Bryce Dallas Howard's friend told her she ''wasn't a natural mother'' while she was battling with postnatal depression.

The 38-year-old actress has made no secret of the fact she suffered with negative thoughts following the birth of her son Theo 12 years ago but she has admitted, at the time, she doubted her ability to look after her child after a pal rubbished the fact she was dealing with the common mood disorder.

Speaking in the new issue of BALANCE magazine, she said: ''I had someone tell me - when I was super-depressed and trying my f***ing hardest with Theo, before I read books, before I looked it up online and before I began to come to terms with the fact that something giant has shifted out of my control and my life would never be the same - I had someone literally tell me: 'No, Bryce. You're not depressed. You're just not a natural mother.' At that moment in time, that was someone trying to cause harm.''

The 'Jurassic World' star didn't expect to be one to suffer with depression as she had worked at a day care and been a nanny.

She explained: ''It was so crazy for me. I was so excited to be a parent and excited to start my family. I had been a nanny, worked in daycare, was the oldest of four siblings and all my cousins and was so madly in love with Seth and married to him.

''I really had no reason to believe that it would be anything other than this euphoric experience.

''Yes, I knew I would be tired and that it would be hard and painful, but I did not think that I was going to struggle with mental health to the degree that I did. Never ever.

''I believed in being able to get yourself into a state where you could overcome that, but at that time I was not able to and it was such a struggle.

''The only reason I got out of it was from getting educated, getting more information and people reaching out.''

Given her previous experience, the 'Pete's Dragon' star made sure she had a support network around her after she gave birth to her daughter Beatrice, whom she has with her husband Seth Gabel, in 2012 just case she developed PND again.

She explained: ''So, even now, when Beatrice was born (in 2012), an even bigger shift had happened and it's a good time for human beings. We are able to connect and find these truths and rise above and break through any bulls**t and false or negative things that are stopping us from being able to heal.''