Husband Speaks Out About Postpartum Depression After Losing Wife

The husband spoke during Suicide Prevention Month.

— -- Raul Martinez and his wife Kelly welcomed their daughter into the world on Nov. 24, 2009.

“I remember having a discussion with her a week before when she came out of a fog and she said 'I can’t control my own thoughts and I hate it,'" Martinez recalled his wife saying. "I want to be myself again. And I was lost.”

Raul Martinez, whose daughter is now 6 years old, has started working with the National Coalition for Maternal Mental Health and is speaking out now in honor of National Suicide Prevention month.

He said that his wife "was very type A, driven, wanted the best for our daughter," Martinez told ABC News. "That meant taking all the prenatal classes, birth classes, getting the room ready."

But after giving birth, Martinez said his wife was stressed out and had difficulty sleeping.

The couple sought help from a psychiatrist and she was diagnosed with postpartum depression after which she started to take anti-depressants, Martinez said.

"She couldn’t nap when our daughter was napping," said Martinez, adding that about a month after the birth, she started to say that something was wrong.

Despite multiple medications and seeing two doctors, her symptoms persisted.

Lusskin said that half of all postpartum depression cases actually begin during pregnancy with symptoms including lack of energy, inability to experience pleasure, excessive anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

Signs of postpartum depression may appear similar to postpartum blues or “baby blues” but have one very important difference -– the symptoms do not spontaneously resolve. Postpartum blues can occur in up to 90 percent of women, but because of the frequency of symptoms, a more severe diagnosis can be missed.

“The doctor sometimes can also minimize symptoms and call it postpartum blues...but it's important that it resolves in two weeks," said Lusskin.

“It is important to assess the situation for each patient because mood disorders arrive in a social context,” she said.

O'Keefe later authored her story entitled “The Stork’s Revenge,” which chronicles her treatment of postpartum depression and encourages awareness.

When it comes to prevention Martinez, O'Keefe, and Lusskin recommend to be educated, speak up to your family members, and seek professional help.

It’s important to not minimize it and talk to your doctor, said Lusskin.

“Be educated and recognize the signs," she said. "If you’re concerned friend, family, or anybody, encourage them to seek help. Neither the patient or her support system should be complacent. With help you will get better."

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

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