Nashville star Hayden Panettiere gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last December, but few fans knew that, after the delivery, the actress began fighting postpartum depression. Now, she's opening up about her struggle in order to bring understanding to the often-misunderstood diagnosis.

Panettiere's Nashville character, Juliette Barnes, struggled with postpartum depression during the show's third season as well, and the singer and actress says that she "can very much relate," as can many women.

“When [you’re told] about postpartum depression, you think it’s, ‘I feel negative feelings towards my child, I want to injure or hurt my child,'" the 26-year-old said during an appearance on Live! With Kelly and Michael on Monday (Sept. 28). "I’ve never, ever had those feelings. Some women do. But you don’t realize how broad of a spectrum you can really experience that on.

"It’s something that needs to be talked about," Panettiere adds. "Women need to know that they’re not alone and that it does heal."

Panettiere is honest about the stigma that can be attached to postpartum depression, and her bravery in opening up about this private, yet widely experienced, issue will hopefully bring more understanding to it.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding — there’s a lot of people out there that think that it’s not real, that it’s not true, that it’s something that’s made up in their minds, that, ‘Oh, it’s hormones.' They brush it off," she continues. "It’s something that’s completely uncontrollable. It’s really painful, and it’s really scary, and women need a lot of support."

Panettiere also notes that, after carrying her daughter Kaya, she is amazed at the strength of women.

“Women are amazing. We do something that no man can do on this planet," she explains. "I mean, we grow a human being in our body!”

Panettiere and fiance Wladimir Klitschko are engaged, but they have not yet set a wedding date.

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