Postpartum Depression & My Partner
originally published jan 29 2021 on facebook & instagram
This is my partner, my husband. He kept my family together when I was trying to survive PPD. And it took a toll on him that is a part of our story.
I want to be very clear that talking about the impact of postpartum depression on partners/support people is not in ANY way 1) blaming the person with PPD for "causing" pain, 2) comparing our suffering, or 3) diminishing the hardship of PPD. This is a part of PPD that we don't talk about, but need to.
Depression is brutal because it can make you want to sleep all day, pull away from loved ones, and feel disconnected from the world. My partner says that he would watch me some days, just battling myself to be able to take care of our children. I always did what I had to do, but he could see the energy it took. The exhaustion that followed.
I didn't know he could see it much of the time. I didn't know that he was terrified at times by how deep in my depression that I was. For months, he did everything he could think of to take some burden off of me. He couldn't make the depression go away, but he could sit up in the middle of the night with our crying infant. He could get up at 7am with our toddler. He could cook and clean and do laundry and check in on us between every meeting once he went back to work.
I knew how much he was doing, and I felt guilty. And I also couldn't make my body or my brain do any more than I was doing. Fighting, battling, clawing my way out of it some days... he was right about what was going on inside. Depression is a physical illness as well as being in your mind.
Though he didn't have depression himself (I think), he became more and more worn down. We had little support because of COVID (we chose to not allow people into our home to keep ourselves and our babies safe) so the already exhausting time of going from one child to two was multiplied so much more than I could have ever predicted.
And he kept this up for 6 months after our baby was born, because that was how long it took to get some relief from the PPD. It didn't disappear, but it lifted enough that I could do more.
He finally admitted to me that he couldn't keep going at this pace.
It was painful for him to say it, even painful for me to hear. But it was so important. And it allowed us both to be there for one another as we figured out how to survive.
I am so grateful for this man, and for what he did and does for our family. And sad about the pain that my PPD caused him as well.
This stuff is hard.