My girlfriend and I have been together for 5 years in an on and off relationship. We have a 1 1/2 year old son together and she suffers from schizo-affective disorder. Along with new motherhood and the weight gain of pregnancy her self-esteem has been horribly low over the last 1 1/2 years. She has been out of therapy and off of medication for her schizo affective disorder / Depression for about 4 months now against everyone’s advice.

Things have been very hard since the baby’s birth. She hates how she looks and does not think she is beautiful at all. Today she told me that she is having serious doubts about our relationship because even though I am a good man and I’m always there when she needs help… She does not want to sleep with me. She says that she is in love with me but is feeling depressed because even though she wants to want me, she doesn’t. We start having sex and she is truly enjoying herself but then the feeling just suddenly goes away and she will ask me to stop. I Love her and Love our family. I don’t want to lose what I have. I need help with this situation. What do I do?

A: Please tell your girlfriend that there is a strong possibility that what is wrong with her is not in her feelings but in her hormones. She needs to be evaluated by her doctor and by her psychiatrist for post-partum depression. She also needs to get back on her medications. She may have wisely stopped the medicines while she was pregnant or nursing. In that way she was already being a good mom to her son. But now her son needs to have a mom who isn’t depressed and the two of you need to strengthen your love and your relationship to make a good family for him.

Encourage her to go back to her therapist. If she won’t go, tell her that your relationship is so important to you that you will go. Then go. Talk to a therapist about how best to support your girlfriend and how to make sure your little boy is getting the love and nurturing he needs. Ask the therapist to help you draw your girlfriend into couples therapy with you. Your little family deserves the help.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie