Postnatal Depression: A man’s perspective on couples therapy…

As you know, my HF and I have decided to undertake couples therapy as a means to get our relationship (namely, our communication) back on track.  This is by no means a negative thing for us, we are most certainly NOT on the edge of a separation (which most people seem to think when you mention”therapy”).  What this means for us is a chance to arm ourselves with the best tools possible in an effort to provide the ongoing maintenance required for our postnatal depression journey – and for the life we will share beyond.

We feel really good about our decision, so in a brave move my HF agreed to write down his thoughts on the whole thing.  His initial reaction when I asked if he would consider writing something about our experience was, “But what am I going to say?  You write well, I don’t.  I can’t put it into words.”  I assured him honesty was the key and beyond that it didn’t really matter.  I’m not saying he liked doing it, but he was willing to do it for me… for us.

So, here is his perspective on our first session with the couples therapist… Thank-you so much for doing this, babe.  I love you.

Our life was turned upside down when we added the LM to our life.  All for the better.  But with all the things we were thrown to do with our LM, it made life a very uneasy one for all of us.  But more so for my lovely fiance.  Things were difficult.  I tried to keep things calm and rational but it was not possible a lot of the time.  We didn’t know what was going on.  I had no idea it was postnatal depression.  My listening skills aren’t great at the best of times and this was a constant struggle for us during this time.  But it was my lovely fiancé not being able to cope with, or be rational about, every day things and situations that was the hardest for me to deal with.  It was not like her at all and I couldn’t fix it no matter how much I wanted to.

When my lovely fiancé came home after seeing the doctor and told me about the postnatal depression, I felt relieved we finally had an answer and some understanding for what was going on.  Since then, I have been able to manage more of her meltdowns with a better idea of what she is going through.  I know now all I need to do is give my lovely fiancé the space she needs to deal with things when they happen and reassure her we’ll get through this and that I’m not going anywhere.

When we talked about going to couples therapy I thought this would be a great idea to help us deal with both our issues.  Both for our personal issues and those to do with the postnatal depression.  I knew I wanted this for us, but I was anxious about our first session.  During the first session, I had the chance to talk to the therapist about how I was going and how I was dealing with things.  My physical reaction gave away my anxiousness because my mouth became really dry and I struggled to keep on track with what we were talking about.  In the end though , it felt good to finally be able to get things off my chest.

I’m hoping by seeing this therapist our lives will certainly improve.  The therapist spoke about ways I can help.  One way was by planning nights out for myself and my lovely fiancé.  We need to enjoy time by ourselves and get used to communicating and being together as a couple again.  I probably didn’t really understand that by me planning and organising these sorts of things, that would actually mean more to my lovely fiancé than me helping her around the house.  I want us to eventually get back the love and affection we first had when we met.  Tonight we are going out and it’s the first time I’ve organised it without her help  She was very surprised when I told her!  I’m really looking forward to it.



7 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: A man’s perspective on couples therapy…

  1. Laura says:

    I love how he only refers to you as his lovely fiance. Very sweet.

  2. Evonne Wylie says:

    What a beautiful insight into the dad’s perspective. We need more of our men to come out and talk about what they are going through when baby comes along and what they are doing to support their beautiful lady. Enjoy your date night!!

  3. Thanks for your lovely comment, Evonne… I agree with you we need more men speaking out about their experiences. And our date was wonderful – fantastic food, great wine, and some much needed adult conversation!!

  4. Thank you for this lovely post. I am happy to have come upon it this morning as I’m preparing my talk for the 2013 Postpartum Support International Conference, on “Strengthening Perinatal Families” using family and couple’s therapy. If you will give permission, I would love to use a portion of your HF’s writing in my speech. As a 4-time PPD survivor and PPD expert, I understand how tough it can be to heal, but I also know how important it is to heal together. Kudos to both of you for seeking help together! I’d love you to check out my PPD resources too:) (see “PPD Treatment” articles and especially the “PPD Treatment: For Dads & Partners” article)

    • HI Christina… Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Of course we would be thrilled for you to incorporate part of my post on how we, as a couple, are dealing with my PND issues. In fact, it would be very much appreciated and an honour. I am so thankful to the wonderful community of mothers I have found through my blog and comments such as yours continue to reiterate for me the importance of writing honestly about what we’re each going through. I too am glad you’ve “happened upon” my blog… Everything happens for a reason! 🙂 xx

      p.s. If you do happen to use our experience, is there any way you could let me know the outcome of your speech, or in what context you used it? That would be wonderful! Thanks so much again.

      • Thank you very much! I will absolutely let you know the outcome of the speech, though it won’t be until June of 2013! I will make sure to visit you here and leave a note about how people responded. I will also be happy to include your bog as the reference for those who might like to visit too. Keep up the excellent writing and hopefully our paths will cross again soon!:) Best wishes… Christina

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