I Asked For Help From Abbys Mom
When we got back, Abby went straight to bed and started crying. I think it was a mixture of me being a blockhead and her feeling guilty. I was at the end of my rope and wanted to do everything in my power to help her, but every time I did, I got frustrated and acted like an insensitive jerk. So, I did the next best thing and recruited Abbys mom, Kathleen.
Thank God for Kathleen!
Kathleen went into our room where Abby was crying and they had a good long talk. Abby spilled her guts about everything she had been feeling for the last year. Her mother listened patiently. By the end of their conversation, Abby decided it was time to see a doctor.
Abby went to the doctor, was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Psychosis, and was prescribed medication. We still struggled a bit at first. Its not like the medication was an instant fix. Getting the diagnosis and medication was only the first step. It was a gradual change, but Abbys old personality started to come back. We were able to address everything rationally and move forward.
Postpartum Depression In Fathers
Paternal postpartum depression has not been studied as intently as its maternal counterpart. In men, postpartum depression is typically defined as “an episode of major depressive disorder occurring soon after the birth of a child”. The cause may be distinct in males. Symptoms of postpartum depression in men are extreme sadness, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and suicidal thoughts. Postpartum depression in men is most likely to occur 3â6 months after delivery, and is correlated with maternal depression, meaning that if the mother is experiencing postpartum depression, then the father is at a higher risk of developing the illness as well. Postpartum depression in men leads to an increase risk of suicide, while also limiting healthy infant-father attachment. Men who experience PPD can exhibit poor parenting behaviors, distress, and reduce infant interaction. Reduced paternal interaction can later lead to cognitive and behavioral problems in children.
Not Cut Out For Motherhood
My wifes main concern was the suicidal thoughts she started having after her OB-GYN prescribed Zoloft.
About a week after starting Zoloft and telling her OB that she was having intrusive thoughts, the doctor doubled her dose.
Alexis started researching alternate treatment options and made an appointment to review them with her OB. She also wanted to level with the doctor Alexis wanted to say she felt abandoned in the delivery room, and tell her about the PTSD diagnosis.
It didnt go well. The doctor was so offended that she told Alexis to go on birth control and not have any more babies. She told Alexis, Youre not cut out for motherhood.
When Alexis came out of the exam room, it was as if all the anxiety and stress was gone. I asked Alexis why she was so relaxed. She said she knew what she had to do.
Alexis told me she needed to take everything one day at a time. That night I took a picture of her looking at our perfect baby girl. They were looking into each others eyes. Alexis was smiling with her perfect smile.
I sent the picture to her parents to let them know that I thought she had turned a corner. I thought she was going to be alright.
Adriana cried and cried that night. I sat in the nursery rocking her and singing Coldplay songs to her. Alexis came into the nursery at about 3:30 in the morning and said Pop, youre so good with her. I dont know how you do it. Youre going to be the best dad. When she falls asleep will you please come snuggle with me?
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Can Men Get Postpartum Depression
Is male postpartum depression real? According to experts and scientific research, it actually does exist. A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 10 percent of men worldwide showed signs of depression from the first trimester of their wife’s pregnancy through six months after the child was born. The number spiked to a whopping 26 percent during the three- to six-month period after the baby’s arrival.
“That’s more than twice the rate of depression we usually see in men,” explains James F. Paulson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, and lead author of the survey, which assessed 43 studies of more than 28,000 fathers worldwide. “The fact that so many expecting and new dads go through it makes it a significant public-health concernone that physicians and mental-health providers have largely overlooked.”
She Has Suicidal Thoughts
- I wish I could just end this.
- Death sounds better than this. At least then I wont feel anything.
This is a tragedy so saddening that I cant let myself think about it for very long.
Here is the reality: women do commit suicide because of PPD. It doesnt happen often, but it does happen.
A quick search for postpartum depression suicide will turn up thousands of articles and news reports about women who took their own life to escape postpartum depression, leaving heartbroken fathers and children behind.
Suicide is the ultimate escape, and women who struggle with postpartum depression for long enough can and do get desperate enough to think about that escape.
In nearly all of these cases, suicidal thoughts are the culmination of all the other symptoms going untreated for too long Hopelessness, loneliness, regret, low self-worth. They become too much to live with, literally.
Has your wife shared suicidal thoughts? Read this:
Through Husband Help Haven, I have had the unfortunate experience of talking to people who plan to commit suicide. I always do my best to help and contact local authorities when the person is in the US.
If your wife shares suicidal thoughts, however insignificant they seem, take them very seriously. Dont be afraid of them and dont avoid them. Confront them and ask her about them.
How Suicidal Thoughts Progress
But then, shell start to entertain those thoughts. She might fantasize about ending things, thinking more about what it would be like.
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I Was So Wrong About Ppd
It was as if Post Partum Depression became the new catch phrase in the media and courts of law. Before my own family experienced PPD, the only thing I associated it with was something that made women crazy. PPD had been lumped in with temporary insanity in the courtrooms and on the news. So why would I ever think my wife had PPD when I knew she wasnt capable of committing crimes like the ones I had heard about on TV? Now, I now know better. Abbys struggle has taught me that there are all different levels of PPD.I do NOT share this with you for pity. Thats the last thing I want. I am just trying to give my honest take on what the year our family dealt with PPD was like as a husband. As husbands, it may be tempting to chalk our wives PPD symptoms up to hormones and exhaustion. Abby and I both figured everything she was feeling was completely normal and would pass.
But it didnt pass. Her suffering not only continued, but intensified. The crying, lack of ability to bond, complete loss of sex drive, sensitivity, and her seeming withdrawal from life itself took its toll on our family.
I feel like it is important to add that there were times when Abby could hide her struggle with PPD from others. When she had to, she was able to put on a good face and appear to be her old self.
Dads & Depression: Know The Signs
Symptoms of depression can look different in men and women. Some of the more common signs in men include:
- Anger,irritability or aggression.
- Loss ofinterest in work or favorite activities.
- Workingall the time.
- Actingdistant or withdrawing from family and friends.
- Feelingfrustrated, discouraged or cynical.
- Feelingsad, hopeless or overwhelmed.
Men who have a history of depression might be at greaterrisk of postpartum depression. So are new fathers whose partners also havepostpartum symptoms.
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Acknowledging Postpartum Depression Is Always The First Step To Recovery
The first major turning point in my wifes journey through postpartum depression came when she realized what shed been struggling with.
Some women already know, deep down, that something is wrong. They dont want to admit its PPD because of the stigma attached to mental illness. They might not say this out loud, but the thought is, Im better than this, if I just try harder Ill be better, depression doesnt happen to me.
The day that Kalee came to me and said, I think I have postpartum depression, suddenly everything made sense.
Other women have heard of PPD, but they dont know the symptoms. As soon as they do some reading, it clicks and suddenly everything makes sense THIS is whats been making things so hard.
For both types of women, discovering and acknowledging that they struggle with postpartum depression is the first step.
Before my wife knew she had postpartum depression, we had no idea what to do. We knew something was wrong, we thought one or both of us must be doing something wrong. I blamed her, she blamed me. I blamed myself, she blamed herself. It was a vicious and futile cycle.
The day that Kalee came to me and said, I think I have postpartum depression, suddenly everything made sense. We had something to put all the pain on it wasnt either of us, it was this mental illness that we didnt know about.
Suddenly there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression
A doctor’s evaluation, based on specific diagnostic criteria
Early diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression are important for women and their baby. Women should see their doctor if they continue to feel sad and have difficulty doing their usual activities for more than 2 weeks after delivery or if they have thoughts about harming themselves or the baby. If family members and friends notice symptoms, they should talk with the woman and encourage her to talk to a doctor.
When women go for their postdelivery visit, doctors may ask them to fill out a questionnaire designed to identify depression. If women are depressed, doctors may also do blood tests to determine whether a disorder, such as a thyroid disorder, is causing the symptoms.
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I Lost My Wife To Postpartum Depression
Heres what I wish I had known, and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.
As I write this, its the night before Mothers Day, a day I dread each year.
I dread it because my wife the mother of my 6-year-old daughter is gone.
Each year, I fight back tears as my daughter lies in my bed asking questions about why her mommy is in heaven. Its a question that, quite frankly, offers no sensible answer for a child. She cant wrap her head around it.
Nighttime is usually full of fear for my beautiful daughter Adriana. Its the time of day that shes not a normal 6 year old.
Every night, after tickle attacks and belly laughs, Adriana complains of a stomachache, sore throat, or headache. She becomes restless and her breathing becomes heavy. The symptoms shes experiencing are from anxiety.
Adriana lost so much at such a young age. Her mom died when she was just 5 1/2 weeks old. Going to school each day, seeing other parents, and hearing teachers refer to moms at home are all constant reminders of what she doesnt have.
My daughter fears losing me, and all the other adults in her life. Shes afraid that shell be all alone in this world a child fending for herself, missing everyone she loves. While this fear might be irrational for most kids, its very real for her.
How Long Does Postpartum Last
Its not uncommon to experience mood changes the first few days after birth, but these symptoms usually resolve on their own within the first 2 weeks after birth.
When these symptoms linger beyond 2 weeks and start interfering with your day-to-day life, you may be experiencing postpartum. Symptoms typically appear within 4 weeks after birth, but for some, they can start as early as the first 72 hours.
In some cases, the symptoms may not show up until 6 months or a year after delivery.
If a new parent is living with postpartum, the symptoms usually wont improve without treatment.
Postpartum is typically treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. These tools are often successful, but they can take several weeks to work.
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How Common Is Postpartum Depression In Men
PPD affects between 10%20% of new mothers. And while PPD in men is less talked about, its not rare.
But unlike the birthing parent, fathers arent routinely screened for PPD, which may lead to more men underreporting symptoms.
PPD is a far more common phenomenon in men than people give it credit for, explains psychiatrist Saqib Bajwa. Within 3 to 6 months of the birth of a child, 8%10% of fathers tend to suffer from an undefined range of powerful emotions out of which depression tops the charts.
While PPD has well-established criteria for diagnosing it in women, it does not have that same firm criterion for men. Currently, the exact number of how many men develop PPD is unclear.
Being that this is not discussed or talked about often, there is not accurate information on exactly how common this is, says therapist . Often, men are misdiagnosed with other mental health disorders.
With research still ongoing, psychologists and psychiatrists are still not sure what the causes or risk factors are for PPD in men. However, there are a few factors they believe could make a big impact on PPD in fathers.
Help For Paternal Postpartum Depression
Unfortunately, many men laugh off the idea of paternalpostpartum depression. And even if they accept its the real deal, they might notadmit its affecting them.
But theres nothingshameful about postpartum depression, Dr. Bea stresses. Fatherhood is a hugenew job, with long hours and no pay, and society doesnt do a good enough jobsupporting men in this role.
To maintain a positive mood when youre in the thick of newfatherhood, Dr. Bea recommends focusing on the self-care basics:
Adjusting to a new baby takes time. Its normal for yourmood to be a little rocky in the process. But if your symptoms last more than twoto three weeks, consider help from a counselor or psychotherapist.
Asking for helpdoesnt mean youre helpless, Dr. Bea points out. It means youre doing whatyou need to do so you can be the best partner and best dad you can be.
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Do You Have Male Postpartum Depression
Do you think yourself or a loved one has male postpartum depression? The best course of action is getting helpfor the sake of the dad’s mental health and the overall well-being of the family. Watch out for these symptoms and speak with a doctor if you’re concerned.
- Has he become uncharacteristically irritable or agitated?
- Is he distancing himself from his partner and the baby?
- Is he gambling, drinking, taking drugs, or engaging in other reckless behaviors?
- Does he have a personal or family history of depression?
- Is he sad, tearful, or uninterested in doing things that he used to enjoy?
- Does he make comments that he feels worthless or shares suicidal thoughts?
- Does he spend more time than usual at work?
- Is Mom suffering from postpartum depression too?
Signs Your Wife Has Postpartum Depression
Ill be honest with you Im not a doctor and Im also not a mom. Instead, Im a husband and dad who suffered alongside my wife with undiagnosed postpartum depression.
Im not going to tell you the symptoms of postpartum depression according to the textbook Instead, I want to share the signs I saw that all pointed to PPD, even though I didnt know it at the time. Side note, my wife read through this post before I published it to give her stamp of approval.
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Postpartum Depressive Symptoms And Associated Factors In Married Women: A Cross
- 1Institute for Community Heath Research, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue, Vietnam
- 2Faculty of Public Heath, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue, Vietnam
- 3Danang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, Danang, Vietnam
Introduction: Postpartum depression among women is a common mental health concern. It occurs at a time of major life change, coupled with the increased responsibilities associated with the care of a newborn infant. In Vietnam, the prevalence of depressive symptoms after giving birth has not been fully investigated. Research in the Northern provinces, in Ho Chi Minh City, and in Hue suggests postnatal depressive symptoms among women are common. This research aims to estimate the prevalence of PPD symptoms among married women in one Vietnam city and identify the social and personal factors associated with postpartum depressive symptoms.
Results: EPDS scores indicated the prevalence of PPD symptoms was 19.3% . Among women with PPD symptoms, 37.9% had suicidal thoughts in the previous seven days. Multivariate logistic regression indicated that the following key factors were significantly associated with PPD symptoms: Not being able to rely on their husband for help, having a husband who does not spend time to discuss problems, having anxiety about matters other than the birth, not exercising after giving birth, and having an ill baby.