Despite my mood and all my struggles, I forced myself to attend the Mothers of Multiples Club meetings monthly. The social worker in me approached the president of the club as well as the support group facilitator. "There are over 300 women -- many of whom have multiples due to infertility treatments -- and I wonder if there are any others struggling with postpartum mood issues. There has to be..."
The president said that was a good idea....
And then she e-mailed me her story.... Her fall into postpartum depression.
And then another woman emailed me her story....
And then another woman shared the dark secret of the mom of baby twins who was found dead. Suicide.
My heart broke. No one was there for that woman...and now her twins are without her. Forever.
And I got mad...that she struggled alone, that she felt she had no where to go, that her babies were alone, that mental health issues in 2006 were STILL taboo...something to be kept secret...ashamed of.
Approximately 15-20% of women experience a postpartum mood disorder...but OB's don't typically screen for it. Little, if any education is provided. I was a mental health professional, knew what I was talking about and still I struggled to get my OB to help me.
I saw my PCP and got different meds. The zoloft was not working. Switching to prozac, I joined a support group for moms with postpartum depression. It was run by a therapist. I saw my own therapist a few times.
Dave started taking the babies for the first half of the night so that I could get five solid hours of sleep.
I started writing information sheets on postpartum depression and these were shared with the Moms of Multiples.
With the president of the MOM's club, we founded a postpartum depression group for the moms of multiples.
I started talking to the president of the MOM's club. She gave me tips for surviving twins and the depression. She took the babies for me on occasion.
The intrusive thoughts stopped,
the guilt faded to a low whisper instead of a loud roar,
slowly, the other symptoms either faded away or became manageable...
On their one-year-birthday, I had my smile back and could plan a small party for them. It was no longer too overwhelming to order a birthday cake (or 2), or plan dinner. And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their 1st birthday. I had come full circle.
It took a good two years to really feel like myself again. But that wasn't all depression and anxiety. Part of that was just raising baby twins.
On their two-year birthday, I remember looking straight into the camera as we stood in a park and
thinking and believing
"I have survived...and so have they. I did it. I really did it."