Hayden made her first solo public appearance since seeking treatment at the Critic’s Choice Awards in LA over the weekend, admitting that she doesn’t feel like she has to put on a brave face any more.
“Allowing that veil to come down - it’s like a weight off my shoulders. I’m 26 years old. I’m a mum. I don’t need to be afraid of what people are going to think,” she said.
The star, engaged to 39-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, was inundated by support when news broke of her PPD diagnosis but she says she wasn’t expecting it.
“I've gotten an incredible amount of support and I was actually really surprised 'cause I feel like I grew up in this industry that, in my mind, was very judgmental,” she told Entertainment Tonight.
With 1 in every 7 women diagnosed with PPD, Hayden says she feels privileged to have a platform to spread awareness and support.
“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," she explained to Entertainment Tonight.
In October the mother-of-one checked into a treatment facility to deal with the illness.
“Hayden Panettiere is voluntarily seeking professional help at a treatment center as she is currently battling postpartum depression. She asks that the media respect her privacy during this time,” a statement explained at the time.
After her brief hiatus from Hollywood, Hayden will make a come back to screens for Nashville’s fourth season, returning March 16.
Incidentally her character, Juliette Barnes, also suffered from PPD after giving birth to her daughter Cadence, which hit did hit a slight nerve during her first scene back.
“To be honest it was kind of a rocky start for me and especially emotionally," she shared.
“I just lost it and I couldn't keep it together. So, it held us up for a second but we got it at the end.”
Speaking candidly to People magazine, Hayden admits that while the road to recovery isn’t easy, the one thing driving her to be stronger is her little baby girl.
“There is no overcoming. The only important thing to me is that I'm not causing myself pain and discomfort anymore, and I can be a strong woman for my daughter to look up to.”