The scariest part of PPD is the effect it has on your bonding with your baby. Having twins makes it an even stranger dynamic because I struggled with just one of my boys. This seems very unfair but now looking back I can see it as a symptom of the depression and not a permanent problem.
Once I realised there was a problem I put out a call for help. This is the hardest part, asking for help. My Dear Wife was a superstar, she got me extra help, phoned family for regular babysitting and just generally picked up the slack. I am ever so grateful to be married to such a caring woman.
My mommy friends also rallied to my call. I have 3 mommies who were just amazing. Each had a different suggestion and all were helpful. Little Mo also has twins, she also had PPD from 3 months. She suggested going to talk to someone. Regular visits to a psychologist was what she needed to get out of her slump. She also dropped everything and came over for a visit and let me cry on her shoulder. She helped me understand that raising twins really is THAT hard and it is normal to be overwhelmed at some point.
Tatmom also came to visit. We commiserated over some cheesecake and it was lovely to get out of the house and away from the boys for a bit, and have some adult conversation. Her recommendation was to medicate the sh!t out of it. Tatmom is a firm believer in the power of chemical intervention. She helped me understand that PPD is completely out of your control and that it can be treated as any other disease. There is no shame in going onto antidepressants in order to cope.
Then my dear friend BIA who chatted for hours with me both over the phone and via BBM. She followed up with me everyday for weeks. The constant support and care let me feel very loved and not alone. BIA has two beautiful, angelic daughters. After her eldest was born she had a bout of PPD that left her unable to bond with her little one. I learnt from her that the effect of PPD on your relationship with your baby is NOT permanent and can be repaired. It is a symptom, not irreparable damage. I can only hope that I will be as good a mom to my boys as she is to her girls.
Then there were all the wonderful women on the Fertilicare support forum who gave me words of encouragement when I needed it.
When you ask for help you very quickly realise that you aren’t alone. PPD is horrible because it turns your focus inward and makes you struggle to see anything other than bleakness and darkness. Your family and friends are like rays of warm sunlight that burn the dark away. If you are struggling with depression, postpartum or otherwise, ask for help. You’ll be amazed at how much love there is around you waiting to lift you up.
Continued in part 3, treatment and climbing out of the hole.