My sister is getting a divorce and it came out of nowhere, she had a miscarriage a couple of months ago and I think she is depressed. I know she is unhappy but I think she has snapped. We have some history of mental illness due to stress in our family. I’m really concerned, she is doing things she has never done before. She up and left her husband last week and is staying with me, but she goes out every night and drinks. Do you think she needs to see a therapist ?? and how can I convince her to see one.

A: I’m so glad your sister has a caring sister. Yes, by all means encourage her to see a therapist. It is at least possible that she is suffering from a postpartum depression due to the hormonal shifts that are a usual part of pregnancy. She is also probably grieving. Often, in American culture, people don’t get much acknowledgement and support for grieving a miscarriage. For many, many women, this is a major loss. She may be drinking and doing other things that trouble you to distract herself from her feelings of anger, sadness, and maybe inadequacy. It’s a lot to deal with. Maybe if you let her know that you understand that she is having normal feelings around a sad event, she would be willing to go with you to see a counselor.

If her husband is a good guy and you have a relationship with him, I hope you can talk to him about finding out more about how to support and be there for his wife during this difficult time, even when she is being particularly difficult. It would be so much better if the two of them could grieve together instead of being thrown apart. After all, he lost a baby too.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie