Food Network’s Aarti Sequeira says helping others with postpartum depression ‘makes up for every ounce of pain I’ve been through’

Fans of Food Network and its programs know celebrity chef Aarti Sequeira for her vibrant dishes and her room-lighting personality and smile.

What’s perhaps less known about the chef is that she’s also a champion for people living with postpartum depression (PPD).

Here is what the Aarti Party the host told Showbiz Cheat Sheet what she learned and wants others to know.

Food Network Personality Aarti Sequeira | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Sequeira opened up about her experience with postpartum depression in “Guy’s Grocery Games”

The Food Network personality, who is a judge on Guy Fieri’s popular contest show, told Showbiz Cheat Sheet that one of the first times she spoke openly about the depression she went through was on her program .

“You know, one of the things that happens when you’re on the show is mostly, like you know, a recognizable face,” she said. “They call them like All-Star bouts or whatever it is that you get the opportunity to play for a charity that’s really close to your heart.

“And I had a few [episodes] along the way that I thought was really wonderful, but nothing that I really had a deep personal connection to. And so somehow when I realized I had postpartum depression, something in the back of my head was like, ‘Well, now I know what my thing is,’ You know what I mean ?

Sequeira expressed her gratitude for the show allowing her to shine a light on the mental health issue that affects so many people. It has also allowed her to increase the visibility of Postpartum Support International, an organization for which she is the spokesperson.

“I felt very strongly that I had to come out and talk about it,” she added. “I had this really wonderful place, and I’m so grateful to Guy for giving us this platform, you know, to talk about things that are really important to us and to fight for causes that are really personal or important. for us.

“And I also want to be there for women who don’t recognize it in themselves or don’t have the support system like me, people around them to say, ‘Hey, you’re not OK. , it’s not your fault, but you’re not OK.

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Sequeira said her mother was one of the first to notice her struggle

The chef, who rose to fame in 2010 after winning The Next Food Network Starand her husband Brendan McNamara are parents to two young daughters.

She remembers praying “in the depths” of her postpartum depression: “I remember…I’m getting through it, and I remember crying and saying “Lord, you gave me this wonderful child. , that I never thought I could have. But then you charged me with this challenge. Why are you doing this?”

Sequeira was convinced that she was burdened with this extraordinarily painful experience because she “would do something about it.” And I really took that to heart.

However, she did not get help immediately, adding that it was her mother who urged her to seek professional help.

“I didn’t receive any help until my daughter was eight months old,” she said. “And so my mom said it so beautifully, she said, ‘You let this thing steal the joy of having this beautiful daughter for eight months. How much longer are you going to let it take you? And something about that kind of thing brought up the warrior in me that I was like, ‘Oh no, you know?’

Aarti Sequeira on the “rewarding” experience of helping other women through PPD

Sequeira, who was born in Bombay (now called Mumbai) and raised in Dubai, admitted that talking about DPP and helping other women find help gave her great satisfaction.

“I got hundreds of messages from women across the country who were like, ‘Oh, you know, I was wondering if I had it, and then you started talking about it, and it made me realize, wait, I think I have it.’ And then I would name the charity, which is called Postpartum Support International. And so they would go and there’s a hotline you can call to find out what resources are in your town to help you because there are actually a lot more resources available for moms now than probably in years past.

“It’s so rewarding for me. And it’s a very strange thing that, as painful as it has been, as difficult as it has been, the joy of being able to help people who are going through the same thing now more than makes up for every ounce. of pain that I endured.

How to get help: To connect with mental health resources near you, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website.

RELATED: Food Network star Aarti Sequeira’s new book ‘My Family Recipe Journal’

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