Postpartum Voice of the Week: @Hopin2bHappy’s Email to My Husband


Within the #PPDChat community, members not only share how they’re feeling or what they’re going through, sometimes they tweet specific requests for support with a current situation. Such was the case just the other day with one particular member. @Hopin2bHappy tweeted about an email she sent to her husband in regards to her current struggle with her Postpartum Mood Disorder. Then she posted the letter at the #PPDChat Closed FB group. Her letter is phenomenal and one every husband should read. One every Mom with PPD should read. It’s honest, raw, and powerful. She graciously offered to allow me to share her words here. I’m honoured to do so and hope you will share it with everyone you know. The entire post from the FB group is included (with her permission of course)  – her introduction, the letter, and her husband’s reaction to the email. With no further ado, I give you quite possibly one of the most powerful pieces I’ve ever posted here for husbands and wives:

 

 

Hi Ladies.
I’ve been having a really tough week. I’m in the middle of a med change, kids have been sick and I’ve been exhausted. Last night my husband and I had a huge fight at 2am, I felt so beat down, alone and really ready to just stop trying.
This morning I wrote my husband an e-mail. Here it is.

Dear Hubs,

I love you and you need to remember that I don’t want to be this way. You have been working so hard to care for our family, and I want you to know how much I appreciate all you do for the boys and all you do to keep us afloat. That’s why it has been so hard for me to talk to you about what I’m about to write.

Sometimes, I think you forget that when I’m having a bad day, I am not capable of being rational. Telling me to get over it and just deal, or stop having thin skin, or that I  should be happy [we have a comforter, etc.] doesn’t help. It actually makes me feel even worse for not being able to control these feelings. That’s when I get filled with rage and lose it on you.

Sometimes, I think that what you want is for me to lose it, just so you can blame everything on me being crazy.

I know it’s hard for you when I’m saying crazy things.  I know you want to defend yourself and tell me what’s on your mind. What I don’t think you understand is that THIS IS NOT ME. When I get overwhelmed and lash out at everything?  Most of the time I dont even believe what I’m saying, but I just can’t stop. The more you tell me I’m crazy, a liar, and insane, it just gets worse. I feel helpless and I start to believe those things you accuse me of, which only makes matters worse.

Instead of you trying to analyze my words and picking out inconsistencies, accusing me of lying, or fighting back by saying I’m being irrational, what I REALLY want, no, NEED, is for you to hug me. I need you to tell me you are sorry I feel this way and that it will get better. That you love me. That I’m a good mom.  I know these things are hard for you to do sometimes, especially in the heat of the moment. But I’ve never needed your love and support more than I do right now.

I am trying so hard, but sometimes I feel like you don’t give me any credit for trying. I’m talking to doctors, taking medications and seeing a therapist. I wish I could snap my fingers or drink a magic potion and make it all go away, but unfortunately, it is not that easy. I will get through this, but I can NOT do this alone. If we get through this together, as a team, things will get better faster and be easier for us both. The best gift we can give our boys is a happy and healthy relationship. I’m fighting this as hard as I can, not just for them, but for you, too. You deserve the best of me, which is what I want so badly to give, but I need your, love, support and encouragement to make it happen.

I love you.

He came upstairs and hugged me. He commited to try and not take things so personally, and not react so strongly. He acknowledged that I am trying, and we are going to fight this as a team.

I am so relieved. And I Want to thank a very special friend for helping me edit my letter so it actually made sense.

Just Talkin’ Tuesday: The WE factor in Postpartum Mood Disorder Recovery


When a new mom struggles with Postpartum Mood Disorders, her absolute first line of defense and support is her partner/spouse. If she has no support from the person to whom she is closest, the chasm into which she finds herself opens deeper, wider, and threatens to swallow her forever. A new mom turns to those closest out of sheer instinct. It’s a bit like falling off a cliff and reaching out for anything you can grab a hold of as you fall. If there’s nothing there or it breaks under the weight, you continue to fall with an unrooted twig in clasped in your hands and dirt under your fingernails.

Oftentimes, loved ones are the first to notice something is not quite right with Mom. They notice the lack of sleep or the increased sleep. They notice the irritability. They notice she does not want to hold the baby or spend time with them. They notice the housework piling up and Mom curling up in the corner. But they do not know how to tell Mom. They do not know where to turn for help. They do not know what to do. Instead they stand there. Watching. Helpless. Sliding toward hopelessness.

This is why education about Postpartum Mood Disorders is so absolutely important.

Husbands/Partners are especially vulnerable because they are left picking up the slack if Mom does not improve or seek treatment. Often this may create resentment between a couple and harm the marriage, sometimes irreparably. A harsh environment of anger, irritability, resentment, and discord seeps into the home as a result. This very environment has nearly destroyed my own marriage. Even six years later it still persisted, it’s ghost inserting itself into every interaction and conflict. We are FINALLY dealing with this negativity head-on now.

How do you prevent something like this from happening? I wish there was an easy answer. But alas, there is not.

A Postpartum Mood Disorder sneaks into life much like a thief in the night. It steals things like happiness, sanity, serenity, and harmony. Evil little bastard, really. Thing is, just as with any other life event, you can prepare for its arrival even if it may or may not happen. It’s a bit like installing a security system with alarms to go off to keep you safe. Even if this is your first pregnancy, it is absolutely imperative to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of Postpartum Mood Disorders including how to recognize depression in your husband/partner.

Up to 50% of dads with a depressed partner will experience a form of depression called Paternal Postnatal Depression. It’s real, it happens, and two depressed parents make for a very tense household. There’s yelling, shouting, uncomfortable silence, judgment, and misunderstandings which lead to very ugly places. Trust me, I’ve been there. I would not wish the past six years of my life on anyone. Not even the devil himself. It’s been worse than hell.

As you struggle to fight your way back, please remember that your husband has been right there with you. Hopefully he jumped into the trench with you instead of staying on the sidelines watching you battle your way down field as you kick PPD toward the goal of Good Riddance. But if he stayed on the sideline, don’t count him out. He might be scared. He might be depressed himself. Or he might be self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. And just as you have expected space in which to heal, he too deserves the same space in which to heal himself. The both of you deserve permission to not be okay if that indeed is what’s going on with you.

If your husband is not responding to any of your attempts to get him involved, it may be time to take him to a doctor /therapist appointment. He may have questions he needs answered. Or he may be unsure of anything he can do to help. Or he may be struggling himself. Regardless, many men find solace in hearing facts straight from a professional. It’s not personal, ladies. It’s just the way some men operate. The degree/training matters.

But what if your husband/partner disagrees with your choice of treatment? If your treatment option is working for you and has been discussed with a medical professional, quite frankly, it doesn’t matter what anyone else things, even your husband or partner. YOU are the one who has to live with you. YOU know what works and what does not. Do not let anyone bully you into switching to a form of treatment you are not comfortable with or does not work. It is okay to shop around for a good doctor or therapist but do not use “I did not click with Therapist X” as a reason to stay away from help, as @postpartumprogr pointed out in yesterday’s #PPDChat.

There were quite a few ladies at yesterday’s #PPDChat discussing this very topic. But I wanted to open it up to those of you who read the blog but don’t/can’t make it to our Twitter Chats on Monday.

A few of the questions asked at Chat were:

Did your husband notice there was something wrong before you did? Did he tell you? How did he tell you? How did you react to this news?

What advice do you have for other dads/partners who might be struggling to figure out how to tell their loved one she/he needs mental health help? What approach worked for you?

What are some simple things Dads can do around the house to help Mom out after the birth of a baby? What were some little things your own husbands did for you that made a big impact?

Dads? What advice do you have for Moms? Anything we can do to try and help you out in the midst of all of this? Realize we are not capable of a lot when we are incapacitated by a Postpartum Depression but a little knowledge and insight goes a looooong way.

Please share any resources you have found invaluable not only for Postpartum Mood Disorders but for marriage as well.

Let’s get to Just Talkin’ on this Tuesday!

(P.S. If you choose to answer this on your own blog, grab the above button and link it back to this post with your response! Thanks!)