Chris and Rachel

Speaker: OK, so I know you guys have been married for about 11 years. Why donít you talk about when you were planning to have your family? How many kids did you want to have and that whole thing?

Rachel: OK. You want to say it?

Chris: We talked about that for a long time.

Rachel: Forever. We got married. Well, we dated for a long time before we got married and then ...

Chris: Four years.

Rachel: And then we were married for four years before we even had our first. But I think we always wanted a big family, three or four kids. We were Ö

Chris: You wanted a big family.

Rachel: And you went along with it, then Paige sort of ...

Chris: I was in the two to three range, Ö

Rachel: He was in the two-to-three range.

Chris: But I was excited to have children. I mean, that was a part of our wedding vows, was talking about having children just wanted to have my opportunity to be a parent, but yeah I always wanted a girl first, thatís for sure and I donít think Rachel cared. But Trevor, when he was born, looked exactly how we had envisioned him. We always talked about what our kids would look like and he looked as, looked like our dreams to be honest with you right down to the eyelashes. That was absolutely wild. The first time was, it was pretty exciting. There was not one glitch at all to be honest with you.

Rachel: And we were excited when we got pregnant with Paige. It took a long time to get pregnant with Paige, a year and finally when we got pregnant, it was fun. And we were disappointed because the pregnancy test was negative at first and then, hours later, it was positive.

Chris: We found out we were pregnant with Trevor the night of our 10-year high school reunion.

Rachel: Yup.

Chris: And we, obviously, went to high school together, so.

Rachel: And I said him, donít tell anyone.

Chris: And I said, oh, I wonít, I wonít.

Rachel: And of course 50 people came up to me and said, oh, I hear youíre pregnant. Iím like, yeah, three minutes! So when we had Paige I asked him to try to keep it a little bit more under wraps.

Chris: Yeah, sorry. I couldnít not talk about it.

Rachel: He was great. Chris was great.

Chris: I wasnít gonna see those people again for another 10 years.

Rachel: No, but you were great. He always got really excited about me being pregnant so that was really fun because he was enthusiastic.

Chris: And then when we found out we were having a girl, I was very excited.

Rachel: And then he was totally excited when we were finding out we were having a girl. He was through the moon. So it was always real helpful because he was always supportive in that way.

Chris: But two is enough, thatís for sure.

Rachel: Well, now. Yes.

Speaker: Again, Iím sorry for the pausing. Iím just trying to think of, you know, how to get you guys. You guys are doing a great job, by the way. Itís nice chemistry. Of course, after all this time, there better be, right? I do want to touch on the PPD a little bit.

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: Just to get you guys to talk about it.

Rachel: Yup.

Speaker: When you were going through the experience, when you were home, what was the interaction like between the two of you?

Chris: It was tense. I, I, I was very impatient, I know I was. I just didnít want to, I just couldnít comprehend what she was going through. I really, Iím guilty of being one of those people that say, get over it. You have to take care of these kids, and that sort of thing. It was probably a little selfish.

Rachel: And I think for me, I was like swirling in a hole, trying to sort of cure myself and figure out what was going on. And I definitely felt like I learned to shut him out because he would say, thereís nothing wrong with you, youíre fine. Letís do this or letís do that, you know, whatever the task was that needed to get done.

Chris: I just, I didnít get it.

Rachel: No and for me, I felt like, well there is a problem so if I have to insulate myself to figure out what the problem is, I have to continue, you know, and I think that that was sort of the dynamic that we had, that I sort of just cut him out and just said, Iíve gotta figure out whatís going on with me. You know, I think that was pretty realistic that thatís what happened.

Chris: Yeah, it was basically, if youíre not gonna to help me, Iím gonna find somebody to help me.

Rachel: Iím gonna find somebody thatís gonna help me.

Speaker: Coming through it and everything, did you guys ever go to any counseling together?

Rachel: Oh sure. Sure. Weíve gone to couples counseling for the last couple of years.

Chris: I donít know if we went necessarily during the postpartum.

Rachel: Not specifically for postpartum, but we definitely went Ö

Chris: But to repair Ö

Rachel: To repair because Ö

Chris: Ö the aftermath.

Rachel: Once you learn, I think, once you learn to sort of isolate yourself from, you kind of figure out to be your own entity, itís, youíve gotta figure out to get back on that same path. You know that youíre working together as a team rather than as a separate person so that was something that we went to therapy to talk about and discuss how we could get back on that same track together as a couple with our kids and with me being healthy and sort of back.

I mean, I think that postpartum goes away and you survive it, but I think that you always are aware that that could happen, regardless, I mean, that could play out if you get cancer, it could play out if you get, God forbid, heart disease or any, any scenario so you learn to survive it and then you use those tools that you learn to kind of go forward and deal with the next crisis if, God forbid, a crisis is presented in front of you. Donít you think?

Chris: Yeah, itís just a, itís a rebuild and recovery. You can think of it like a tornado coming though.

Rachel: Yeah.

Chris: Weíre still in some sense picking up pieces here and there. I mean, it just happens out of nowhere.

Rachel: Right, thereís occasionally, thereís spots that you forget.

Chris: Yeah.

Rachel: Wow, I didnít think about that for a long time. Wow, I havenít thought about that.

Chris: Itís an ongoing thing but I think any relationship, regardless if she went through or we, I should say we, right?

Rachel: Yeah.

Chris: Ö postpartum depression, you know, thereís always something to work on. Itís just, I think we have a couple more, you know, a little more because of what we went through and I donít think people really realize that.

Rachel: Well and I think whatís helpful is that, if you, if you get to a point where youíre learning how to deal with the crises that are put in front of you and youíre able to sort of say, hey you know we, we deal with this because weíre putting it out there and weíre saying, weíve got a problem. And you identify the problem and then you say, OK, how can we sort of put together our heads and think about how to solve the issue whether we need to bring outside people or we need to do it ourselves. But I think that one thing thatís our strength is that we always are identifying issues as they evolve all the time, whether itís our kids, whether itís us, whether itís me, you know, being Ö

Chris: Whatever it is.

Rachel: Whatever the scenario is, and I think thatís what the success for us is in postpartum depression and anything else going forward is that we have the ability to always be willing and be brave enough to say, you know what? Weíve got this problem. Itís painful to talk about it, itís painful to go through but weíve got to figure out how to make it.

Chris: Exactly, weíre open with it.

Rachel: Weíre very open with it and I think that makes a huge difference, huge. Donít you think?

Chris: Yeah.

Speaker: One other question. Looking back over the last five years or so, and, and specifically the PPD illness, looking back, you guys as a couple, was there anything that you would do differently in dealing with it?

Chris: Probably not because I just, I wouldnít know what to do differently.

Rachel: Well, what if you had the opportunity to look back and you could?

Chris: If I was able to, I donít know how I, I probably would have, I probably would have reached out and asked for help, not necessarily for my mental health, but just assistance. You know, I didnít, I didnít even think about it. I just didnít, I thought it would just be over the next day, I didnít think it was such a continuous thing. But I probably would have reached out for someone to just give me a hand, as simple as that, just helping make dinner or just clean up the house or something like that. It really is that basic, where if I had just an extra pair of hands, it probably would have been a little, a little easier.

Rachel: I think for me, it would be not having the resistance because I think about it, not all the time, but I have thought about it periodically, like, wow, if on day three after I had her, I took the medication Ö six weeks to the day I delivered her, I was psychiatrically hospitalized and by then, it would have been stopped. So, I never would blame myself for that because I think, at the time, I did what most people will do is they try to sort of figure out how to stabilize themselves and figure out how to make things better without having to sort of intervene with medication, especially because I never suffered from anything mental health-wise. And I think that that, if I was to go back, would be to be less resistant, to be less combative about, you know, you donít know me. And also I think that with all the awareness thatís happening nowadays, doctors are much more open to say, you know, there might be a problem. I know of someone that actually was held up in the hospital, was not released because she failed the, the, whatever it is, yeah, which is awesome. She was held up and she was put on the floor with the psychiatric person that, you know, checked her out.

Chris: Thatís a difference too is our local hospital now has this psychiatric.

Rachel: They have it, everyone has it now, everyone knows. I probably wouldnít have been shipped Ö

Chris: They donít have to be hauled away.

Rachel: Thatís right,that was awful.

Chris: That was the most traumatic thing ever.

Rachel: I mean, I am appalled sometimes about how poorly mental health patients can be treated and I was appalled how I was treated. I mean it was, it was, I was a young, professional woman who had all my faculties and just had a, had a postpartum crisis and I think it should have been handled a lot differently than it was. But, you know, I always think, I always make lemonade out of lemons so I always feel like, OK, well these experiences have happened and now look whatís happened. There are support groups at every hospital, there are lots of opportunities for people to kind of reach out and get, you know, people are now, you know, talking with others about postpartum. Theyíre not, that, that stigma is starting, I think, to slowly go away so people are more willing to kind of put themselves on the line and say, you know, I might be having some problems. And I think thatís so encouraging. And I think Chris and I being able to share, you know, being able to share with others about what goes through and you survive it and youíre still strong and youíre still together and your, and your family stays intact and you can kind of move forward and I think thatís huge.

Chris: I donít think weíve ever been the type to not be able to talk about things.

Rachel: No.

Speaker: Thatís good. Thatís probably definitely helped you guys kind of get to where you are now.And kind of just shifting gears a little bit, talk about something a little more positive, just curious because you guys seem like such a nice family, whatís your favorite thing to do together as a family?

Chris: As a family, OK. With each other, we never get a chance to do anything. But I donít know, I tell you, I liked just Ö

Rachel: We like taking Trevor to his baseball games.

Chris: Yeah, but now that itís nice weather, I just love Ö

Rachel: Being outside.

Chris: Just going out in the backyard, and you know, weíre just doing our own thing.

Rachel: We like gardening.

Chris: Just hanging out, you know, Rachelís on the phone or doing whatever, of course.

Rachel: Really? On the taping you say this?

Chris: Itís OK. ItísÖ She loves the phone. And hitting Trevorís baseballs and things like, just, just hanging out as a family.

Rachel: I think doing fun things, like the kids love our Saturday morning dance parties. We put music on, like old Ď70s and Ď80s on and do dancing around to clean up the house.

Chris: Our kids love to see us Ö

Rachel: Be silly.

Chris: Have fun.

Rachel: And be fun.

Chris: They definitely take the mood of their parents. If weíre mad at each other, theyíre mad at each other. If weíre happy-go-lucky and silly and laughing, theyíre goofy, just like us, but Ö

Rachel: We love going on family trips together. We go away every summer. Weíre going in two weeks today for two weeks and itís cool. We have a good time. Our kids are fun to be with and I think we try to. Weíre very up people so I think that makes a big difference. You know?

Chris: It takes work to be up.

Rachel: Youíre a terrible driver

Chris: Ö excellent driver as well. Put that on tape. But no, I just think we like just, we, we, you know, weíve never been, you know, ones to have money bags laying around so we just, kind of just like Ö

Rachel: Old-fashioned fun.

Chris: Simple, you know, stuff. I mean, nothing, thereís nothing fancy about us.

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