Dadtrackworld: Helping partner through post-natal depression

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  • Dadtrackworld: Helping partner through post-natal depression
  • yetanother
    Member

    Firstly, can I just get something out of my system? PND… what an absolute bastard.

    My partner is a brilliant mum to our nearly-four-month-old, and most days are really great, but I guess every third day or so there’ll be a little trigger point – just something going wrong, stressful, whatever – and it’ll turn into a really bloody horrible day for her. It’s really tough on her (she’ll feel like a complete failure as a mother, which is so far from the truth) and on me (I feel i get on the receiving end of a lot of anger over stuff that really doesn’t warrant it. I’m not perfect, sure, but it’s very hard when small things cause big explosions). Despite all the bad feelings our little baby is the smiliest happiest little boy imaginable and has a really great mum.

    What I’m finding hard is that neither of us has been much impressed by the health visitors, and she’s worried all the doctor will offer is antidepressants, which I think she might have had bad experiences of in the past. Hence we’ve never really spoken about it with anyone.

    I think I’m doing an okay job with it and I’m helping okay, but it’s very, very difficult to cope with at times… having to stay calm and supportive when occasionally it’d just be nice to have a big yell (not at her, just at the world). I have a demanding job on top of all that, so my life is basically the job and this…

    Anyone got any magic suggestions, silver bullets, and reassurance that it really does get better?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Be there is really all the advice I can offer.

    It does end, you just have to stick together.

    Practically, I used to take our boy out for long walks (2hrs+) every day so my wife could sleep without being disturbed even by accident.

    Markie
    Member

    Through (semi?) direct experience of good friends of ours, it gets better.

    That doesn’t mean it won’t be horrible before it does.

    Their health visitor was (next to) useless, their doctor prescribed anti-depressants.

    The doctor worked hard to make the drugs work (I think it was the third type of pills that saw things pull up and level off).

    She and your son are of course going to be the focus of your thoughts, but make sure you look after you – not just for your own sake, but also cause the better you are, the more support you can provide!

    fasthaggis
    Member

    Sister in law had it hard for a while .
    She got a lot of help dealing with it through her local mums group.
    My brother reckoned that it was all down to the moaning talking 🙂 about their experiences,it really made a big difference to them .
    There may be something similar in your area.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Well worth a visit to the doc. It’s well recognised and treatment is effective (but they may need to try a few things before getting it right.) And it is something mums recover from so there is light at the end of that tunnel.

    There are loads of books out there on it too. It may help reading some personal accounts that she can identify with, and how people have recovered from similar situations.

    And just be there to let her talk to you about it.

    Premier Icon danrandon
    Subscriber

    we both went through a lot in the first 12-24 months of my daughters life with major medical conditions. And as you would expect both of use were really down.

    In my opinion what helped us both through those times were lots of family cuddles, taking turns with walking etc and of course those three magic words to your partner, and i don’t mean “fancy pizza tonight” ;).

    It’s amazing what a cuddle and a “I Love You” can do.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    As someone who’s suffered with depression (not post natal obv) all you can do is be there to listen if she wants to talk, to hold her of she wants to cry, to generally let her know that she’s important to you. You can’t do anything to fix her, same as you couldn’t unbreak a broken leg. MIND is there to help you as well as her.

    And don’t dismiss antidepressants – they’re not a cure and sometimes it takes a while to find one that works but they can be a useful part of recovery. If she’s had bad experiences with some drugs then that’s useful info to find something better – same as ky Mrs throwing up if you give her aspirin, so she takes paracetamol instead.

    Premier Icon huckleberryfatt
    Subscriber

    Lots of good info and advice on Mumsnet

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    Through (semi?) direct experience of good friends of ours, it gets better.

    Hmmm. A good friend of ours is still suffering with it, 2 1/2 years on. By persisting with her GP, she managed recently to get a referral for specialist counselling. It’s early days, but she seems positive about it, and I suspect it’s a more sustainable course of action than a bottle of pills.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    I suspect it’s a more sustainable course of action than a bottle of pills.

    For some people the pills are like the pain killers for a sprained knee – they make it easier to live with but the real healing comes from physiotherapy and exercise (like counselling or CBT). Eventually they recover to a point where they can discontinue the pills.

    For others there’s a more persistent problem that means they need the pills for longer or for life, same as many physical ailments need prolonged drug use (insulin, stations, anti rejection drugs for transplants etc).

    Premier Icon karlp
    Subscriber

    Big topic. Urge to help. Difficult to know from original post if this is PND or something else (“may have had bad experience of antidepressants”).
    Assuming PND i.e. normal experience for a lot of mums. I’ve some experience of this. For me it was scary to feel that my wife had gone bonkers. I was scared for me, kids, her etc. How dare she…get a grip woman, WTF have I married & chosen to have a family with etc. etc.
    What helped us was me realising that she needed me then more than ever. That I had to find it in me to tell her that I was there for her and that we would work our way through this. That she & our child were my number one priority.
    For info my wife had PND with 3rd child & not with first two.
    For info my wife had PND with our 3rd kid.
    Don’t we all need to know, at times, when things are difficult, that were not alone?
    Sounds to me like you are doing good work fella, keep at it.
    If it’s more than PND get professional help.

    yetanother
    Member

    Some days I think this is getting easier but then it’ll come right back and bite us both on the arse again.

    If I even bring up the subject of PND I get a lot of anger back, “you just say I’m going mad”. And then I doubt myself, and start thinking I’m being really unfair.
    But then if i sit and think rationally, and look at things like the Edinburgh PND scale (http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/for-me/pregnancy-and-early-parenthood/edinburgh-postnatal-depression-scale), I mean, crap, that’s like a checklist that describes life on those bad days right now.

    It’s a bloody lonely feeling, this, because it’s not even something I feel like I can discuss properly with the person I’m trying to be the one to help. Instead I feel like a useless punchbag.

    Gah. Anyone had to deal with things being like that? Any advice you can give?

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Sorry to hear it’s still bad, that’s really crap.

    Has she been to see a doctor? Any medication? Some talking therapies are meant to be good too (e.g. CBT.)

    It does get better eventually.

    warton
    Member

    What I’m finding hard is that neither of us has been much impressed by the health visitors, and she’s worried all the doctor will offer is antidepressants, which I think she might have had bad experiences of in the past. Hence we’ve never really spoken about it with anyone.

    you NEED to talk to the doctor about it. letting it build up will only make it worse, that’s pretty much guaranteed.

    My wife bottled it up for a few months, this ed to a major breakdown, 5 months off work, lots of hard times.

    The doctor will prescribe Anti depressants. don’t worry about that, your wife should (IMO) take them. it won’t be for ever, and it will help her in the short term.

    All you can do is try and support her, be prepared to do lots of housework, lots of time with the kid, and lots of time giving her time and space to get better. You will both come through it, but get to the doc. get it diagnosed, and get help 🙂

    yetanother
    Member

    Yeah, I know you’re right, I just don’t really know how to get to the point of acceptance that means getting in front of a doctor

    tang
    Member

    My wife had a full psychotic episode after the birth of our 3rd. It was awful and very frightening for everyone. One day things just turned a corner, thank goodness, I really thought I’d lost her, intervention by the professionals saved her(despite her refusal at first). Time will help and get as much time off to help as possible and pull in all the favours to lighten the load. Good luck.

    crankboy
    Member

    ‘ just don’t really know how to get to the point of acceptance that means getting in front of a doctor ‘

    Only you can tell how difficult and how real your situation is but is now 9 months? in . To me that seems bad I assume it is your wife that you cant see getting to the necessary point. I cannot think of a strategy to move her if gently talking it through in a ‘good’ time has not worked . trying to talk when things are blue will be counterproductive.
    Having said that I imagine the strain on you must be massive get your self in to your GP to talk it through see what he can suggest for you then when you have done that discuss it with your wife from your perspective . It will be easier for her if you have gone down the road first.

    yunki
    Member

    my kids mum suffered badly with PND after our first, to the point of becoming catatonic for a few days at one point..
    We were fortunate in that we had already decided that I should take on the role of househusband, so I was at home and able to do everything for her..

    Drugs, quickly rejected and replaced with a more suitable variant, and intensive CBT had her back to herself by about the 9 month mark, but the first few months were hard and I had to almost treat the situation as if I was a single parent with two small babies..

    It does get better but medical attention was absolutely crucial to her recovery..
    Our second child she was completely unaffected but that was because we had identified sleep as the main trigger and so I did the night changes/feeds religiously..

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    ‘ just don’t really know how to get to the point of acceptance that means getting in front of a doctor ‘

    Would she be open to reading personal accounts? There’s loads on the net and in books. If she could identify with some of them and their recovery (and that it’s the illness, not her) then she may be more willing to accept the situation. It’s very common indeed to varying degrees and is usually pretty straightforward to treat once the right drugs/therapies are identified.

    Health visitors see a lot of this sort of thing too and can be very reassuring. They are probably no longer visiting but they will do if you ask them to and your wife is willing to see them.

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    If it’s ‘normal’ PND, due to the hormones etc. then:

    Practically, I used to take our boy out for long walks (2hrs+) every day so my wife could sleep without being disturbed even by accident.

    really really helps IME.

    The job/home thing is a difficult reality for the first few months, just take whatever rest and help you can get.

    mrbelowski
    Member

    My missus had it really bad with monkey 1, and the fall out from it all on my own family has been really bad and is still bad – stupid ‘families at war’ Jeremy Kyle type nonsense. I ended up having to completely cut myself off from my family so had no support of any kind.

    The usual practical stuff can help but ultimately the only thing that really helps is time. My missus was prescribed anti-depressants but they didn’t help much and she felt they made it all much much worse, and her being on them was my fault and my family’s fault. I guess it’s different for different folks, but taking them was a mistake for my missus.

    There was no access to non-drug therapy at all where we live – 8 month+ waiting list. The GPs were quite dismissive – if the child is happy and not in danger they seemed satisfied, regardless of the state of mum. Obviously dad’s state is entirely irrelevant as far all the professionals (and everyone else) are concerned.

    The whole experience was deeply rubbish and disappointing, it made me the foul mouthed objectionable misanthropic man I am today (sorry…).

    Not sure what to suggest really. I had to ‘ride it out’ and it took a bit of a toll but 5 years and one more kid later stuff’s a bit more normal. Not entirely – there are still sleepless nights and minor breakdowns.

    Just keep doing your best and remember that stuff will (eventually) get better

    vickypea
    Member

    I had PND and it was horrible! My partner was very supportive and so was the GP. The health visitor was unconcerned and useless. The GP started off by making me attend a weekly appointment to keep an eye on me, and eventually I had antidepressants for a few months. I found that getting fresh air and exercise by going for long walks with the pram to be helpful. Also, seeing friends was good. Meeting other mums with whom I had nothing in common except a new baby was not so good!
    Apart from the hormones, the sleep deprivation was a killer. Getting as much sleep as possible is essential.
    Hope she feels better soon.

    iolo
    Member

    Firstly I feel sorry for you guys as I know what it’s like to be depressed and how hard it can be on the partner (mrs iolo is amazing)As mentioned above maybe therapy might help. CBT works for some, not for others. What I find helps is Mindfullness. Tell her to get on to her doctor to help her get on a course.

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