POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

Do you suddenly hate your partner? Relationship impacts of PPD

As a new mom, do you suddenly feel like you hate your partner? If you’ve had a child within the last couple years and are struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety (1 in 5 new moms do), the chances are staggeringly high, that yes, you too have felt like you hate your partner. Relationship hate is one of those taboo topics that are often left behind closed doors – so instead, let’s talk about the relationship impacts of postpartum depression.

Having a child can change any relationship.

Having a baby can drastically change the relationship you have with your partner – and it’s likely you could feel these changes the most during the first year after birth. As a couple, the dynamic has shifted – you both are adjusting to new parenthood, surviving on almost no sleep and your connection can even feel like it shifted from romantic partners to roommates. 

While this can be challenging for all new parents, if you also are suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety, the impacts to your relationship after childbirth can be considerably more profound – and something not everyone warns you about.

Your warning for partner hate.

Let this blog be your warning that partner hate is real AND normal with PPD. This warning is not a bad thing, but a candid view that it is likely to happen and also very likely to pass as you heal. Realizing the normalcy of relationship challenges can help you feel less worried if or when they do occur and to know that so many other moms have gone through this too – and are still in happy relationships.

When I was a few months pregnant, I got a visit from old friend. She’s a special kind of friend, the one you may not see for years but when you do, it’s like no time has passed. She has a loud, caring personality and tells you directly how she sees things, with refreshing directness. She’s the friend we all need, or wish we had, in our corner.  

She had recently had a child and was giving me her lessons learned stories as a new mom. One sentence she said to me has not left my mind to this day.

“I hated my husband.” 

Just as matter of fact as that. The direct and profoundness of this statement still gives me hope to this day because she was saying that negative relationship changes can happen and they don’t always last. You see, I believe she truly doesn’t hate her husband now, nor even after that initial newborn phase of life ended, but she said something out loud that has been echoed by the 9 out of 10 women I’ve talked to with postpartum depression or anxiety – I hate my partner.

How postpartum depression can impact relationships.

Why do so many new moms, and almost all moms with PPD, suddenly hate their partner? 

If this is you right now, please know that hate or anger can be normal in your romantic relationship (married or not), especially if you have postpartum depression or anxiety.

According to Karen Kleiman’s book, Tokens Of Affection: Reclaiming Your Marriage After Postpartum Depression, depression is hard on a marriage. “Feelings are hurt, thoughts are distorted, intentions are misinterpreted, clarity is absent, and joy is nowhere to be found.” 

Her quote adequately sums up the feelings of so many moms I have spoken with about their relationship during their PPD struggles. The phrase “joy is nowhere to be found,” feels devastating – aren’t we all taught from an early age that motherhood, especially with an infant, is supposed to be the most joyful part of our lives?

Marriage.com has identified five key areas within a relationship that are impacted by postpartum depression. 

  1. Decreased time together. Quality time together can become much rarer as you have more to do daily. But you will have time again, as you get accustomed to your new normal routine.
  2. Increased and Unbalanced Workload. As a new mom, the burden of care that your child needs is heavily placed on you, especially if you are breastfeeding or pumping. Asking for help from your partner might not always be easy and resentment can build quickly if you feel unsupported.
  3. Poor Communication. It can be challenging to talk with your partner when you have PPD and a new child. However, it can be helpful to both parties if you talk with them about what you are experiencing openly and honestly.
  4. Increased Arguments.  When you mix together sleep deprivation, depression and/or anxiety and a new child, it’s easy to understand why more couples fight.  (Read “5 Tips to Create Postpartum Sleep Opportunities” to learn how to get more chances to sleep).
  5. Financial Issues. The additional cost of taking care of a child can impact your family’s budget. Plus, any time off you and your partner may take to care for a newborn is also going to affect your budget. Then add in additional childcare costs. All of these can increase stress. 

There is hope.

If you are feeling like you hate your partner right now, please know that this feeling can be very normal. Just like the darkness of postpartum depression, relationship hate can improve as you work on healing and supporting your mental wellness. 

Remember, you will get through this. You can work on your communication as a couple, ask for help when needed, try to increase the sleep you both are getting each day and try to find a few minutes each day to connect as a couple. If your relationship is really struggling, consider couples therapy. 

The good news is that couples who have come through this challenge together often emerge on the other side with a deeper sense of respect and a stronger relationship because they did it, together.

 

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