The post-pee-on-a-stick euphoria lasted a couple of weeks. I can do this, I thought. I can wean off of my meds.
And then two words changed my life. “It’s twins.”
There’s no real way to explain the feeling of being stuck in a blender of sheer panic and complete bliss. The two of them became so intertwined in that moment that I still haven’t figured out if I ever really got them to break apart.
I had wanted this pregnancy so badly. It was planned, unlike our first. Why couldn’t I just be ohemgeesoexcited like everyone I shared my news with?
Why did I feel like a terrible person for having a hard time processing this gift and all that comes with it?
Why couldn’t I believe the words everyone kept telling me? That it would all work out? That God would provide?
As much as I wanted to say that I wasn’t, I was suffering from Antenatal Depression, a condition that affects many women. I was already on an SSRI (approved by my OB during pregnancy) to help manage my depression and anxiety, but this news and all that came with it was just too much.
And then came the more frightening words: high risk, bed rest, prematurity, NICU. “Prepare for the first six months to be a survival mode blur.” How would I care for my sweet handful of a three-year-old and give him everything he needed while we simply tried to survive? How could I miss out on six months of his precious life? Would he ever forgive us?
In the two and a half years that I’ve been a part of this community, I’ve done my best to be an advocate for mothers to do what they need to do. So why did I feel like a failure?
I finally got an appointment with a new therapist, who calmly listened to all of my fears and concerns. She told me I needed time to process, time to grieve for the life I had planned that wouldn’t be as I had expected it. She assured me that my son would forgive me, that we weren’t ruining his life.
Once I finally got myself together enough to read a book on multiple pregnancy, I was surprised to learn that all of my feelings were normal. So normal, in fact, that the book lists the stepped process that most women go through when they receive such big news.
I realized that I was not a failure. Instead, I realized that I had learned from my past experiences that not only was it okay for me to advocate for myself and all three of my babies, I had actually done something awesome, because I had been able to recognize my own symptoms and my own needs. My boy, the one whose existence nearly broke me but then healed me, taught me to do that.
I’m now 27 weeks pregnant with my girls. So far they’re healthy, and so am I. I’ve been able to wean off of my medication, but I understand and accept the reality that I may need to get back on it at any time, and postpartum depression and anxiety may rear their heads again when I’m faced with anything the future may throw at us.
In the meantime, I’m hopeful and armed.