Question: “My marriage is suffering because I have postpartum depression. I am constantly blaming my husband and making him the bad guy, but at the moment, I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. I’m in such a deep hole, I can’t focus or concentrate on anything. My doctor told me I’m going through extremely bad brain fog – so much so that in the last three months my husband has become burned out and depressed himself. He is very quick to just be a jerk to me because I always ‘try and make him the bad guy and place the blame on my mental state.’
I guess I was so blind to everything going on around me that I didn’t realize this was happening, but I’m killing my relationship because of this. I love my husband so much and am so scared that if I don’t get better, I’ll lose him. I feel that I’ve become a rage monster who thinks everything is his fault. I have been on medication but nothing is helping me. Another issue is that I feel I don’t have friends, so I have no one to really talk to or receive support from. I looked into going to therapy but it’s too expensive for us right now, I need help. What should I do? I want to save my marriage.”
Answer: First want to say congratulations on your little one, and I applaud you for reaching out for help during such a difficult time. Postpartum depression is not talked about nearly as much as it should be, and your openness about your struggles and willingness to get help is commendable.
That being said, does your husband have a good understanding of what postpartum depression is and how it can impact a person physically, mentally and behaviorally? If he doesn’t, I think it may be a good idea to help him gain a better understanding and clear picture of what you’re battling. This could include having your healthcare provider speak with both of you or watching videos online from qualified providers/advocates. While this may be a difficult conversation and take a lot of vulnerability, it could help you get on the same page to communicate better and provide the best support for each other and your baby.
I’m sure that feeling like you’re battling this without friends or other external support has made this more difficult on you. Some people close to me have struggled with postpartum depression, and I remember what helped them was to connect with those around them. Talk about it as much as you’re able to.
While therapy may be unattainable right now, there are amazing online support communities that offer a safe space to talk about your struggles and connect with those in similar situations. Google “postpartum support groups near me.” It could lead you to a community of supportive fellow moms and potential new friends.
One more thing to consider is that your partner may be dealing with his own postpartum depression. It does sound like he is trying to be supportive, but your mention of his burnout and depression made me want to bring this up. Studies show that new dads can also experience postpartum depression, and it’s more likely when their partner is struggling with depression. You are already dealing with a lot, but make sure he understands he can be just as affected, and let him know he should reach out for his own mental health care, if needed.
At the end of the day, just remember you are dealing with a serious mental health struggle. Have some patience, self-love, and don’t try to live up to any expectations of what motherhood is or should be.
Wishing you the best,
Morgan Absher is an occupational therapist in Los Angeles who hosts the podcast, “Two Hot Takes” where she and her co-hosts dish out advice. She writes a weekly column, sharing her advice with USA TODAY’s readers. Find her on TikTok @twohottakes and YouTube here. You can reach her by email at Mabsher@gannett.com or you can click here to share your story with her.