Professional wrestler Brandi Rhodes and her husband, fellow All Elite Wrestling (AEW) performer Cody Rhodes, welcomed their daughter Liberty Iris in mid-June.
Their first days with Liberty, who is named after Liberty Square in Disney’s Magic Kingdom rather than for her father’s patriotic wrestling gimmick (as fans might assume), were “so precious,” Brandi Rhodes, 38, tells SELF. But Rhodes also had to work through mental health challenges, including postpartum anxiety, as a new mom.
Before giving birth, she and her medical team had already decided a scheduled C-section would be the best option for her because of the baby’s positioning. But Liberty came a little early. In fact, Rhodes recalls having contractions “for most of the day,” including during filming for the couple’s reality show Rhodes to the Top and an AEW virtual event before going to the hospital.
“I always knew it was going to be sooner than we thought because my body felt very ready,” she explains. “My only prayer was that she was ready too.” Rhodes’ delivery process was surprisingly “quick and easy.” Being awake during her C-section was “a little weird,” she says, but she appreciated that the doctor talked her through the procedure.
In the weeks following Liberty’s birth, however, the challenges of being a new mom started to take their toll on Rhodes. “I fully went through a period of postpartum anxiety or maybe a combination of anxiety and depression,” she says. “I lean more towards anxiety because I was so happy, but I was terrified at the same time. It was something I’d never felt before. It was a fear of every unknown possible.” Endless thoughts about something, anything that could go wrong “kept me up at night,” she says, like, “what if the ceiling leaked and broke and landed right in her crib while she was sleeping?”