Prior to the birth of our second child, everything seemed quite normal. I specifically remember my wife telling me how happy she was with her life, how much she loved me, and how much she loved our son. She was so happy, in fact, that she wanted to have another child when our first was only nine months old.
After the birth of our second child, she changed dramatically. About a month after we brought the baby home she started to talk to herself while she was doing normal, everyday tasks like laundry, or making up bottles for the baby. She said she couldn’t concentrate and would lose focus on the task at hand unless she talked herself through it. I was a hands-on father, and helped her whenever I could with the children and household chores, but she would still have anxiety attacks about how there was too much to do and she didn’t have enough time in the day to do it. She then began to have angry outbursts, not at our children, but towards me.
Among the many pamphlets of information we received upon leaving the hospital with our second child was one for the signs of Post Partum Depression (PPD). After reading the pamphlet, and doing some Internet research, I was fairly convinced that she was suffering from PPD. One of the things I learned was that it should not really be called Post Partum Depression, but, rather, Post Partum Mood Disorder. Depression is only one possible symptom of PPD. The feelings and behaviors of anger, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating – the symptoms my wife was experiencing – are also symptoms of PPD.
I tried to talk to my wife about this and convince her to talk to her doctor, but was unsuccessful. She claimed her issues had nothing to do with any psychological or physiological condition. She had somehow convinced herself that the source of her unhappiness was me. Less than two months after the birth of our daughter, she asked me for a separation. I tried to convince her to go to marriage counseling, but she refused that as well. I tried to get her mother involved by explaining the situation, and discussing PPD. But her mother said that she didn’t think my wife seemed “depressed” (which was true). She just thought that my wife was under stress because she was home with the two young children, and that things would improve once my wife went back to work. When I reminded my wife of her decision to have the second child because she was so happy with her life and family, her response was that she was only fooling herself then because that’s what she wanted to believe.
I am convinced that this dramatic chain of events was the direct result of PPD. Had my wife, her family, or her doctors been more aware of PPD, perhaps things would have been different. Unfortunately, one year later, we are now in the process of getting divorced.