LOS ANGELES, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Hayden Panettiere did not expect the outpouring of positive support following her decision to seek treatment for postpartum depression. Going public, she said, actually made her life "better."
Speaking with E! News at the Critics' Choice Awards Sunday night, the 26-year-old actress, who recently welcomed her first child with fiancé Wladimir Klitschko, said, "It made my life better...I do feel and hope it's made other people's lives better and more of an understanding because postpartum depression was not something that I ever understood."
"You could never understand it unless you have a personal involvement with it," she said. "I didn't realize how much of a stigma it had about it."
About the waves of support from fans and colleagues, Panettiere says she was "actually really surprised."
"I feel like I grew up in this industry that, in my mind, was very judgmental," she told Entertainment Tonight Sunday. "I didn't even look at social media...Then, when I looked, people were like, 'Oh my gosh, good for you,' and I am so proud to be a spokesperson and a woman that people can look to and to know that they're not alone and they're not weak if they go and they seek help.:
Panettiere gave birth to her daughter, Kaya Evdokia Klitschko, in Dec. 2014 and sought treatment for postpartum depression in October.