Although a first timer at this I was aware of post natal depression. I’ve known friends in the past who have suffered from it, and was aware of it’s seriousness. It’s not surprising, seeing first hand the emotional and physical toll a pregnancy, and following birth takes on a woman, that she could remain unaffected by the experience.
My wife suffered, not so much after the birth, but throughout the entire pregnancy. Pre natal depression was not something I knew of, or had ever heard about.
As a man living with a woman who was suffering, the strain and tension was very real. I see relationships now that don’t survive it. It’s a sad outcome but one that’s all too prevalent. Especially with multiples.
I didn’t realise the extent of what my wife was dealing with internally. It was easy to put it down to hormones, although I knew she was experiencing real fear around the whole situation. It’s only recently that she has began to open up to me about it.
I now know that she tried her best to push me away, although she loves me, she was so overwhelmed with the possible negative outcomes it was me that got the brunt of it. It was difficult for me as I was also dealing with my own concerns.
What’s a man to do ?
There was definitely ways I could, and did ease the situation. Patience and tolerance became my watch words.
Getting through it for the sake of my family was everything. I’ve dealt with enough of my own internal conflicts to know that nothing she was throwing at me was personal. Anyone who has been pierced by fear and is struggling, constantly overwhelmed by negative thinking is not going to be themselves.
The best thing I could do was not struggle with her. As tempting as it was to react to her anger at times, my only job was to remain solid and conscious of what was happening. She was also dealing with the fear that I wouldn’t be able to cope and leave her with triplets and Frankie. After all I had never done the baby deal before. And we had three on the way.
A demonstration of my confidence would do more than any words of comfort I could give. As cutting as her words were at times, as hard as my pride got dinted I didn’t budge. I saw through it all.
I learned early on not to try and fix her, the best thing I could do was give her space to process what she was dealing with. And to be there when she wanted to talk.
I stayed out of self pity as best I could and carried on, for the sake of everyone under my roof.
It became a real test of our relationship. I hoped and prayed we would survive it. And I believe we have come through it both stronger. I had to hang on to my faith at times, Without which I have no idea how I could have done it.
If she’s struggling, love her without expectation. Be the man who won’t let her down. Take the punches on the chin and don’t waver. Stay out of anger and see that she’s a woman suffering and all she needs is you by her side, even when it doesn’t seem that way.
Be patient and wait for her. And when she finally opens her eyes again she’ll know you were always there. And she’ll love you even more for it.