From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
GRIER HAMMOND HENCHY
April 18, 2006 7 lbs. 1 oz. 20 inches

When she gave birth to her daughter Rowan, now 3, Brooke Shields wasn't the happy mom she expected to be. In fact, she suffered from such a severe case of postpartum depression that she had thoughts of jumping out the window, swallowing pills and driving her car into a wall. Naturally she was concerned that she'd be in the same state after the arrival of her second daughter. But, says Shields, "this was nothing like the first one." Since Grier Hammond Henchy's April 18 arrival, the only discomfort Shields has felt is the pain from her C-section incision. Although she was prepared to ask for another prescription of Paxil, the antidepressant that helped her recover with Rowan, she didn't need it this time. "I was like, 'You know what? I think I'm okay now,'" she said to her doctor. This should come as good news to Tom Cruise, who admonished the actress last year for taking antidepressants. Speaking of Cruise, although Shields and Katie Holmes gave birth on the same day, on the same floor, of the same hospital, at first Shields wasn't even aware that there was another celebrity down the hall. "Basically, I was being cut in two, so it wasn't the first thing I was going to ask about," says Shields. "I was just glad that everything for me was going well."

One month later, it still is. Shields, 40, and her husband, sitcom writer Chris Henchy, 42, have slipped into a happy routine, quickly adjusting to life with their littlest addition. "Now it just really feels like a full-on family," says Shields. "I'd be lucky to just have the one, but with two, I realize they'll have each other after we're not here anymore, and to me, that really settles my mind."

So why only happy tears this time around, when Rowan's birth evoked a much darker variety? For one, Shields lost her father, Frank, to cancer just a month before Rowan was born. She also had a much harder time getting pregnant, going through seven in-vitro-fertilization treatments and mood-altering hormone shots. (Grier, much to Shields's delight, was conceived naturally.) Shields also had to go through 24 hours of labor with Rowan, only to need an emergency C-section in the end. Grier's scheduled C-section, on the other hand, went exactly as planned. "Chris was there and he cut the cord," says Shields. "My two girlfriends were there too. They were like, 'Whoa, we know a little too much about you now!'"

Unlike her previous birthing experience, when Rowan was "whisked away" from the delivery room, "this time I got to feel Grier, kiss her, and they put her right on my chest," says Shields.

As for why she chose the name Grier, "it's so hokey, but I woke up in the middle of the night just thinking of the name. I don't know anyone named Grier," she says. "The next day I'd forgotten it, but that night I woke up again at 3 a.m. thinking of the name."

Now something a bit louder is waking her up at night. "They're not subtle when they cry—it's primal," says Shields. "And every time Grier wakes up, Rowan wakes up, and she's calling and the baby's crying and you're just thinking, 'This will pass. This too will pass.'"

Henchy is quick to lend a hand with the youngsters, though. When asked if her doting husband has bestowed a new baby bauble upon her, Shields responds, "What he does give me is getting up to do the 2 and 3 a.m. feedings," she says. "That's the best gift I could get." Henchy's also happy that his wife isn't feeling like her old self. "With everything going so well, he was like, 'Well, we're not going to get another book out of it,'" says Shields, referring to her 2005 bestseller Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression. "Maybe I'll write a children's book or something."

Shields, who gained just 23 lbs. in her pregnancy, is excited to get back to work, whether it's writing that book or acting again. "I just know I'm a happier mom when I have my work," says Shields. "I look at ambition as a healthy thing that is a good example for my girls, as long as nobody is feeling neglected."

But for now, Shields is glad to have the free time to bask in her favorite moment of the day—first thing in the morning. "It's dreadfully early, but the baby's comfortably nursing and Rowan will come in our bed to fall back asleep. It's the image that I thought I might have, but didn't quite have [the first time]," she says. "It's as close to Norman Rockwell as possible."

  • Contributors:
  • Julie Jordan/Los Angeles.