How Has Postpartum Depression Affected Your Marriage or Relationships?

9. How has postpartum depression affected your marriage or relationships?

How Has Postpartum Depression Affected Your Marriage or Relationships? How Has Postpartum Depression Affected Your Marriage or Relationships?

It was really tough at first, but my husband is amazing. He’s been so supportive and I know it’s been tough for him too because he works nearly 60 hours a week. He tries to take over with the kids as often as he can. – Vanessa

Yes. Without a doubt it has affected my marriage. I didn’t feel love for myself (which really is so important for overcoming postpartum depression) or for others.  I didn’t care about sex with my husband but he needed it. I was too tired to take time to talk with him or just play with him like we did when we were dating; laughing and having fun! Our marriage has suffered, but I finally saw what it was truly doing, what it would result in if I would continue to neglect our marriage. It was eye opening, I’m changing. It’s slow, but I’ll take slow positive change over no change or negative change any day. – Anonymous

It was very hard on both of us for a while, fortunately my husband also works in mental health so he understands. However I would say we are now very close again and work much better as a team these days. It has made me distant from several friends and family members. They are not worth my time when I’m well if they don’t accept me when I’m ill. It has made me very close to one or two friends who kept me going through the darkest times. This has been the best part because I feel I’ve rediscovered their friendship all over again. I love them so much. – Alexandra

It has ruined my relationship. I was controlling, paranoid and scared I made choices without thinking about him.  We fight and have been struggling financially because I couldn’t keep a job. We both lost who we were. Things today are still hard. – Amber 

It has made me so distant from my husband. I feel so terrible, but all I can think about is my baby and worrying if he is okay. – Anonymous

I feel alienated or I alienate myself because I feel weird or different than my friends. It can be a drain on my relationship. – Nicole

It has brought us closer because he has been so supportive through this journey. – Anonymous

No one understands that it wasn’t weakness, I nearly died from my symptoms. It was biochemical and the most terrifying thing in existence. It was like I had entered hell. – Brittany

I told my husband what I was going through he didn’t understand and still really doesn’t but he’s been by my side the whole time. Hes an amazing husband. – Jodi

I distance myself or I’m angry at my partner for nothing. He is very helpful.  – Anonymous

It was the reason for my separation. Although we are currently working things out. – Ashley G.

It was hard on my marriage. I don’t feel like my husband handled it well but we tried to work through it. – Anonymous

It has been super tough on my marriage. You tend to really isolate yourself when you have PPD. – Amanda

It was very difficult. If I had been with any other person we wouldn’t have made it. My husband did anything and everything he could to help me. He never threatened to leave me or take my baby. He even had talk therapy to help understand what I was going through. – Anonymous

My husband was unbelievably helpful and thoughtful. He was so worried and I believe it brought us closer together. – Katy 

My relationship has survived both cases. But it does take a toll when you are in the worst of it. It takes a toll on everyone involved. – Samantha

My husband was very supportive and he understood what I was going thru. It was hard for him too because he didn’t see what I was seeing. I saw myself as a failure and in his own words he saw a strong mother and wife. – Anonymous

Husband doesn’t understand. He listens but doesn’t get it. We bicker, but nothing too bad. – Melissa

Badly.  – Marcella

It put a huge strain on our marriage for months. – Anonymous

It has made it a little tough because in the beginning I felt gross and not attractive. I felt like since I’m breastfeeding, my hubby wouldn’t like my non perky boobs anymore. He had to remind me that he loves me and thinks I’m even more beautiful because I gave him our daughter. – Emily

I feel like it made us stronger because I became more vulnerable. It broke down my tough exterior. – Lorena from Motherhood Unfiltered 

I feel like the first time it really hurt my marriage because my husband couldn’t understand. The second time, it brought us closer together. – Chelsea

Well my sex drive is down, that for sure. Thankfully, I have a very understanding husband. My family doesn’t really grasp PPD – they are of the old school mindset that you should just smile and pick yourself up; that it’ll eventually get better. They don’t understand how much it stings when they make a sarcastic comment about me being in my pajamas or some other such thing. I am thankful they all like 2 hours away – it gives me a buffer to between myself and then to help keep me sane. – Kathryn

Actually made it stronger. – Anonymous

I feel as though I do not give my husband the time and care he deserves he is so supportive and my relationship with my kids is crumbling.  We are always arguing because I lose it so quickly, which then makes me sad and I tend to pull away from them all. – Krista

I don’t think it did. – Karen from Pregnancy and Postpartum Mental Health of Lancaster County

I feel guilty a lot for what I feel like is unnecessary drama that my husband has to deal with, but he has been super understanding and supportive. He never complains, and when I’m struggling, he’s always the first to ask when I last ate, did I take my meds, how much water have I had to drink. – Leah Elizabeth from Lottie & Me

It’s came between my marriage quite a lot. – Jessica

It was very hard on my marriage. Took almost a year and a half to recover from it without the use of any medications all on my own. This was 24 years and 20 years ago. Made it very hard to make the decision to have the second child because I knew I would have it again.  And I did. – Theresa

My marriage is suffering. Hard. I am mourning the loss of the woman I was for 27 years. And my husband is too. And we still don’t know where this leaves us. This is something I have not figured out yet, and it’s a side effect of PPD that deserves more discussion. – Amanda from Mom Like Me

Yes. My husband has been a trooper through all of this but I know he gets hurt by things I say to him and gets frustrated with me because of mood swings. Friends think I’m crazy or get offended because I’m not my bubbly self. – Anonymous

Things just aren’t like they used to be before PPD. – Jacqueline from Planning in the Deep

I feel like my fiancé is heartbroken every time he looks at me .– Haylie

Though of divorce DAILY but also realized I don’t have the time or sanity to even go to the bathroom never mind organize a divorce (we’re still happily married but that time was friggin’ rough!) – Crystal from Heart and Home Doula

Greatly. I was withdrawn with most of my friends and with my husband. – Anonymous

My medication decreases my sex drive. – Anonymous

So many fights between my partner and I that have escalated into violence at times. – Anonymous

It caused my marriage some major hiccups. My husband didn’t understand what was going on and thought I didn’t love our baby, which is obviously not true. – Anonymous

I hated my husband for about a year and a half and seriously considered divorcing him. – Eda

My relationship has been rocky from the start which in of itself has greatly affected my depression. Relationships all around seem superficial and I feel like no one understands. My kids don’t see me happy and smiling. – Anonymous

My husband didn’t experience my first three cases of PPD, but has already seen, 12 weeks in to this pregnancy, how I have changed due to the illness creeping in. I act out in rage often, and he frequently says he’s never seen me like this. It’s straining, but he’s understanding. – Kathleen

I’m much more on edge, quick to think he’s judging me. I don’t want to be touched. – Stephanie

It was very hard on the marriage at first, I had no sex drive and was angry at my husband for not doing more. It took me a long time to accept that no matter how much he did – he would never be the mom. I am mom. I was also very isolated from other moms and my closest friends and family did not have children so it created a huge rift. My sister and I actually grew apart so much and it was devastating but I gave up on our relationship for a while. Luckily her and I had the desire to reconnect and we went to therapy together to bridge the divide. -Yonat from Embodied Therapy Santa Rosa

I can’t connect and I struggle relating to my husband. I see him on a different level. I feel disconnected. I can be happy and laugh with him but keep to myself with my inner struggles. – Beth


Postpartum Depression Triggers Postpartum Depression Triggers

Nothing puts strain on a relationship like mental health issues.

One of the biggest problems with postpartum depression for many women is that disconnected feeling.  We isolate ourselves, withdraw socially and close up our emotions.  Basically, we do exactly the opposite of what you’re supposed to do in a loving relationship.  But it’s difficult to communicate with someone who just doesn’t understand what’s happening to us.  Like us, our spouses expected to live happily ever after once baby arrived. Postpartum depression destroyed their worlds, too.

What can we do to change this?

Education can make such a difference.  New and expectant fathers should do their best to learn about the symptoms of postpartum depression as well, so that they know how to help support their partners.  The better a person can understand mental illness, the easier it will be to handle situations like rage, extreme mood swings or suicidal ideations.  No one should have to battle postpartum depression alone.  

To The Husbands of the Women with Postpartum Depression
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11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them

Postpartum depression symptoms can be triggered by different factors, making the recovery process much longer than it needs to be.

With a proper treatment plan, postpartum depression can go into remission.  But postpartum depression triggers are internal or environment factors that can cause symptoms to flare up again. These can continue to affect mothers for years after the postpartum period. 

It can be frustrating to battle symptoms of postpartum depression for years, and it might even feel like it will never go away.  Identifying your specific triggers can help you to avoid them, which means you’ll be less likely to experience a postpartum depression relapse.

Here are some of the most common postpartum depression triggers to watch out for.
11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
11 Postpartum Depression Triggers and How to Avoid Them 11 Postpartum Depression Triggers

Sleep Deprivation

Our brains need sleep and there isn’t an acceptable substitution for it.  No amount of caffeine, medications, diet changes or exercise can replicate what sleep does for our bodies.  If our brains don’t get the chance to reset each night, they don’t function very well during the day.

Sleep deprivation is an especially big factor for postpartum moms.  Babies have much shorter sleep cycles than adults do.  This means that a mother’s brain isn’t getting the chance to fully “reboot” because it’s constantly being interrupted by a hungry baby.  So it’s no surprise that sleep deprivation is one of the most common postpartum depression triggers. 

In order to get the most undisturbed sleep possible, enlist the help of your spouse, a family member or hire a postpartum doula for a night shift or two.  You may also want to work on getting your baby into a good sleep routine, which can help you avoid sleep deprivation in the long run. 

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is another one of the more common postpartum depression triggers.  In fact, many mothers report feeling more stressed about breastfeeding than they did about labor and delivery.  Breastfeeding can be a struggle and it can cause pain, frustration, shame and embarrassment.

Mothers who struggle with breastfeeding can feel guilty, unworthy, judged  or end up feeling resentful and full of regret. All of these feelings certainly contribute to symptoms of postpartum depression.  But some mothers found that breastfeeding eased their symptoms and helped them to bond with their babies.  Each woman’s experience is so different, but if this is a trigger for you, know that you are not alone.

Education can be key to successful breastfeeding.  While it’s promoted as “all-natural,” it doesn’t come naturally to the majority of mothers.  Consider hiring a lactation consultant, or take an online breastfeeding course from home.  If all else fails, know that it’s perfectly okay to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula for the sake of your mental health. 

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Pain

When we think of pregnancy and childbirth, we associate it with some form of pain.  This is often thought of as a rite of passage and many mothers spend a lot of time preparing for it.  But in some cases, the pain of childbirth can trigger unexpected feelings and suppressed memories. 

A painful delivery or recovery can be one of the first postpartum depression triggers, but pain is a trigger that can linger long after the recovery period.  When we experience pain in another form, such as menstrual cramping, pelvic pain, back pain or migraines, it can trigger the symptoms of postpartum depression again.

This trigger can be especially difficult to avoid due to the fact that pain comes in so many different forms.  Identifying that pain is a trigger is a good first step.  Experiment with different pain treatment options, such as CBD oil, and try to deal with the root cause of any chronic pain, in order to avoid being triggered long term.

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Weight Fluctuations

The weight issue is another trigger that affects expectant and new mothers.  During pregnancy, a woman can gain 20 – 40 lbs in the span of 9 months.  And then immediately following childbirth, her body can look unrecognizable.  There will be pressure to lose all the extra weight as fast as possible.  She may also have to deal with a c-section scar, stretch marks, loose skin and sagging breasts.  

These weight and body changes can have a significant effect on our mental health.  Even if body image was not an issue for us prior to becoming a mother, postpartum depression can take a hit on our self esteem

While maintaining a healthy weight is important, embracing our new bodies is equally as important to keep weight changes from triggering postpartum depression symptoms.  

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Hormonal Imbalances

The fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and in the postpartum period are completely normal.  They are responsible for the extreme mood swings, weepiness and other symptoms referred to as “the baby blues.”  It’s not unusual for hormones to also take all the blame when it comes to postpartum depression, however we know that there’s much more to it than that.  

Certain hormonal imbalances can be postpartum depression triggers.  Some women find their symptoms are triggered upon the return of their menstrual cycle or with another pregnancy.  Certain illnesses can also cause hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid problems or diabetes

There are plenty of natural ways to keep your hormone levels balanced to avoid a postpartum depression relapse, but always speak to your doctor first to identify the cause of the imbalance and come up with the right treatment plan. 

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Relationship Problems

Marriage and relationship problems can begin or get worse following the birth of a child and they are a major cause of stress and anxiety for both parents.  Postpartum mothers are extra sensitive, irritable and sometimes prone to rage.  They can be extremely difficult to communicate and reason with.

In addition to the lack of communication and mood swings, it can be really difficult to open up about all of these scary thoughts and feelings.  Instead, women tend to shut down, retreat away from their spouses, and have difficulty with intimacy.  

Despite how hard it might be, try your best to talk to your loved one about what you’re feeling.  Getting an official diagnosis may help you both to understand what’s going on.  Couples therapy is also a good option to help break down the barriers.

To The Husbands of the Women with Postpartum Depression
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Grief/Loss

Grief is a major depression trigger that can affect postpartum moms.  Pregnancy and welcoming a new baby are symbolized by joy, happiness and new life.  It can be shocking when these actions cause an opposite effect, but sometimes they do.  

A mother who previously suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the loss of a child may be triggered by grief upon giving birth to a healthy baby.  Postpartum depression symptoms may also be triggered when a woman thinks of someone who previously passed away and isn’t present to meet their child.

Grief is a part of life and there’s really no avoiding it.  If you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, talk about them openly.  Talk to your baby about them, look at an album full of pictures or share stories about them.  Try not to keep all that pain inside, and instead, memorialize the ones you have loved and lost. 

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Holidays/Anniversaries

Special occasions can actually be quite difficult for a mother with postpartum depression.  Certain dates or holidays might stir up traumatic memories that are postpartum depression triggers.  Plus, social anxiety and the desire to withdraw from conversation are common symptoms of postpartum depression. This makes it very hard to get together in large crowds, even if they are all people whom you love. 

As these dates approach, try to be proactive about your condition.  Take the day off work, scale down the festivities or plan a vacation instead.  Changing your memories about that day might be hard, but not impossible.

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Weather

Cold weather and rainy days can make anyone feel depressed but it’s much deeper than that.  Depression thrives when a person feels isolated.  And there’s nothing better at keeping a mom with a new baby locked up indoors than some bad weather.  Hot weather can also encourage a new or expecting mother to seek out the cool air conditioning instead of a muggy back yard.

All this time spent indoors can deprive a mother of enough fresh air and sunshine.  Combined with the other effects of seasonal affective disorder, the weather changes should never be underestimated as postpartum depression triggers.

Keeping a journal or mood tracker can help to identify if your postpartum depression symptoms are being triggered by the weather.  If they are, then there are several easy therapies and common practices you can do to help avoid it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
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Financial Stress

Money problems are high on the list of depression triggers.  For parents, adjusting to the financial strain of adding a baby to the budget can be difficult.  In addition to the cost of diapers and daycare, a mother has to battle with the financial stress of staying at home instead of working – or feeling guilty for working instead of being home with baby.

Changes in finances are just one of the many overwhelming adjustments that a new mother will need to make, and it can be a big trigger for postpartum depression. 

One of the best ways to avoid this is to prepare for the financial stress prior to giving birth.  Meet with a financial advisor and make a plan for the future.  To save some money, research which baby products are worth investing in, and which ones you can probably do without.  And most importantly, stick to a budget to keep financial stress under control.

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Changes in Treatment

To help fight all of these different postpartum depression triggers there are several different treatment options available.  The variety of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications available means that you should be able to find one that works well for you, even if you have to try out a few first.  Considering online therapy?  Check out this detailed review of online therapy companies to help with your decision. 

But beware when making changes to your treatment plan.  Sudden changes to any of your medications can trigger symptoms of postpartum depression again.  The same goes for stopping therapy sessions or another supplemental form of treatment.  If money is the issue for stopping, you can find out more information about the cost of online therapy here.

Consider weaning yourself off slowly instead.  If you plan on switching to a different medication, slowly wean off of the first one and gradually begin the second one.  Obviously, speak to your doctor about any and all changes in your treatment plan.  And make sure to be open about the symptoms you are experiencing, so that you can find the treatment that works for you.