Roughly 3 months ago I found my wife crying in the dark after an argument we had had. The argument hadn’t made sense to me. I remember not understanding what I had done wrong. Exasperated I had left my wife upstairs alone (she had demanded I leave her alone), but when I went to talk to her ten minutes later I found her crying in the dark. She hugged me and told me she thought she had Post Natal depression. I held her as she sobbed, together in the dark. One thought going through my mind, ‘How could I not have noticed this?’
I first considered the possibility that my wife might be at risk of post natal depression on the day our daughter was born. The pregnancy had not been a good one with more than one nighttime trip to the emergency doctor, but that was nothing compared to the birth and post natal complications. There was concern about Erin’s size and she had seemingly stopped getting the right nourishment. It was decided to induce labour early as, for want of a better phrase, she was probably better out than in. This did not go to plan and we ended up having to have an emergency c -section. Erin was delivered safely and all seemed okay until that evening when Lyndsey’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse.
Lyndsey has already written in detail about this experience so I won’t do so again, but she had picked up a really bad infection as a result of the C section. I want to say mistakes were made but I don’t really know if that is true. We now know that Lyndsey had sepsis and e-coli but that wasn’t revealed to us at the time. From my point of view my wife was dreadfully ill, hooked up to multiple medications, cannulas in both arms, unable to move, unable to eat, unable to even stay conscious much, and certainly unable to hold the newborn baby she had been so desperate for.
We were in hospital for two weeks and as hard as those two weeks were for me, they were ten times harder for Lyndsey. She had desperately wanted to breast feed and even in the state she was in, she really tried. In the end we had to give up and formula feed so that I could do it.
When we finally got home I was so worried about PND and even PTSD. I even mentioned it to the health visitor who came to see us.
I had to return to work sooner than I was comfortable with but I had no choice. I didn’t want to leave Lyndsey and Erin alone after everything we had gone through. To my relief Lyndsey took to motherhood like a natural. Before I knew it she had Erin signed up to all these different classes and there were whiteboards everywhere and food plans. There didn’t seem to be any issue with bonding or anything. I tried to do my bit with night feeds but we soon came to joke that Lyndsey was the A-team when it came to Erin because she settled for her far more quickly.
I will admit that my worries abated and I threw myself into working hard to try to improve our situation. I took on a new job and said yes to any overtime going. All the while things seemed to be okay at home.
Then a series of things happened – Lyndsey started to experience problems with infections in her c-section scar and is still struggling with it now. On one particularly bad occurrence she was unable to move and I couldn’t go to work for a few days.
Then we have had issues with some of my family and Lyndsey has come under sustained personal attack that was in no way deserved. In my defending her it has led to a massive rift in the family that has taken its toll on both of us. I knew she had been really upset by it but I didn’t know just how much.
It didn’t occur to me for one second that she might be suffering from PND. In my ignorance I thought this was something that would have happened at the start and not an issue a year on. But I now know that Lyndsey had been struggling in silence for quite a while.
I will never forgive myself for this. I like to think I am an attentive husband but I didn’t see this happening and my wife didn’t feel she could talk to me about it. Lyndsey doesn’t like to admit she needs help but I should have known something wasn’t right.
At least now things are out in the open. Lyndsey is taking mild anti-depressants and these seem to really be helping. I wasn’t keen for her to take pills because I don’t want her to become too dependent on them but I think the plan is to wean her off them gradually.
I do my best to make sure Lyndsey gets some baby free time as often as possible and lie ins at the weekend. I may have failed her before but I am determined never to do so again!