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Post-Tubal Depression

Aug11

by

Amy,

I don’t really know if you will have advice to give, but I just feel like talking to someone. Last year I wrote to you about wanting advice concerning a tubal ligation. I spent my entire pregnancy trying to figure out what to do. It was our fourth child. My husband was done, and I mostly agreed. I got my tubes tied right after my c-section and I have regretted it every day. I just feel so sad that I will never have another child. I feel ridiculous for having these feeling since most days I feel overwhelmed with the four that I have. My husband does not share my feelings. He is very sympathetic, and I’ve expressed to him how I feel a lot. I have been a private math tutor the last 7 years and have recently turned it into an actual business. I love it. I was hoping by moving forward with something new these feelings may dissipate, but they haven’t. Will this just naturally fade with time? I don’t want to spend the next decade aching for another child.

I am very sorry you are feeling this way. I completely understand why you are feeling this way.

You need to talk to someone and tell them you are feeling this way.

It’s very good that you’re able to share your feelings with your husband and have him be mostly understanding, but I think a professional therapist is more suited to assess and deal with this much residual sadness and regret. Especially since it’s gone on as long as it has.

I am not a therapist or doctor, but your letter is setting off my alarm bells for postpartum depression. Yes, you have an Actual Thing That You Are Sad About, but that does not preclude the sadness from being PPD. You’ve been carrying around daily regret and sadness — while probably beating yourself up and chiding yourself for being “ridiculous” — for how long now? About a year, I’m guessing, given where you were with your last pregnancy when you wrote before.

Please please please stop waiting for this to just “go away” on its own, with time, and take some proactive steps to pull yourself out of this sadness. (I also highly recommend a visit to the excellent Postpartum Progress website.)

It might not be PPD, of course. It could just be regular ol’ sadness and regret and a profound mourning of the end of your childbearing years. Which I totally get, because hi. I skipped the tubal on baby number three, we’ve since determined that we are DONE DONE DONE, my husband got a referral to a good urologist and….uh. Yeah. Nothing happened after that. Yet. It will. Soon. Maybe. I guess.

But again: The sitting around waiting to magically “feel better” isn’t working. The sadness is obviously intrusive enough for you to reach back out and write this email. You said you weren’t sure if I’d have any advice to give, but I DO.  It’s time to deal with these feelings under the care and guidance of a professional who can help you work through them and refocus your thoughts and view of the future. Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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5 Responses to “Post-Tubal Depression”

  1. Elle Aug 11 at 2:57 pm Reply Reply

    Please listen to Amy’s advice & seek out a professional therapist ASAP! These feelings are not likely to go away on their own and left untreated, will cast a shadow over this time with Your Last Baby, which will only lead to more sadness. Also, I can see how this could easily lead to feelings of resentment in your marriage, since DH was the one who was kind of “pushing” for the tubal. So get thee to a therapist so you can work through your thoughts & feelings & start to heal. And kudos for seeking out help with Amy, who has excellent internet advice! :)

    To anyone in OPs original position: vasectomy! Unless you are completely the one who is gunning for the tubal, of course. But if it’s DH’s idea, then DH can get’r done himself.

  2. Caroline Aug 11 at 5:07 pm Reply Reply

    Whatever the cause, it’s prolonged, it’s intrusive and it’s ”non rational”, i.e. yes there is a reason of sorts, but you are quite rationally clear that you don’t want further children ”really” and have your hands very full as it is. This is what depression is… regardless of the why’s and wherefores! You cannot ”snap out of it” any more than you could snap out of, say, adult-onset diabetes or any other condition. You need help, both ”talking”, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be incredibly effective, and likely – for a while – medicinal. Do it soon, like, this week. You will feel so much better much quicker than if you leave it. Best of luck and you have nothing at all to chide yourself for, and no apologies to make anywhere. You clearly are a ”together” kind of lady and that will not change… but professional help is warranted!

  3. Mary Aug 11 at 8:03 pm Reply Reply

    Yes to all these supportive comments. But on a related note, what is with all these providers basically pushing tubals? I just delivered my third, an “oops/not-opps.” I didn’t even have a cs planned but my OB was still bringing up the option of having my tubes tied. Even for women who are done (I’m done…) or don’t want children, being able to bear children is such a part of our identity as women, it seems odd that OBs are selling such a permanent procedure. Strange twist on the “two-fer” idea.

  4. Caitlin Aug 12 at 12:01 am Reply Reply

    I’m afraid I’m not much help for the OP, but I just wanted to say thank you Amy for your extremely sensible and responsible approach to people writing in with these sorts of difficulties. I’m a psychologist and am so impressed that you know when to step back and refer on to a professional. And you’re totally right – maybe it’s PPD and maybe it’s not, but it’s clearly distressing, persistent and pervasive enough to warrant seeking professional help. 
    So thank you!

  5. S Aug 14 at 1:32 am Reply Reply

    I’m sorry, this sounds so hard. I think I understand the emotional desire to be able to have children, even if you’ve decided against it. They feel like two separate things. Even if they’re not. Which is confusing. Anyway, I’m not in the same position, so I can’t pretend to understand, but it sounds like an isolating, sad, and confusing predicament. I hope you’re able to get proper help to find acceptance with it. I’m sorry that it’s been so hard.

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