Marriage Blog: Post-Partum Depression

prefix: I am writing this with my wife’s full knowledge and support though it is hard for her to read. She herself is a blogger and I look forward to my own uncomfortability as she writes how this affected her. Please encourage that too!!!

Depression is a real thing. It’s not made up. It hits us at different points of our lives for different reasons and without help, counsel, prayer and sometimes medicine, it can easily take over one’s life, making them a shell of who they want to be.

How do I know this? It happened to my best friend: Wifey, during and after her pregnancy with our second child.

We found out we were pregnant with Liam on Ellie’s 2nd birthday. We had been trying but Becca’s symptoms hadn’t kicked in like they did with Ellie, so we were completely taken back not only by knowing he was coming but that we missed so much in the getting ready. For some reason it really bugged Becca. More than normal. Things became different from there…

Becca’s always been quieter (she IS married to me so I take up a lot of room in the noise dept!) but now her silence was moody, sad even. Sleeps were longer, conversations shorter. She had less energy than with Ellie and more, how-do-I-say passive hostility. Much of that was because now while being pregnant, she had to place attention to our bubbly 2-year-old non-potty trained daughter and me, who is a handful. The pregnancy took much out of her…even the birth didn’t move her. She was almost placid. Tired is an understatement when a woman gives birth but there was an extra lethargy to her. She cried a lot more too, and Becca is not a crier. At all. At first her tears made sense to me; she missed Ellie, Liam wasn’t as good a sleeper or eater as Ellie was, she was disappointed about moving to formula so soon after his birth. But still, it was different.

I should stop here to say that I didn’t notice much of this when it was happening. I was too busy trying to be a fixer. Or making sure I wasn’t the cause of her grief. My thoughts for many of the above things were

  • You hang with Ellie, I’ll take Liam. I didn’t realize how deep her sadness went.
  • Couldn’t argue the sleep thing. The beginning was rough!
  • Who cares if we move to formula now. Other parents aren’t us. Her sadness was only heightened by what she saw other parents doing via social media. Their “lives on-screen” made hers seem like a failure, deepening the spiral.

My thought was, tomorrow will be better. Let’s get out of those pyjamas, go for some outdoors time and everything will be okay. But it got worse. There’d be days of sitting on the couch and not moving. Blank stares while Ellie roamed around, Liam just being a baby…It just didn’t make sense. Plus, as a husband: no sex, no affection. My Wifey was different. And I didn’t now how to help her. So I did what I thought best: I took care of everything else. Shopping? Check. Ellie? Check. Cleaning? Check. And on and on. But that made things worse.

One night while at work, Becca called in tears asking for me to come home, as something had happened that threw her off. And I did the worst thing possible. I didn’t go straight home. I waited to make sure all was well at work and then did. Stupid. It was there that our talks on her being depressed began…and continued for some time with help from good friends, family and staff where we work. Becca got some medicine and began to come back to her normal self, though she may be dependant on them for the rest of her life. And if I ever thought this was hard on ME, I can only imagine how this ordeal has changed and affected her.

I’m summarizing a two-year ordeal here to get to this point:

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13 thoughts on “Marriage Blog: Post-Partum Depression

  1. Well said Chris! I was so proud of Becca the night she shared this a book club. There should be no shame in this as a Christian!

    • Thanks Emita! The only reason why I shared this is because Becca has been so open in sharing this herself. Her willingness to be vulnerable and undaunted showed me that as her hubby, I need to be supportive as well as protective. We shame each other way too much as believers (and the world just looks on and laughs at our in-fighting) so if this helps one iota then that’s good, i hope!

  2. Very well written. There is no shame, and it affects so many woman (you would be surprised). I also have to say the whole comparing your life to what you see others have posted or are doing on “Facebook” is sadly a trap that I would sometimes fall into back in the days. I was listening to the John Tesh show one night & he made some good points about how “Facebook” has been linked to people getting into depression. Why? Because you sit there and compare your life to what you see others post or how many likes people get, pictures, etc. Here’s a summary of what he said and I just love it. Its a great reminder to myself so that I don’t fall into that trap:

    “Every time you log onto Facebook you could be stressing yourself out. Seeing a flood of updates about your friends’ promotions, vacations or engagements could make you feel like your own life doesn’t measure up. And studies have shown that the more time you spend on Facebook, the more likely you are to develop depression and anxiety. So, keep in mind that people only post their most exciting news – they tend to avoid negative posts about losing a job, or getting stood up.” – John Tesh

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story about the journey you & Becca are on. God will definitely see you through this and He will use this story as a testimony to others who are going through the same thing, or who will be in the future!

    • Thanks Tricia. I can’t wait for Becca to write about how it had and has affected her as a wife, mom and friend. My insight is so small in comparison to hers and we’ll all benefit from her thoughts and life through it. Comparison is an ugly thing, isn’t it. I’m sure God knew it when he said “don’t steal and don’t covet.” What we have should always be more than good enough but somehow the grass looks greener. The funny thing is that once you get there, you realize they used the same darn water as you. Thanks for adding Tesh’s words here too! I really agree with his statement. let’s live this thing out!

  3. Becca, you’re not alone. Chris, thanks for sharing this. It’s encouraging, inspiring and refreshing to read something so RAW and honest.
    Thank you.

    • Stephanie!!!
      Thanks for the comment! I will relay your encouragement to Becca too. I figure no one talks about what really goes on and so why not. I really can’t wait for Becca to share out of her own experience to only give more hope to not only moms who have dealt/are dealing/will deal with this but to destroy the stigma that surrounds mental illness in general. We’ll get there one day.

  4. Pingback: The Great Betrayal | So We Build

  5. Thank you for sharing so profoundly…both you and Becca! When sickness comes upon us, there are so many confusing emotions to work through. Being a supportive spouse is a true blessing. Having supportive friends and family is also a true blessing. Having God in the centre is key. There is no shame in meds…I get it! I really liked your ‘dumb jerks’ comment-though I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to say it myself:-) I still struggle with how things have changed for me, but each day, it gets easier and better. I will specifically lift Becca up on prayer, trusting God that each day will become easier and better for her, no matter how little or how big that is…or how long the journey is. God is faithful and He will help us all through this journey called life. Blessings and thanks again.

  6. Thank you, Becca, for allowing Chris to post this. I remember watching the baby show throughout my pregnancy and going into the hospital with such confidence! Then reality HIT, and it was nothing like reality TV! When Z was born there were no cries, from her or me. I didn’t look for her, and when they brought her to me,, I didn’t have the happy reaction that I was “supposed” to have. Then those first days….. I’m crying just remembering them. Trying to pull it together for guests, and then trying to find a photo of the “happy new family” that was Facebook worthy- at least comparable to what other people post! This resulted in my catch phrase for the first week of Z’s life. I thought it should have been “I’m so blessed with my beautiful new baby”, but it was actually, “I said NO PHOTOS! Post that on Facebook and you will be so sorry!” It’s so sad to see the negative effects of social media. Thanks Tricia for the quote.

    • Thanks Valerie. It’s a journey that many travel on but seldom comment on so if we can start the convo (Becca especially), then we’re done some good, i guess.
      The reality TV/Social media reality hurts more than it helps because we aim to live to an ideal that someone is projecting rather than really living. We think we have to be ___________ because everyone else “looks” that way when they might look that way on their best day. Seeing through that haze is a hard ordeal…but a doable one.
      I think:)

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