So my husband has asked me to write a blog about my feelings and how I “coped” when he told me he had PND. Here goes
It was around the time when my daughter, Elizabeth, was 7 months old that I got a phone call telling me that Tony had been picked up from the train station by the police for trying to take his own life and walking on the train tracks. Let’s pause there and rewind to the beginning.
Elizabeth’s birth had been traumatic for both me and Tony but I was too high on gas and air to even focus properly. It was Tony who was the strong one during this time and he was strong for both of us whilst we were in this horrific situation of “let us see our daughter”. He wanted to make sure Elizabeth was safe but at the same time he wanted to make sure I was okay. Well we were and 2 days after birth we were allowed home. At home everything seemed to go really smoothly. We were both taking it in turns having the cuddles and nappy changes, although we believe we made a massive mistake. We allowed everyone to come visit us straightaway. The first 2 weeks are the most important I think for the family to bond and adjust but we didn’t do this. We, instead, allowed a number of different visitors to come and visit pretty much every day and before we knew it, Tony was back at work and I was left at home looking after Elizabeth and not really knowing what to do.
It was then that I started to notice a change in our relationship and team work. I was trying to breastfeed so Elizabeth could have the best start in life and because I was awake at night feeding and Tony was having to get up for work, I kept telling him to not worry about waking up as I wanted him to get a good night sleep ready for work. He then used to come home tired so again I used to say don’t worry I would carry on sorting out Elizabeth whilst you rest after work. This was a daily thing and in my eyes I thought I was just being helpful and a supporting wife, but looking back now I can see that I was actually slowly pushing him away.
We then went for a holiday to his family’s home in Liverpool for 3 weeks and I thought this would be the perfect chance for the both of them to get back their bond. Again, this never really happened. It must have been the hottest July on record. I was struggling to feed Elizabeth in the heat and Elizabeth was struggling to settle in the heat. We tried using bottles of expressed milk but she wanted to just feed off me. In the end I would spend many an evening sitting outside in the cool evening air to try and settle Elizabeth. We came back from the holiday knowing something wasn’t quite right. We had a really long chat about his feelings and how he was struggling to feel like a daddy. I reassured him that it was time to speak to someone and to get some help with me by his side the whole time.
After speaking to people, Tony was given some medication and information on self help and I remember thinking to myself, “this is the start of me getting my husband and Elizabeth getting her daddy back”. He then started to try really hard to bond and do things and in my eyes I thought he was getting better. I could see more of the old him every day.
He then just told me one day that he was going to go for a walk as it was a lovely day. I asked if he would like some company and he politely declined insisting that it was just to blow the cobwebs away. He gave me a kiss and a cuddle and told me he loved me and then headed out the door. Not long after he went out, he phoned me and apologised for everything and said he couldn’t do it anymore and hung up. This was shortly followed by a phone call from a police officer telling me what had happened.
So now I have informed you on what happened, its time to reveal my feelings. They weren’t all lovely ones so be prepared. When I received that phone call I was in complete and utter shock. I couldn’t believe what I have just heard. I thought he was getting better. I thought the problems were going away. Why didn’t he tell me? Why was he going to do this? How can be so selfish? How could he even think of leaving me as a widow and a single mum and how could he deprive his daughter a loving daddy. This was not the man I knew. I don’t who this person was as my Tony was never selfish. He would never have done this. It was like something had changed overnight and I was left with a weak, selfish man who I wanted to see, not to hug and say everything will be alright but to shout at and let him know all the hurt I was feeling. I went to the hospital and got in reception and then was taken through to a private room to see him. I took one look at him and all those feelings went away instantly. Sitting in front of me was my husband but instead of acting selfish he was completely broken. I too, broke down and just wrapped my arms around him and told him how much I loved him. Someone came to speak to us together and he was offered daycare with CBT rather then hospitalised treatment which would have been in Manchester. I just sat holding him letting him know that I was here and I always going to be here and as long as he needed me I would put him and Elizabeth before anything.
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