Post Event Depression. What IS IT And How Does It Affect You?
Over the years, brides and even occasionally, the mother of the bride have contacted me after an event either crying or showing obvious signs of depression and distress. When you’ve been in the event business as many years as I have, you program yourself to expect things you cannot control. However, a beautifully executed event would traditionally have you expecting to have thrilled clients. Post Wedding Blues are real.
Throughout my career in the events industry, I’ve also helped my former clients work through Post Event Depression more times than I could possibly count. Our relationship doesn’t end after an event.
In many cases, my former brides or their mothers are so “accustomed” to calling me that they still do long after the event and stay in touch. This may sound very uncommon to my competitors but, my clients become friends during the planning process. Our relationship becomes one where they are also comfortable expressing their depression once the big party is over. This is how and why I know what Post Event Depression actually is.
I study things I don’t understand. I learn how to overcome these types of issues too. I’m an avid reader and learning something new is part of the events industry. Every client is different. Every situation is different. Every solution must be customized to the situation.
Many people don’t realize this but, after months of planning, parties and excitement, the balloons fly away and leave you feeling blue. You aren’t crazy. You just need a new direction to move on to other things.
According to psychologists, post-wedding blues are very common. Don’t feel like there is something wrong with you if you are feeling bored and a bit down after your wedding.
I will never forget one mother of the bride calling me and telling me “I feel like I just spent a year planning a funeral. I’ve lost my daughter and now I’m burdened with debt.” Shocked, it would take me months to finally convince the mother to locate a counselor and begin to deal with her feelings regarding being disappointed that her daughter’s wedding was over.
Happily, the mother is now planning another big event, her first grandchild. I will be performing the baptism.
While this may be embarrassing for me to admit, years ago, I WAS “THAT MOTHER” myself. How so? I spent nearly a year planning the perfect wedding for my son.
On wedding day, my son was so exhausted that he barely even acknowledged me. I felt deflated and overlooked. I also felt lost. For months, I had carefully created the bouquets, the centerpieces, the garland. I left no stone unturned. I wanted my son to have the wedding I had never had.
Also, during the same “wedding planning window for my son,” I had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Rather than allow surgery and subsequent treatment to interrupt my efforts to give my son the “perfect wedding,” I put off my surgery. Yes, I was that hellbent.
Leaving his wedding to head off to his honeymoon, my son admitted to me that he was cranky because he hadn’t eaten all day and he was also “stressed about speaking in front of so many people.”
While hugging my son and apologizing for not having time to bring him anything to eat, my son nearly cried when he told me that he was “relieved it was finally over.” Relieved? Finally over? What the?
My twin sister and I had worked our fingers to the bone trying to make not only my son’s wedding perfect years ago but, all these years later, every wedding or subsequent event we have ever done perfect too.
“There should be a Miranda Warning for parents that fail to realize that ANYTHING they say about their new son or daughter in law CAN and WILL be used against them. I advise all of my clients who might’ve previously been unaware of the differences between Inlaws (the new family marriage brings you) or Outlaws (the new family you wish marriage didn’t bring you) to tread carefully. I had to learn this the hard way myself when my son married years ago and I did.”
Wendy M Wortham
Throughout the early years of my son’s marriage. I would become the 2nd wheel on holidays and other occasions where my son had always been by my side. It would be an adjustment for me after all, I raised him as a divorced parent. Also, I was losing my son (AKA my miracle child and only child) to a another family that I would be “less than thrilled about.” I didn’t get along with my daughter in law’s mother or grandmother.
That “strained first impression” on my son’s wedding day has stuck with me all of these years later. Why didn’t my ex husband make sure our son had eaten? Did my ex not notice that my sister, husband, aunt, stepsister and cousins were working like lunatics trying to decorate the venue with only one hour before the wedding began?
What were my daughter in laws mother or grandmother thinking when they “agreed” to only one hour needed to set up chairs and decorations for the wedding while they were hob knobbing and sitting around? Now you know why I have a chip on my shoulder for the Outlaws who bothered to show up but didn’t bother to help.
As the years passed, my son came back around to not only me but also my twin sister. These “things” take time. I’ve learned the hard way not to interject my opinions regarding my son’s new life and/or wife. Cindy has as well.
You won’t always approve of your new son or daughter in law but, if you want to keep a good relationship with your children, zip it. They don’t want to hear what you think. Also, don’t drop in to visit. I made this mistake over and over when my son and his wife moved two blocks from me. They now live twenty miles from me. I know it’s MY FAULT. But, my son was the treasure I never expected God to bless me with. He was my greatest joy. I never put him down when he was a child. I was so overprotective that even today if you were to ask him to describe me in two words, he would quickly say “helicopter mom.” I’ve learned step away but it wasn’t easy.
If you are feeling blue after your wedding and honeymoon, don’t dwell on the depression. Ruminating about problems only makes depression worse. Depression after an event and months or even up to a year of planning isn’t that uncommon. Don’t let the depression cloud your feelings about other areas of your life.
Instead, find something new to be excited about: plan a party with your friends and put your new china to use or finally start that new hobby you’ve been putting off.
Your new spouse may not understand your melancholy mood and much less, depression. The “honeymoon” may be over but as a new spouse, communication is the key to working through your feelings. Alert your spouse that you’re blue.
If you are moping around the house looking like Eeyore when your spouse is expecting wedded bliss, that could leave both of you concerned about the state of your relationship. Be honest and open. If necessary, find a counselor.
Letting your spouse know that you are just feeling let down after all the wedding festivities can take the blame off of your spouse and help him or her be supportive.
Last night, one of my TDCJ Brides sent me a text message. I was leaving Mercado Event Center and pulled over to read it. Bridget had sent “I went and visited pip today. It was a great visit. But I feel very insecure. It’s nothing he’s doing. And I don’t have a single person to talk to.”
The “insecure” portion of the text concerned me. I responded “call me. I’m leaving a venue.” Moments later, Bridget called crying regarding her fear of whether or not her new husband loved her.
For my clients marrying inmates, this isn’t as uncommon as you might believe. The “person on the outside” makes all of the sacrifices. They talk to me, text me and email me for months during the Prison Wedding Planning Process. I become their mother during this “window.”
My Texas Twins Events “traditional clients” also call, text and email which is why I’m so familiar with Post Wedding Blues. I’ve talked many brides and even their mothers through the emotions they never expected following a big wedding or event. I’ve listened to their feelings and given them insight.
My role is far more personal than a traditional Officiant, Coordinator or even both. Previous and current clients rely heavily on me and I’m accustomed to being a good listener.
Bridget and Pip had attended school together. Bridget “found Pip” again through his mother. Bridget and Pip began sending letters to each other. Last week, I married Bridget and Pip at TDCJ Michael Unit. They hadn’t seen each other in thirty years.
Throughout the “planning process” brides or grooms are excited about finally getting married. What they aren’t prepared for and rarely expect is to be disappointed after the wedding is over. Who would? But, similar to planning a wonderful holiday getaway and later realizing travel is a lot of work or that you’ve spent quite a bit of money trying to give your kids a holiday they will one day appreciate can be a real eye opener to anyone.
Frankly, Cindy and I prefer to travel without our adult children and grandchildren. Why? We have a helluva lot more fun that’s why. Don’t be shocked. I’m honest.
In an effort to prepare my clients, I ask a lot of questions. While one bride may not even give the thought of moving away to follow her husband a second thought, another may be uneasy and concerned about an immediate lifestyle change.
Let’s take my niece, Leigh Ann for example. Leigh Ann married Alex who was stationed in Japan at the time. Leigh Ann had never traveled abroad and although she went to visit Alex twice, “could never live in Japan.” Leigh Ann didn’t fully grasp that being married to a sailor would require moving frequently.
By the time Alex was moved to Seattle, Washington, Leigh Ann was happy to have her “sailor boy back in the states.” As Leigh Ann packed up to move to beautiful Seattle, I sat back and wondered if this move would flow smoothly?
Warily, I also advised my twin sister, Cindy that “Leigh Ann may not adjust to Seattle either.” Cindy is Leigh Ann’s mother and found a move to Seattle a “fun and exciting adventure.” But… I was more apprehensive and, I was right. Leigh Ann enjoys having an entire family around her “back home.”
Six months after being stationed in Seattle, I was on my way to Austin, Texas for a wedding. Leigh Ann called me crying. Listening to her on my Bluetooth, I knew Leigh Ann “wanted to come home.” But, I waited for her to say it. “Aunt Wendy, mom told me to stay here and work it out. She says my place it at home on the base making Alex meals and finding ways to occupy my time. I’m lonely here. I’m isolated. I have nothing to do. No friends. No family. I can’t even force myself to unpack. Also, I’m pregnant.” PREGNANT?! I knew Leigh Ann hadn’t told my sister this and I knew Leigh Ann and Alex had tried for quite some time to conceive.
Leigh Ann wanted to come home and have an OB/GYN to treat her pregnancy who was “familiar with high risk births.” The same physician who delivered the twins would also deliver Maddy.
I had told Leigh Ann “I will talk to your mom but, you’re married now and although you are lonely, you must try to find a way to occupy your time and your mind. You are a Navy Wife and as such, you are living the Navy Life.” I knew my words would fall on deaf ears. The crying phone calls continued for three days. Even Alex was convinced “a visit home would do her good.”
I called Cindy and suggested “flying Leigh Ann home for a visit.” That “visit” was 3 1/2 years ago. Leigh Ann “flew home” on a one way ticket and gave birth to Madyson at Baylor Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.
Two and a half years ago, Leigh Ann packed up to move to base housing with Alex in Lemoore, California. Within months, Cindy and I were filming in Los Angeles and decided to have Leigh Ann and Madyson come to Long Beach for a long weekend.
I drove to the Lemoore Base myself to see Alex while in California with Cindy and Leigh Ann. Although Lemoore “wasn’t San Diego,” Leigh Ann and Alex had a beautiful three bedroom two bath home on the base.
Leigh Ann just couldn’t “adjust to Lemoore.” Once again, my niece was “lonely and isolated. Alex is always at work and I’m alone with Maddy. I feel lost and disassociated from everything.”
Once again, Leigh Ann was unhappy. After leaving to return to Texas, Leigh Ann and Madyson would arrive a month later to “move back home.”
I can’t imagine how hard it was for Alex to say goodbye to his wife AND daughter while staying behind in Lemoore. Alex has given up much of Maddy’s first three years but, he made the sacrifice in order to keep Leigh Ann happy. It was quite a sacrifice.
Many of my family members including my own son continue to comment “Leigh Ann is never going to leave home.”
Leigh Ann is safe and happy at “home.” We realize this situation is different than most but, having Maddy the past three years has been a blessing to Cindy and I as well as Leigh Ann who has Round the clock help with Maddy.
Alex has accepted that Leigh Ann is far more comfortable “back home” with her family but, Alex would also like to see his daughter grow up. It’s a precarious situation that has caused Alex great anxiety and depression. Quite frankly, Alex deserves to have his family and Maddy deserves to know her dad. It will be hard to let go for Cindy and I though but, letting go is in the best interest of Alex, Leigh Ann and Maddy.
Pushing a bird out of the nest is difficult. Pushing a bird out of the nest with a young toddler who has literally “gifted” your family with joy, love and laughter is difficult for Cindy and I. We are at a crossroad. Saying goodbye is never easy.
In July, Alex is returning to Texas to move Leigh Ann and young Maddy to Oxnard, California. While filming a few months ago, Cindy and I took Leigh Ann and Maddy to Oxnard to “show her the city.”
Unlike Lemoore, Oxnard is an actual city. For months now, Alex has been looking forward to finally having his family under one roof.
For months now, Cindy and I have been depressed regarding “losing Maddy to the Navy Life.” the reality is that we have no choice. We must watch Maddy wave goodbye on her journey to Oxnard. We must count the days until we can see her again while using FaceTime to stay in touch. We must cope and hope as Maddy transitions into not having an entire family to care for her 24/7.
Cindy and I fly to California a minimum of twice a year. Leigh Ann will return to Texas a minimum of twice a year but, not having Madyson here WILL be difficult for not only me but also, Cindy. Why? Because every morning Maddy runs in to find Cindy and give her a kiss. Maddy loves her MiMi’s. Cindy is thrilled to have young Maddy in her home. We never expected to have more babies in our family.
My son has no plans to have children. Why? “Because I can’t imagine having twins. I’ve watched you and Aunt Cindy raise the twins and it’s overwhelming. Two of everything. One of them is happy the other is unhappy. I’m not prepared for twins.” Twins run in our family every other generation. You can’t choose not to have twins and my son is intimidated. If Maryssa and Makenna hadn’t come along fourteen years ago, my son wouldn’t be all too aware of the expense and effort raising multiples bring. But, he is and he’s therefore “not in a hurry to have children.” Maddy lights up Cindy’s home. Maddy leaving with her parents will leave a gaping hole in Cindy’s life.
Warily, I prepare for the loss my sister will experience. Also, I recognize that Leigh Ann being away from us may not last. Only time will tell. I’m not exactly looking forward to losing Maddy either. I’m very sad about it to be honest with you. I knew the day would one day come but, simply chose not to think about it.
Bridget is now adjusting to the Prison Wife Life. It’s difficult. It’s a transition. It’s also something that Bridget cannot “just talk to anyone about.”
Last night, Bridget talked to me. I suggested Prison Wife support groups. While Bridget may have doubts about Pip loving her, Michael is on a Lock Down which only enhances the doubt.
Limited phone calls from Locked Down Units give the “person on the outside” time to wonder if their relationship will survive the rest of time? Pip is serving 55 years.
Bridget will be driving every weekend to go visit and during the week, paying for expensive phone calls. Bridget will be making many sacrifices. I advised her of this and that all of my TDCJ Clients “have a life on the outside. It’s essential that you find ways to occupy your time and your mind rather than waiting on the next phone call. Find ways to make yourself happy. Join support groups and start a blog. You could inspire others in similar situations as to how you found resolution of your own.” Bridget was receptive to my ideas and I’m hoping will recover from the Post Wedding Blues.
As for Leigh Ann and Alex, every phone call discussing “the move” causes my sister and I both anxiety and loss. Losing Maddy is difficult for either of us to accept and much less embrace.Cindy has been raising her twin granddaughters, Maryssa and Makenna since birth but, at fourteen, the twins are far more interested in pretty much anything else than spending time with Cindy or I.
I recall my son “going through the same phase.” In his teens, I went from “hero to zero.” It crushed me. The twins gave Cindy and I the opportunity to enjoy having babies around again and, they wanted to be with us 24/7.
Cindy and I were “heroes to our children and grandchildren” right up to about eleven years old. This “transition into independence” isn’t easy on parents.
As toddlers, our children and grandchildren idolized Cindy and I. In fact, they didn’t want to be anywhere else with anyone else other than Cindy or I and preferably both of us.
Maddy replaced the void the twins left at about twelve years old when the twins preferred going to their rooms or playing on their phones and effectively, choosing not to spend time with Cindy or I.
Maddy adored Cindy and I while Maryssa and Makenna found their “twin MiMe’s” to be more and more “boring” as they became teenagers. Maddy loves being with her “MiMi’s!”
Will the twins ever come around and want to spend time with their grandmother or great aunt? Not like Maddy who cries if she can’t go with us rather than her mother. Maddy prefers being with Cindy or I which upsets Leigh Ann.
This “distance” will one day change for the twins but, it may take years. Leigh Ann can’t seem to live without us but as a teen, couldn’t wait to get away from us.
To Maddy, Wendy and Cindy are her “first choice.” I wonder how losing both her MiMi’s will affect young Maddy but, Alex will fill the gap I am assuming. Alex isn’t prepared for the precociously busy three year old Maddy has become but, hopefully he’s up to the challenges.
While I attempt to prepare not only Cindy but also myself to lose Maddy, I’m thankful that we not only have each other but also, full plates of clients and other obligations that continue to occupy our minds and our time… losing Maddy will be equally difficult for both of us.