helping a marriage during ppd - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-16-2010, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to have a discussion on this topic. Here's what I've been thinking lately...

Having a less capable/completely incapable partner is harder on men than on women. (Not all the time of course, but in general.) I read "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" and enjoyed it and at the same time I was completely annoyed by it. Dr. Laura states that it is easy to meet men's needs if you just know what to do. If you do these things that she describes in her book, men are more likely to do chores and less likely to have an affair, etc.

BUT, BUT, BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN WOMEN CAN'T DO THAT? Like when a woman has ppd and there's no way she can even begin to think about making nice meals and having sex and making her husband feel like a hero. So many marriages fall apart during ppd or even when women have cancer or other chronic illnesses, divorce rates are extremely high in these situations.

This week I just read "the Five Love Languages" and I completely recommend that one. For everyone. The basic idea is, everyone has their "love tank" filled by different things. Some people with physical touch, some with acts of service, etc. He even says that sometimes you can figure out your partner's love language by listening to what they complain about.

So this is my idea for women with ppd...maybe if you can figure out (or some men might actually be able to tell you) what one thing will make your dh feel loved. Then, if you ever have a tiny bit of energy, you can have a goal. If you have 5 minutes of sanity and your dh's love language is words of affirmation, you can write a two sentence note, giving him a compliment. If it is acts of service and the thing he most likes is dinner, you can pop a freezer casserole in the oven or order out a meal or something. If he wants sex to feel loved....that one is harder.

Anyway, this book also has great suggestions for how to ask for specific things without being challenging and confrontational. Especially if you're already doing something to try to fill your partner's love tank, you can tell them something like, "This is a really hard time for all of us. It would help so much if you would..." or "I really want to get better and ___would make things easier for me."

So, I realize this doesn't cover all the bases for helping marriages during ppd....but I just wanted to start a discussion. Any thoughts, ideas?
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#2 of 4 Old 01-16-2010, 02:50 AM
 
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My basic thought is that I find it more rewarding, in the long run, to take care of my family than to do something small for myself. I do need to take time for myself, make sure my most basic needs are met. But if given the option to sit down for 15 minutes and read a book or fold and put DH's laundry away.... I find it more more gratifying to have done something for him. And by seeing that I did something for him, he's more likely to reciprocate and do something extra for me, which then makes me feel valued.

Sometimes, when we look beyond what's best for ourselves in the moment, I think we are happier.
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#3 of 4 Old 01-16-2010, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I came off my temporary excitement and started to think more realistically.

Sometimes, when you're depressed, you don't ever have that tiny bit of energy. And if you do, you need it for taking a shower or making an appt to see somebody or nursing a baby or getting yourself some food.

So is it hopeless?

My dh and I made it through ppd with our relationship still intact but we are still working on repairing the damage. Is there any way to avoid this?
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#4 of 4 Old 01-16-2010, 02:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Subliminal Darkness. We posted at the same time and you answered my question before I posted it.

I agree, the giving something and getting something back is why we have relationships at all.

It is still hard though, when you feel like you have nothing to give.
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