Through the lens of depression: my marriage, pregnancy, and a high-needs baby

I was really excited for the birth of our second child.  We had always planned on having more than one, and I was really looking forward to my two and a half year old becoming a big brother.

My pregnancy was not the easiest pregnancy, but I was okay with the continuous nausea for the first twenty weeks and the pelvic pain that started soon after, because I knew it was worth it.  However, in my third trimester things started to change.  I started feeling very angry and knew I was really losing my patience with my son, who was behaving like a normal two year old.  I became really snippy with my husband, and looking back I was definitely not the nicest person to be around.  I attributed it to the fact that I was uncomfortable all of the time and exhausted.

The birth of my second son was wonderful.  I fell in love with him completely and all of my worries about being able to love two children equally flew out the window.  This baby however, was anything but an easy baby.  He screamed almost constantly and the only way to comfort him was to nurse him, which I was then doing continuously it seemed.

PMDThe baby’s arrival, which I thought would lift the anger I was feeling towards the end of the pregnancy, only made it worse.  Every single minute of my day was spent meeting my baby’s needs.  I was constantly rushing my older son to get things done faster because the baby was going to start screaming again.  My time in the shower (when I got one) was spent crying.  I loved my baby, my older son and my husband, but I didn’t like what had become of our lives.  His birth had ruined our happy existence and I felt as though it was all my fault.  I didn’t want to spend time with my older child or my husband, because I felt as though every little bit I could give was being given to the baby.

I knew my husband was feeling lost.  He was doing his best to be supportive, and he was taking care of lots around the house.  Still it was never good enough for me.  I was constantly pointing out the things he wasn’t doing and getting angry at him for things I felt he should just know.  He and my older son had become very close because of the extra one-on-one time they were having and that just made me feel worse.

If there happened to be a brief moment where the baby could actually be set down and remain content, my husband would try to hold me but I would push him away telling him I that I was already “touched out” from having a baby attached to me all day.  Our only conversations revolved around what needed to be done for the children or the house, and very frequently I wasn’t very nice during those conversations.  My husband started to pull away, and if you ask him today he will tell you it was because he didn’t know what to do.

I am a healthcare professional and I knew about Perinatal Mood Disorders (PMD) but still I made excuses.  It was just because of my lack of sleep; I wasn’t eating well; he was a high needs baby; on and on and on.  After sitting down and having an open discussion with a friend, I knew things needed to change.  I made an appointment with my doctor, a plan was put in place, and things gradually started getting better.  Once I started to feel better, I was able to communicate more openly with my husband.  I was able to share how I was feeling and he was in turn able to do the same.  He was really concerned about what was happening in our relationship and with lots of communication we were able to start putting more focus into our marriage.  I really think it helped that this was our second child, as we already had the knowledge that relationships can be challenging after the birth of a baby.  I just don’t think we were prepared for how much of an effect PMD can have on that adjustment period.

We know that problems or stresses within a relationship can be a risk factor for PMD, but it also works the other way around.  The sadness, anxieties, irritability and anger experienced by many women and men during pregnancy and after a baby’s birth, can also be the cause of major stress and conflict within a relationship.

We always hear that communication is key in a relationship, but in dealing with PMD it becomes extra important.  You need to communicate your needs to your partner and never just assume they will know what you need or what to do.  Share your concerns, worries, fears and talk about the type of parents you want to be together.

I know it is challenging, but carving out just a small amount of couple time can really make a difference.  A solid relationship can make recovery from PMD so much easier.  Taking care of yourself is necessary to being able to care for your child(ren), but also necessary in the protection of your relationship.

Talk with your Healthcare provider, or talk with your Public Health Nurse.  Be informed about what treatment and support options are available to you and your family. It will be worth the effort.

To read about another mom’s experience with PMD, check out Sandra’s story here.

Share your experience:

For more tips, hints, and help in Halton about Postpartum Depression, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About this guest blogger:

Rebecca Hynes is a Public Health Nurse with the Early Years Health Team.  She loves to connect and provide support for new parents, and has a strong interest in Attachment, and Postpartum Mood Disorders.  Rebecca loves spending time with her family, and is a busy mom to three young boys.

This entry was posted in Babies, Mental Health, Parenting, Pregnancy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Through the lens of depression: my marriage, pregnancy, and a high-needs baby

  1. Thank you so much for your open, honest sharing that will support so many others to open up and get the help they need.
    We are all in this together (motherhood) it does take a village and a village filled with love, non-judgment and open honest communication.

    Michelle LeRoy
    Cornerstone Health Centre
    Georgetown, Ontario
    905-702-1944
    Spiritual Counselor, Energy Medicine Practitioner and Holistic Youth Life Coach

    • Andrea Scott says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment Michelle, I’ll make sure Rebecca receives it. It truly does take a village.
      ~ Andrea on behalf of HaltonParents

  2. Pingback: Mental health supports for new parents | Chair's Corner – Halton Region, Ontario

  3. ALICEG says:

    Thanks for posting this. I think my husband is in a similar, if not worse, situation as yours. Our son is 8 months old now and for the last 6 months I feel like my husband has become quite depressed. He’s just so distant. He doesn’t care. He barely looks at our son, let alone talks to him. I’m not sure if it’s because fatherhood wasn’t what he expected or if its because he’s unhappy with our relationship. In any case, I saw a divorce website ( http://www.thistoo.co ) in his browsing history and now I’m freaking out. I don’t know whether I should broach the subject or just talk about getting him mental health help. This is causing me so much stress, it’s starting to affect my health. Feeling lost and drained, Alice

  4. Karen Hay, RN says:

    Hi Alice,

    I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing such stress. This sounds like a very difficult time for you. I would encourage you to call HaltonParents to speak with one of our public health nurses who can provide you with support and community resources. Simply dial 311 if you live in Halton. We are here Mon- Fri 8:30-4:30.

    Another place to start is to speak with your health-care provider. He/She should be able to offer you some support and help link you to counselling services in your community.

    Our webpage has more information and links to community supports and resources in Halton for families. Check out the “Where to get help in Halton” section here: http://ow.ly/xLZw303Q10l

    Thank you for sharing your story and opening up. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

  5. Lisa Forsyth says:

    Rebecca…you helped me get though my life back in 2008…great to hear your story…

    • Tara Johnston RN says:

      Hi Lisa, Thank you for you reply to Rebecca. I will make sure she gets it. ~Tara on behalf of HaltonParents

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s