Dear Heart2Heart, I have been with my wife for nearly six years, married nearly four. We have just had a baby together but she seems unable to cope with the new change in our lives. She still wants to throw parties and entertain her friends instead of trying to bond with the baby. I have tried to talk to her but she gets violent and throws things at me. Her family has not been helpful either because they are generally very negative in their approach to her mental health. My priority is ensuring my son has the best and safest life possible. What can I do? Yasin
This should be an extremely difficult time for you, sorry about what you and your wife are facing currently. From my experience, your wife might be suffering post natal depression.
However, you are not alone in this, I have met clients suffering from postpartum depression but most of them recover from it if they access the right support medically, psychologically, and also in the family. It is normal for a woman who has given birth to feel a bit of baby blues for a few weeks after giving birth.
If symptoms persist and even involve hurting themselves and others, it is very important to seek professional help. A doctor will advise you and probably prescribe some medication to lower the symptoms and he may also refer you for talk therapy with a counsellor.
Her preference for entertaining and parties might be due to her age and readiness for childbirth and care. However, the violence might be a symptom of postpartum depression which is a psychiatric disturbance associated with childbirth.
Research shows that postpartum depression affects 7-15 percent of new mothers. Symptoms include depressed mood, anxiety, concentration difficulties, and extreme fatigue.
As a partner, you should take an active role ensuring your wife’s mental health and wellness. Many families just like hers do not understand that she has an illness and may end up treating her indifferently and impatiently. By asking for help, it shows you care about your partner and this is what she needs at this time.
If you want the best and safest life for your son, support your wife by taking her to a medical doctor who will diagnose and assess the severity of her condition and even suggest the possible treatment for her.
During this period, it will be a bit difficult for you but be as supportive as you can by helping out with the baby so she can get some sleep, understand that is an illness and if treated in time, she will get better.
Be calm and try as much as possible not to enter into arguments as this can be a trigger for her mood disorder. It may take time for the relatives to understand her but go ahead and offer encouragement through affirmations as this helps to lift her mood and she also gets to learn that she is still loved.
Find reinforcement of a helper or a relative to keep the baby when you are not around as a way of protecting him and the mother too. Most importantly, take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family putting in mind that this will pass.
Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa Counseling Psychologist Sermo Therapy consultancy 0750074412
Not all women are born with maternal instincts. In fact research shows that while all female mammals have maternal responses or instincts not every mother who gives birth is automatically ready to nurture her offspring. From your description, your wife might not have been mothered and therefore does not know what it means to be a mother. If you love her, you will help her learn. One of the best ways I know to model motherhood is patience. Taking care of babies requires a lot of patience. Challenging yourselves to practice patience can not only offer a more calm and guided approach to life but can help you to strengthen our ability to empathise and communicate. Be patient with her and with your baby especially when they are fussy. Hopefully she will watch and learn from you.
Get a nanny
Ivan Waswa: My man, it is unfortunate but it looks like you married the wrong party animal. The truth is after four years of marriage and a baby she has failed to mature and it might take her longer to become what you need. Your priority right now should be your baby’s health. I advise that you get a mature nanny who can be a second mother to your child.
Let her be
Kennedy Bagoole: Do not try to change your wife, let her be. All you need is to find a way of making her realise that she is a mother who has to grow and mother the child. Do not force her to change, instead it will put a strain on your relationship and probably break you up.
Jacob Kwesiga Gatasha: I understand how much of a puzzle you find it and I believe many will blame you for fathering a child with someone like that. Sometimes we move in with people, take a further step of marrying them because of how much we love them, thinking they will change with time but they do not. I suggest you concentrate on raising your son and start a life without her. You will not be the first single dad.
Give her a warning
Micheal Kazinda: What kind of friends are these who think of parties all the time? I think her friends are bad influences on her. Find a way to end these endless parties and discuss these challenges with your best man and her matron. Warn her against her tantrums because they can easily result into more dangerous violent reactions.
Give her time
Mary Akol: Get a mature lady to take care of your innocent baby and try to keep peace in the home especially for your baby. Hopefully with a little more time, she will sober up and start taking her responsibilities more seriously.