My wife has been diagnosed with Bipolar after having our baby, how will our lives change?
Prior to having our baby, my wife had never experienced any mental health issues, I mean none that required intervention.
However, after having our son my wife was diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis. She would suffer extreme highs and lows, hear voices and would forget we even had a baby at times. It was awful. This was eventually treated with mood stabilising medication and she began to recover. A few months later she relapsed and became very depressed, she was then readmitted to hospital and the medication was adjusted. After this we enjoyed six months of stability.
unfortunately, she has relapsed again after the psychiatrists began to reduce her medication as she began to exit the post natal period. Since this admission to hospital, they have now confirmed a diagnosis of Bipolar.
As her husband and now also a father to an almost 1yr old I’m feeling lost. I find myself unsure of how to act around her just in case I say the wrong thing, guilty about devoting time to our baby over helping her accept this diagnosis, and worst of all I feel almost annoyed at how this is affecting our son. Even though I know it’s not her fault, she didn’t choose to have this happen to her.
has anyone else experienced their spouse suffer Postpartum Psychosis? And are there any other husbands that have had their wife receive a bipolar diagnosis? Also, has anyone started a family with someone with bipolar and has any advice on what to expect?
Oh the ache reading this - thank you so sincerely for your bravery in sharing and seeking help here. Many will feel braver, and will deeply empathise, having read this.
We wanted to share first that we have seen how much this can impact, and that one of the truths that can aid, albeit sorrowfully, is that this is a terrifying experience for your wife - on a cognitive level she KNOWS that she should feel towards the child, recognise it as hers, and be fully aware of herself; in the moments that the emotions do not co-operate with those cognitive intentions it is distressing, infuriating, alien and isolating for her. It is horrible to think about, but hopefully can allow you to stay with the knowledge of it not being her fault, rather than the anger manipulating bitterness for you. It is so hard to not leave you and your little one stranded in this, so let’s tether you every way we can, even the hard ways.
Bi-Polar is not the most fun state to have relationships and parenting with, but there is a lot of cases observed where, once medication, therapies and health habits are figured out and implemented well, success is still found in these arenas of life. Most important in this - take the moment to honour how strong, adaptable, and supportive you have already been! Especially what a great job you are doing as a dad.
From there, let’s get you equipped with a little more info!
There is a dedicated organisation called Bipolar Australia (not overly imaginative we know) and they have an amazing number of articles and ideas, but most importantly a directory of services that can help! Click here to check them out.
Reach out is another organisation that has a lot of links to specific help, and you will find them by clicking here
Moving forward, it might be worthwhile if your wife qualifies for systemic and household supports under the NDIS - this removes some pressure for her, and definitely takes a lot off you! Care About has an article on this that could help -Click here
Most importantly, DB - we do want you to know you can reach out to us at anytime! we are here 24/7 and would be only too pleased to do all we can to sound this out for you. Please feel free to give us a call on 1300 22 4636 or you an webchat with us by clicking here
Please stay strong and stay in touch!
Hello DB, I am sorry for what the two of you are going through as my ex had PND and I also developed it, but this was years ago and no one knew that I had it, while my ex wouldn't take any medication, even so it was very difficult.
If this medication helped your wife, is she able to go back to the original dosage because a person not experiencing any mental disorder at all can suddenly develop it for whatever reason.
Please ask any question you like.
Wellcome to our forums.
Im so sorry this has happened to your wife it really must have felt very scary for her to experience these things after pregnancy.
I was diagnosed with postnatal anxiety and parental OCD and OCD after pregnancy.
After my pregnancies I experienced these mental health conditions the second pregnancy was the most severe for my symptoms.
I have now recovered after this very scary time of my life.
My husbands reactions where some what understanding, he didn’t understand what I was going through but he tried to, I think it was very confusing for him to hear my intrusive thoughts and to watch me unraveling. But he always stood by me and tried to lift me up.
All of this for me at the time was very distressing and confusing. I remember saying to my psychiatrist “ all I ever wanted to be was a good mum and now I have these conditions to deal with “ it felt so unfair to me at the time.
I understand your wife has bipolar but please stick with your health professionals so they can help your wife and yourself I know it’s a tough time but you will get there.
I understand that you are trying to help your wife to accept her condition……….
Once I could accept my condition I could start to learn how to manage it and move forward with the help of health professionals, it did take me time to accept my condition I remember telling my psychiatrist that “ I didn’t want it” she told me “ you have it”……….. acceptance of my condition was the turning point of learning how to get better…… “ managing it” and then recovery.
Hang in there……. Im here to chat
- My story sounds similar to your wife’s. I experienced a severe case of postnatal psychosis with manic symptoms, 6 weeks after my first child was born. I was hospitalised in a private mental health hospital for 6 weeks and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was put on medication. After this I was quite well for 4 months. Over the following year I had 2 more hospital admissions for depression. These first 2 years were very hard for my husband and I. That was 14 years ago now. The good news is that with the right medication (for me this includes an anti-depressant, mood stabilizer and a small dose of an anti-psychotic) and therapy, I have remained well and our lives returned to normal. My psychiatrist told me that I will require medication for life and I have accepted that because it keeps me happy and well. I think just regularly checking in with your wife to see how her mood is and asking if there’s any support she needs would be helpful. Also helping her to find a good psychiatrist that can monitor her mental health and medication. Best of luck!