When I told my husband that I was pregnant, he was in disbelief. He was very excited, much more excited than I had thought. I was surprised at how my mother and husband took the news. I thought my mom would faint, and I thought my husband wouldn’t be ready to be a father. Overall, knowing them very well, I felt a sense of relief that they were both pretty much normal about it. My mom was her neurotic self and my husband was excited. But I didn’t think that my husband’s depression would become much more severe. His sister had called me to congratulate us; she and my mother-in-law had arranged a block party in her neighborhood in Brazil. Although I’m not a fortune teller, I am a student of Psychology, and I did have a feeling that I was in for a roller coaster ride.
My mother took me home, and my husband came over to me to give me a hug and congratulate me. He had the biggest smile I had ever seen and slowly, he began to cry tears of joy. That night, the smile turned into a straight line. He was awake, and I was in the midst of a deep sleep. He began to discuss finances: “I need to get a second job … We need more money … Children are expensive … We won’t be able to afford our child.” Eventually, I fell asleep. That morning, he left home earlier. I called him and asked him where he was, he said he was at work. According to my Professor of Developmental Psychology, Dr. Allison McCleur, in evolutionary psychology, being able to provide for the family is a natural instinct of a father. Of course with that said, you might think “Well my father wasn’t in my life.” That’s probably why he felt like he couldn’t provide. At least I speak of my own father who had felt that he was unable to provide for my pregnant mother and I. I didn’t suspect anything at the time but my husband’s patterns of insomnia finally made me wonder if he may be developing depression.
The following week a friend of mine had called to confirm that I was coming to her daughter’s birthday party. She is one of the women who appears to have the perfect life. She’s almost equivalent to a domestic Goddess Stepford wife, except she has a full-time job. As the day ended and night fell upon us, three girlfriends, their sleepy children, and their completely wasted husbands were left. The party was a success but that wasn’t the end of the night … At least not for the men. I had gone outside and asked the men how they were, making sure they weren’t about to pass out from alcohol poisoning. They confirmed they were fine. I was cleaning up when I overheard our husbands talk about how miserable they were. The next few days, they behaved as though nothing had happened. It felt like they had done something completely deviant and had to keep it a secret. One morning, we had a group picnic with friends and family, At that moment I had looked at my friends and wondered why aren’t we sharing our stories? Why are we keeping these things such a secret?
In fact, one of my girlfriends had finally confided in me that her husband had been abusing drugs. The strange thing was that a few days ago, our mutual friend said the same thing.
This situation makes me wonder if the people who mean so much to me have ever wondered whether it hurts more the not trusting someone or the risk of embarrassing oneself. It is easier to imagine than to simply express how you feel at the moment or at any given moment when you feel in a way that it is causing you or your loved one’s distress. Wouldn’t it be better for one to open up and say: “I’ve been feeling very sad lately and I don’t know why,” rather than think of all of the ways your trust may be broken? Of course, there is therapy for this, but for some isn’t that what our friends are for? Aren’t we supposed to trust our friends? And, if we cannot trust our friends or significant other then is therapy the best option? All in all with whom we can confide? Should I take the chance to tell someone I’ve trusted and known forever how I’m feeling? Especially when I’m feeling in distress? According to research, when we have friends with whom we can confide it helps decrease our levels of sadness.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression you can visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance for more information on how to help.
For more information about Paternal Postpartum Depression read this article.
If you want to know more about substance abuse in men and women visit Westminster’s College Interactive Academic Journal.