Having a new baby summons a flood of emotions, most of which are derived from bliss and awe. From the second we meet our little ones, we're supposed to feel an instant connection and an unshakable bond. For many, those first meetings with our new baby are filled with wonderment and joy, but for some of us, they leave much to be desired. What happens when you have postpartum depression is something no one really wants to talk about at all most of the time. No one wants to talk about the guilt and emptiness that the supposed most important moment of our lives can create. No one wants to mention the sadness or the fear. No one warns you that although your arms are full, you might still feel empty, or that though your family just grew, you might still feel alone.
No one likes to talk about postpartum depression, and accepting it as part of your lives is a difficult pill for both you and your partner to swallow. It takes a toll on the even the strongest of relationships, and can often leave broken hearts in its wake. I mean, when the two of you decided to have a baby together, you probably anticipated a certain degree of exhaustion and stress, but mostly, you expected to be happy. But weathering the storm of PPD together doesn't have to destroy your relationship. In fact, getting through it together can be incredibly positive, even if going through it together is the worst. PPD isn't the shiniest thing that can bring the two of you together, but it still can. And surviving such a scary situation makes the two of you even stronger than you were before. Here's why:
You Have Seen Each Other At Your Worst
Let's face it: Postpartum depression brings out the worst in all of us. From the incessant crying, to the irrational rage, to the simple inability to function normally, PPD wages a war on your emotional stability. But it's not only you who feels its effects — partners of people struggling with PPD endure pains all their own too.
If you're dealing with PPD, chances are your partner can't fully understand how you're feeling, and it's difficult to help when you really don't know what exactly the problem is. When you're unable to put the way you're feeling into words, your partner feels like they're unable to say whatever it is that you need to hear, because honestly, you might not even know either.
Getting through such a confusing time together is a serious feat, and understanding how to help each other in those situations that seemed so helpless will aid the future of your relationship in insurmountable ways. Seeing someone at their worst is hard, but it teaches us to appreciate them at their best.
You Have Relied On One Another For Support
It's not easy for anyone to admit that they need help, and accepting help is even more difficult. No one wants to need anyone. We all want to believe that we're the strong, independent, and all-conquering people that we've convinced ourselves of, and when what we thought was a reality turns out to be a fantasy... It's upsetting to say the least. This is doubly true when it comes to something that you just assumed you should be able to do on your own, like take care of yourself and your baby in even the most basic ways.
No one wants to have to ask for support, but the truth is that people aren't mind readers, so sometimes verbalizing what you need is a very necessary step on the path towards healing. Despite the kind of self-pity that people assume asking for help elicits, it's actually a sign of great emotional strength. Knowing that you were able to confide in your partner during your darkest hours brings such a tremendous amount of gratitude to your relationship. Once you and your partner have reached that point together, your relationship will reap the benefits of knowing that you've got a rock solid support system.
You Know You Can Trust Each Other
Surviving PPD, for most people, is nearly really damn hard to do alone. You needed to know that you could confide in someone else; someone who wouldn't judge the demons you were facing; someone whom you could trust. If that someone was your partner, you probably feel like you never have to hide anything from them again. Not that you were necessarily hiding anything from your partner in the first place but come on, some of the details of your pregnancy were sort of humiliating...hilarious, yes, but humiliating. Even the often embarrassing aspects of motherhood pale in comparison to the feelings you confess when you're were in crisis. Despite the mania you admitted to, your partner still had your back and held your hand through those moments without ever once passing judgment or making bold assumptions about your feelings.
Knowing that you've got someone you can completely confide in is not only incredibly comforting, but it's also very rare. After getting through PPD together, you'll forever be thankful for the trust you share. It's not all that often that you find someone whom you can rely on with such certainty.
Your Bond Gets Even Tighter
Once you've made it through the emotional hell that is postpartum depression, the bond that you share with your partner will have grown in ways that you probably won't be fully aware of for years. Holding each one another's hand during those uncertain days deeply intertwines the ties you share, and coming out on the other side of such an ugly disease will bind the two of you together like no marriage boot camp ever could.
You Appreciate Each Other More
You probably had no idea how much you loved your partner until you battled through postpartum depression together. Now that you're on the winning end of that battle, you've got an unbridled appreciation for one another. The relief of having made it out the other end of PPD is comforting, obviously, but the admiration and respect you have for your partner only deepens your esteem for them. It's not easy (as I know from experience), but the comfort of knowing that you've got someone by your side who's got your back no matter what the situation — no matter how dark, ugly, or depressing it may have been — brings such serenity and strength to a relationship.
At some point, you likely felt debilitated and directionless. You were lost amid a storm of incomprehensible emotions, but you made it out OK, not only stronger yourself, but possibly also stronger within your relationship. Be thankful to have made it through it all together, and try to always acknowledge the road that the two of you have traveled. It was hardly a sunny stroll but you survived it together.
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