Date: Thursday March 18, 2010
Posted in: Babyhood, Twins and Parental Connections, Uncategorized

     Recently I consulted with two mothers of twins seeking help to
understand why they have felt persistent guilt feelings since the birth of
their twins a few years ago. In both these cases the birth of twins was
spontaneous and natural – with no infertility issues. Initially, neither of
these moms relished the idea of having twins. Both felt robbed of the
traditional rituals and experiences that normally accompany the birth of a
singleton. One mom was enormously disappointed that her longings for a
vaginal birth were frustrated when the obstetrician informed her that a
C-section was imperative given the position of both babies. Moreover, after
the birth of the babies born at 37 weeks, she was not emotionally prepared
for their week stay in the NICU. As we spoke together about these
experiences, it became clear to both of us that her gnawing feelings of
self-condemnation and inadequacy were directly related to her inability to
give herself permission to feel anger and sadness about how much the twin
birth had disturbed and disrupted her romantic expectations about
motherhood. There was no one with whom she could share these expectable
ambivalent feelings. Sadly, twin moms often do not have access to others
that can empathize with the enormity of their situation while understanding
that these feelings have nothing to do with not loving or wanting their
children. Twin moms need this specific support to trust that negative
emotions associated with adjusting to motherhood do NOT erase or minimize
the love and concern they have for their babies.

     Another mom spoke to me about feeling depressed and disconnected since
the birth of her twins. She shared a harrowing story of having to spend
months on bed rest in the hospital until she gave birth to her healthy
twins. She had been told that it was of the utmost importance to stay
positive during the hospital stay because becoming upset might induce
contractions. She had never had the opportunity to understand the emotional
impact of this experience. I explained that if traumatic feelings from past
experiences are not revisited and relived, our mind dissociates. In other
words, we push aside or “forget” threatening thoughts because it feels
enormously uncomfortable to think about them. However, the price we pay for
protecting ourselves in this way can develop into a self-destructive and
depressive quality that interferes with our feeling connected and adequate.
In many cases excessive guilt feelings cover up unconscious or conscious
feelings of anger and sadness.

     I want to quote a few passages from a chapter written by a British
psychoanalyst named Dana Birksted-Breen published in a book entitled
‘Spilt milk’: Perinatal Loss & Breakdown, edited by Joan Raphael-Leff.

‘postnatal blues’ . . . relates to a state of mind surrounding a
physically and emotionally taxing major event, particularly if it took
place in unfamiliar surroundings and in an atmosphere of emergency, leading
to feelings of relief, exhaustion, heightened sensitivity to circumstances,
disorientation, etc. . . . women who coped well with the experience of
having a baby tended to modify their idea of what a mother should be like
from an idealized one to a more realistic one. Postnatally, a good mother
was now felt to need, for instance, to be diligent, hard-working, reliable,
and to like being at home with children. The women who did not cope well,
on the other hand, retained an image of a good mother as ‘loving’,
‘patient’, ‘unselfish’, ‘never losing their temper’, and they
felt themselves to be at odds with this image of the perfect, selfless

     In conclusion, I would like to ask my readers to copy and paste the link
below in order to cast a vote for my book  Emotionally Healthy Twins before April 1st because it
has been nominated for the DOUBLE UP BOOK AWARDS.



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Comment by 30 Blogs for Parents to Twins! | Bellyitch Online on August 6th, 2013 @ 3:03 pm

[...] Postnatal Blues [...]

Comment by 30 Blogs for Parents to Twins! - Bellyitch Parent on July 31st, 2015 @ 5:11 am

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