What Moms Who Had Postpartum Anxiety Want Their Partners to Know

The Huffington Post recently reached out to me and asked me to contribute to this story. Please check it out!

What Moms Who Had Postpartum Anxiety Want Their Partners To Know | HuffPost Life

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Some New Moms Telling Their Husbands and Doctors They Want to Die Are Being Brushed Off

I am part of a postpartum support group so I can try to help others going through postpartum mood disorders as I once did. I was in a different one years ago that helped me so much. Many times I read about women trying to tell their husbands or doctors how they feel. You would think this may involve them trying, but not being clear enough, because with men especially, you often have to be very clear and direct, they even often tell you this. I once read of a woman who says she told her husband she did not want to live anymore or wanted to run away (not sure how much more direct you can get than that, although she is advised to be more direct and repeat, repeat, repeat), and the responses I have seen from the husband in these posts are the following:

“He tried to reason with logic, I had said this before and he knew I would not do anything.”

“See, this is why I want out of our marriage, you are unhappy too.”

“He said I don’t need medicine, that in the past it made me worse even though I thought it made me better and so did everyone else around me.”

“He says I need to leave then and leave the baby with him, even though he works from home while I am on maternity leave, and he will normally only keep the baby about 30 minutes a week before giving him back.”

These are just a few examples of course. I will also say I have seen some women say the same to the doctors and often get a response that what they are feeling is normal. It is not normal to want to die or run away, and if your doctor says this and does not show immediate care or concern, you should find a new doctor. I know it may seem I should say the same about a husband, but with husbands it is more complicated. Husbands, and most people in general are not trained in postpartum mood disorders. We did not get any info about this when I was pregnant, or after that I recall, and my husband and I ,nor my family knew much about them. Yet husbands are expected to notice if something is wrong with their wife and try to get her to seek help. Often they do, but husbands are usually sleep deprived too, husbands are often missing your old life too and the old you and the old them too, and if you are depressed, your husband has been around you depressed for a while, and being around a depressed person is well, depressing. They may even get depressed themselves.

When I told my spouse, I got a response similar to the second one above. By the time I told him, it was already two years postpartum and our marriage was falling apart. He thought that is why I was miserable, because of our marriage. He thought I was praying not to wake up because of our marriage. He thought he was doing me a favor by leaving, we could both be happy now. Years later, now that I am in a much better place and my marriage is in a much better place, it still baffles me that my husband I both got to such a bad place in life and our marriage that I could tell him I was praying to not wake up anymore, and he did not seem alarmed or concerned and thought the solution was to end our marriage. Ironically, it kind of ended up being the solution. When he left, I got even worse and could no longer hide it from others. That was also the beginning of me openly sharing my story in a way that helped others and eventually helped me as well. My husband and I also eventually worked things out.

I personally was a very happy pretty bubbly person before going through postpartum depression. I did not change overnight, it was a slow process, easier to see looking back, than in the moment of course. When I now tell people I did not want to live anymore, that I prayed to not wake up, that I thought for a second about driving off bridges or into a wall when I was driving alone, that I almost ran away and even drove down the road once, that I no longer worried or cared if an 18 wheeler almost swerved into my lane and that if there had been a pill ever put in front of me that would have painlessly ended it all, I might have taken it, people were shocked. It does not matter if I ever did act on these thoughts or would have or not, the fact that I was feeling like this was not okay and I needed help. When you tell people this though and they don’t seem to think you need help because you have not actually either tried to kill yourself yet or been successful in doing so, you start to think that this is either normal and all mothers feel this way, this must just be how awful motherhood really is, or that you are just a bad mother.

I can say that my husband was very supportive of me taking medication and never responded negatively to that. He probably noticed my medicine helping me before I did, as my doctor even joked might happen. However, I did worry at first he might blame changes in my behavior on my medicine, since men often make jokes about you being on your period, or being an emotional woman when you voice an opinion they are not happy with. My advice to the woman who husband was saying her medicine made her worse was that her husband would find other things to blame her behavior on besides her medicine when he did not like it. She could probably even tell him she quit taking the medicine and he might say he noticed a positive difference. She could then tell him she is still taking the medicine and prove him wrong. My husband also never tried to take our child, or even insinuated doing so and thought I was a great mother. If anything, I wanted him to take her more than he did, because I was overwhelmed. I eventually moved in with my parents for a short time during our separation for some help.

Most mothers with postpartum mood disorders do not ever harm or neglect their children. Unfortunately in the rare instances when they do, the worst cases make the national or international news. When a woman does share that she has thoughts about hurting her child, usually she is sharing them because she knows this is not healthy, and she feels guilt and would never act on them. In most cases she just needs more help and support, not to be guilted, shunned or have her children taken away. It is actually more likely that the mother will neglect or harm herself, but when women share these thoughts, they are often ignored and that really needs to change.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Private Support Group to discuss Parenting, Marriage, Pregnancy, Mental Health and/or Postpartum Mood Disorders…

Hey everyone! I have a support group, but not a lot of members yet. It started as postpartum mood disorders support group, but I have modified to also include privately discussing parenting, marriage, pregnancy and/or mental health. Here is the link if you or anyone you know would like to join…

(3) Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine Support Group | Facebook

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Micromanaging and It’s Effect on Mental Health

I read an article the other day where a woman was seeking advice because she felt her husband did not do anything right when parenting their child. Here is a link if you want to read that first, which I strongly suggest:

https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/01/husband-is-incompetent-father-care-and-feeding.html

Twelve years ago I probably would have related more to her, but these days I related more to the advice columnist, who basically replied telling her she was micromanaging her husband and causing him to lose interest in parenting. Micromanaging your spouse can destroy a marriage and it can destroy that spouse’s relationship with their own child. I was not intentionally doing it of course. It was a symptom of my postpartum depression and my OCD becoming worse postpartum, but some people never overcome this and do it their entire life. I had a boss who micromanaged me and all my coworkers once, and it took a toll on our mental health and majorly affected our lives. It also changed a job I loved, and a company I was devoted to and would have retired with, to a company that disappointed me and broke my heart.

I was at a job I loved most days for years. I was my boss’s right hand man, I got raises and even thought about getting back into management again when my boss decided to leave and my daughter was older. Turns out my boss left, after over 20 years I might add, because she had a new boss who was micromanaging her. After she left, he replaced her with another micromanager, but did promote me and another person to assist them. I stayed for another year and a half. Most others have since either been fired, or eventually left like me. Even the ones who were star employees before were no longer good enough. The thing is though, we are all human and make mistakes daily. If any boss followed their best employee around all day and looked for mistakes, they will find them, as would their boss in them. Once this is done though, it can affect your confidence and of course make you nervous. The next thing you know, you go from making the every day common mistakes everyone makes sometimes because you are human, to making more and more and bigger mistakes because you are a nervous wreck. The micromanager then uses this against you to make you look like you were always this bad, the old boss just was not managing correctly.

Before we knew it, they had HR and upper management believing we were all the problem and not them. No one else would speak up with me, in fear of losing their job. This is how worthless we all felt by this point, that the company would get rid of an entire department, even people who had been great employees for years and would have retired with the company, before they got rid of this person. I on the other hand, could no longer take the toll on my mental health or take the injustice. I got another job, worked out a notice and left on good terms. A party was thrown for me, people gave me gifts and money and food. It felt crazy I was even leaving, or felt I had to. I told them everything I thought, as professionally as I could in an exit interview. I even told them I did not want the person fired, they were good at the other parts of their job, just not at supervising people. I also told them that one coworker I knew, who had never even had Anxiety or panic attacks before, had two caused by this boss, and I, as someone on medication for OCD and the Anxiety it causes, had no longer suffered attacks in a long time since being put on medication, but started having them again.

I loved this job before, and most of the people there loved me and had the same opinion of this boss as I did. I even reflected for that year and half trying to determine if there was anything I could do to change or make the situation better, until I realized it was not me. Everyone saw this at the time, except those that had the power to stop it. By the time they finally did, people’s lives, careers and mental health were already hurt. I had told them most of it before, they just did not listen because they wanted hard evidence, and I was not sitting around documenting everything instead of doing my job like that boss was. Some others were, but it did them no good either. As a former HR director myself, it was hard to lose confidence in HR. I tell this story as much as I can because I have been shocked at the people who have been through the same.

I was told that after I left, my old boss’s boss quit before they were fired or laid off, but my old boss is still there. They are no longer a supervisor though, because once even all the people they hired had the same experience as us, they finally believed us, once most of us were all gone and once our mental health, careers and lives were already majorly affected. Some other good people in the company were laid off after I left , so maybe I got out at the right time. The company was not as good as I thought and disappointed me. Luckily most of my bosses have been great, although I did Nanny for a couple for a short time who micromanaged their kids this way, so I felt kind of micromanaged as well, or required to micromanage them myself one, and both made me uncomfortable. I have also had coworkers at times, some even Leads or ahead of you seniority wise, maybe even training you, who micromanage, and that is hard as well. They see you struggling with something and do not jump in to help unless you ask, and sometimes even then, do not. However, they see you make a minor mistake and call it out from across the room. They never make any, and even have time to check everything you are doing while they do everything perfectly.

In so many of these cases, these people do have the best of intentions. They think they are helping, they are perfectionists. Because of this perfectionism, they are also often very good at certain parts of their job. However, this leads to them being very critical of anyone who even does it the least bit different, even if or when their way might be better, or when it might be okay for someone else to do the same thing differently. I say all of this as someone who has battled perfectionism my entire life, but I do not want to be them, but I also do not expect to change them. That is part of overcoming my own perfectionism. I cannot change them. I can only change me, my reaction, or my situation, as hard as that is sometimes, So I write this, not hoping to change them or those like them, but more so for people that are affected by them, like me, so they know they are not alone, but also for the ones that may find they are like that, as I once was, and do want to change. I also write this for those around who can change things for the person being micromanaged, like the ones who did not believe us all, and the ones who would not stand up with me and risk a job they eventually lost anyways.

As someone who has been a lead and manager, if you see someone struggling, a coworker or someone who works for you, or someone you work for, or your spouse, or your child, help them without them even having to ask, or if you do not see them and they ask, try to help them. Lead by example, by practicing, not preaching, and give them a little room in error. I work in childcare now, so of course if I saw a situation where I truly believed a child was in true danger, I would speak up to someone about what they were doing, whether it was intentional or not. However, I have often found these people often seem more concerned about things that are not life or death, while ignoring others that are or could be. Also, like with kids, when parents get onto you for everything, you eventually drown them out, or just do not care anymore because you seem darned if you do, or darned if you don’t, as is often said. For instance, with that old boss, if you did not take initiative you should have, but if you did take it you should have asked permission first. Life is not a Disney movie. Sometimes the bad guy just seems to win in real life, and it just hurts. I am almost 40, and tired, and I am ready for it just once to easily work out for me, as it seems to for them, but while actually doing the right thing. I guess I just wanted any of you reading this and feeling the same, to know you are not alone.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.

Having Our First Child Almost Ended Our Marriage

My therapist once told me that when people have young children it is the hardest time on a marriage. I never realized this before. My mother left my father when she found out she was pregnant with me and my sister was not even two years old yet and if you ask my mom why, she says she would have tolerated his behavior forever, but realized she could not put her kids through the same. So you think since that is how my parents marriage ended, that I would realize a lot of marriages end around the same time. However, my mom met met my stepdad not long after and they were married by the time I was 10 months old. He had one child already and she had two, so they started their marriage with 3 children and this is the main marriage I grew up seeing. They are still together over 37 years later. I always grew up seeing them the same way, with kids around all the time. It was not until they were empty nesters that I actually saw a different type of relationship. When the grandkids were around, it was a lot like my childhood, but when it was just the two of them only, I think they had to adjust because they were not used to that.

It was the opposite for me and my husband. We met at 14, started dating at 16, were engaged at 21, married at 23 and had Aubrie at 26. We had been together 10 years just the two of us, we did not even have a dog.  By the time we were ready for that responsibility we decided to have a baby.  Now we have two dogs and a 12 year old daughter and are trying for more kids. If we have more, this time it would not be the shock to our alone time it was the first time of course. If anything, now we have gotten used to this and going back to an empty nest would be another adjustment, but one we are well aware of this time. If Aubrie is even gone for a day, we think it is too quiet in the house. If Aubrie and I both go somewhere without my husband, he gets lonely. I picked on him for being the main one to freak out when she went to Kindergarten, but that might be me when it comes time for her to move out, like the mom in the movie Blockers.

When I worked in a retirement community for years, some of the women would often come hang out in the lobby instead of their apartments or homes across the street. They were so used to their husbands working, but now they were retired and home all the time and got on their nerves. My mom and stepdad are both now retired and have my mom’s mother living with them and they all need breaks from each other at times. I am still part of a postpartum support group to help women who are still going through postpartum depression like I did years ago. Without sharing anything that would identify anyone, here are some regular posts from it relating to marriage:

“Mamas who are/have fought & argued with their husbands a lot… does it get any better?... I feel a lot of anger, resentment, & disappointment towards him. I still love him, but I don’t feel like he hears me anymore, or cares. He says he does, but it doesn’t feel like it.”

“Is this normal? Will this likely get better with time? I feel like we’re heading towards divorce, which scares the crap out of me because I am a stay at home mom…”

“Anyone leave their husband while pregnant or with a newborn? I’ve begged my husband for more support, financial and emotional and haven’t gotten it…”

“It was tough emotionally to leave my husband, but it literally burned my soul to feel like a single parent while laying beside my partner. I begged him to help but it fell on deaf ears because he assumed I was just being a emotional woman…”

“It’s been 19 months since I’ve given birth. I feel as if my marriage is falling apart. I feel like my husband is grieving the person I use to be and I can’t blame him. I hate the way I feel now. This isn’t me. It isn’t the person I want to be. Home doesn’t even feel like home anymore. I just want to be the person I was before having a child.”

For those of you feeling this way right now, you are not alone and it can get better. Your marriage can survive this, but even if it does not, you will be okay. At one point I did not think mine was going to, and my doctor even said I grieved the loss of my marriage like a death. I went through the stages of grief and eventually I decided I had to be okay for me, for my daughter and for everyone else who loved me regardless. I could not control the actions of my spouse and it takes two, so yours could still end even if you personally try everything you can to fix it. It was not easy and it took a lot of time and it took both people admitting their mistakes and trying to do better. Ten years later I feel my marriage is so much stronger and better. It is so important to parent as a team. Life has changed for both of you, you are both tired and stressed a lot of the time, both of you might be missing the freedom you had before and the person you were before, and one or both of you also might be missing the person your spouse was before. Whether you both work outside the home or one stays home or one or both work from home, you both need to support each other instead of it always being a competition of who has it worse or is doing the most.

A lot of times as parents, we try to push through exhaustion, sickness and everything else to take care of our kids. Every once in a while though, if you do this for too long without a break or help, you often reach a breaking point, and when someone helps you even just in those breaking point moments, it can make all the difference in the world. Now my husband and I do a better job of recognizing when the other one is at that point. I try not to keep score anymore on who does what. I do what I can when I can and if I get too overwhelmed or tired or sick or anything else to do it, I know now that my husband will probably realize it and help me, and I try to do the same for him.  Of course our marriage is still not perfect. My husband is not even thrilled about my book and blogs, never has been. He is not as open of a person as me. He will give you opinions about politics and current events and religion all day long, all of that controversial stuff, but when it comes to talking openly about the worst year or two of our lives and marriage, not so open. I had him read my book before publishing it and asked if he suggested changing anything. I even wanted him to write his own chapter or allow me to based on what he told me, but he had no interest in doing that. He tries to be supportive regardless, because he knows for me, the sharing helps me and it helps others too and it is something I feel I need to do.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor or listen to her podcast here Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine • A podcast on Anchor . You can also find her on Instagram here Amanda Dodson Gremillion (@justbuyheradress) • Instagram photos and videos.