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Michael

Narrator: Michael and his wife, Sylvia, had waited eight years to have a child, working to make their marriage and their business strong before bringing a baby into the world. It was supposed to be the happiest time of their lives.

Michael: When we got home there was a reception there. There was a big stork on the lawn and my mother-in-law and my wife's aunt and a bunch of people. And the video camera was out and Sylvia basically just gave the baby to my mother-in-law and ran inside and cried. And you know I didnít know what to say.

Narrator: His wife, Sylvia, was beginning to feel the effects of postpartum depression, but awareness wasnít what it is today and at first it was difficult to understand.

Michael: I had never heard about it. When it was introduced to me, I actually had to write it down because it was ... postpartum depression and words that were very unfamiliar to me.

Narrator: But his paternal instinct made it difficult for him to understand that there were some things in his marriage that he couldnít fix himself.

Michael: You try to control things and certain things you canít control. And when you canít control them, there are those anxieties and depression that you start feeling.

Narrator: While he was just beginning to understand postpartum depression, it was even more difficult trying to explain it to others.

Michael: When I walked into work everyone was excited for me. And I was up pretty much the whole night Ö and just (asking) like how is it how is it? How is it? And I looked at her, knowing I had a little more, you know, she was like a mother figure to me, and I burst out into tears. And I ran upstairs into the office.

I didnít know. It was uncontrollable, but I knew it was this pain starting deep inside that I didnít know how to express.

Michael knew he had to be strong for his wife but admits that it at times became trying for him.

Michael: Thereís another piece where you have to be the actor, you know. And you know you have hurt inside and your wife has hurt but you have to be the stronger one knowing that youíre not dealing with depression, not from a medical standpoint. But the reality of it is that you do. And when things arenít well at home, you feel depressed and you feel trapped.

And now where do you go?

Narrator: He nevertheless persevered, vowing to be the steady hand while Sylvia experienced tough times.

Michael: This is one that you really just have to take hold and really embrace and tell her you love her and that you're behind her and whatever it takes to make her better, that youíre willing to do. And that you're there and she has your support implicitly because she will never get better if you donít give her the support.

Narrator: The more he knows about postpartum depression, the more he reflects back on before he understood it.

Michael: I think that is the key to understanding, donít judge others, you know. And people have never heard and you know donít know if there is any illness out there that people have an opinion on whether it's real or not. Well, Iíll tell you it is real.

Narrator: The road to recovery is the most difficult part. Some think that despite this research, it is never clear cut.

Michael: So many people who ask me how long does it take? I donít know. It could happen you know in a month, a year, two years. It could, it doesnít have a path and thatís the craziness to it.

Narrator: Heís proud of his wife, Sylvia, for spreading awareness, but postpartum depression isnít just a womanís issue. Itís a family issue. And he implores more men to speak out.

Michael: I donít think enough men come out and speak about it so other men can relate to how to treat that and how to be a husband while your whole family life is kind of, you know, going crazy and how to deal with that. Embrace it, try to understand it and really just give the love and compassion that your family needs and donít worry about anything else because it will all work itself out, and just get help.

Perinatal mood disorders are treatable. But first you have to ask for help.

call the helpline 24/7 at

1-800-328-3838


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Last Modified: Thursday, 12-Jul-12 11:44:41