hospital who have looked after us amazingly.
"Both mother and baby are very well."
Originally, the couple had intended that Gwyneth would give birth at home, and installed a birthing pool. She had also regularly visited the private St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in St John's Wood, North London, which offers alternative approaches to delivery - fellow stars Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet gave birth there.
But with both her and the baby's lives in danger, the decision was taken to rush her in for an emergency Caesarean. She later briefly revealed that all had not gone well during the pregnancy.
'it's very important to move when you're pregnant - well, if you're sick you have to lie in bed. I did," she told a reporter at the launch of her personal trainer Tracey Anderson's pre-natal fitness series The Pregnancy Project in 2012.
Gwyneth's second child, Moses, was born on April 8, 2006, in New York. His name was inspired by Martin's song “Moses,” which was written for her.
But though she recovered quickly after Apple's traumatic birth, five years on from her second Caesarean, she told US TV show The Conversation With Amanda de Cadenet, "I couldn't connect with my son the way that I had with my daughter, and I couldn't understand why.
"I couldn't connect to anyone. I felt like a zombie. I felt very detached.
"I just didn't know what was wrong with me. I couldn't figure it out. It never occurred to me," she went on. "My husband [then Chris Martin] actually said, 'Something's wrong. I think you have postnatal depression.' I was mortified. 'No I don't!' And then I started researching what it was and the symptoms and I was like, 'Oh, yes I do.'"
She has since opened up about her worries over the condition.
"We think that (having PND) makes us bad mothers or we didn't do it right, but it's like, we're all in this together," she said.
"I never understand why mothers judge other mothers, like, 'What do you mean you didn't breastfeed? What do you mean you didn't do this?' It's like, 'Can't we all just be on each other's side?'
"It's so hard anyway. Can't we all help each other get through it? There's a shame attached to it because if you say, 'I had a baby and I couldn't connect to the baby,' it's like, 'What is wrong with you?'"
Explaining why she was revealing her struggle with mental health, the Oscar-winning actor added: "That's why I talk about it, because even the awareness of it started to diminish it.
"Because I didn't feel like I'm dying or I'm crazy — period. It's like, 'Oh, this is a thing. This is a real thing and these are the symptoms and I have them all.'"
Paltrow and Martin divorced in 2014, in the now famous 'conscious uncoupling', with the ex-couple committed to co-parenting.
“It’s been hard, and we’ve gone through really difficult times," admitted Gwyneth, "but we’ve always said these children are our priority. What that really means is even though today you hate me and you never want to see me again, we’re going to brunch because it’s Sunday and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The actor also told podcast host Dax Shepard about the aftermath of her Caesareans, saying, "there’s a big scar across your body, and you’re like, 'Oh, wow, that didn’t used to be there'.
‘And it’s not that it’s bad, or you want to judge it, but you’re just like, 'Oh, my god.'"
She has also said, "Thank god there wasn’t Instagram when I had babies, because now, it’s like if I see someone, 'Oh I just gave birth two weeks ago and I have a completely washboard stomach,' I’m like, 'wow, that’s not what I (looked like)'.
"And...more power to the lady with the washboard, but that is totally the exception and ...now we’re being fed all of these other images of what we’re supposed to look like all the time – babies, no babies, whatever.
"I think women really need to be friends with each other and (drop) all the judgment around how you have a baby, 'do you breastfeed, do you not, this that, are you going to work, are you not going to work?"
She continued, "guess what, whatever it is, it’s OK. I feel like we also have this weird thing around, it’s past perfectionism, it’s like, 'I can do this gargantuan task that’s superhuman'...and why? For what?"
Paltrow is now married to writer and producer Brad Falchuck but remains friendly with Chris Martin.
As her children have grown, she has spoken about the difficulties of the "challenging, rewarding and very emotional” task of motherhood.
"I mean the other night I was in the bath and I texted my best mom friend: Am I f**king this up?” Paltrow told People Magazine, adding that parenting is "tough, but it’s the most important thing I do.
"It’s like going through childhood again, but standing next to the people that you love more than anybody in the world and helping them bear their heartaches and mistakes and triumphs."
Watch: Gwyneth Paltrow's 17-year-old daughter has shockingly never seen any of her movies