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My wife's personality change since giving birth

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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:31 pm

My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby matt123 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:44 pm


I'm in need of some advice/opinions about some problems I am having in my relationship.

Me and my wife have been together for 18 years. The first 16 were fine - she has always
been very loving and kind towards me. She would regularly tell me how she loved me.
She has suffered from depression since the age of 16, and has had occasional very low points
since we've been together, but she has always come out of them after a few days.

About 7 years ago she started doing CBT, which she found to be very helpful. In fact,
she hasn't had any episodes of depression since then.

Two and a half years ago, we had our first child. The pregnancy and birth went fine, pretty
much textbook. She was of course exhausted afterwards, but we were both obviously happy to
have our new daughter. The first few months were as you would expect - very tiring, but
she seemed to be taking to motherhood very well, and seemed happy enough.

I can't pinpoint exactly when the change happened, but at some point her personality has
changed quite remarkably, and in a negative direction. She seems to have lost all love
or positive feelings towards me, and has become hyper-critical of everything and anything
I do. A whole day can go by, and the only words that will come out of her mouth will
be a criticism of me, or a negative comment about someone or something that has happened
during the day. I literally cannot remember the last time she made a positive comment
about anything.

Some examples: Despite us having been together for 18 years, she has now started
criticizing everything I wear. She told me recently that she is embarrassed to be seen
out with me. Now, I'm not the "dressing up" type, but the way I dress has certainly
not changed for the worse recently. She is now annoyed by any of my jumpers which have
"bobbled" (or "piled" may be the correct word?). My jumpers are not old, not torn, not
dirty in any sense, but she seems to think it's a disgrace that I go out of the house
wearing one that has bobbles on it. We were outside when we had this conversation
(just going down the road to recycle some things, not to any event or anything), and
I pointed to the people around us, who were in no way dressed any better than I was.
But she still seemed to believe that I was dressed in a terrible fashion. And not just
that, but the conversation ended with her saying that maybe we just cannot live together
any more.

I could understand someone telling me they didn't like the way I dressed, and maybe could I
think about trying out new styles of clothes, etc? That could be done in a nice way, which
wouldn't necessarily make me feel bad. But to come to the conclusions that she needs to
split with her partner of 18 years, who has cared for her, looked after her, and is a good
father to our child, just because she SUDDENLY doesn't like the way I dress, is just
absurd to me. I can't understand where this is coming from.

She has also started to "reject" anything about our past relationship. She has thrown away
old photos showing us together in the early days. When we got engaged, she made a cross-stitch
picture and wrote (stitched) "To Matt, with love on our engagement". This was framed and
put on our wall. She has recently said she wants to get rid of it - maybe keep the picture
but remove the writing from it, re-frame it and give it to our daughter. We recently moved
house, and she now doesn't want to put up any of the framed photos (eg. our wedding photo)
that have us both together. It's as if she want to eradicate any signs of us being a couple.
She seems to have even gone off the idea of marriage as a concept. She "liked" some articles
on Facebook (that other people had written) that dismissed the notion that men and women can
stay together for more than a few years.

She has started "hating" things that she used to like. She discovered tango a few years
ago, and used to absolutely love going to local events. Now she has lost all interest in
it, for two reasons. Firstly, she says she has lost all confidence due to the way she looks
(she feels her figure has changed for the worse since giving birth - in fact, I think she
looks amazing and just as good as she ever did. But I cannot convince her of this...).
Secondly, she now describes the tango club she used to go to as "just a lot of old people
who are only there because they have nowhere else to go". These were people who just a
few years earlier, she said she loved having as friends. She said how great it was to have
a group of friends like that (which is something she'd never really had in the past, having
had a difficult time at school (due to bullying)).

She has very few friends (and most of these are long-distance ones that she rarely sees),
so does not have anyone else to give her any "feedback" about how she's changed. The only
other person she talks to is her mother (with whom she is very close). But her mother has
issues of her own (depression), so the fact that she is my wife's main relationship, does not
seem very healthy to me.

I have tried to bring this up with her a few times. I have tried to explain that she has
changed, and have tried to get her to discuss this with me. But I don't really get a good
reaction. She usually just brushes it aside, or she gets angry, or she sometimes
cries and tells me that she's "not doing well at the moment" and is exhausted and stressed
(with her job). I try to ask her what we can do to make the situation better, but these
conversations seem to go nowhere.

My entire relationship with her now could well be summed up by the phrase "walking on egg-
shells". She seems to hate it whenever I express an opinion that differs from hers.
A few days ago we had just eaten her dinner, and she had had a yoghurt. I then felt like
having some cheese on bread, and asked her is she wanted some too. She told me "You don't
have cheese AFTER the dessert!", and when I said "Well, you can if you want to", she looked at
me with such a look of pity and contempt, as if I'd said the most ridiculous thing

I have suggested a couple of times that she might be depressed (since she has a history of
depression), but she is adamant that she is not, and does not like me bringing that up as
an excuse for her behaviour.

I realise that women have a hard time after giving birth, and are exhausted with looking
after a new baby. Of course there are hormone changes women have to put up with too. I'm
sure all of this can change a person. I assumed my wife would gradually change back into the
person she was, but it's been two are a half years now, and although the more difficult
period is over (ie. our daughter is sleeping through the night now, and has been for a year),
and my wife is back at work, her behaviour towards me has not improved.

I have always tried to respect other people's opinions, and to assume that they mean what
they say. If someone tells me I am doing something wrong, I will genuinely look at what I'm
doing and see if they have a point, and if they do, I will try to change. It goes against
my nature to tell someone that there must be a medical problem with them, if they happen
to say something I don't agree with! But my wife's change in attitude towards me has been
so sudden and dramatic that I can't see any objective reason for the things she's saying.

From my point of view, I am only staying with her now because we have a child together,
and leaving her is the last thing I want to do. I want to stay with my wife, and if I could
see an end to her current behaviour, I would certainly stick it out. But at the moment I
cannot see any end to it, and it seems my future is staying in a terrible relationship and
being unhappy for the rest of my life, just for the sake of our daughter. I am seriously
considering leaving now while my daughter is young enough to forget about me.

This email has gone on a bit. I suppose what I really want to know is:

* Has anyone else experienced anything like the above?
* Could giving birth cause changes like I've described, even 2.5 years later?
* What on earth should I do about the situation?

Thanks for any help,


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Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:27 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby mezzaninedoor » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:44 pm

I'm so sorry things are tough for you right now.
I have to say that the details that you describe do seem particularly unbearable. I have had things happen a bit like this when my wife was post natal but for a relatively short period and things did pass.
The only reflection that I can give is that 10 years ago my wife and I had a blip, not quite the same as the things you describe but never the less we were struggling to communicate.
We went to Relate for about 3 months and we both had therapy outside of Relate as well.
Things improved over time as we wore the rough edges off the immediate baggage that we were carrying regards each other. Things are great now and probably were great about 6 months to 1 year after we started Relate.
I'm guessing that you will find it hard to approach your wife regards something like Relate but its the only thing I can think of. Another thing you can measure if it might help is Can you take one of your wifes friends to one side in confidence to talk about the problems and whether they have any insight?
I'm sorry I haven't been much help


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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:31 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby matt123 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:26 am

Thanks Tony.

I think I will probably try to persuade her to see a doctor if I can. Unfortunately talking to her friends is not easy, as she has so few, and they are all distant. I doubt if they have noticed any difference in her behaviour, as their only contact with her would have been by email, and it's easy to hide your behaviour in an email!


Posts: 1050
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:27 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby mezzaninedoor » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:01 pm

I hope you have been able to make some progress

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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:01 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby erinleach » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:07 pm

I had same problem. It's sad, but my wife just went away from me and our baby in 4 weeks. ANd she didn't care about baby at all. SHE JUST WENT. I'm still alone, my girl, Nancy is 6 months now. We are good, my mom helps me with her sometimes. I already used to do everything alone. That's why I had problems with women, who wanted relationship with me. I just can't open my heart to anybody more. I only believe in my little girl and in myself. That's all. Enough. Thanks for listening me, I appreciate it.

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Joined: Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:22 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby terrarriumtv » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:24 pm

I think I'm crying. Minimal work you have here. It's that appealing.
goog work

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Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby dekhteh » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:26 pm

Great work. Really good

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Joined: Mon May 21, 2018 5:46 am

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby angel2 » Mon May 21, 2018 5:50 am

What happened with your wife? Is it better now?

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Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 4:22 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby capitalt » Mon May 21, 2018 9:51 am

Certainly sounds like post natal depression, which may be different to ordinary depression, hormones are involved here, though after 2 1/2 years this should have passed.

Please can you let us know how old you are, I can only surmise you're in your mid to late 30s, I ask as this to may play a part, also whose decision it was to have a child, and if it was planned.

As you've been together for a long time the addition of the baby will have a major impact on your lives, thus it's a case of sharing parts of each other with your child.

Please also let us know if you both work, this too can have an impact, as can finances.

It is possible that once your child starts nursery, play group, pre-school and then school that things may improve as you may both get a little more 'me time', and time as a couple.

Friendships may develop there too where experiences and tips could be shared.

Are there things you could do as a family as the whole dynamic has now changed. ?

The bobbles issue may seem minor, perhaps your wife does all the laundry, etc thus has less time for other things ?

Perhaps ask her if there's anything you could help with to spread the load a little, and maybe get a bobble remover ?

I agree with approach your GP and/or counselling.

I'm sure things will improve.

Good luck

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Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:41 pm

Re: My wife's personality change since giving birth

Postby juless » Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:09 pm

I'm in the middle of the exact same issue Matt had in 2016 - and have plagiarized him here and there as I could not have written it better myself.
My partner has suffered from depression since her teens and had the odd ‘rage’ until they sorted out the medication and she’s been fine ever since and we had a great relationship and a great pregnancy….until the baby arrived ten weeks ago.
I’m sure I’m a long way from perfect, but I have I’ve always done my best for her and now the baby and would describe myself as a caring and thoughtful person (no bias in that ;) ). I have always complimented her when she is feeling down and done by best to support whatever she does.
I’m also not sure exactly when the change happened but she is now Jekyll & Hyde – mostly Hyde. All the positive feelings have gone; it now appears to be all hate. Hyper-critical, always treading on eggshells. I may return from work and she may seem to be coming out of the ‘rage’ at one moment only to snap into it at the slightest whim.
All we have agreed upon is wrong. All I have done for her is wrong. All I ‘should have done’ but haven’t, is wrong. Life is horrendous.
I get shouted and sworn at for not discussing everything with her, yet she will discuss nothing with me. Very much across the board, lots of rules I need to abide by but none for her.
I suggested we go to the docs to see if all is OK and she advised me, in a very loud voice, that there was nothing wrong with her and that I was the fXXXing problem.
She has also thrown away things from our relationship.
We used to chat about current affairs, this and that etc but she tells me she now has no interest in anything I try to make small talk with/ chat about.
She will tell me that she is tired and has no help but when I suggest things I can do or friends and family who would love to help she says she does not want anyone over or need help. This bringing up big issues for her and then refusing help or assistance is constant.
If I try to bring anything up, she pops. I don’t speak much now.
My entire relationship with her is "walking on egg-shells".
I also get the exhaustion looking after a new baby and the hormone changes women but this is a whole new level of nastiness.
I could go on but this is enough for now.
I am also only staying with her because of our child (who is behaving impeccably – for a child).
I would not wish this on my worst enemy. It’s so emotionally painful.

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