A man reaching for a woman turned away in bed together

How My Marriage Survived PPD

I resented him. As a person, as my partner, and his profession.

He has the option (and privilege) to get up every day and go to work. As a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, my husband is the hardest working person I know. He wakes up before everyone and goes to bed after everyone. Even so, I always thought about him having the option to leave the house. To do what he loves and what gives him purpose.

The effects of postpartum depression on my marriage

I envied him being away from home for 14-16 hours at a time. The only thing he thinks about all day is his work (or at least related to it). In what world does a mom think of just one thing? One task that is all related to the same subject. What is that like?

On the other hand, I never get to leave. I never get the option. I am stuck. I felt stuck. Sometimes I still do. I don't get to think about just one thing. I have to think of about 20+ different things, for 3 or 4 different humans, at any given time.

Moving past resentment of my partner

I have come a long way from resentment to acceptance. When I say acceptance, I don't mean I have conformed. The truth is, our lives haven't changed. We still have the same jobs and I still take most of the mental load that it requires to make this machine work.

What has changed is my outlook and our communication. It didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't without professional help, but I feel like I am on the other side of postpartum depression (PPD).

This or That

Have you ever tried couples counseling?

Managing a marriage while managing PPD

Here are a few things that helped my marriage:

Holding space for each other as individuals

And recognizing that everyone needs a break. A break from work, home life, kids, etc.

I remember one time, at one of the lowest points with PPD, I needed a break so badly. But instead of communicating, I stormed out of the house. I left everyone right before dinner time. For a few hours, I had zero intentions of going back. Zero.

I ended up getting a pedicure, eating almost a whole pizza, and planning my kids' birthday party. At that moment I thought, why did it take me storming out to feel seen? And at the same time, how's this a break when I am still doing things for my kids?

Even though it takes planning, holding space for each other as individuals is important. Whatever that may look like.

Holding space for each other as a couple

This one is tough. Before kids, we could do anything at any time as a couple – without planning for babysitters or making firm plans. Now, we go on a date once a month (or more if schedules allow). How we choose to spend that time differs.

Prioritizing each other helps reinvigorate our commitment to one another. We take turns planning dates, so it doesn't fall on just one person.

Open communication and check-ins

We aim to have open and honest conversations about how we feel. Finding the right time and place can be difficult. For us, it works at night, after we both have agreed it is a good time to have the conversation. We make sure to:

  1. Ask the other person if it is a good time or when it would be a good time to talk. This can make a huge difference. And making sure we are in a neutral state of emotion, or at least as close to neutral as possible. When our emotions are heightened, we tend to say hurtful things and the other person shuts down.
  2. Express why we are sharing information. This could sound like, "The reason why I want to share this with you is because..." It can set clear expectations and set the conversation up for success.

Sharing the mental load

As the holder of most of the mental load in my household, I often struggle between wanting to share the load and controlling all parts of it. Let's be honest, no one can do it as well as I can.

As much of a joke as that was intended, I sometimes feel it is easier to just get it done than it is to tell someone how I like it to be done. And that is part of the issue. I have learned that if I want to share the burden, I must let others (like my husband) do it their way.

This one takes a lot of practice. It also takes some learning and willingness on his part. Asking for what you need and setting boundaries for the things you need to say no to is fair.

We're better as a team

My parents divorced when I was very young. It truly never affected me. My parents get along, so I was never truly fazed by it.

For a long time, postpartum depression made me feel like it would be better if I wasn't with my husband. I threw the "D word" around a few times. Sometimes, we are so deep in our PPD world that radical suggestions make the most sense.

It's not easy. It's a daily commitment for us. It's not you vs. me. It's us against the problem. Repeating that over and over has changed everything.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Postpartum.Mental-Health-Community.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.