This topic might sound melodramatic to some and might draw criticism from others, but it’s not my place to judge others based on how they may judge me. Since starting this blog, this outlet for my thoughts and opinions that have been dying to come out, I have been approached by many by either e-mails or private messages about how they find me brave for putting all these thoughts out for the public, and have also thanked me for putting into words some hard feelings to describe. It makes me beyond happy to have helped some mothers and fathers relate to my writing, and it’s truly what I’ve wanted to do with this. You’re not going through this shit alone. While no two cases are alike, there’s always something to take away from the experiences of others. I hope that brutal honesty and acceptance of self are a few of those things that stick out from mine.
As I’ve previously mentioned, Postpartum Depression didn’t make things easy when the girls came home from the NICU (you can read about that here), and neither did the reality of being in a tiny baby room with a big crib, with two babies who seemed to have mommy-has-left-the-room sensors. So the inevitability of your temper getting the best of you happens; you feel ashamed for losing your temper over two adorable babies, you feel like tons of eyes are on you even when you’re alone, and you can’t escape what you think of yourself in these situations. My mantra was thus created – bad moments don’t make bad mamas.
The title of my blog is indeed Confessions of a Working Mom of Twins, so it’s only fitting if I do some confessing. Yep, I’ve raised my voice at my babies when I couldn’t figure out why both were crying and I was alone with them, unable to hold them together on my own yet because they were so small and not very sturdy at all. I’ve lost it over bottles being refused, especially when my milk supply was coming to an end. It was already so hard to accept the reality of having to stop breastfeeding, it felt like a slap in the face when it was wasted on half-drank bottles. I’ve sobbed while feeding them at 2 in the morning, over having to get up after finally lying down to try and nap, because they were on a growth spur and just wanted to drain bottle after bottle. I’ve thrown empty (and on an occasion or two, half-empty ones) on the kitchen floor after I managed to sneak out of their room, just for the dog to bark at something and for the crying to start all over again. On the worst days, I daydreamed about leaving my husband and my babies, just hopping in the car and driving away. I questioned our decision to have babies, and I cursed out whatever fertilized egg I had in me that decided to split into two. I once had to set Lydia down (gently, y’all. I might have been having anger and temper issues, but I shouldn’t have to reassure everyone that I’d never hurt the babies) in order to forcefully grab a pillow to scream into and let some frustration out, and in the process of doing that I hurt my wrist really badly. It’s been a couple of months and it has yet to fully heal.
Guilt doesn’t even begin to cover how I felt after every meltdown. Shame, embarrassment, wanting to disappear. I’d apologize to the girls, snuggling them and kissing their little sleepy faces. I’d cry right after angry-crying, apologizing to the wall, the crib, the couch, the dog, the bottles. It felt humiliating that I, a grown-ass adult – a mother, for crying out loud – let myself get to those points. But I also had to remind myself that I am a human being, and as anyone else, I have my limitations and flaws.
As the months passed and the girls grew a little more, they started paying attention to each other and things around them, and it became weirdly easier to “live”. I wasn’t confined to their small nursery anymore. I could bring them downstairs to our living room, set a cute blanket on the floor, and let them wiggle on it, smacking, poking, and kicking each other. I could place them on their bouncer seats with more confidence, because they weren’t so tiny anymore (serious props to whoever came up with the little music for the ones they have – freaking works like a charm when it comes to soothing them). I could still talk to them and see them if I had to go to the kitchen for food. I could put Netflix on and watch things, or at least have it playing in the background for my own entertainment. As things got easier and I went back on medication, the anger diminished, my temper became easier to control.
When I went back to work, it felt like a huge part of the old, pre-babies me was back. It was beautiful, borderline therapeutic. That not only has helped by bringing back my income to a now household of 4, but that’s also helped me feel happy. Even when I have a long day at work have dealt with a variety of work-related issues, it makes it that much more special when I come home and walk in to two smiley faces, with drool dripping from their double chins, their eyes squinty from smiling. We still have some frustrating moments where the girls cry all day for no reason or won’t give us a second to ourselves during the day, needing constant attention, but the anger and the temper stay in control. I’m sure being back on my pre-pregnancy medication for my own issues has played a big part in not being so angry or depressed now, but my attitude about it all has changed dramatically. Those first 4 months were crucial to my own inner growth (sadly, I’m still not even 5 feet tall) as well as development for the girls. Their need was constant, and that’s what being a mom is all about. Now, they still need things from me, but they’re much more easier to entertain and distract.
The moral of the story here, if there is one, is to not let yourself judge your ability to be a parent based on how well you take the first few months with your newborn (or in my case, two of them). It’s measured on how loved your babies are, how well they’re provided for, and by being able to say that you do everything and anything you can for them. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, either with the babies or seeking help for your own issues. You have to take care of yourself in order to give it your all to this crazy life of parenting.