Everyone knows that “good communication” is a crucial factor in sustaining a healthy, happy relationship. The art of communication looks different in every relationship and marriage, but one thing’s for sure: Verbalizing what you’re feeling isn’t always as simple or straight-forward as it may seem.
Those are the waters TLC’s OutDaughtered parents, Adam and Danielle Busby, have been trying to navigate lately, as Adam hasn’t seemed “like himself.”
The show features the Texas couple’s life raising six little girls: 5-year-old Blayke and 2-year-old quintuplets, Ava, Olivia, Hazel, Riley and Parker.
The father of six recently opened up about what he now confirms to be postpartum depression—which, contrary to popular belief, can and does occur in fathers more often than most would think.
He admitted to Danielle in one episode that he can’t find the right balance of happiness:
“I feel a lot of pressure being the only one providing for our family right now. All I think about all day long is seeing you, playing with the girls. I feel like I can’t give enough time to either side and make everyone happy. In return, I feel like I’m not happy.”
Danielle said she noticed Adam’s behavior, but wasn’t able to understand why he was feeling unhappy in circumstances that should otherwise leave him feeling joyful.
Being the loving wife that she is, Danielle initiated some honest communication between her and her husband, in an effort to figure out if there was anything she could be doing better for him.
Adam’s response reminded viewers everywhere that it doesn’t matter who you are or how many kids you have, some things are just difficult to understand—much less put into words.
He couldn’t explain how he was feeling beyond saying he was “in a funk,” and that “it is what it is.”
Still, Danielle pressed her husband for more details, sharing that she wants to support him as best as she can, but she can’t do that if she doesn’t know what he needs support in.
“It’s clear as day, and obvious, that something is wrong. The kids might not be aware of it, but I can see a difference. I feel it, I see it, you’re not the same person. I know it’s hard for you to talk about it, but it affects me. There should be no secrets between us.”
Eventually she got some better clarity as Adam related the way he’s feeling to a “pounding weight in his chest.” It’s not constant, but when it arises, it’s an unfamiliar and unwelcome feeling.
“It all of a sudden just, like, comes. I feel like I’ve never really had these types of feelings. It’s just hard in general for me to talk about that kind of stuff. I’ve had this notion in my head that people that can’t control their feelings or whatever are weak. It’s almost like I have this fear.
It’s been like this since the [quintuplets] were born. Up until this point, it’s almost like I hid from it, like, denied it.”
Danielle was both shocked and heartbroken to hear the weight of what her husband has been carrying.
She added that communication is key in them combatting these struggles, feelings, doubts and concerns together; and that she was hurt to learn he hadn’t felt comfortable bringing those things to her attention.
“I can understand that you are going through something and you don’t know what to do or you don’t know what to say,” she told him. “But you’ve got to talk to me because I’m your wife and I’m here, Adam. I’m here to talk to you or listen any time and do my best to try to understand.”
Adam summed everything up by saying that some days he’s content and happy. But other days he’s consumed with the weight of the world, and it feels impossible to get back on track, let alone talk about it.
The proud dad later revealed that he’s one of the 10 percent of fathers who suffer from postpartum depression.
As Adam and Danielle continue to navigate healthy, progressive communication with each other, the OutDaughtered dad is also breaking down barriers and erasing the stigma that plagues those who suffer from postpartum depression and other mental health problems.
In the coming episodes, the show documents Adam’s journey as he finally meets with a therapist to talk about what he’s been carrying, and how to effectively discuss it with his wife.