Postpartum Depression’s Impact On Marriages & Divorce

Share Button
post partum depression

© Fotolia - sparky

Did you know that the first year postpartum has the highest divorce rate than any other time during a marriage? I imagine this must be due to the enormous stress and major role transitioning that occurs when a couple has a new baby. For those of us with postpartum depression, the stresses on a marriage grow even larger.

I recall that my own husband was very confused by my illness. He didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I was no longer behaving like the person he married, and I’m sure he worried whether I’d ever go back to that person. I’m grateful we made it through that horrible time.

I heard from a reader and recent postpartum depression survivor whose husband has just asked for a separation. She’d like to hear from you.

“Although he hasn’t directly said it I feel like the postpartum depression played a major role in creating distance between us. Most of the stories I read are about wonderfully supportive husbands and I wonder if other women have been or are in similar situations and maybe have advice?”

Have any of you been here? Can you share constructive thoughts about what you went through, whether it worked out in the end or it didn’t?

Share Button
About Katherine Stone

is the creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. MamaRobinJ says:

    I've been there. By the time my son was 18 months things were so bad my husband and I came very close to splitting up. I know now that it was because my main issue was anger, and I was taking it out on him. I don't even really remember this, but I can see how of course it would have been hard to live with me.
    What helped me:
    – Getting help, finally. Medication took the edge off and things got better.
    – I learned a lot about PPD and shared information with him so that he understood more what it was about and that it wasn't personal.
    – Asking for help. There were some things that were just too hard and they made me snap. If I asked him for help, it made for a much less tense situation.
    Without knowing more about your particular experience with PPD it's hard to say more, but just know that we went from a really rocky time to a great place where he's my biggest supporter and totally understands (as much as he can when it's not him experiencing it).
    Happy to talk more if it would help. If you don't want to post here but want to share a bit more with Katherine, I can probably offer more specifics about my experience that might help.

    • I’m going through something similar with my ex. She was diagnosed after baby. My son is now 18 months. She blames me for everything. She brings up past issues. She doesn’t see what I try doing for her and nothing she says to hurt me ever matters. But when I reach a limit of I can’t keep being a doormat and snap then she holds it against me. She’s convinced it’s me and what’s worse is the ppl in her life also says it’s me. I just don’t understand it bc I’ve wanted nothing but a family and seeker help from ppl online and friends. She tells me she doesn’t want to be with me and she no longer loves me. She’s 23 and I’m 29. She uses my family against me and what’s worse is she uses my son against me. She try’s to keep him from me them tells ppl that I’m ok with not seeing him. She deliberately try’s to go out of her way to hurt me. I really tried everything I could to be with her. The only other thing is to not talk to her and give her space and pray that works.

      • LouisRev says:

        I’m in the same predicament, she’s from Eastern Europe before she gave birth she was telling me to be patient, that she didn’t know how she would react to the pregnancy, prior to the pregnancy she had these four day mood swings, from an angel she became a devil, but this took it to a hole new level. She started to change three weeks after giving birth, she was very hard to live with very angry. Three months later her brother died with his two sons driving at a very high speed in Europe. She was not able to go because of the newborn so I went to represent the family. She has no family in this country, when I got back she was fine this only lasted for a few weeks then the anger started again. I have my daughter from my first marriage living with us, she’s 13. In the beginning after birth all of her anger was on me. Afterwards it turn to her and was getting very abusive. It’s been 3 months since she moved out and got herself and the newborn which is 10 months now there own apartment. I’m seeing the baby three days a week now. I’m trying to get her to go to therapy but she refuses to go, she feels Eastern Europe women are strong enough to solve there own problems. She is asking me to prove my love and give my daughter to the birth mother which she has a restraining order against or put our daughter in boarding school. I will not be able to ever bring my daughter to the house we live in, she wants me to sell the house that I built and buy a new home with her put it in both of our names and has to money to put towards it. I fell like she’s walking all over me. The age difference is twenty years she’s 34 I’m 54. I had enough of this situation its to much.

        • LouisRev – I’m so sorry you are going through this. If your wife refuses help, it still might be very beneficial for you to start some counseling to figure out how to handle all of this. You have a lot on your plate and there’s no reason you should have to face this alone.

      • longlam81 says:

        im going thru the same thing. im also giving space and time while praying at the same time. hope you see this and let me know how it went for you.

  2. MaineMomma says:

    Something I frequently tell friends of mine is that "if we didn't kill each other during that first year, I don't think we ever will!" Things were horrible for my husband and me after my daughter was born. I "spoiled" him right up until I gave birth. I did all the cooking, cleaning, etc. and honestly didn't mind. He was free to have a social life with his friends and in fact, I encouraged it. Then I gave birth, had a brief 3-month maternity leave, returned to work, was laid off right away, and returned home to spend more time with my colicky baby. People considered it a blessing, but I felt overwhelming anxiety and worthlessness. I felt like I contributed nothing to my family if I was unable to work. I also knew I was simply not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom. We struggled with money, colic, and all the normal adjustments that first time parents go through.
    I expected him to step up his game and help out with the cooking and cleaning, but I never asked for it until I was having yet another lengthy discussion with him (in tears) about all the things I wish he would have done but didn't. I had all this anger toward him, but I never voiced it until it was so bottled up that it just exploded out of me and my poor husband was left staring at me like he was in the Twilight Zone because he was so confused about what was going on and why I hadn't spoken up about it sooner. He told me every time that if I would just ask, he would do whatever he could to help. I also resented everything other than his job, which was providing our only source of income. He was also in school full time, pursuing a side business (to make up for my lack of salary) and still trying to have a bit of a social life. I resented each of those things, even though they were perfectly healthy things for him to want to pursue. This resentment brewed, festered and grew until I honestly thought we would not make it as a family. But one day I decided to stop blaming and resenting him for everything and to change my own behavior.
    I began to see a therapist and he helped me really look within myself and start to address not only my postpartum depression, but also my obsessive-compulsive disorder and extreme perfectionism. He helped me strive for "good enough" instead of perfection. But most of all, my therapist held up a giant mirror so that I could see my own flaws and focus on fixing them rather than wasting my time trying to fix my husband. The biggest revelation I had was that I resented my husband for not noticing that I had severe postpartum depression, but I was going out of my way to hide it from him so he wouldn't consider me weak.
    The day I spoke up and owned my issues is the day is started getting better. In life, we can inspire and affect other people, but we cannot change them. Change must come from within. Shifting my focus allowed me to stop blaming him for everything and to work on falling in love with him all over again. We are not 100% back to "the good old days" yet, but we're moving in the right direction.

  3. My son is 30 months today. I spent the first 15 months (or more) of his life so wrapped up in PPD that I couldn't see straight. My partner has never been the kind of person who could deal with my emotional side and the PPD only made this relationship dynamic more difficult. We're still together, but we didn't get that survival bond that you read about (i.e., we made it through this so we can make it through anything), in fact even as I've come out of the PPD we've become further apart than ever. I think there are many factors to this but some are: the fact that the "me" post-PPD is not the same me as before (or maybe moreso her perception of me is not the same); the ongoing stigma of the PPD; the relationships around us that were ruined because of the PPD; body issues (related to breastfeeding, the c-section, and just general post-baby body changes). And these issues are compounded by other life stressors like financial problems. She says I need to see a therapist to deal with *my* issues (something we can't afford), and I think we would benefit from seeing someone together for *our* issues (also unaffordable).
    I don't have any answers for you, but I can certainly commiserate.

  4. Heather says:

    I have been there too. My depression started during my first pregnancy so I was a mess before she was even born and of course it just got worse. My husband was so used to me being the calm, collected and together one that he completely didn't know what to do. One of our biggest issues was breast feeding; my daughter had a very hard time latching on and absolutely no patience so she would scream non stop while I would be trying to feed her. With my depression this made everything so much worse. My daughter and I pretty much just cried together all day long. The pediatrician finally said 'just give her formula, this is not good for anyone!' so I decided to stop the breast feeding. This really angered my husband. He couldn't believe I wouldn't do what was best for our daughter. He wouldn't hear from anyone (my mother, the pediatrician, his mother, etc) that it was way more important for me and my daughter to like each other! Through all of this my depression just got worse and worse, I stopped going to work, I was sleeping all day, I wasn't doing housework, etc. Of course, he was then worried I would lose my job and his anxiety went through the roof. He was really at the end of his rope and didn't know what to do. He finally with the help of my mom called my OB and got me in with a psychiatrist and therapist.
    Once I started medication that helped tremendously. Things got better over time. I do wonder if he hadn't been so scarred from his parents divorce and determined to not put his children through that, if we might have separated. We also did a lot of couples therapy which helped him understand what I was going through. It also helped me understand why he was having so much trouble with my depression.
    When we had our second child we made a lot of decisions before hand (like not breastfeeding so I could stay on my meds, me going to half time at work after maternity leave for 6 months so I had some time to myself, etc.) The postpartum depression was not as bad as the first time but it was still there. We also continued our couples therapy during this time which helped A LOT.
    Things are much better now that our kids are 2 and 4, they are a little more independent and sleep through the night. We also did a lot of work in couples therapy which has really paid off. I think we are on the right track but it is getting much better.
    One thing I did learn through this whole experience was that you have to put getting through the PPD first before anyone else's feelings. I had to finally tell my husband that 'I can't worry about you right now, I have to deal with myself.' You have to forgive yourself for the PPD and mourn for what you've lost. For myself, I had to let go of the guilt about not liking my daughter for the first few months of her life. I also had to mourn for the loss of the 'perfect' new mom experience that I thought I was supposed to have.
    I'm sending lots of hugs and support your way.

  5. We did not make it. In hindsight, I doubt we would have anyway. 6 years in and 1 child later, I/we tried for as long as possible.
    My postpartum experience profoundly changed me and what I was willing to tolerate for both myself and my son. He never understood my ppd, nor tried to educate himself. He shut down when he couldn't 'fix' the problem instantly. I was left feeling like he would not stand by me through the worst & he used it against me. Refused help, therapy& resources until it was so far gone that it wasn't fixable.
    We are now gearing up for a custody battle in which he will use my illness against me. I am proud of the fact that I sought help in the form of a great psychiatrist and therapist. It is my hope that some day he will recognize that too. Perhaps not, but I can't change the fact that I became ill. All I have control of is insuring that I am the most healthy for my son and continue to be.
    I wish I could say that he was my rock& we weathered the storm, but that is not reality. Congrats to those who do. Yet, if you don't, you will be ok. That I can promise.

    • Thank you for the reassurance. My husband has been a complete and total jerk. He is not understanding at all. My pregnancy was so difficult and my son is now 13 months old. My life with him right now feels like pure hell. Sometimes I I think he wants to push me over the edge too not be bothered with me. Thankfully I have family and friends who have dealt with mental illness and understand. Hopefully within the next few months I can be rid of this dead weight.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Wow – thanks for the large variety of comments.
    @MamaJ you asked for more specifics – here they are…
    My daughter is about to turn 2 and I've had PPD since she was around 5months. I'm medicated & have a great psychiatrist and therapist, (we've also attended couples counselling in the last year). I've been properly treated for about 9-10 months now (under treated by GP originally).
    We've been together for 8 years and married for 5.
    I think its interesting that several of the women think that the difficulties are solely caused by them or their PPD. I'm not judging – just not necessarily what I expected.
    @Dana – PPD has changed me dramatically too. I'm still in the stages of trying to figure out what I do and don't like about the new me and how to get back the parts I miss. You also mentioned body issues which are HUGE (excuse the pun) with me too. I gained more wait from my meds than I did from the pregnancy which I find incredibly depressing & unfair.
    @Heather – Your last paragraph is incredibly wise and SO true. I wish I had read it months ago!
    @Joan – I've been worried about the PPD being used against me in custody battles but so far he hasn't even mentioned going there (probably because I don't think full time custody fits into the life he imagines for himself). Thanks for the reassurance!

  7. My husband and I had the worst year of our 17 yr marriage when I had my daughter and had severe PPD. Mostly it was the stress of me being so mad and irritated about the PPD and also my husband had to get up with our daughter for 2 yrs because I was so zonked out on meds. We went to a counselor a few times and it helped some. Mostly time and patience mended things. He was willing to stick things out no matter what. I just wanted to run away from it all. But in the end, it's made us stronger. Just know that things one day will be better so hand in there.

  8. Survivor says:

    I would try to visualize the separation as a step to healing the marriage. You aren't divorced yet. Perhaps he would be open to attending a support group for family members coping with mental illness.

  9. My wife is going through postpartum and has become very hard for me to communicate to her. I feel that she doesnt trust me and I am the worst possible person in the planet. At this point, she doesn't want to work things out and wants a divorce. We've been seperated for about 2 weeks now. I try to stay involved and help her as much I can, but she litterally wants me out of her life.

    I went one week with out calling her or telling her where I was at and her jelousy kicked it in and just wanted to keep in contact with me by constantly calling me or text messaging. I know my wife loves me or the way she puts it, " I love you, I am just not in love with you." There other signs that I get from my wife that encourage me to continue with her but, she continues bringing up divorce.

    I dont know what to do. I sometimes feel that its me and cant accept a divorce or she is really that sick that she doesn't realize what she is doing. I am really lost in this whole situation

    • I’m in the exact same scenario. Just not separated as of yet. We have a 7 month old baby. My heart is torn by the thought of divorce. I try to be a good listener, I don’t think it’s enough when she doesn’t admit her ppd. Good luck Carlos.

    • I to am in the same situation but we are still together, just. We’re not married but have been together for 10 years and have 2 girls aged 3 and 20 months. We’ve been having problems for about 2 months but she has said she has been feeling this way for longer but she hasn’t said anything. The girls and her are my life and I’m staying put to make sure we give it all before giving up. Every time I mention ppd and us going to see a doctor together she gets angry with me and says that she hasn’t got it now but may of had it just after the birth. I’m not the only one who thinks this may be what’s wrong it’s also her family but she refuses to talk about it. I don’t want to lose her but I don’t know what to do.

  10. After struggling for 13 months and 5 dif kinds of med’s my wife took the kids and left. She had it milder with our first child. But nothing like the 2nd. She closed up and wouldn’t talk or let me try and help. All I do know is pray that maybe the next med’s will work better or it slowly goes away and she comes home or is open to slowly trying again. Maybe talking to someone together. Does anybody know if old feeling cone back at all ?

    • Jay… My son is now 3yrs old and for the first 2yrs of his life I suffered from PPD and during pregnancy I suffered with depression and I still struggle with it today due to Graves Diesease (thyroid diesease) and unbalanced thyroid levels. I too pushed my fiance away and didnt want any help from him or anybody else. I was a very angry person. I had a 13yr old and 42yrs old when i found out i was pregnant and had a hard time adjusting to a new life and felt my old life was over. I had no feelings for anyone..anything..except my daughter but especially my fiance. My feelings did return as strong as they were before and it happened out of the blue. My fiance however is very hurt and angry from being pushed away for so long. Hes now not sure of his feelings. Its very scary and sad to think i could lose him. It didnt feel like ”ME”doing it. He sleeps on the couch and refuses to come to bed. So for me…i got my feelings back and im hoping he does too. Sad that out of creating something so wonderful and amazing so many struggles..battles and loses have to happen. Shouldnt be this way.
      Good luck to you!

  11. keiran crawford says:

    My partner is currently suffering from pnd and has taken steps into beating the illness. Just want to tell the men to just support there women, if your feeling pushed away you have to remember its not her fault and on the contrary to how you maybe feeling all she wants and needs is your love and support and just to be by her side. The worst thing you can do is to blame or abandon her!! It is the worst thing for a new family to go through but if you get through it just proves yor relationship is unbreakable and theres nothing you cant get through together. Please just remember why you chose her to be the mother of your children, support her and be there and things will get better.

    • How do have her seek help if she denies there is a problem??

      • Same question, how do you get her the help if she is in constant denial. For her to seek help is some kind of “battle lost”. I know in my case, my wife will never seek help, she’s in this cloud of hatred, denial, distrust and mostly so disconnected from the reality or the facts that it almost seems like she’s been living with someone else not me!…Just a very very distorted view of the real events. She has filed for divorce and there is nothing I can do. All out friends, coworkers, doctor, everyone is shocked…still can;t do anything until she realizes…

        I’ve tried counselling (for myself) and to understand it better, talked to professionals around the globe on what to do, how to communicate, but nothing works…she’s made up her mind to end it all…and she can;t come up with a single reason.

  12. I do not think I suffer ppd however I feel I would like to have your advise. The time before, during and after pregnancy has been a little difficult. My mom was diagnosed with cancer before I got pregnant and she died when I was about 3 months pregnant. She was very excited about becoming a grandmother (she never knew i would be having a girl which makes me really sad). I was very closed to my mom and I miss her every second of my life. After having my baby girl I was of course tired and irritable. My husband helped me very much at the beginning, but now he has relaxed a lot. My little girl is now 6 months and she is the light of my life. She sleeps all night and she is very good girl. I have a nnay that helps me twice a week plus nursery (starting next week). I feel I am very fortunate, however lately I feel I cant stand my husband. Pretty much every comment he makes annoys me. He makes loud noises that sometimes scare my baby (he talks loud on the phone,sneezes very loud,etc). I have tried to ask him very politely not to be too loud but he is not willing to change. It irritates me that he not know how to calm my baby when crying, or that when she cries he takes his time before aiding her. I feel that everything that he does is wrong. He forgets to add vitamins to my baby bottle. He keep asking me stuff that is very basic (example: the baby’s clothes are all wet and he asks whether he should change it or not). All this small things he does or does not irritates me very much). Any advice.?

  13. My Brothers wife just had their first baby. Their marriage has plummeted downwards steadily for the 5 months since their child was born.
    Recently things have turned nasty. She wants a divorce immediately. Yesterday he was served notice from her lawyer that she would like full custody of their son.
    My Brother is very unsure of what he should do. They were very happily married until the child was born. He doesn’t want a divorce however His wife refuses to see a doctor or therapist.
    He has offered many times to go to counselling. He has reached out to her family and friends however that is a narrow group.

    How does he convince her that there is something bigger here? how can he get her to a therapist?

  14. Jennifer Lacey says:

    My daughter was in complete denial of her psychosis. This led to her husband getting temporary custody and then full custody and a divorce. After months and months, she finally got the help she needed and is more than wonderful now.
    Now what? She is living in another state (with us) and is trying to get shared custody. What a dilemma.
    Any advice?

    • Kelly. The best thing Ur brother can do is make sure he’s there for the child and forget about her. There will be nothing he can do there. She will have to realize it herself. I’m in the same boat and my ex. She’s said and done so many things. Blames me for all of it. What made it worse was I fed into it. I should of just cut it off. Only time and her not being with him will make her realize what she can have. That’s the only way ppl miss someone. Not when they are chasing after

  15. I developed postpartum depression during my last trimester with my first baby. My now husband was away for the entire last trimester at the other side of the country. Then when baby was born we moved to the country to a house we couldn’t afford and he left again. Between him being gone and being home working a terrible job for no money… ny depression got worse. I was all alone with no friends or family. I was so angry all the time and took it out on him. Then I got pregnant again very unplanned. We took steps to better our situation. We moved back near town to an affordable house. But now we are separated. Still living together because he won’t leave…but he has told me he has fallen out of love with me. He says we are a bad match and my anger is too out of control. I am through the depression now but if I show the slightest anger or hurt towards him for any reason he can’t handle it. My depression ruined our marriage as far as I see it. I have looked for free counselling feom our local community counselling service but the wait list is like..six months. I recognize that he is now suffering depression and I basically ruined him…and he wants to be friends and have me never again feel angerbor any negative emotion….which seems redicukous to me. So…now I dont know. I am so lost and confused. I cant move om because we still live together…and I can’t move forward because I am stuck in this limbo of walk I on eggshells…not knowing how to communicate and having to wonder if I should hold on or move on and how to do either.

  16. Hello I really need a some one who can help me I’m going to a depressed right now .I just had my baby girl she’s only 24 days and my husband decided to left me when she was18 days and since that day I’m going throw a stress,depressed that I keep asking to myself what did i I did wrong for him just to leave me if everything seem to be so nice as a couple I had ask him and he only said that he doesn’t understand himself either . Just told me to forget him from what he has done but and that he need some time. I can stop crying everyday since he left I been trying to focus on some other things and nothing works for me I’m praying so that everything gets in place as it was my heart it’s a pain that I can’t explain my own self

    • I’m so, so sorry, Rachel. I think talking about all of this with a counselor could really help you right now. You’re going through a lot, and talking with someone about it all could be very healing for you. We also have a private forum where you can talk with other women who are experiencing postpartum depression and related illnesses. Keep reaching out, find support wherever you can. You are not alone, and you will get through this. Here’s the link to our private forum:

  17. I lost my father when I was pregnant with our fifth child. At the same time my mom was battling alzheimers disease and went into a home (no longer having my father to care for her). When I had my son I got ppd very bad. My husband wanted an easy and quick fix. He told me that I needed to snap out of it, that the children needed me. This was constant and hurt me very much. My baby is now 9 months old and I am better. I am seeking help via a counsellor and feel whole again. The only problem is that my husband still sees me as the depressed person. He says I am not the same, and that he isnt in love with me anymore. He says that he wants to be with someone new and continues to bring up everything that happened when I was depressed. The other day he mey a woman at the bar and was making out with her. Now he is moving out of our house. Last night I told him I wanted to start fresh and move on together with our lives and our kids. He just looked at me with hatred. What can I do? Help!

    • Ellie — I’m so glad you’re feeling whole again, but I’m sorry about the issues with your spouse. Therapy is a good place to work through this and get guidance and support. Can you convince your spouse to attend a few therapy sessions with you?

      • We had discussed it, but also thought that it might also make things worse by rehashing everything again and again. Though at this point now I’m not sure that he is still open to it..

  18. Ever since our daughter was born Jan 2013 and our son in June 2015, my wife has not liked me at all. We haven’t had sex in 4yrs ( children through IVF). No hugs, no kisses, no touch, although we sleep in the same bed. She has become like a roommate. I pamper her, I am a very loving father, we don’t drink smoke or do drugs, she works days and I work nights. She says now that she doesn’t know if she loves me anymore. She says just keep helping with the kids. I am not ugly or out of shape- 6’1″ 190 lbs. I am scared of divorce b/c I went through it numerous times as a child. I would love to talk with anybody out there who has similar experiences. I have been miserably depressed the whole time. Thank you.

  19. Hello, I don’t usually do this but here is the story to my step-daughter. She is a young military mom/wife who got served a TRO and divorce papers within two weeks of each other along with getting escorted out of her home, from her son all because her husband didn’t support, agree not understand that she was not herself because of her postpartum depression…here is her link of the story. She is currently in San Diego, CA struggling to find an attorney that will help her and that she can afford. She was a house wife and a stay at home mom with no job, not to mention her son was born with health issues. Please take a look and if there is ANY way you can help that would be amazing. Thank you for your time…

  20. Wondering if anyone can help or shed light. When my wife was 8 months pregnant she walked out on me. This came as a complete shock to me. She never mentioned that she was unhappy and I had no idea she was thinking of leaving. We rarely to never fought and I thought we were happy. That was 7 months ago and my adorable son is now healthy and six months old. To this day my wife has not been willing to work on our marriage or so anything to try and salvage it. She filed for divorce less than a month after leaving and we are now officially divorced. She has lost a lot of weight and (to me at least) seems to be in a depressed place and often cries when I see her to swap my son. We are both amazing parents and both of us have acknowledged that to each other. I have tried everything to get her to reconsider. I fought hard to save our marriage for 5 months and she didn’t budge an inch and everything I did only seemed to push her further away. We were high school sweethearts and best friends together 14 years and married 5 years. I have continued to give her emotional support and let her know I am here for her if she needs anything, including a listening ear or shoulder to cry on. I have also continued to tell her I am willing to work on things if she wants too. I am not sure what to do at this point. Do I give up hope? How long do I hold out hope? How long can this last before she gets healthy? I love her incredibly deeply and unconditionally. I also love my son and he is my guiding light. I just want a chance to be a happy and complete family with her, but I am finding difficulty in the unknown. Thanks for the help!

    • Heather King says:

      Hello Rob,

      If you are seeing depression and weight loss, frequent crying, etc…your ex wife needs help. If she has not seen a doctor or therapist, she needs to be encouraged to do so. She can only get better if she gets help. Of course, you can’t force that on her but encouraging her to talk with someone about her symptoms if what you can do. You have been through a lot of pain and I hope along with you that this gets better for all of you.

      • Thanks Heather, your kind words really do mean A LOT. Her dad has actually forced both of us to see a psychologist. She has been seeing one for about 3 months. I study psychology so I know therapy can take awhile and I’m having trouble putting all my hope in one psychologist, especially since some therapists are much better and effective than others. Is relationship issues and decisions this drastic and life altering very common among PPD? Thanks again for the help and advice, you have no idea how much it means these days.

        • Heather King says:

          Drastic relationship decisions are somewhat common because of how anxious and depressed these postpartum illnesses can make someone feel. It changes how you think, what you think you know. When you feel in some kind of fight or flight mode all the time, it effects everything. That isn’t always why people make these decisions, but it can be part of it, yes. And you’re welcome. I’m glad to help.

  21. RobinsHood says:

    Hopefully someone can help me or give me advice on here. Our daughter is 19 months old now and I am going through hell. About 1 month before our daughter was born, my fiancee erupted with anger over a small thing which she didn’t like. Some of the language she was using really surprised me because she had never been like that. After our daughter was born, I could do nothing right at all. Everything was wrong. She had 3 months of maternity leave and after that she went back to work. Ever since then, she has only a handful of free weekend days off in a month and her other days off are when I am at work. I have to do everything in the house; I take our daughter to daycare, I take our dog for a walk 3 times a day. I cook, I clean, I pick up our daughter from daycare, I look after her for the evening and then I put her to sleep. I pay all the bills, I deal with all the financial stuff and all the cooking.

    My fiancee comes home and either falls asleep or spends time on the phone with her family. Don’t get me wrong, she works really really hard and does as much as she can around the house, but the problem is that her hours are so unsocial, especially for a family with a young child (and a baby on the way) The thing is that she has been so negative with me over the last 20 months, that I feel hyper sensitive. She says negative things to me and I get upset. If she does something that upsets me, she just gets more angry with me. Because I have the lion’s share of tasks to do, I have precious little time for myself and I have no-one to support me. I need emotional support; someone to be tender and understanding with me, someone to understand when I’m down. But she is not like that. I am, in fact, living like a single parent and the mother takes the child for a couple of days. For the rest, its pretty much all me. I can handle this, because I worship our daughter, but at the end of the day, I need someone who listens to me and is my friend. Everything I do is wrong and if I even try to explain that some things she does hurt me, then it turns into a massive running argument where we end up saying things we regret. I always try to apologise, but she only apologises in anger.

    It has gotten so bad now that I we have decided to split up. Because of being with our child most of the time and being so tired, my social life has dried up. I don’t have a support network ( I live abroad), my best friend lives in another country, I’ve never had a good relationship with my sister and my parents (who live in another country) are old and are not as supportive as they used to be. They are neurotic and just worry, so I don’t worry them with my problems.

    I’ve suggested to my wife that she goes to see someone about PPD but she just gets angry. I go to work every day and I feel like crying the whole time. I feel constantly depressed and weak and I don’t look forward to anything anymore. The list of tasks that I have to do are not necessarily physically tiring the whole time, but there are so many things I have to do (pay all the bills, sort out all the admin etc.) that I feel panicky because i have to have a list of things that I have to do at certain times every day. I also hate my job but I can’t leave it because we couldn’t afford it and the hours allow me to care for everything in the house.

    I have taken a decision to see the doctor and seek professional help to let me cope with this situation. Perhaps they will give me medication to be able to deal with it all, or even better, they may give me counselling. But as long as my fiancee can’t see that I need some support from her (emotionally would be fine because then all the tasks I have to do will seem easier) then the cause of our situation will never be addressed. She just flies into a fit of anger if I try to talk to her or to ask her if I can have some attention from her. Just this morning, she told me that I am obsessed about little things and should stop it because its irritating. Perhaps its true, but that makes me feel even worse and weak.

    I love my daughter and am excited about our new baby, but I want us to be together as a family. As it stands, I will be a part time father to them both. This is a thought which terrifies me as I can’t imagine being even one day away from my daughter.

    • Heather King says:

      First of all, I’m sorry about all of this. It does sound like things changed after your fiancée had a baby. I can’t say if it’s PPD/PPA, but often when someone seems detached and tired all the time, that’s the case. I’m sorry she hasn’t been willing to look into this with a doctor. It’s so good of you to seek professional help, on top of all that you are taking care of. It would be so good for both of you to go to counseling, and yes, it’s good to see a doctor about what else may need to be done. I always tell people not to make a decision about splitting in the midst of this. You are both depleted and out of sorts, exhausted and struggling. That’s not a good time to decide anything much at all, especially big things. But you can work through this in therapy and decide what is best for you all. Again, I’m so sorry this has been such a struggle. I always believe it can get better, but only with help. I hope your fiancée will begin to see that even if she doesn’t understand that she possibly has some mental health issues going on, she could still explore it. For your sake and for hers and for your children. Peace to you…

    • Robinshood, I feel so completely for you. My cousin went through much the same thing you are experiencing. I am now going through the same event, but my wife is handling it better.

      For my end, I don’t know if our marriage will survive. I sorely want it to and am willing to do anything. She sees every mistake I make as making me a bad father and every good thing I do goes seemingly unnoticed. I, too, think the world of my daughter, but I don’t get to learn and practice being a father much because I’ve been asked to stay with a friend. I get to see her every 2 or 3 days, but I am expected to know things and behave with her as if I have spent every waking moment with our daughter the way my wife has.

      It all came out of the blue for me. I did not see these changes coming at all. For her part, she is doing all she can and trying to understand the changes she is enduring. I think she is as confused by her changes as I am. We are both in individual therapy and together in couples therapy (with my personal therapist, which I think she sees as a chance to fix the things wrong with me, but I’m fine with her feeling that way if it gets her in there and talking about our issues). What saddened me most is that I made every single change that was asked of me, and still there was no indication of loving me as more than the father of her child and someone she used to fancy.

      I don’t mean to steal your post, though. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I understand you are enduring a lot more than I am with the job situation and doing all the work yourself (my wife has been very good with our daughter and puts her before anything else, luckily). I want to share some of the successes I’ve had with working through this. I still don’t know what my outcome will be, but I’m doing my best, and progress seems to be happening little by little.

      First, focus on your daughter. I, too, became hypersensitive with all of the criticisms and anger from my wife. I felt like I could do nothing right, and all I craved was some acknowledgment. I, too, felt if I just had that, everything would be that much better. I could do anything if I knew she loved me for the things I was doing. The trick is, you can’t expect that. In fact, my world shifted when I just accepted that I wouldn’t get it. Why do the things I’ve been doing? For my daughter (and for you, the coming child, too). It must be accepted that your fiancee may never return to the way things were. She may decide she needs something completely different for her life, and perhaps you aren’t in that picture. It’s an incredibly hard thing to consider. I know. I’ve been considering it every day for over a month, but it’s a cold truth that could become a reality. Don’t lose hope, mind you. I haven’t. But you must steel yourself for the worst while hoping for the best.

      Second, be there for your fiancee. The chemical and psychological changes she’s enduring/enduring are just as real and debilitating for her as they are for you (if not more so). I was in a place of resentment for being dumped on for everything that went wrong. The moment I accepted everything she was saying to me as her reality and began working on them as best I could, progress began. I know it feels like giving up. I know it feels like lying to yourself. I know it feels completely unfair and unjust, and it is. But know that she may feel lost. She may feel like her world is falling apart. Her dreams may be crashing down around her in shattered pieces. Old wounds from her past may be surfacing every day, and each one feels as fresh as the day it happened. Do your best to keep the separation just a separation. Use it to give her and yourself space, but keep reminding her you want to be the best father in the world and you will do all you can to help her and your daughter. Don’t drive yourself insane and become unhealthy, though. Understand what you “can” do and dedicate that. If you have any friends nearby, call on them. If her family that she talks to can lend a hand, ask them. Ask them even if you think they would say no.

      Third, build your support network. I know you said you feel like you have none, but you may find people who understand and appreciate you in the most unlikely places. I went to each of my co-workers who are dads and friendly with me to ask them if they dealt with similar things. I’m usually a very closed-off person about private emotional things, but other dads can be surprisingly compassionate on the subject of kids and issues in marriages. You might find someone who went through the exact same thing. Once you get a therapist, ask about support groups you might be able to attend. Call your buddy (VOIP if you can’t afford the phone call) or text him. Just once a week to check in with him can be amazingly helpful. My brother lives on the other side of the planet, but talking to him once every couple of weeks cheers me up a bit and gets me laughing. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with people you know care about you. Pick up the phone. Ask a dad if you could have a few minutes of his time and let him know you’re not looking to dump on him, but that you just have a few questions. I didn’t get a ton of good advice, but just being able to talk about my problems gave me a lot of personal strength to face the things I’m going through. Courage can only be gained by experiencing hardship. In no other way can courage be used or shown. You made a good step in posting here, and I think you can find your way through all of this. Look into other online forums with an active membership for dads/husbands, too.

      Fourth, focus on what things you can control in your life. I have felt those moments several times where I just fall apart at my desk at work. I felt no inclination to do anything, sapped of all strength and motivation, because I was dying inside at the thought that the light of my life no longer wants me. For that, I used a tool my therapist gave me (Yes, see a therapist for yourself. It sounds like you are working on that, but DO NOT be lazy about getting that started. You won’t regret having someone to listen to you and give you tools to manage your situation. It might also be the leadership example your fiancee needs to see one for herself.). Mindfulness meditation. It’s more scientific than it sounds, and it worked for me. Focus on your immediate surroundings. Let go of the constant worrying over your home life and just focus on the feeling of your desk or steering wheel or any other physical objects you are interacting with. I have used our unofficial separation as a time to analyze myself and see what I can improve in my own personal bubble. You have the opportunity to face personal demons and overcome them. Whatever feeling is overwhelming you, name it in your mind, picture what form that feeling would take if you saw it before you, and pass through it. The more you can name and envision those horrible feelings, the less power they have over you, and the more able you can be to deal with them. My wife complained about my vices and brought them up as a pivotal reason for her issues with me. I have quit them all, and she still has issues, conceding that vices weren’t the problem, but I am better for it. I feel I could be perfectly fine drinking socially, but I don’t even do that because my wife wants to see the ideal personification of a good father. I took up exercising to replace unhealthy habits, and it has the added benefit of me being more ready to handle any tasks that fatherhood throws at me. It might help you feel less drained by those chores you do, too. I’ve focused on a core strength routine, as I’ve found my back to be the biggest sore point when doing things with/for my daughter. It has helped.

      Hang in there, buddy. I don’t know where either of our situations will land, but at the end of the day, we both have the opportunity to create a situation where we can look back and say we did our very best and have no regrets about it. Good luck to you, and know you are not alone.

  22. My husband left me two days after I gave birth, for a waitress he had an affair with. Less than a year later I signed over custody of my son to my husband so that I could join the military. I was still depressed, did not believe I had a future, and did not believe I could give my son the life I had planned on. 12 years later I am still fighting to try to get joint custody back of my son who now refuses to acknowledge that I am his mother, even though I saw him sevreal times every year throughout my military career, and he came and stayed with me as well. Postpartum depression ruined my life.

    • Heather King says:

      Shay, I’m so sorry. I’m just so sorry. I know that isn’t enough. I wish this wasn’t your story, I really do. I will be hoping with you that your son will open himself to you as his mother. I’m sorry.


  1. […] Postpartum Depression's Impact On Marriages & Divorce – Postpartum Progress Katherine Stone whom runs the "blog" Postpartum Depression alledges: Quote: […]

  2. […] Postpartum Depression’s Impact On Marriages & Divorce … – For those of us with postpartum depression, the stresses on a marriage grow even larger. … I am scared of divorce b/c I went through it numerous times as a child. […]

  3. […] Postpartum Depression’s Impact On Marriages & Divorce … – Did you know that the first year postpartum has the highest divorce rate than any other time during a marriage? I imagine this must be due to the enormous stress and … […]

  4. […] Postpartum Depression’s Impact On Marriages & Divorce … – Did you know that the first year postpartum has the highest divorce rate than any other time during a marriage? I imagine this must be due to the enormous stress and … […]