Photo by: Meagan Gerylo Photography
Alright friends, here we go. I try to keep my internet space and social media an encouraging, positive place, but I also really value keeping it real, keeping myself transparent. Struggle is a large part of life and in my opinion it isn't something to be ashamed of. I want to be honest and share that though I am happy, blessed, thankful, and just so dang blissed out that I have two incredible daughters to spend my days raising, I have struggled - here is my story of postpartum depression.
From the moment I found out I was expecting twins all the way up to a couple months after they were born, I felt like I was missing out. Missing out on the long, quiet, beautiful, baby on my chest bonding time that mothers of singletons get to experience. On hearing my baby cry and tending to them right away. On bonding deeply and truly with my baby before even walking out of the hospital. On leaving the house alone with my baby, not needing an entourage of help just to get to a dang doctor's appointment. On a beautiful home birth, a birth not under the heat of the operating room lights, terrified that after one vaginal birth, I might have to endure a c-section too. On learning to breastfeed one baby without waiting, terrified, for the other to wake up in a hungry rage. I felt that because I had two babies all at once I was missing out on the peaceful experience connecting with my babies as individuals. I wanted to dedicate 100% of my time to each of them, and I couldn't. I still can't. Though I loved them, I didn't bond with my girls right away. It took me months, not moments to connect with my girls, and that was devastating to me. I shoved it down and said that I did, that it was magical. It wasn't, and for that I carried around feelings of intense, crippling guilt.
It was hard. It was all so hard. I was not the woman who gushed about how badly she wanted twins. I was terrified and stressed and full of anxiety from the moment I found out there were two babies growing inside of me. I was ridden with feelings of inadequacy, followed by severe guilt for wishing that it hadn't happened to me. I loved my babies from the moment they existed, even before they were touched by the air of the world, I loved them. So deeply. But feelings can be so tricky to navigate and I was flooded with them the moment we walked through the door to our home, carrying two carseats holding two 5 pound infants.
Overwhelm. There was nothing like it. A tidal wave of pure overwhelm on an empty tank of sleep. My birth was difficult and it took me a very long time to physically and mentally heal. I struggled with how my birth had happened, because Annie ended up having some hardships partially due to her forceps birth. The physical healing and mental healing on top of caring for two very tiny infants, was the hardest thing I have ever done. The days were so incredibly long, nights were longer. I desperately wanted to have bonded to my babies already, and I just hadn't. Don't get me wrong, I was full of so much love for my little baby girls, but that feeling that they all talk about, that wasn't there for me - yet.
These dark, sad feelings were just a part of my life. I felt happiness and joy in my days, but I felt incredible anxiety all of the time. Though when I was asked I would deny it, I felt sad for no reason. Or for lots of reasons but with no merit. It was so complicated in my mind that I felt like I was drowning in feelings and I didn't know how to explain. I didn't know who to talk to. I felt like less of a woman for not "handling" it. I know I could have talked to so many, and eventually I did. Eventually, one night at midnight when both babies wouldn't stop crying, I laid down on the bathroom floor and told my husband I didn't want to feel anymore. That was when I realized that postpartum depression was happening to me. Once it became real to me, when I could no longer shove these feelings down and lock them away, that was when healing became possible. When I accepted that this was just a battle I would have to fight, I began fighting.
Yes, my babies are laid back, happy, are still breastfeeding like little champions, sleep decently, are the little loves of my life, my entire heart walking around outside of my body. But that doesn't mean that motherhood thus far hasn't been the biggest, most incredible struggle of my life. It has been dark, so dark I've wanted to just shut all of the feelings off. I have felt uncontrollable guilt. I have felt inadequate in all of the ways ever possible. I have felt undeserving. Sometimes I still do feel all of these feelings, but now the feelings of bliss that they all rave about, that is what I feel more. I feel myself in this new roll of Mother. I am connected to my babies. I love them with every fibre of my being. I am the happiest I have ever been, but it was a winding road to get here - and I know the road will continue.
Now, I am proud to say that 7 months in, the darkness is waning. Happiness outweighs any feelings of sadness I feel. Trust me when I say I am SO thankful that I was blessed to be the mother of twins. There is nothing quite like it. I was made for this, and you - my sweet, lovely friend - you are made for this too. Whatever this is for you. You can handle it, you will endure, you will find happiness, and your darkness will wane. Reach out. To me, to a friend, to a stranger. You are so cared for and you are not alone. There is NO shame in struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. It does not make you less of a mother, it does not mean you love your babies any less than the woman who did not struggle. It may look different for you that it does for me, but no matter, it is HARD. But you are stronger.
Please, take care of yourself, lovelies. Thank you so much for reading. I love you.