The news that it was twins didn’t come as a shock, we had an inkling it might happen, because my wife and I conceived our boys through insemination with the help of medication. The reality of how twins would turn our lives upside down, however, was the kicker. At that time, we lived in a third floor walk-up in Brooklyn with a laundromat a block away. I worked as a nanny caring for three children. The decision to move and stop working were both difficult but necessary. We saved well, but not for two; we planned well, but not for two; and we were ready, but not for two. After a move away from friends and a very difficult and painful pregnancy, week 30 hit and I left my job. A job I loved for 8 years and I had one week of freedom before the dreaded bed rest requirement was laid upon me. After 3 weeks of being in and out of the hospital, I went in for one last hospital stay. I was exactly 35 weeks and I had high blood pressure. That night, I went into labor at 2a.m. while already at the hospital. Everything happened so fast. I had always planned for a C-section but I was still terrified as my wife rushed to the hospital. Next thing I knew it was the next day and my tiny boys were in the NICU doing well and very loved but I still hadn’t seen them or held them.
Once We Were Home
Twelve long days later they were able to come home. With the help of an amazing baby nurse, which we had for 2 weeks, I was calm and the schedule seemed easy. I was actually feeling very confident and healing well. Then the baby nurse left. My wife went back to work. My parents flew home to another state and I was alone. This is when the anxiety and sadness set in. Alone with my thoughts of failure, worry and anxiety that everything I did was wrong. I cried often and uncontrollably. It took 3 months of feeling like I couldn’t connect with my babies, like it was a job, like they weren’t mine, and like I was a shell of my former self for me to feel like something was really wrong. My wife was the first to notice and the one who suggested I seek help and because of her love and support I got it at the right moment. I had always had an aversion to therapy and the stigma of mental health issues so accepting what I felt was defeat and being broken was a huge hurdle to overcome. I found new mom groups where I could connect with other twin moms, I found a therapist willing to come to my home to make everything easier. I went to weekly postpartum support groups at the motherhood center and stopped trying to breast feed. Some weeks were worse then others but slowly as I started accepting the help and began to heal. I realized I wasn’t broken and that how I felt was normal.
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Feeling Like Myself Again
When my boys were 8 months old I started to recognize myself again and feel an overwhelming love for them. We were connecting, I was doing a great job, and I could finally accept a compliment from another mom about how well I was doing and actually believe it.
Now that my boys are older, life in a big city with twins is fun. I am so grateful for the life I am able to provide for them, the culture they experience, the diversity in the people they meet and the adventures we can go on, either planned or just spur of the moment. Sometimes it’s still hard getting around the city. Mostly the logistics of mapping out which train stations have elevators or if I have the energy for a 40 block walk roundtrip but I’ve got it down like a fine tuned system now. Someday soon I will go back to working full time and that’s why I am cherishing every moment I get with my now toddlers who challenge me every day.
Some things I learned on my journey of healing.
- Try to stay present- letting your mind wander and constantly focus on the future won’t help the exact moment you are in.
- Accept help – in any way shape or form.
- Know that you are not broken and this will pass.
- You are not alone- so many women suffer from post-partum depression and anxiety. It’s also more common in moms of multiples.
- Don’t take on the world, set one goal a day- if a load of laundry or a shower is that goal it will feel like a major accomplishment. You go girl.
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About the author
Mindy Darwish is TLC’s NYC Associate and a proud mom to fraternal twin boys, Phinn and Sam. Prior to having her twins, Mindy was a career nanny who spent 15 years caring for children ranging in age from newborn to teens. She is well versed in different child-rearing practices and supportive products. Raised in Miami, Mindy moved to NYC 11 years ago. She and her wife learned a lot during a difficult pregnancy highlighted by 5 weeks of bedrest and a 12 day NICU stay for her boys after they were delivered at 35 weeks. Mindy has immersed herself in the twin community and is a member of multiple twin groups and mom meet up groups. You can reach Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on our NYC services.