Hopeful and Armed

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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.”

B3-
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.

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About Lindsay Maloan

Lindsay became a serendipitous advocate after being diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety in 2011, six months after the birth of her son. She lives and breathes New Orleans with her patient husband, spirited son, and critters. She blogs at www.withalittleloveandluck.com and you can find her over-sharing on Twitter @lilloveandluck.

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  1. You are so brave, Lindsay! I had a similar experience (I have a 2 year old little boy and 4 month old twins). I am here if you would like to communicate directly since I have walked in your shoes a little bit. God bless you and those sweet babies!

  2. Wow, not an easy road. I do not have twins, though I am a twin and my older sisters are also twins. My mother had 4 children under two (22 months between the two sets). And because my older sisters were born in 1958, and us in 1960, the only way she found out she was having twins was via x-ray. She ran 6 weeks overdue with the first pregnancy (her obs must have really had his dates wrong for that one) and full term with her second. At one point when we were all babies she had something like 56 dozen nappies. And she did not have any help at all. Did it all by herself because my dad was working full time and all her family lived interstate.
    Why am I telling you all this? Well, because she survived and made it through all the tough times and is now 84 years old. She and my dad were married for over 50 years (he died 2 years ago) and brought up 4 happy and healthy girls to have their own families with each of their own ups and downs. I have 5 beautiful young adults, 3 girls and 2 boys; all born within 7 years from youngest to eldest.
    I think what helped me get through when they were little was sleep whenever I could and also being able to get outside, even it was to just hang up loads of laundry, to get some fresh air and have a moment to pause and listen to the birds or the wind in the trees. So best of luck with your beautiful twin girls; they will bring you an enormous amount of joy.

  3. I love your phrase “hopeful and armed.” You also touched me when you said your boy nearly broke you but also healed you. I feel exactly the same way about my little boy who I had 7 months ago. Just now getting better, no where close to ttc yet, but your post gives me so much hope. Thank you!

  4. You can do this, Lindsay! I can tell just by reading your post. You are educated about PPD/PPA, you are motivated to do what’s needed to take care of yourself, you realize that taking care of you benefits your family. I know there will be rough times ahead. But, you have armed yourself with the support system you need. Don’t forget to celebrate when you have moved past the rough times and can see life getting better! By the way, I was also touched by this sentence: “My boy, the one whose existence nearly broke me but then healed me, taught me to do that.” I have two of those boys myself. Now that I have my PPD/PPA under control, I can understand just how awesome my boys really are.