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My husband doesn't "get" depression. If I ever try to talk to him about how I'm doing, he either brushes it off or literally doesn't say anything (out of fear of saying the wrong thing). I wrote him an email yesterday (bad, I know, but I've tried talking face-to-face with him about it) to tell him that I do need to get help for this.
So he replies to the email, "You know I don't know what to do anymore, and that just makes it worse for you and makes me hate myself." Great. So he thinks it's his responsibility to fix me? And I make him hate himself when I bring up my depression? And then he went on and said that therapy or antidepressants won't help.
How do I get him to understand that this is a real medical condition? With real treatment options? Unless he helps with tightening the belt on our budget, we can't afford for me to get therapy and antidepressants, so I can't get help without him agreeing with it.
Mama to a lower elementary school boy, preschool girl, and my miracle baby girl.
Two 10w losses (11/2010 + 8/2011)
1) Print information that he would read off the internet form multiple sites that he would 'get'?
2) If that doesn't work, can you ask him to go with you to the family doctor so a medical professional can help him understand?
3) Tell him that you love him and the kids so much, and that you want to continue being the best wife and mother that you can possibly be, but you need his support in being able to get the help?
4) Ask him how he knows that therapy and antidepressants wont help?
5) Let him know it's not his problem or responsibility to fix and it's not his fault or anything he has done or said.
6) Tell him that you already know what you need so if he could budget for the cost of therapy/medicine, that would mean the world to you....
7)Is there someone (another male?) that he would be apt to believe and listen to if they told him about how real PPD is?
Sometimes I think dh's can seem cold or unsupportive when actually it's that they feel like they have failed when their wife isn't happy or they can't immediately resolve the issue. Certainly you dont 'make' him hate himself by talking about your depression.
Most DH's and men in general want to "fix it". If/when they can't they feel like its thier fault and they have failed you. They do not see that you have a problem per say they think you are perfect and can do no wrong. He probably doesn't know how to deal with it or how to help and sometimes they think if they ignore it the problem will go away.
Have you tried exercise? What about a hobby like scrapbooking or knitting? I know that seems silly because you probably don't have a lot of energy. But when I go through ppd I find that exercise really helps me get out of that funk. And I scrapbook and usually you scrap fun happy times so that helps to give me a a little mood boost. I hope you find some help and of course you can always come here and talk. We have all been there.
I tried exercise, but only once or twice around 6-7 weeks postpartum. I also sew for a hobby. But it's hard to find motivation (because of the depression) and time (because I have two kids and have to do work for my job during nap time) to do either one. It seems that there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep the kids clean, fed, and happy, get my paid work done, keep the house clean and take care of myself. I tend to let self care have low priority.
I'm not sure if any of our friends have had/had wives with PPD. I know many of them have dealt with "baby blues", but since it's not the same magnitude, I don't know if their husbands would be much help to my husband.
Mama to a lower elementary school boy, preschool girl, and my miracle baby girl.
Two 10w losses (11/2010 + 8/2011)
Have him read what I am about to write, or send it to him in an email. And if he wants to email me back and ask questions, feel free to give him my email addy... mom2froggy at gmail dot com
So I do understand that men have a hard time understanding PPD. In fact, most girls have a hard time understanding it, even if we do have it ourselves. It's a weird, frightening state of mind that comes at a time we should be happiest (and believe us, we are happy.... it's just different and scary and frightening, which can make us sad.)
The main thing that people need to understand about PPD is that there is no magical answer to fix it, there are lots of things that come into play when it comes to PPD. The simple answers could mean when the girl is tired, take the baby and let her sleep an hour. Make her dinner, or buy her a good book and give her the time to sit back and read. Get some really good bubble bath and massage her back as she soaks in the bath. Go for a walk together. When the baby cries and you both are at the end of your wits, take a deep breathe, and try not to get overwhelmed, it does effect us girls with PPD more when we have PPD and our partner is stressed.
The little things mean a lot. The little things get us through the day. It can literally mean life and death for us when we have those little things that keep us going.
Remember that we don't want to hurt ourselves or the baby, but it happens. It is very, very important to have support and help from every person in the mothers life, ESPECIALLY the father if he is still around. The best way to not hurt ourselves or the baby is through medicine and counseling. Not all mothers take meds, but I will say from my own experience that medicine quite literally made my "darkness" go away. The best way I could describe my life before meds was that everything was dark.... and finally I got light into my life by being able to be happy through medicine. Meds are not a cure-all, but they certainly make life so much easier to deal with! It also greatly diminishes the chances of us hurting the baby or ourselves. But we need support with medicine, we need as much support as we can in the choices we make to make our mental health feel better.
Also, I do understand you think your wife is a great wife and mother, and I have no doubt that she is, otherwise she wouldn't be asking for help! But this is a disorder that starts out effecting our minds and soon it will effect mother/wifehood if untreated. Even if it is treated we have problems. We have internal thoughts "Am I making him cry too much" "Is me taking a bath taking time away from the baby?" "Am I a good mom" "My friend is a much better mother" we have all these thoughts and more. What one can shrug away is very hard for us. I remember feeling horrible because I didn't produce enough milk for my child... totally out of my control but I felt like a failure! I felt like a failure that my baby was losing weight because my milk wasn't fatty enough... I felt horrible for needing to take antidepressants because I was nursing and they made my daughter sleepy but I needed them... I even felt horrible because driving to the store to get a coke just to get 5 minutes away from her... we really do have internal thoughts that make us feel bad. Even with reassurance these thoughts are very real to us. Don't shrug that away, reassure us, but tell us why... and if we are irrational, just roll with it!
I can remember once freaking out because my Mom made macaroni and cheese wrong (wasnt wrong, but to me it was) and I freaked out and started crying hysterically. Instead of saying "hun you know its fine" say something like "How can I fix it? Want me to make it again? Let's make this instead, maybe I did make it wrong, Ill try harder next time." Just roll with it. We will usually know when we are irrational, but if we don't, just let us be
I do understand how you may think therapy and medicine may not help, my ex thought the same thing. But they do help. They can be a matter of life or death. As I said before, my life was so dark, and suddenly I could see light. I enjoyed my daughter, enjoyed motherhood and didn't cry all the time. PPD is a very real, and very very serious mental condition that needs to be dealt with and needs support. Don't do what my ex did and not support your wife in this time... I eventually left my ex because I could see how bad he made me feel in a time I already felt horrible. You don't want that for your family, so just try to look at things in another light.
Email me any time for advice, my experiences with medicine, my experience with PPD in general, just anything. I am willing to answer any question I can. I also urge you to check out the website PPD Hope Information Center or talk to your doctor about PPD, there are also lots and lots of webforums with experiences and support from girls with PPD, I'd look there too.
Both of you keep your head up, and please get the help your wife wishes. It will help you, her, and most importantly, your child.
I know its hard but even carving out 15 mins of sit ups and push ups to get those endorphines moving will help. If you break your day down into 15 mins that may help too. I learned this from Flylady. She helps me not get overwhelmed with my house and kids and such. I don't follow it as well as I should. But you might find it is easier when you set a timer and just do the dishes for 15 mins. Do them as fast as you can of course. 15 mins isn't that long really. And it might make a world of difference. You must try to make time for yourself because we all need even a few mins. A hot bath after the kids have gone to bed.
mom2froggy that was a very nice letter.
I struggled with getting my ex to understand my PPD, and because of my experience I will probably get on anti depressants and counseling as soon as my next kiddo is born (if I ever have another kid) because I don't ever want to go through that again. Thankfully my boyfriend now is understanding, whereas my daughters "father" didn't help my situation much at all.
Its really hard for men, or someone not going through it, to understand PPD. I had PPD for over a year when we had our son, DH didn't get it at all. I would get so mad at him for not understanding, and not helping me. Then, once I got better I realized that he couldn't understand. He's never had it, so he can't possibly know what its like, he couldn't help me because he didn't know what to do. Instead of trying to get your DH to understand what is like, because that isn't going to happen, try talking about your feelings. Each day set a time aside and tell him how you're feeling. Maybe you're sad, you're angry, etc. and tell him why. Then let him tell you how he's feeling. Having a wife with PPD is probably scary, and I know that my DH was afraid at times and sad at times, and I needed to let him tell me his feelings aswell. As hard as it is to go through PPD, its also hard for a loved one to watch you go through PPD without knowing what to do.
Mama to G, L & twins F & M
Started off 2013 homebirthing suprise twins Fia Celesta & Maddalena Isabella