Postnatal Depression & Marriage – Promises That Last?
Gavin and I met almost 7 years ago and have been married for 5 1/2 of them!
I wasn’t expecting to met him, I wasn’t looking for him. In fact, in truth he didn’t ‘fit’ what I had in mind for my husband – something I very quickly got over when I got to know the man that he is! We dated for a year, got engaged on our one year anniversary and married 4 months after that.
Like many couples, we learned quickly where we are similar and were we are different. We learned to understand how each other think, feel and plan and then tried to accommodate that. We bickered, fought, stormed out…made up, laughed, had fun and dreamt about the future, our future, together. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Quite quickly into married life we faced big changes, especially where Gavin’s career was concerned. It threw us into the spotlight – his area not mine – but I learned how I could best support him and deal with it.
I imagined having a baby would be an added bonus, to our already solid marriage and relationship. We thought it would bring joy, and newness to life, a different perspective on ourselves and even greater bond with our families.
We never, ever imagined that things would turn out as they did/have.
PND has changed everything about me, it has been unbelievably difficult for Gavin (much of which I will never understand, as he protects me from that truth). It has also, undoubtably changed our marriage.
- Increased Dependence
I am more dependant on Gavin now, than I have ever been. That’s been hard for me to accept. I have always been fiercely independent – sometimes too much so! I have taken pride in earning my own money, being successful in my chosen work path, managing a busy diary with work life and friends and generally feeling ‘in control’ of my day-to-day existence. Motherhood and PND has changed all that. I don’t work, at the minute, something we can’t see changing for another couple of years. I therefore don’t earn my own money and contribute to the house like I used to. This is NOT an issue for Gavin and nor does he ever make it one…but it is an issue for me. I have had to get used to not having a disposable income of my own. That’s been hard.
I also need to ‘ask’ before I can plan to do anything – knowing that Gavin has to be free or I have to organise a babysitter. With Gavin being away in London (for work) Monday to Thursday each week it gets even more complicated. At times I feel frustrated and ‘stuck’ or ‘hemmed’ in, which can also make PND worse and probably has. But I am learning how to cope with it. Reuben also starts playgroup next week – which will give me more structured free time.
But maybe even more importantly and significantly, I have become more dependent on Gavin emotionally, mentally and physically. As frustrating as it can be, I know it’s actually a good thing. I have learned to share with him ALL I am feeling and trust that he can help and can react to it, as I need him to. I can tell him when I’m having a bad day and depend on him to ‘take up the slack’…something I probably would not have allowed him to do before, wanting to manage everything on my own. It’s made our partnership stronger, on bad days I know I can tell him openly and that he is ‘for me’. He might not understand it all but his heart is full of love for me and that’s what matters most.
- Increased Thankfulness
I have always been thankful (to God) for bringing Gavin into my life. This season has re-affirmed that, in ways I can’t completely explain. But what it has done had made me 100% sure I married the right man. Not that I ever spent time doubting that but this has highlighted the fact that he really is the man for me – that’s a really good place to be!
- Increased Security
Even though I have always been fiercely independent, deep down, being secure has been really important to me. I kind of accepted that, when we got married, but this has taken it to a new level. I talked a little in this post about marriage and illness but nothing like PND was ever on my mind, at that point. Becoming so mentally, emotionally and physically unwell has tested, tried, exhausted, stressed, complicated, caused pain and heartache in our marriage, like nothing else. Gavin has not had a straightforward couple of years either – and his involvement in politics has brought trials to us, in the middle of PND also. But we have weathered it. We have weathered it together. We didn’t give up, lose heart, or each other, over each of the hurdles. We have managed to stay close, when we’ve been physically far apart. We have loved each other, when ‘unloveable’ has been the word of the season. We’ve supported, listened, and encouraged each other. I am proud of our marriage. I feel so much more secure in our relationship knowing that we have faced the fire and have been burned but not destroyed.
Where do we go now?
I have no idea what the future holds but I am confident in ‘us’ as we face it…together on the 5th March 2015 we made promises, that we hope and pray, will last.