Dad Speaks out to Help Others After Losing His Wife to Suicide Amid Her Struggle With Postpartum Depression

On June 1, 2016, Greg Ludlam arrived home to find his wife, Elizabeth, unconscious. She was quickly taken to a hospital, where she died the next afternoon as a result of suicide. As Ludlam would find out, Elizabeth had been suffering from postpartum depression.

After Elizabeth gave birth to the couple's first child, now 9-year-old daughter Emma, in 2007, Ludlam said he felt like things were how they were supposed to be when it came to parenting.

"Elizabeth was completely on it — knowing what you're supposed to do and not do," he told Good Housekeeping. "Of course, we were tired, but it was fun."

The couple welcomed son Ethan, now two, in 2015, and after he turned one, Ludlam noticed a change in his wife.

"Right around the time our son turned one, there was something about Elizabeth that just wasn't right," he said. "She was less tolerant of things around the house, and less patient, which was unusual for her because she was such a positive person. She wasn't initiating time with friends or neighbors, and she started saying she was a bad mom. My interpretation was that it had to be stress."

MORE: 'Teen Mom OG' Star Maci Bookout Reveals She Struggled With Postpartum Depression

The couple soon decided to move back to the East Coast from California, and Elizabeth quickly began packing up the house. While Ludlam thought the move would help his wife, he noted that something was still off.

"We would go out to eat at a place we loved or would be spending an evening together, and she was just totally checked out," he explained. "It wasn't like she was on her phone or ignoring me or anything — it was like she lacked all joy and had no enthusiasm."

A few weeks before Elizabeth's death, Ludlam even Googled, Why is my wife acting off?

"Looking back, and knowing that I couldn't figure it out, the guilt on my part is huge," he said. "It feels like I failed my wife, because I know now that all of the talk of moving was Elizabeth's final act of desperation — it was a way for her to try and fix what she was feeling."

The day Elizabeth died was a normal one, Ludlam said, noting that her time in the hospital didn't seem real. While there, one of the nurses mentioned postpartum depression, and it was the "general consensus" that Elizabeth had been battling the disease.

It has now been almost a year since Elizabeth's passing, and the family is slowly picking up the pieces.

"I wouldn't call our life right now happy, but I would call it good — with an underlying sucky feeling under it," Ludlam said.

The 51-year-old shared that he has tried to find some meaning in his wife's death, and has spoken about maternal mental health care to various groups.

"For anyone who is reading this and you're feeling overwhelmed or you're feeling like a bad mom or you're feeling like a lousy wife, or just feeling unloved and alone — you're not," he said. "You're not a bad mom. You're not a lousy wife. You're not unloved and alone. There's help. You need to reach out to a qualified mental health doctor right now."

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Photo Credit: Twitter / @maemeetings

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