Tyler Sutton, a Norton, MA police officer, is mourning the loss of his wife, Ariana Sutton – who died of suicide on May 31, just nine days after giving birth to twins at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Ariana had struggled with postpartum depression in the past, but was unable to move past the pain this time around.
Her first experience with postpartum depression (PPD) came four years prior, after giving birth to their first child – a daughter named Melody. In an interview with PEOPLE, Tyler admits the couple wasn’t prepared for what PPD would do to their family and says the diagnosis took the family ‘completely by surprise.’
Not knowing who to call or where to go for help, Tyler said his first instinct was to help his wife by giving her a break from certain chores and responsibilities. His efforts proved to be counterproductive and even backfired as she started feeling like a ‘bad mom’ for not doing the things she was supposed to do.
“She said that, as much as everyone tried to give her positive information and try to reinforce that everything was going to be okay, it was as if a little person moved into her head and was drowning out all the positive things that we were trying to say to her,” Tyler said of his wife’s first battle with PPD in 2019.
Ariana was treated for PPD at Newton-Wellesley Hospital – the same hospital where she gave birth to twins one month ago – and received a medication that helped her find joy in life again. Things were going well for the next four years and the couple were excited about growing their family with twins in May.
“We’d just be sitting there, just enjoying each other’s company. She would just be staring at our daughter, just smiling at how lucky we were. That’s what made her want to have more kids. She loved being a mom,” Tyler said of his wife – adding that even their 4-year-old daughter was excited to be a big sister.
Things took a turn for the worse when Ariana gave birth to the twins much earlier than expected. As a result, Ariana’s mental health started declining rapidly and she was less like her vibrant self. And while Tyler and his daughter begin the grieving process, the twins continue to receive treatment at the hospital.
Tyler Sutton Raising Awareness About Postpartum Depression
Tyler Sutton can’t change what happened to his family, but he’s hoping to change what could happen to other families by raising awareness about postpartum depression. He wants to make sure new mothers not only know what to expect after giving birth, but know how to reach out for help when PPD strikes.
“Reaching out for help does not mean that you’re weak,” Tyler said in his interview with PEOPLE, published on June 17. “It means that you’re recognizing that there’s a problem and that you want to get better, so that you can get back to being the parent that you want to be and start to enjoy your family.”
In an effort to help Tyler care for his family – including his daughter and newborn twins – a GoFundMe page was created on June 2 to help ‘ease the Sutton family’s financial burdens.’ Over the past two weeks, the page has received nearly 5,000 donations and raised more than $370,000 of its $400,000 goal.
According to March of Dimes, postpartum depression is characterized by ‘strong feelings of sadness, anxiety (worry) and tiredness that last for a long time after giving birth.’ While PPD robs mothers of their quality of life, treatments do exist – including counseling, support groups, and certain medications.
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