Mom of Twins Gets No Help From OB/GYN For Her Postpartum Depression

postpartum depression after twinsI asked the members of the Postpartum Progress Facebook Fan Page if any of them had stories of having postpartum depression after delivering twins or multiples.  Melissa D., a mother of four from Wisconsin, was kind enough to share her compelling story.  She had so many risk factors, including everything from a history of anxiety, to previous infertility treatments, to a previous miscarriage, to an upland pregnancy, to the loss of her mother during one of her pregnancy, to a major house move and more:

My twins’ pregnancy was a complete surprise, as we already had two children and had decided not to have any more.  I had difficulty pregnancies previously — modified bed rest and preeclampsia — plus a recent miscarriage, all of which were part of the decision.  I had already donated most of our baby items, and my husband was about to get a vasectomy.  I was pretty shocked to find out I was pregnant. A few weeks later I learned we’d be moving, and then I found out we’d be having twins!  I cried pretty much every day from that moment on.

I was already upset, but people’s reactions to my having twins only made things worse.  They would say, “Thank God it’s you and not me,” or “I know someone who had a nervous breakdown with twins” or “I would hate to be you.”

I resented my husband for making us move when I was seven months pregnant.  It was nearly impossible to move around, never mind unpack and try to make friends.  I was highly agitated and irritable.  I started pre-term labor after the move, and my uterus was so irritated that I was continually in a state of one giant, painful contraction. I remember wondering whether it would be better to roll out of bed and wobble to the bathroom or just stay there and pee on myself because it hurt so much to get up.

I hated being pregnant and could feel the hormones raging through my body.  My small-frame suffered during the pregnancy, and I even secretly wished for a vanishing twin during the pregnancy.  (I still feel guilty about that.)  I had no idea how I would take care of one baby, much less two.

When I met my new doctor, I told him I was depressed.  I also indicated I had a family history of depression and a personal history of anxiety, yet never once did he talk to me about antenatal depression. (I only found out that antenatal depression existed from Postpartum Progress.)  Because of this, I didn’t receive any treatment and my depression continued.

The delivery of the twins was horrible.  I delivered one vaginally and one via emergency c-section under general anesthesia.  My nurse actually cried telling me how hard it was for the doctor to get my son out.  She thought one of us was going to be injured or that my son’s neck would be broken.  I was not able to meet or see my son for the first 13 hours.  I was convinced all night that he was dead.  The nurses just kept telling me we would talk about seeing him in the morning and that I needed rest.

Once I did finally see him, I asked to switch rooms.  For some reason I had to leave the room I was in.  To this day the thought of going back to that room brings on panic attacks.  The pain.  The fear over my son.  Once moved to the new room, I found out that the woman next door was having twins.  I heard her pushed being down to the c-section area and then I heard code blue.  I never saw any other twins in the nursery.  A nurse told me they were no longer in the hospital when I inquired about them, yet the mother was. I was convinced they had died and felt tremendous guilt over all the pain and heartache I had gone through with depression.

I was readmitted to the hospital three days after being discharged.  I was seeing spots and felt funny.  Initially I was told I was having mild seizures and could have a stroke if my blood pressure wasn’t controlled.  When I was pregnant with my second child, my mother had died from a stroke, so this upset me and stressed me out even further.  I was now convinced I was going to die.

After my blood pressure leveled out and I was released from the hospital for the second time I was emotionally and physically drained and had two babies to take care of on top of my older children who were two and four at the time.  We still had no friends.  At this point, my life became completely taken over by postpartum depression.  I have never been filled with so much rage, anger, resentment, grain fuzz, frustration, fear, guilt and every other intense negative emotion.  I couldn’t feel anything positive. I was with the kids all day, and in the evening when my husband came home I would just run away.  To the gym, to the store, to the road just to drive and back to the gym.  I signed up for a soccer team even though I hadn’t played soccer in 20 years.  I hated being home with the kids.  Everything felt like a giant chore.

I started having nightmares about my delivery, reliving it over and over again.  I thought about it all the time.  I kept research what twin delivery should be like.  I was also convinced I would drop down the stairs or that some “super cootie” was going to make them sick.  I kept vigil over the babies at night thinking they’d stop breathing.  When they woke up, I’d envision throwing them out the window.  I threw bottles at the wall.  I broke things.  When my older kids got on my nerves, I’d also envision pushing them and I often screamed at them.  I feel tremendous guilt still.  My husband and I fought nonstop.  I hated him.  He could do nothing right, so he decided to find his “man cave” which made things worse.  Each minute seemed like a day and each day seemed like a year.

After three months of pretending nothing was wrong, I learned I’d need surgery to repair my body from the stresses of the twins’ delivery. The thought of going into the hospital again exhausted me.  That is when things reached their worst.  Thankfully, I finally stumbled across Postpartum Progress and realized that I needed help.  I broke down to my husband and he started to get it.  He helped me work up the courage to talk to my doctor at my OB/GYN appointment.  I cried in front of my doctor about all of the anxiety I was having.  I remember he had this look of surprise on his face.  He basically brushed me off, and then right before leaving the room he got close to my face, looked me straight in the eyes and said with a forceful voice,” Don’t let your body define who you are!”  He said it twice, and that’s all he said about my suffering.  I was completely confused by that (and still am).

Several days later I had an appointment with my primary care physician to talk about my blood pressure and I broke down again.  I cried about my anxiety.  She immediately prescribed medication and told me how to make an appointment with a counselor.  I’m so grateful she understood that I needed help.  I was later counseled for postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and postpartum PTSD.  Therapy and medication started me in the right direction, but running and finally making some friends were my saviors.

I started running at least three times a week and it really helped me clear my head and de-stress.  I recently ran my first timed 5k and placed third in my age group.  Now I’m getting ready to run a 10k and am hoping to organize a PPD awareness run.

I’m not sure I’ll ever understand everything that I have gone through.  I have tried to make peace with most parts of my postpartum depression journey, and I have forgiven myself and others for the many negative experiences and parts of my story.  Does the anger creep back in every once in a while? Yes, but I’m able to cope with it and move on.

The twins recently had their first birthday, and I decided to take back their birthday.  I threw the “perfect imperfect” birthday party for them and celebrated with all of our wonderful new friends.

Photo credit: © Robert Hammer – Fotolia.com

About Katherine Stone

is the creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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  1. Melissa….thanks for sharing your story. I had professional help for my Postpartum ODC from its first days thanks to my doula who knew what to be on the watch for, but it wasn't until I found Katherine's blog that I finally started to heal. It took years for the PTSD aspects of the experience to wear off but almost three years later I'm such a happy, regular old-stressed out working mom and loving it! A HUGE part of my healing has been because of brave Mom's like you who openly share your personal marathons with PPD. All the best! Love, Deborah

  2. Your story reminds me of my own. I had PPD with 2 of my children and PPP with my third. During my PPD I too would scream at my older 2 children and would just be filled with rage for the slightest irritations. I felt like I was losing my mind (which it turns out I was). I still feel guilt over that. I wish someone had understood what a mess I was and gotten me some help. When I tried finding a counselor every number I called on our insurance list was either no longer taking patients or no longer at that number. I think I called like 10 numbers and then just gave up. Everything seemed like it took too much effort. It makes you feel so overwhelmed.

    • Katherine Stone says:

      It is overwhelming, isn't it Sue? I'm so sorry that you didn't get the responses you deserved from the people you called. That breaks my heart for you because I know how hard it is to make that call in the first place.

      – K

  3. I remember throwing pacis, bottles, and once even a bowl of baby cereal – which I threw "toward" the sink but all it did was hit the window behind the sink and make a huge mess for me to clean up… oh I remember the rage. I have to say though, I feel rage again over that OB – that comment he made makes my blood boil. My prayer is all OB's and pediatricians become knowledgable on perinatal mood disorders so they can direct women to the right resources. Thank you for sharing this story.

  4. There's an AMAZING mom I know– her name is Melissa & I am proud to be her friend. šŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing this! You are a strong lady!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I am a Wisconsin mom who is currently struggling with PPD and PPA after the birth of my second daughter. I struggled a lot with the postpartum rage and irritability. I cannot believe the gall of your OB. It makes me so upset for you that you couldn't get the help you needed right away. If you are planning to organize a PPD awareness run, I would be willing to help.

  6. I'm glad you went to see your regular doctor and she could help you figure out what was going on. I went through PPD with my second child and I had a midwife. I don't know what would have happened if I was still with the OB who delivered my first child. Being able to talk to the midwives made a huge difference. I felt like I was being treated by a friend who happened to know more about childbirth than I did. I'm a doula and I didn't realize I was experiencing PPD, since I felt more anxious than depressed and didn't recognize that as a symptom. I also run, and once I was able to run again, things got better. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. I couldn't even imagine going through PPD with 2 children at once. Nor can I imagine going through it with an OB that wasn't supportive. I'm so glad that you kept pushing to get the help that you needed.

    Good for you for taking back their birthdays…you need to be celebrated too!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I had PPD after my first 2 children and it was such a horrible experience to go through. I felt so alone and like such a bad mother. I'm sorry your doctor was so horrible to you and didn't understand what you were going through. I'm glad things are going better for you now.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry that you had to go through that with your doctor. But so glad you kept pushing for that help. You are an inspiration

  10. Thanks for taking the time to post this and the encouragement from those that posted. Since it is such a personal struggle, it isn't anything that I ever wanted to share with cyber space. I"m glad I did though. I only hope that my story helps someone else like this website has helped me and numerous other women. I also pray that OB/GYNs get continual and accurate training on PPD/Mood Disorders, so others can avoid this horrible illness.

  11. Melissa – if I could reach through the computer and hug you, I would. As a fellow mom of "surprise" twins, I struggled not only with the idiotic comments of those around me, but with antenatal depression and then postpartum depression. And guilt that I didn't want two babies (at least, not at the same time). My only hope is that we can help other moms so they don't have to suffer like we did.

    Oh, and wanna hear something weird? I actually said out loud to a friend the other day, that I wish I could hear from a mom of surprise twins, and know that there are others out there that felt the same way I did…. So, thank you for that.

  12. I had a similar experience with my OBGYN after my son's birth. Long story short, he knew that I had a history of depression prior to birth and promised to watch me closely for any signs pf PPD. After a textbook birth (he was on a golf trip that weekend, go figure), I saw him twice 3 months postpartum and complained of multiple issues during both visits. During the second, he looked me square in the face, told me to go buy a tube of AstroGlide, and said I needed to suck up the pain and lack of libido or else my husband would get what he needed elsewhere. (Seriously.) This nearly broke me. Thank God my husband is as supportive as he is.

    I finally got help via my son's amazing pediatrician who recommended an equally amazing General Practitioner who took one look at me and knew I had PPD/A. She, in turn, recommended an amazing therapist who specializes in PPD/A.

    My advice for new now is: don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and look for another doctor.

    Thank you for writing this, and thank you Katherine for setting up this amazing site.

  13. THANK YOU all for this! I am a mother of almost 1 year old “surprise” twins and 4 older children. I guess I’ve had symptoms of PPD since my first child was born 9 years ago! but I didn’t know it, I just chalked it up to multiple moves, a miscarriage, and my husband’s frequent travel. With my twins though the rage and anxiety have been out of control and my other children are bearing the brunt of it. I feel like all the joy and “life” have been sucked out of me and all that I am left with is the rage and sadness. NOw that I know what it is and not me just losing my mind and becoming the worst mom ever maybe I can find someone to help me work through it. Thank you ALL for your comments and honesty. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone!