NEVER IGNORE THE SIGNS OF PND AND ALWAYS SEEK MEDICAL GUIDANCE
A few months late, but nevertheless one of the best bits of advice anyone has ever given me, is that ‘love at first sight’ and ‘instant connection’ with your babies is not a guarantee.
It happens for many women and that is amazing, but for obvious reasons these are the people singing from the rooftops and therefore heard.
What this does however mean is that some times there are other voices and different experiences that are missed.
In the same way as you suddenly realise how many people are ‘trying’ and coming across issues no one really talked about – more people than you would expect – or maybe would admit, struggle to come to terms with the impact of a a baby – or two!
Now I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, and for that I am grateful. Mostly because it gave me the room and right to feel a bit down about the whole two screaming babies sat on my dinning room table! However in hindsight I wonder if some one had told me that it was ok not to instantly bond, not to ‘bloody love it’, I would have been a little less harsh on myself.
No instant bond – depression or normal?
PND is a real and frightening prospect and we should all be alert to support those who suffer or are vulnerable to it. It is our duty to women to stand on guard for our fellow sisterhood. That said, its also our duty to talk openly about how we feel without making it a taboo.
That mean admitting that twin motherhood in its early days is not all loving gazes and cuddles.
We owe it to each other to forgive ourselves for not loving every minuet and talk about the reality.
Its ok to feel negative about it, wonder what the heck just happened to your life and wish for a night of peace.
It doesn’t make you less of a mother and it certainly doesn’t mean it doesn’t get better.
In a ‘letter to my twins’ this is what I would have said in the month after they came out of the hospital:
Mummy is not doing great.
Well obviously I am fine – apart from I am not.
I just don’t really feel that I should feel like this.
I love you, but actually I don’t like you very much.
I want to give my husband the perfect beaming smiles of pride he want. Instead I burst into tears on him the moment he walks through the door. Not that you would know.
I want to tell you that all the people who have been over and gushed “you must be so happy” make me want to cry. REALLY I want to yell over the sound of your wailing. REALLY THIS LOOKS LIKE ITS FUCKING FUN DOES IT!
I want to not blame you for my stretch marks, not blame you for my sagging tummy and aching boobs. I know, I know “these are badges of honour bla bla” but what I want is a badge of being hot again!
I want to care which one of you is which. But at times I don’t. I just want to feed you enough each. Your identity can wait until you can show me SOME positive emotion.
I don’t want the Health Visitor to leave – its ok when this ‘feeling’ is an medical problem, an issue something to be sorted.
But its not ok when I come into your room, see you crying and just want to walk out, even if I don’t.
I know when I hear your crying in he night I should want to come and console you – I am basically just a body operated by hormones. What I want is to snuggle down to the warm depths of my duvet and sleep.
I feel that that so much of what of me is now is what I am trying to be be and nothing that I am.
I wish you were still in NICU, I wish that the miracle affirming nurses were still there to tell me you were amazing, that I was amazing, to make me think ‘id obviously feel better later’.
People always said it would be hard. Long hard nights.
For me its the even harder, even longer days.
Trapped with my own inadequacy and guilty, my fear and my fatigue.
I wish you would tell me you were grateful. I wish you would tell me that you loved me. That you would tell me that I am doing ok. But you don’t.
I miss my bump. All my dreams all my idyl visions of serenity, non of this fuggy, distorted , tear filled reality.
I wish I was more. Less selfish. Happier in this mis-sold milky world of supposed cooing.
I feel you you are strangers. More together with one and other than with me.
Now, not for a second would I say all these feelings couldn’t be an indictor of depression and if you have them see a doctor to be safe rather than sorry. But with the benefit of hindsight all these things were also normal.
You are exhausted, if you haven’t had children before your are scared of what you don’t know, if you have, you are scared of what you do.
Your assumed reality is probably not your reality.
Your probably in pain.
You’ve probably run out of ‘ how to stop them crying’ ideas… its shit. Its ok to say it is!
Within 6 weeks I would have written a completely different letter to my twins … a much, much more positive one! From one twin mummy to the next:
Don’t add beating yourself up about not feeling like you have the right feelings as a mother -its ok to think its a bit shit!
Talk about it – i’d go as far as saying there is not a single mummy twin or not who does’nt get it.
… and you too will be singing from the roof tops soon… but don’t feel bad that right now you’d rather cry into the wine you don’t have time to drink!