This is an article I wrote in August 2012
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who helped me through my journey,
it is very honest.
I want to start off my saying how wonderful it is to have 3 under 3, actually we had 3 under 18 months at one stage!
It is rewarding, fun-filled and full of adventures. However, I must admit to it not being always like this. I want to be honest in this article but also positive. We have 13 month old identical twin girls, Miriam and Leila, and a son called Joey who is 2 and a half. The girls are delightful, charismatic, busy and beautiful. Joey is charming, sensitive, affectionate and both scooter and book mad in equal proportions!
The first 3 months were actually ok, the girls were born 4 weeks early and they did a lot of sleeping from what I remember, being identical they were similar in their patterns and breastfed without any problems. My son did not seem to remember being an only child and took to his role as big (although I was very careful at remembering he was not so big really) brother superbly.
The difficulty is that this honeymoon stage does not last forever, the girls needed more attention as they developed, and rightly so, they also developed silent reflux which went undiagnosed for a while, and help soon started to disappear after the first few weeks. If I could have done things differently it would have been to organise proper help to start a few weeks into the journey, to help with the running of the household and to help with the twins, giving me proper time with my son and also giving me some well needed rest.
The sleep deprivation I had led to a very low point in my life, and thankfully one I have worked through, and got help with, as well as having a supportive husband and family and friends that helped. But all this when I personally knew how to navigate the NHS and knew how things worked, being a pediatrician, married to a psychiatrist, of all things. So you can see I am being very honest.
Thankfully the girls and my son are all healthy children, I cannot even begin to imagine what other families go through if they also have lots of hospital appointments as well. Help arrived in abundance while I was not so well and as I recovered I was able to take more control of life, my children and house.
I think weaning was tough, messy and time consuming – so my advice would be to get help in whatever shape it comes in at this stage, get friends to puree and freeze for you or make food! Get friends to make dinners for you and your partner to save you time.
I read somewhere in a twins book that “a visitor is not a guest but a helper” and this motto really applies here. I probably did not take this to heart, and took on a bit too much all round, in addition to the breastfeeding which I stopped at 3 months. In practical terms, there is lots of equipment advice I have so please feel free to contact me if you need any support or help.
Getting out and about with the 3 – it was never as difficult as I was led to believe, Joey was either in the back-pack or on his scooter, he never took to the buggyboard. The girls were in the double buggy or one was in a sling when Joey was in the pram. One thing I have learnt is to trust your instincts – by this I mean your maternal ones, you know if something is not right with your children, I wished I had listened to mine a bit more regarding their silent reflux, and this from a paediatrician! Try and rest, really try and don’t be a super woman, it just won’t pay off.
Saying all this, there is not one inch of me that regrets having them so close in age, it is just fantastic and I love being a mother to my 3 adorable monkeys. They are just delightful, they play together, they eat together, they sleep at the same time both at lunchtime and at night, they swim together – just such fun and I am so glad I have been able to overcome my challenges and can enjoy our children and reap the benefits of having them so close together.
My journey has made me a different person, I can honestly say that hand on heart, and not in a wishy-washy touchy-feely kind of way. It really has made me more sympathetic, confident, insightful and determined; I now know even more what is important in life. I know the value of true friends and family and I am now passionate about supporting others through their challenges.
Getting the message out
31st October 2012 – my awareness of postnatal depression and it being under-recognised and under-treated is increasingly at the forefront of my mind following the tragedy this week of a mother who was so desperately unwell she killed her two children.
I can only hope that this has highlighted how important good antenatal care and postnatal support is and I hope the new charity backed by the prime minister actually listens to parents and works with them to make a sustainable difference. Of course it took a minister who actually had PND herself to even get the ball rolling,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-18076819 and another minister talks about her struggle,
And don’t forget fathers in all of this
Support for fathers is essential – luckily there are some support groups and online information now available. After all fathers also can get postnatal depression and also suffer greatly if their partners have PND. A father whose wife had PND has set up his own website and support for fathers, I have been able to talk to him and he is passionate about information for families, http://www.fathersreachingout.com/ There is also information at http://www.dad.info/about-us