How PPD Affects Marriage
Though it is common for couples to face marital problems during their first year after welcoming a new child into the world, dealing with this lifestyle change while struggling with postpartum depression makes it that much more difficult.
Depression of any kind can seriously strain a relationship. But postpartum depression specifically can be directly linked to an increase in marital problems. There are many reasons why marriage problems occur during postpartum depression.
Facing postpartum depression can be stressful enough on its own. But when you combine chronic sadness and anxiety with relationship tension, it can further compound the problem.
Postpartum Depression Marriage Challenges
There are many different marriage challenges that happen during postpartum depression. Often one or both couples are feeling neglected, confused, unsupported, burdened or just generally exhausted from suffering from depression.
All of these feelings combined can lead to ongoing struggles that further add difficulty to being a new parent as well.
Causes of Postpartum Depression Marriage Problems
There is often not just one single cause of postpartum depression marriage problems. The relationship struggles are usually the result of a combination of different factors and situations happening all at once.
Here are some of the top causes or factors leading to postpartum depression marriage problems:
It isn’t possible for a couple to ever be 100% prepared for a new baby to join the family. Often times, couples underestimate the amount of work that is required during the weeks following childbirth. And for mothers facing postpartum depression, this increased workload turns into an overwhelming feeling of possibly losing control.
Because of this increased workload for both parents, it can be difficult for each one to prioritize the other. Instead, priorities turn to the baby and the result is that one or both parents will feel neglected by the other.
Lack of Communication
With so many new emotions and responsibilities involved in having a new baby while struggling with PPD, it’s common for couples to cut off communication. People may find it difficult to describe the host of feelings they are facing, they may be afraid of offending the other person, or they may just wish it to go away on its own.
Regardless of why communication stops, it’s important to recognize this as a contributing factor to marriage problems during postpartum depression.
Along with not being prepared for an increased workload, some couples are simply not prepared financially to deal with a new baby. Money problems create significant stress between a couple. Combine financial constraints with the symptoms of postpartum depression and it further creates a problematic household environment.
Lack of Quality Time
One of the most commonly reported problems that couples face during the first year after having a baby is the lack of quality time the couple can spend alone together. When women are struggling with postpartum depression it can be difficult for them to want to make the time specifically for their partner. This is because a common symptom of postpartum depression is withdrawing and showing disinterest in activities the person used to enjoy.
To the other partner, this can seem hurtful and confusing. This further creates a divide between the couple spurring more postpartum depression marriage problems.
Decrease in Intimacy
Postpartum depression causes a number of different symptoms including fatigue and a loss of interest in sex. Because of these emotional pressures, many couples lose intimacy between each other during the postpartum period. This happens for many reasons, including a combination of a lack of communication and not spending enough time alone together.
A lack of intimacy in a relationship triggers a set of additional postpartum depression marriage problems including feelings of dissatisfaction and a loss of self-worth. This is something that can affect one or both partners during this time.
Postpartum Depression Marriage Tips
If you’re struggling with marriage problems during postpartum depression know that you are not alone. Many couples face marital problems during this difficult time and learn to work through them in healthy and positive ways.
Here are some tips for helping to cope with and heal marriage problems during postpartum depression:
Recognize the Causes: It’s important for couples to acknowledge what the underlying cause of their marital problems are. By taking a step back and objectively looking at the reasons why their relationship is strained, couples can make the healthy steps towards mending their partnership.
- Communicate: Communicating emotions is hard at any point in life, but may be especially hard during postpartum depression. But talking about your feelings with your partner will make you feel better and will shed light on how the other is feeling.
- Support Each Other: It’s natural for people to become so focused on their own feelings that they forget about how the other person may be feeling. By making a point to show support and concern for the other person it can help to bring the two of you closer together.
- Seek Help: Seeking outside counseling, whether it’s together or separate is a positive step to take when faced with postpartum depression marriage problems. A professional therapist or counselor can provide you with the tools you need to cope with postpartum depression and keep your relationship healthy. Often just talking about your feelings and having them validated by a professional is enough to make a couple feel more confident moving forward.
- Remember that it’s Temporary: Ultimately it’s important to keep the situation in perspective. If you’re proactively seeking postpartum depression treatment then you know that this condition will eventually pass. By remembering that the depression itself will go away, it can help you to stay realistic about any relationship challenges you are currently also facing.