When Postpartum Depression Leads To Divorce

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divorce after baby and postpartum depressionKatherine recently asked me to write a post on postpartum depression and divorce. She wrote:

I’ve had a mom recently ask about divorce … how to deal with it when a husband divorces you over PPD.  There are some moms whose husbands treat them horribly during PPD or really just do not understand it at all and actually leave their wives because of it. What do they do? How do they handle that?

Yeah.  It’s a big one.

I have been trying to write this post for three weeks now.  Three weeks.  Every time I sit down to write about it I get stuck.  Stuck because I think of all of the many moms who I have worked with whose marriages have ended either during or following a bout of postpartum depression.  Stuck because that question about “how to deal with it” triggers that part of me that wants to have an answer for everything, the ability to fix things for people, and a magic button that I can push over and over for the women who suffer deeply after having a baby.  Stuck because, well frankly, I don’t know that there is a magic answer here.  Except that this is really, really hard.

It’s that big.

What we know is that the first year after becoming parents is statistically the most challenging for married couples.  This is the case for a couple that is not also managing the impact of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like postpartum depression, and so you can imagine how the statistics rise when you throw PPD into the picture.  In our society today, some 40-50% first time marriages will end in divorce.

One of the top causes for divorce is communication struggles.   More times than not, when a mom is suffering with postpartum depression or anxiety her partner is confused, unsure of how to help, angry, and disappointed.  And the moms don’t always know how to explain their challenges to him/her in a way that will benefit the strength of the marriage or partnership because she is also confused, unsure of how to feel better, disappointed and angry.  Dad is angry with Mom.  Mom is angry with Dad.  Neither of them knows how to talk to the other about what is happening and so they stop talking.  Or talking turns to yelling. The team breaks down and the marriage ends.  Communication struggles occur in almost every partnership when postpartum depression is involved.  And sometimes a marriage simply cannot recover from this, especially if there were struggles in communication before a pregnancy or baby entered the picture.

It can seem as though a marriage is ending because of postpartum depression, and while sometimes this may be absolutely true (meaning that a once strong marriage suddenly crumbles in the aftermath of PPD), often the marriage is ending because of something that the PPD magnified, be it challenges in communication, lack of trust, lack of loyalty, financial challenges, or simply irreconcilable differences.  We can assume the cause of divorce is postpartum depression when PPD may actually be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Relationship conflict during or after postpartum depression is a reality.  I recently wrote a post on relationships for Postpartum Progress that discussed a common phenomenon that can happen: Women get stronger and well and their marriages fall behind due to new self understanding and a lack of relationship attention.  This post spoke about the importance of couple’s therapy during or after PPD recovery so that the couple can begin to thrive and become well again after hurts, misunderstandings, and lack of focus.   Sometimes couples seek out therapy support, sometimes they do not.  Sometimes the couple’s therapy works to save a marriage, sometimes it does not. And, yes, divorce does happen.

As far as the question, “how can moms handle it when Dad leaves after PPD,” the answer is that, like with any loss, or trauma, a mom needs support. Sometimes love, care, and validation from friends and family is enough.  Sometimes moms need a therapist to help them work though the myriad of complicated emotions that they feel.  But, regardless of who that mom is, how strong she may be, and how on-board she is (or isn’t) with the decision to end a marriage, she cannot expect herself to get through it alone.

So, if this post speaks to you, be kind to yourself.  Remember that it is not your fault.  Be wary of self-judgment and the familiar places that you go to when you are at your most vulnerable; the self-critical places that hold you down and repeatedly make it difficult to come up for air.  Remember that maintaining a strong marriage is not solely up to you and that two people need to work together to make it out of the quicksand.  And know that it is both okay and also entirely appropriate to feel the gamut of what you are feeling: the anger, sadness, disappointment, regrets are all valid and important for you to experience (even if you’d rather just move on quickly).  And know this: There are others like you out there, and you are not alone. 

Did your marriage end in divorce after postpartum depression?  If so, what did you do to manage the stress?  How did you get through it?  What helped you to take care of yourself during this challenging time?

Photo credit: © Matthew Benoit – Fotolia.com

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  1. Thank you so much for this post. I was hospitalized for my PPD and ten days after leaving the hospital, my husband asked me for a divorce. He put me out of our home and took my daughter away from me too. There is nothing more devestating than the person who vowed to stay with you through sickness and health leave you when you need them the most. I have told my story to hundreds of people and I have always felt I was one of the only woman who didn’t have a happy ending to my story. This article just made me feel less alone. There are no easy answers to what to do or feel when a spouse can’t handle the pressure that PPD can have on a marriage. Support is essential. I was able to completely rebuild my life thanks to the support of loved ones. Thank you so much for this eye opening post.

  2. my marriage almost ended due to PPD and by almost I mean it was filed and my husband went to the courthouse to stop it at the last minute. He eventually realized what was wrong with me and as I started getting help and getting better he wanted to work on things and we eventually became stronger for it but initially it made my PPD worse and was the hardest thing I have ever gone through in my life.

    • My husband has filed for divorce. Our son is six months old and my husband says I’ve made him miserable and he’s done with me. I’m so hurt. I’m praying for a reconciliation.

      • I’m so sorry to hear that Ginger. I hope you are getting help and support from family and friends and that you are getting help for your postpartum depression. We’re thinking of you and hoping you get some resolutions soon.

  3. My psychiatrist says that ppd generally begins with depression during the pregnancy…and women chalk their feelings up to being pregnant and believe that when the baby is born everything will fall into magical bliss. A new baby is many amazing things but utter bliss is rarely one of them. A better understanding that depression often begins during pregnancy can lead to women getting help sooner and a couple walking out of the hospital with a new baby and also with the understanding, at least a better understanding, of the reality of what they are facing when they get home with their new baby.

    While I was reading this post what first came to mind was a somewhat controversial article written by a husband/father who talks about sitting in the park during a picnic with his family watching his wife breastfeed their five year old son. Basically his wife’s body had been completely repurposed and he wasn’t happy about it. The responders to the article were mostly shocked that he could be so unfeeling and unsupportive of his wife’s dedication to breastfeeding. My husband read the article and was firmly on the side of the husband. In our society today there is this emphasis on being a super mom and everything revolving around the child, etc., and it really excludes the father/husband from his family, his wife, his marriage. Maybe for some, in an ideal world, all husbands would support years of breastfeeding. But not all men do and I don’t think that men should have to be happy about spending years in the guest room while the ok breastfeeds and cosleeping. This isn’t an argument against breastfeeding but rather a suggestion that the husbands needs be taken into consideration when starting a family. If you have really different ideas on how a family functions its better to know that before having children. If I wanted to breastfeed for five years and cosleep with the baby we wouldn’t have wound up having children in the first place. We talked about all those things. We talked about what us we wanted to preserve in light of adding a baby.

  4. I’m so glad Kate wrote about this. I felt so alone when my marriage crumbled on the heels of my PPD. All I read were these endearing stories of awesome husbands stepping in and helping their wives through the hell. I felt like even more of a failure – in the thick of things, not only did I feel like I’d failed my child, failed at being a mother but was so unloveable that my husband didn’t even want to help. It’s taken me a long time to accept that the reason that mine didn’t do any of the herculean things that husbands do when their wives are in this trauma wasn’t anything to do with me, but to do with him.

    It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one.

    • Lucy you are definitely not alone. Like you, I blamed myself for years. I felt as if I did something so awful to him, myself and my daughter. Time has shown me that he was the weak one, he was the one who crumbled, not me. He tried to take everything from me but it didn’t work. my experience is so different than most women but what I have been through has made me a better stronger person. I’m glad you responded to this. You are certainly not alone.

      • I am experiencing the same as you. I always go so hard on myself trying to be perfect, but my hubby goes even harder. He expects that I can finish everything in 1 min and be able to keep my concentration in our kids and that is not 50% of the job he says. As I blame myself for everything even his actions and ofcorse he agrees. Im getting all the blame of the whole relationship. He did enough to keep the relationship good he say now I have to try for myself. I know that i could managed to get better if I got a therapist but i dont get the support. He thinks that I’m only a bit depressed and should not go to a therapist since they only fool you. He also threatened to take our kids away from me several times because I don’t deserve them I’m making them stupid. I can go on with examples but what I wanted to tell you is that you are definately not alone.

  5. Thank you for this article. I suffered from postpartum depression which resulted in my marriage falling apart. I think it gave my ex a “reason” to cheat , lie , and disconnect. A part of me cant blame him , but then the other part of me is full of anger and hurt that he would leave when I needed him most. It’s been a year and a half since he left . I’m doing so much better than I was then , however I still strugge with the loss of my marriage and family. I really do hurt for the women dealing with PD . Thoughts and orayers are with you all. Xo

  6. I think there’s a double standard at play here. It seems that women suffering from PPD are expecting their husbands to be able to just take whatever form of negativity that they hurl at them. And if their husbands couldn’t take it, then they’re weak. Whatever PPD sufferers are suffering, they’re taking all of that and putting onto their husbands. Whatever’s eating at you from the inside, it’s being put onto your husband and eating him away from outside. It’s not easy. It’s really, really difficult. Women have lots of books, doctors, and resources to help them with their illness, but men have almost nothing on how to cope with it. Really. All we have is one book. And it’s written by a woman. And it’s in outline format. Every husband calls the experience “hell” for a reason. Just like you didn’t wished to get this illness; your husbands didn’t wish to be throw into the fires of hell. Just blame the illness, and not the parties involved. Hell can tear anyone apart.

    • I only recognize now that my divorce 2 years after baby arrived was probably related to my PPD, I do think men need more guidance as to recognizing the symptoms and paths to get help for their wives before it ruins the family. I have had 3 more kids since and have been on medication and it is night and day. After my first, I felt total isolation, fear and standoffish to everyone. I pushed out all the good and only elevated the bad in my husband. I feel horrible now because I want my ex to know that it was not his fault. Men are an equal part of the equation and deserve the help so they can help the wives…..

      • Thank you for making this point. I am husband and we had a baby 4 months back. I can clearly see symptoms of my wife going through PPD. But problem here is that she is not ready to accept it. She doesn’t want to speak to anyone about it. She doesn’t want to be meet friends or anyone. For everything I am blamed. Everytime we argue she wants to break up with me. I am myself going through anxiety and stress because of it. I am going to see a doctor today for myself.
        I feel helpless, scared and afraid. In this relationship I am the one who tells my wife that we can make it work and we can go for counselling together etc but she says if I cannot help her how can a stranger help her. I see it all breaking up :-( I am have never been so scared in my life.

        • MK don’t give up on her. My husband divorced me. Our son was 5 months old when he filed. He is now 18 months old. We signed the settlement last month. I am still devastated. I love him so much but couldn’t handle my PPD with OCD and he gave up. The saddest part is he is a doctor and should know better than anyone what was happening. Instead he tried to use it against me in court. Claiming I was an unfit mom. Your wife is in there. Don’t give up on her. She needs you now more than ever. Please stand up for your family.

        • Going to see a doctor yourself is a very good idea. Of course you are impacted by both a new baby and a dramatic change in your wife. I have always had major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and have always pursued treatment to live as healthy and “normal” a life as possible…this willingness opens up options for me with relative ease. I stayed on all my medications through both pregnancies and formula fed partly because of the medications and partly because breastfeeding and my issues would clash horribly. But I was looking to be a happy mom and wife over other ideals. Or in other words I didn’t feel pressured by society or myself to be blissfully happy over a newborn…and obviously both medications and formula feeding aren’t popular choices. So I can’t really think of anything to say regarding your wife other than what the person before me said, she is in there somewhere. How long you wait for her is your choice because you are just as much a part of the relationship as she is. But it’s also a medical condition. What if you had cancer or something? Treatment for that could be lengthy as well. You’re caught between a treatable condition and a wife who isn’t ready for treatment. It’s possible she will come out of it on her own. In the meantime getting help for yourself is the best thing you can do for you. They also have support groups for families members of people with mental illness like they have support groups for family members of alcoholics. Good luck. I hope you feel better soon and I hope your wife is ready to reach out soon. Maybe try to observe her and see if you can figure out why she is in denial. Is she afraid of having something wrong with her? Of needing therapy and/or medication? Some women suffer post partum psychosis which frankly would be scaring the crap out of her. Is she breastfeeding? Is it going well? Even if it’s going well or seems to be she might hate it. Is she trying to breastfeed and feel like she is failing? Is she someone in general who puts a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect or on top of things? Babies make it hard to feel either of those. Lack of sleep impacts people differently. It takes some women a really long time to fully bond with their baby. My first was about 8 months before I fully understood what it meant to fall in love with your baby. With my second, who’s 10 weeks now, I find myself fighting the feelings of falling in love with her. Why? No idea. Maybe because it took longer with my son and I feel guilty? Fear of something? No idea. But I don’t let it worry me either, but I’ve had years of therapy.

          • Thank you Ginger & Wendy for your comments.
            I don’t plan to give up yet and just hang in there. I do understand that this is a medical condition and the psychologist I visited mentioned he might give me some tips to help her acknowledge her illness but he did warn me it could happen in a day or might even be a life long process.
            I think she is not confident about her looks also though she looks great and I remind her this every now and then.
            No she is not breastfeeding because baby won’t latch properly. She tried for two days after birth but then gave up, it made her very upset too. Then she tried with breast pump for few weeks but shortly she couldn’t express much so left it. I think it was because of c-section and there was quite a time gap when they let both baby and mom close to each other.
            It just hurts sometimes so much when the person you love the most and who has been your best friend starts to hate you and go away from you.
            I read sometime back that depression is like a third person in between two loving people, and its so true.
            I am hoping things will be okay because I love both my wife and daughter a lot.

            • I agree that there is not enough support for the fathers. I have two children from a past relationship and over three years ago I met the women of my dreams. We were perfect together for years. She took in my two children when they needed a mother. After I popped the question in front of fireworks at Disney we found out that she was pregnant! Doctors have always told her she couldn’t have children. Once the new addition came everything changed. Our son is six months old now and she has left me for the second time now. She doesn’t think that she needs help. She wants time for her she says. I have done everything I can for her and been there to support her. She wont go get help and it’s killing my children and me. When I look to the internet for help….nothing

  7. My son and daughter in law are going through a very difficult time since their son was born a year ago and a severe battle with PPD.
    It is so sure that the husbands get very little support. My daughter in law has 4 different doctors….cleaning lady, nanny help, family help, friends help and my son gets no help. I understand the battle of PPD….I’ve been helping take care of the baby. But, ladies, please get some support for your husbands. They are the ones working to support you. It’s very difficult for them to deal with the anxiety, depression, demands and ocd day in and day out. In order for this to not destroy marriages, the fathers need more help!

    • Carol, we agree. PPD takes a toll on husbands too. Of course it does. It affects everyone it touches. Just like moms need to be strong and reach out for help, husbands do too. Counseling can be especially helpful for fathers to learn how to cope with the situation. And of course any help in the home is helping not only the mom, but the entire family system.

  8. Nice article. Just curious if there was any support here for husbands who are struggling w/their wives’ postpartum depression. I’m sympathetic to the struggles people have with depression in general, but on the flip side it can be challenging for the partner to work through as well.

  9. I recently gave birth to my first child. I’m having a very hard time with what I believe to be postpartum depression. My boyfriend of nearly three years was caught on a dating site talking to another girl before I had the baby. This is the only instance he has ever done anything like this. The woman wanted to meet but when she started talking about it, that is when my other half ended his conversations with her. He explained that we had been fighting so much that he was afraid I was going to leave him and had just wanted someone to talk to that wasn’t going to end in an argument. I can completely understandable that! Though I felt kind of betrayed because he did it behind my back. I already had trust issues due to my previous relationships. When the baby came someone tried accusing him of having a physical relationship with them while he was with me… But he couldn’t have done what they said… Firstly because he was on the phone with me the time they said it happend, but they claimed to not.know about me… So kind of impossible. Plus his phone records prove he wasn’t where they say he was as well. This all happened two weeks ago… I’m six weeks postpartum. Now suddenly I’m questioning our entire relationship.I know I love him, but I feel like everything has been magnified. Yes it betrayed my trust that he talked to another woman.outside our relationship secretly, but now I feel like I can’t let it go, and what’s worse is I had let it go before. I keep feeling like I need to remove myself, but the thought of breaking up burns me. I don’t know what to do? Could this be how postpartum affects me? I love him still, but I’m so “back-off” feeling? Advice?

    • Amanda – That’s a very complicated situation to be in. It’s important that you take care of both issues, the postpartum depression and the relationship issues you’re having with your boyfriend. A therapist would be a good place to start for help with both of these things. When you have PPD it’s very hard to know what’s causing your feelings. A therapist will help with that. You’re not alone and you will feel better again.

      • There are no counselors in my area. I’ve looked. I’m afraid that may be this infidelity has broken our relationship for good. I’m scared. I still love him. Will my obgyn be able to help?

  10. For fathers there is no support at all.

    Some women become extremely depressed and in rare cases this can last a long time. Men need support so they can know what kinds of things they might do and what services they might access to help their post-partum wives.

    It becomes entirely hopeless If she starts the divorce process, as the man can obviously no longer advocate for her or try to get her any medical help, even if it is very clear she is not acting as she normally would.

    Instead, the legal system only wants to guarantee the rights of everyone to a divorce.

    The man is then left with no rights at all in court. He loses not only his wife and marriage, but also the children, his financial security, and future earnings.

    So, post-partum is hard on women, and men who do not support their wives or leave them due to the depression are making a terrible mistake.

    But the situation for men who stick it out is even worse….. if she goes.

    In any case, we need more supports for post-partum, family law needs to be thrown out, and people need to stay together through tough times.

  11. Well, this article certainly seems to make the assumption that it’s the husband’s fault for leaving. What about the men who haven’t done any of that stuff? What about the guys who actually blossom and begin to grow after the baby is born, and the wife just decides to give up? What about the wives who suddenly decide to ignore their husbands love, dedication, commitment, and attempt to make things better, while telling themselves that none of it is true?

    • Hi David,

      This post does focus on the reality of a husband deciding to end the marriage because of PPD. That was this particular woman’s experience and the post was written to reach out to other women going through the same thing. But you are right, this is certainly not the only version of this story. Marriages end due to wives deciding to be done as well. And many women do unfortunately find themselves unwilling to keep fighting, sometimes because of depression and anxiety and sometimes not. You’re right, there are husbands and partners who have not done the things in this post. There are so many supportive and helpful, loving and encouraging husbands and partners who end up divorced without having done anything wrong. This post happens to be about the other version of the story, but it is not meant to take away from the fact that at times it is the other way around.

  12. My husband left when our daughter was 6 months old. He said I didn’t “cherish” him anymore… I could barely look after our 4 children as he worked long hours.
    3 years on and I still cannot believe what happened. Our divorce will be final in 3 weeks.
    Our little girl is 4.

    More awareness is needed and less stigma.

    I don’t think men have any support and don’t understand what is happening.

  13. My husband and I have been seperated for 3 months now. Our son is 9 months old and I had ppd and I knew it but at the same time I didnt. I didn’t really have friends. We were dual military he active, me reserve. I was always home and would always complain when he came home. Or want to go do things when he just wanted to rest. We we’re having communication problems before our son was born because the friends I had moved. We turned 21 after our son was born and when I was pregnant I was jealous of him cuz he would get to drink and do fun things that someone who’s pregnant couldnt. Then after our son was born. It was the holidays and new years came and I could do much cuz I was breastfeeding. A month later he left for training and I weekend he came back was his birthday and I was wanting to spend the night with him and our son but he wanted to go out and party with his friends. Then every weekend after than all he wanted to do was go drink he wanted me to go but I was so self conscious because I gained a lot of weight while pregnant. A month later was my birthday and I had drill that weekend so the next week when we had to take our son to our families for a month was the first time we got to drink together. Then I next weekend I had to leave for work for a month and he had training at that time. I was so focused on work and our son even tho I didn’t have him and my husband and I were 3 hours away and money was tight and he still spending money every weekend to go drink. I only had one day off that whole month and he didn’t want me to come home. A couple weeks later I finally come back home and we never really spent time together and weekends he just wanted to drink and be with his buddies. And that is when I had to go pick up our son and spent a couple days with family. We had a huge fight a couple days after getting home cuz he was drunk and trying to take our son upstairs while watching an adult movie by himself. Weird I know :\ he wouldn’t talk for 3 weeks and I started getting paranoid cuz he started secretly texting and going out at weird times of the night he said for work. Then I saw some of the texts cuz I started snooping and the pics. He kept deleting things changing passwords and recievING gifts for the female he was texting. The weekend I had drill he cleaned like crazy before I left I asked him why he was cleaning so much he said because I want to. And I knew something wasn’t right when I got home so I snoop ed through the trash and found alcohol he doesn’t drink and a box for fuzzy hand cuffs… more strange :\ I was advice to tell his first sergeant what was going on and so I did and he was in the room when I called his first sergeant to talk to him and he never made him leave (my husband told me this later). I told him that he needs to stay in the barracks for the weekend to figure things out and i knew he wanted his space for i packed mine and my sons things and went to stay with family for a couple weeks and tried talking to him and then I found out he signed up for a dating site. Obe of the girls he was cheating with told me things he had been doing and i wanted to catch him in the act. We were never going to go through with it but he never saw that message. Well he ended up seeing the messages from one of her friends and got mad. Things just kept getting worse and him getting more mad for the things I have done not the things he has done. He told me he was and alcoholic and I tried getting him help which I know they will get help when try want it. I wanted to work things out even though we both messed up cuz we love eachother and our son. He has filed and I have been served. I don’t want this divorce he does and I cant change his mind no matter how hard i try. We have been through a lot of things in the past year. Im not sure what to do? Is there any advice anyone can give me? Thanks in advance

    • OH mama, I’m so sorry all of this has happened. Your husband is not treating you like you should be treated. I realize it hurts like hell to think of getting divorced when you love someone but I hope you will see as time passes that you can have a much better life without all the drinking and cheating. These are not loving behaviors. You deserve to be treated with respect and to be cherished. What you need to do right now is focus on you and your sweet baby. You will need a lot of support, professionally and from your family. I hope you have a doctor you can trust to keep talking about your PPD. Right now is a very good time to also start seeing a therapist if you are not. You’ll need a therapist to help you work through all of this and help you make decisions that are best for you and your boy. I’m so sorry. I’m sending you peace…

    • My husband is active duty and I have a friend who was duo military until she had twins, they didn’t have a family care plan. They are still together and fine, but I’m aware of the dynamics. What you are looking for and need, probably, is closure. You want all of your questions answered, analyzed, you want to understand, you want to be understood. The more details you seek and questions you ask only drag the situation out. It’s difficult to let go of a situation that you have a lot invested in (I’m divorced, my second husband is military). But again, trying to get information and details to make sense of it just drags it out. There is no end to that and it’s unhelpful for you and negative. Instead just focus on yourself. What you tried to do, did do, could have done differently. You aren’t trying to beat yourself up or become guilty or think it’s your fault. You need closure and peace from you and your side of the sitatuion, not from him. If you do feel guilty, sick with guilt keep going over and over that part in your mind, journaling helps too. When you feel you are repeating yourself unnecessarily, start again only this time do it from another perspective. What would a sibling say (siblings aren’t always a good choice), what your best friend would say and think or be that friend. Pretend you are a lot of different friends and go through everything that way. This can take a long time, years even. But it gives you experience and lessons for the future and it will fade into a memory that doesn’t feel like anything.

  14. Looking for some guidance. To make a long story short, my wife and I had a miscarriage about 4 months back. We had a little disagreement about something honestly so stupid. We didn’t have the perfect marriage we bickered back and forth at times but I thought for the most part it was pretty good. The first couple weeks after her miscarriage went really well like nothing was going on. Then all of the sudden it hit. Tells me she’s confused has up and down emotions doesn’t love me anymore, never did love me, changed her mind several times whether not she want to work on our marriage and eventually moved out. Ia tried to work on the marriage by telling her several times that I loved her and cared for her and she put a restraining order against me.. but it was dismissed. She filed for divorce. And honestly several times has appearing to make attempts to be around me at one point we went fishing in a boat minutes after she said she didn’t love me or trust in me. Does this sound like postpartum to anybody, or what do you think is going on? I love my wife very much and I honestly believe it’s like she’s a different person. Any comments greatly appreciated

    • It’s possible, Wade. I’m sorry you’ve gone through all of this. It’s hard to know for sure as someone not in the situation who does not know her. The timing would make someone think that her hormones maybe had something to do with it, and grief. Miscarriages cause more grief than even the person themselves realize sometimes. It’s so sad and hard, and I hope she has some help through counseling. All you can do is suggest that she reach out for help if she is feeling depressed/anxious. I’m hoping for the best for both of you and once again, I’m sorry for all of this pain.

    • They are beginning to look at post partum depression, etc., as PTSD. Some people have chemical imbalances all their life. Birth and miscarriage like death and unemployment are more of an incident. Trust me, this in no way makes it less serious. I’ve been depressed my entire life, amongst other things, and my postpartum depression sucked, but it wasn’t unfamiliar. I can’t even imagine getting smacked with depression (etc.) on top of everything else. At least I knew what was going on and why and how to treat etc. Anyway there is a difference between something linked to an incident and long term diagnosis. A death is depressing and feels the same but I have no idea if it’s just what is going on or if while you feel like that you are also, perhaps temporararily, having a chemical imbalance. Chicken vs the egg. Anyway it doesn’t sound like your wife is depressed. Depressed people generally sit around depressed, or in bed, especially if it’s untreated. I’m in no way a professional but you are describing mood swings some of which are irrational than others. It’s not normal or healthy or good, but she doesn’t sound like she’s depressed. She needs a doctor and a referral to a mental health professional (I’ve had some really good nurse practitioners instead of psychiatrists). It’s impossible to judge what she wants or feels if she is all over the place like that. As you love her you want her to go back to being the way she was more or less. I think she needs professional help for that. That journey might be a long one. She might refuse to go, refuse treatment, fail to take medication, or abuse medication. It could be 6-12 months or years…in the meantime you need to have a life for your sake. You can’t help her. You need to take care of you, and try to help her get the help she needs but you can’t force her to get it and the result might not be the woman you started with. Of course people change during a marriage but this is pretty drastic. You need to try to figure out what you want, out of the things you have control of. You can decide you want to continue to try to help her. But keep a breaking point in mind. That can change. But it’s helpful to essentially give yourself a checkpoint. In the meantime try to keep your life moving, friends, career, hobbies, exercise, etc., you don’t want to lose yourself. Doing those things keeps your life moving. If you stay with her and she comes out of it, both of you will be the better for you having taken care of yourself and for you living (not just breathing). If you continue to do those things and not stay with her you’ll have all of that support already, you’ll have a life to walk away to. And in the middle somewhere you can always say I love, I hope I love you forever, but you aren’t trying to get better (her saying “but I am trying you just don’t understand) and you aren’t actively seeking treatment. And then leave or whatever. I don’t think divorce is simple and you do pledge through sickness and health and better or worse but at some point if only one of you is invested and making an effort that’s not much of a marriage. The short answer is try to get her to a professional who knows what they are doing and how to treat it, but keep your life moving, take care of yourself, etc. It’s a very difficult place you are in, but there is no point in losing yourself as well.

  15. My wife and I had a miscarriage a week after finding out. she was 8-9 weeks pregnant. when she found out, we were both happy and on top of the world. To make a long story short, we lost the baby and an argument started about 2 weeks later after she was drinking with injections; which she was told not to do. To some the rest up, she moved out about 2 weeks after that, stating she had feelings of me hurting her; then the next day, fine; then after that moving out. A few weeks after moving out, she was up and down saying she loved me and wanted to work on our marriage etc. Then she didn’t, she she wanted too again. At one point, she allowed me to stay over night where she lived where she said she loved me etc. then the next night she wasn’t sure what “that was” and didn’t want to speak o me anymore. I spoke to a counselor and a priest on what was going on during this time looking for help. I would call and text her often saying I loved her and wanted to work on our marriage. Eventually, she filed a restraining order which was later dismissed, stating she left because I was verbally and emotionally abusive and she was afraid I was going to kill her. She also put in there that talking to a priest was a threat to her.
    Since then, it appears she goes out of her way to meet me at times or contact me. We went fishing together in a boat, like we often did before all this happened. She told me she wasn’t afraid of me to go fishing, even after saying she was about 2 hours prior. We sat and had a four hour talk and then spent for hours in a boat. She told me she never loved me, and felt hostage at our wedding and doesn’t love me. She has shown love so many times and I feel you cant fake that, and others have contested at our wedding she appeared happy as can be. At one point she told me she was reading a book and that night couldn’t sleep because she was seeing dead bodies. She also couldn’t sleep because of a storm, and that has never been an issue before. Some friends feel something is wrong and of course some say nothing is wrong, she just wants to move on. Does this sound like something? or am I just putting too much into it? Any help would be great, thanks.

    • It’s really hard to say as someone outside the situation. Maybe looking at the symptoms of Postpartum Depression, Anxiety and/or Psychosis and Postpartum OCD would help you. You can search this website for more information on all of that. It sounds like this has been very confusing and hard for everyone involved. It’s so hard to know what to do when someone changes or seems different, or like something is wrong but isn’t recognized by the person themselves. You can trust your gut as someone who knows her best. If you think there is a hormonal or biochemical aspect to this, that might be true, but getting someone to see that they need help is not always easy. I wish you all the best and I’m sorry you are going through so much.

    • There isn’t a certain amount of time, Wade. It’s different for every person. It depends on whether or not the person gets help. Depression, anxiety, etc. can be on-going if left untreated. Those who receive treatment do recover, but the timeline on that varies.

      • Someone please explain hormones…..are they common still months after a miscarriage and what are they like? Common to hate your husband? Tell me about hormones. …I love her very much she’s changed

  16. Reading that really upset me. I’m going through this right and its hard after 2 months of my separation my husband fell in love with someone else and started a relationship with her he said he wasn’t leaving his happiness just to be miserable again but he really don’t understand what postpartum depression does to a woman I tried moving on but all I want is understanding from him and I want him here with me through all this because he is my husband still. When me and my babies were about to get evicted he wouldn’t let us move back in because she was in town at the time all I do is cry and pray I’m trying to find my strength through all this weakness I try to figure out where I went wrong why after all these yrs he doesn’t want anything to do with me. I can’t afford the help I need so all I have to talk to is God and my boys I hope and pray things get better for me cause this pain is unbearable

    • Jemil, I’m so sorry. You are worthy of love and support. I’m sorry you’ve experienced this loss. There is help out there for people who can’t afford it, often on a sliding scale according to income. On the “find help” page on this website, you might find a provider or support group near you, some are listed as those that help people who can’t afford it. They are divided by state and city. I hope you can find someone to help you. I’m sending you peace and love, all the good that you deserve…