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Where do I start to help my wife?

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Q. My wife claims she’s so depressed. She’s 22 and currently 27 weeks pregnant, jobless, has extremely low self-esteem, is easily irritated sometimes, tells me she feels worthless, that she never does anything for anyone (when she really helps her mom out a lot of the time), lays in bed for hours without sleeping when I’m away at work (I work nights), says she can’t stand being alone but there’s almost always someone in the house (we live with her mother right now).

We got kicked out of our duplex because I was the only one working and we didn’t have money to pay any bills let alone rent. She also can’t talk to strangers. She says she’s not afraid of what they think or whether she’s going to be embarrassed because of something she says just that she can’t do it, she doesn’t trust people. I have to call and make her prenatal appointments because she can’t talk to the nurse. I think this is a big reason why she doesn’t have a job right now. She constantly talks about how she can’t do anything because her feelings hold her back, that she’s too scared that she’ll have a breakdown in the middle of a job interview and just get bad references out of it.

Honestly I don’t know where the pregnancy hormones stop and the depression sets in or if it’s all hormones. I try to be supportive and give her encouragement but nothing seems to help. She has a history of depression, a lot of her family does like her mother, her sister, and her grandmother, so she says she knows what depression is but then again she’s never been pregnant before. She also says she’s scared that if she starts some kind of treatment that she won’t be well enough to take care of our new coming son, or they would see her unfit to do so. She says she wants to get better so that she can be the best mother for our child but refuses to talk to her OB about all of it. Instead, she sits at home, making it really hard to keep my cool when she’s depending on me for everything i.e.: what to eat, what to do, what to say. I want to help her but I just don’t know what to do.

Where do I start to help my wife?

Answered by on -

A.

Sounds like a hectic and confusing time for you and your wife. I am worried about all of the emotional deregulation that she is currently experiencing and you are correct, it is difficult to know just what the cause of it is.

Try going to her, expressing your concern about how her well-being and the well-being of the baby is at the forefront of your mind. Tell her that it is imperative that for the baby to be well, she has to be well too. Tell her about the many pregnant moms who experience very similar emotional issues during their pregnancy and it is not at all uncommon. It is highly unlikely, unless she was homicidal or suicidal, that she would be deemed unfit to be a mother or that her baby would be taken away.

Can you suggest talking to the OBGYN together, or asking her permission to speak to the doctor yourself? Maybe you can call to the doctor yourself and discuss your concerns about your wife’s behavior and ask for the doctor’s advice? There are several ways to speak to her about this matter and it is important to remember that when you talk to her about trying to get her to do something that she does not want to do, showing understanding and compassion will get you further than yelling and demanding she take action.

Try all that you can and when you have tried all that you can realize there is little that you can do to force someone to do something they do not want to do. I am concerned about her state of mind and hope that you will have some progress in convincing her into help. I wish you luck.

Where do I start to help my wife?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Where do I start to help my wife?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/07/07/where-do-i-start-to-help-my-wife/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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