You may already be, or you may become, a contributor to the depression by making some very common mistakes.  Recognizing your mistakes and dealing with them honestly is essential to dealing effective with PPD.  Some common mistakes that husbands make include:

·         Comparing your wife to other women.  Saying things like, “Why can’t you be more like Susan, she has it harder then you and she doesn’t spend her whole day in bed crying”.

·         Getting angry with your wife.  The frustration and disappointment that some men feel can change to anger that they take out on their wives.  Yelling, threatening, and humiliating are some of the ways that the anger can express itself.

·         Distancing yourself from your wife.  For some men dealing with PPD is just too much for them and they find it easier not to deal with it at all.  Ways men distance themselves from their wives include working longer hours, not coming home, not talking, etc.

·         Trying to handle everything on your own. We can’t over emphasize the need to get quality professional help.  We know that’s it is much harder to do then it should be but she deserves the best treatment you can find.

·         Trying to talk her out of the depression.  You may have a great philosophy towards life and feel like you know exactly what she needs to do to get out of the depression.  However, comments like “all you need to do is …” or “Honey, of course you feel bad, look at how you spend your day just lying around all the time.  What you should do is…” aren’t helpful.

·         Not being open about your feelings

·         Ignoring the depression.

·         Not making her health and the well being of your family your number 1 priority.

If you find yourself making one of the mistakes listed above, or some other mistake, be honest about it.  After all, you were never trained to deal with PPD, and you certainly didn’t ask to be in the position you are in.  Considering the stress you are under making mistakes is very natural.  Admitting your mistakes, then correcting them is the best thing you can do for your wife and yourself.

Almost every night Sandra would start talking about all her worries right at bedtime.  She was concerned about the kids, concerned about finances, concerned about work, and the list went on and on.  I would go into long lectures to her about how things weren’t so bad and that she just needed to stop worrying.  But my lectures didn’t do any good because the next night she would again launch into the same set of concerns which were all hopelessly difficult in her world.  I finally told her I couldn’t take it anymore and that I didn’t want to hear anymore about her concerns.  That was a mistake.  After that she kept things inside and in retrospect I should have seen her withdrawing.  A few days later she walked into our bedroom carrying a knife, saying we should all “go”. 

After she got out of the hospital a close friend of hers called every night, right around bedtime.  She was able to talk with her friend and share her concerns with her.  Having that friend to talk to was a big part of Sandra’s recovery, and an huge help to me. 

After seeing Tracy go through two previous episodes of depression I considered myself somewhat of an expert on knowing what to look for.  I figured that there was no way that I would let the situation escalate as I had before.  When she started having her third depression I was sure that it wasn’t like the other two.  This one was different, and had more to do with her accepting who she was and adjusting to her limitation after a serious illness.  I was convinced that she just needed counseling and time to adjust.  Unfortunately when I finally did realize that she was actually seriously depressed and need medical help it she was deep into the depression and needed hospitalization.  If I had really listened to her, and set aside my own judgments, I would have realized that she needed more then just my good advice.  We could have saved a lot of pain and suffering if we had gotten help earlier.

10 Responses to Mistakes

  1. Bill says:

    I wish I had known about this. My girlfriend and I lost our baby 2 months into the pregnancy. I saw her withdraw and I tried everything I know – all of which are mistakes. She finally got help, but for me it didn’t help. She said the doc told her is was PPD, but after everything else I didn’t want to believe it. Now I can see that she was right.

  2. Mama says:

    I think that this is a great list, I really wish that my daughter’s father had something to look at like this when I was going through PPD he did all of these things while I was going through, I’m sure that he had his own depression that he was going through, as a result of mine. But I really think this is a great site, and I plan to recommend it to my friends

  3. Dustin says:

    I have been doing everything wrong on this list. It is very hard to fathom what my wife is going through and I feel like I could fix it. I am still currently going through this with my wife and I am so grateful to have found this website. I am starting to go crazy because I feel like its never going to end. Hopefully reading through the rest of this site will help me.

    • Fernando E Girardi says:

      Hi, I am new to this site but I would describe myself to be in your same situation. I feel like I am doing a lot of things wrong but I don’t know what else to do. Like you I am starting to go mad and found this site looking for help. I see that your post is quite old and would love to hear how and when you and your wife got through it.

  4. Keith says:

    The point about getting quality professional help kind of ties in with another post I made. My wife did have help and I wanted to be part of the process. When I tried to show interest and be part of it and did go to an appointment, the Dr was tight lipped and we sat there and made small talk and she wouldn’t get into anything. I suspect because I was not a patient of hers but my wife was so she didn’t want to talk about anything they had discussed in private.

    After about 2 years into my wifes PPD I started to feel depressed myself. And when I tried to get help myself, I was more or less directed to the internet and sites like this. I really feel like there is a HUGE double standard in the healthcare community. I’m starting to feel better as my wife’s condition is improving but at the same time seeing how many setbacks my wife had and still has (granted the lows aren’t as low anymore for her) I can only imagine I will too but with nowhere to turn again.

  5. Aaron says:

    It’s been 5 months… I can’t take it anymore. It just makes me so mad. I feel like she can’t just get over herself and clean the house and take care of our family.

    • Matt says:

      It’s been 19months, she’s on medication, decided to come off it without medical advice and now is as bad as the start. I’m exhausted hearing that all of her issues are my fault. Every decision has been a joint one, she seems to have forgotten that. I’m tired of her threatening to take my son from me, of taking the house, savings, etc away and then blame me for not being affectionate 2seconds later. She wants to make decisions about moving, buying a different house, but forgets that the job I have ensures that she can buy her brands that she views is her right to buy (red Valentino, Victoria beckham, etc.). Everything I have she is welcome to, I just want my wife back, not this person that is damaging everyone around her.

      I love her but it’s endless. I feel that she has taken the goodness out of our sons first 19months. Its like she’s wanting all of the attention. I speak to her through out the day, come home and I cook dinner despite the fact that we have a part time nanny. She is full of contradictions. I sometimes wish our role was reversed just for her to see what she is doing to everyone around her. Her friends avoid her at this stage as she just argues with everyone and is so so negative about everything. I’m looking for the light at th end of the tunnel, it feels endless.

  6. Steve rodriguez says:

    My son is two months old. My girlfriend of 3 years had depression before she got pregnant and was taking meds for a bit but then she got better. Once she got pregnant I started to notice she wasn’t her self, she would be very emotional and sometimes cry for no reason. She still claimed to love me even though I wasn’t the greatest boyfriend. I didn’t have a job Im a ex gang memeber and was ill with chronic gerd and a bad t spine. I did help her do things like clean help cook and other things with whatever I could. She acted fine but something was still off. After she gave birth to our son, for couple days she was fine but then she became out of control. She would yell at me the all the time tell me I wasn’t good enough ,claimed to never love me, told me she wanted us to break up and for me to fine someone else. Some days she was so lovable other days she acted up. Once she even got violent with me and threw things at me and wanted to punch me. When I saw this behavior I couldn’t believe what was going on. Her symptoms are ver moody, she can become violent but it’s rare, sleeps all day so I have to take care of our son all day and night, she barely eats, always talks about leaving / running away. And claims to have no emotions and doesn’t feel anything. She is the sweetest and most innocent girl iknow. I’ve talked to her about her having ppd she denies it but other days tells me she notices it and needs help. The day’s she’s fine if something bothers her or someone tells her something she doesn’t like that will trigger it. She told me that we would only be together if I proved to her that I changed by getting a job and showing I’m more responsible. Now I live with my dad And have a job and she lives with her mom and she says we should see other people I tried to talk her out of it but she won’t listen to me. I’m trying really hard to make this work but it’s not looking so good . I want her to get better and i know this person she is now isn’t her at all and it makes me sad to see her act this way. I just want to be a family and to see my son more often because I don’t really trust her with him since I always took care of him since she never wanted to. I know I’m not the only one going through something like this and I know if I keep trying I can succeed.

  7. Bob says:

    My wife and I are in our late 20’s and just had our first child in December 2015. He’s almost 2 months now, and is a healthy little boy. I suspected something had been going on since he was born, but didn’t want to believe it was PPD. I made a lot of the mistakes mentioned above, especially the anger. I’ve never been particularly good at holding back my feelings, and often let them boil over into frustration. After our son was born, I noticed my wife remained rather distanced from me. She’s been a fantastic mother, but our relationship has seemed strained. No matter what I have tried, she just hasn’t seemed interested in me. Last night it boiled over to the point that she slapped me while I was holding our son. It scared the crap out of both of us, and now I know the severity of her condition. I’ve tried repeatedly to get her to seek professional help, but she’s scared that if she reveals her feelings to a professional that they will take away our son. That’s the last thing I want. She’s never acted like she did last night, it’s just not her and she knows it. I’m not sure how to get us through this, and am worried that I will distance myself from her (not our son of course) because of it. I just don’t know what to do. I just want us to get back to our normally happy relationship, and especially want that loving environment for our son.

  8. Ian H says:

    My wife and I got together 20 years ago. The only deals were we’d have each others back and no kids.

    Life was great, the normal sort of up and downs, family woes, jobs and the like. Then I was informed we’re having a baby.

    Roll forward 4 years and sadly working from home meant I have done the caring for our child. The only reason I respond and do things is because I know it’s unfair.

    4 years on I have no feeling towards either of them work as long as possible and generally hate life. I provide financially and fake emotions but if I’m honest pray for the moment I can leave or they can. I now encourage my wife to go out at weekends in the hope she’ll meet someone and I take my daughter to parties and activities where the only thing people can speak about are kids.

    So it started with unwanted…I simply feel numb, unconnected and hating life. I am lying in bed circa 5am with a wife and child because yet again she’s got up in the night.

    Having had the snip, I don’t fear more kids, I simply find the thought of making love, sex or anything revolting. Who’d have thought that a man fakes it. Yes since the child came along 4 years ago or announced for that matter.

    I’d rather do anything than be at home or with them. I’ve tried medication, counselling and talking. Apparently that’s life take it or leave it.

    Having read most of this site I can relate to things but simply, however feel betrayed with a permanent reminder.

    As a positive, I think it’s best I leave. Apparently to friends I don’t present as angry but inside there’s a rage I’ve never had. I’m not an aggressive or angry person, but simply it’s destroying my life. Time will tell, but I have finally decided one bag and leave. Whether a medical used issue or not, I feel happiest when not at home, even if I have to work in the office for 48+ hrs on the trot for a project it’s better.

    Someone jokingly said having an affair would help…madness in my eyes I’d rather be celibate for life!

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