Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So where is my village?

I think I'm depressed. I'm not really sure, because I have good days. But overall, I feel strung out, tired, overwhelmed, and here's the kicker: any time any stupid little thing goes wrong, I am on the verge of crying. I'm actually getting a decent amount of sleep, but I feel exhausted all the time. I don't really have anxiety, I don't think, but I feel pretty hopeless most of the time.

I feel bad saying this. Logically, I know I am extremely lucky. I totally recognize that. I know I have two absolutely gorgeous children, what I wanted more than anything, and I would not go back and change that for anything. And I have no material wants. I have a car, and a beautiful house, and I live in a wonderful town and we can afford anything we need. But I don't have much time for myself, yet, and I don't have any long-term goals in my life (not too many short-term ones either, actually), which I think is contributing to my feelings.

I'm also clearly not over a few things from my past, most especially the breastfeeding debacle. I have so many regrets. I was just reading Anne Lamott's "Operating Instructions" (good book, by the way), and she quotes someone (don't remember who) as saying that forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past. And I am struggling so hard with this. With how the labor and delivery and breastfeeding went, because I had such grand ideas and I failed at all of it.

I think the breastfeeding still bothers me the most because I had a choice there. I didn't have a choice for the labor and delivery problems - I made the best and sometimes only choices I could based on the problems I faced, and there was nothing better I could do. But breastfeeding - I COULD have done it. I could have been better prepared, could have tried to find more help, could have gone to La Leche League meetings. I was producing milk, and I could have worked at latching and maybe I could have made it work. Maybe. I don't know because I gave up.

I had some of the same problems then as I do now - I was isolated and lonely and desperate for some normalcy in my life. I had no support system at all, no one who was helpful, no one who was positively encouraging. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I used to think it was because kids needed so much work that you needed more than one person to do it all. But I get it now. It's because it's a hard job, and you just can't do it alone, physically, psychologically, emotionally. I sorely felt the lack of community at that time in my life, similarly to how I do now.

We live in our suburban houses with our fenced-off yards and our cars and sometimes I spend an entire day with no interaction with the outside world other than through my phone and computer. It's so lonely.

In addition, it takes a village because even though many aspects of motherhood come "naturally", instinctually, many don't. New mothers need to be mentored, need that sense of sisterhood from other mothers, need a hand sometimes, need to have someone hold their baby and can then hold someone else's sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean multiple times a day, not once a week. We need a real community, and most of us don't have it. We need to have others who came before us teach us, inspire us, support us.

My town actually has a lot of support for new moms, but you have to get yourself up and ready and out of the house, and get your baby ready, too. And with twins? Well, I just couldn't do it regularly enough. And one thing my town DOESN'T have is a mother's of twins club. I was and still am isolated. Sometimes the thought of getting myself up and dressed and my contacts in and socks and shoes on and my purse and keys and sunglasses, and THEN getting the kids changed and dressed and their socks and shoes on and the diaper bag packed with diapers and snacks and water bottles and books and maybe bottles of milk, and then struggling to get them in their carseats ... at that point, it doesn't seem worth going out.

Anyway, I am rambling. My point is, I don't know how to tell if I am depressed, and I don't know how to go about getting a professional opinion. I don't know if therapy or drugs will help me feel better. I want some advice. Especially in the absence of a village.


  1. I'm sorry you are feeling so lonely and isolated. I can completely see how that would be the case and could lead to depression.

    The SAHM friends I've had who've been the happiest have been the ones who had other SAHMs they saw regularly, sometimes daily. You're right, though: unless that other SAHM is a close friend, you've got to get ready and get out of the house to find that.

    Having not been in your situation, I don't have any advice. Just wanted you to know that you'd been "heard" and to say that I think you should forgive yourself for not continuing with the breastfeeding. Your children are obviously healthy and happy, and you did the best you could at the time. Breastfeeding (especially twins) is tough, especially without guidance and support.

  2. Sending ((hugs)) from the frozen flatland. So many things that you have said here are reflected in my life.

    I have a couple of girlfriends who I see a couple of times a month, but when we get together it's always without kids (one of my gf's doesn't have kids). There are many days when I wish that I had SAHM friends that I could connect with. I've been invited to join the mom's group at my church, but transportation is an issue (we only have one car) and honestly I'm more than a little intimidated by how together they all seem.

    I know my saying all this probably doesn't help at all, but I wanted you to know you aren't alone.

    One question, did you ever get screened for PPD? A lot of what you are describing sounds like what I went through last spring. I would suggest talking to your family doc, and asking him/her for some direction.

    Lastly, (and I apologize for rambling) as hard as forgiving yourself is, it is an essential step. Bf-ing isn't an easy thing with one baby... with two it's twice as hard. T&T are happy healthy little ones who are thriving because you are a great mom. Please try to remember that.

  3. I'm so sorry you're feeling down - I agree with the others in that you should see your family doc about it. It sounds like much more than simple loneliness... Medicine may or may not help, but it's worth a try, right?

    Are you still doing daycare a couple of days a week? If so, I'd take one of those days and do all of your errands, cleaning, etc. and then with the other take it completely for yourself.

    Our area doesn't have a MOTS, and I don't feel like I fit in at all with the moms of singletons... You're right - they do seem like they have it together and there are very few times that I feel like that at all. In lieu of that, I'll be part of your virtual village!

  4. I definitely feel the isolation too. Getting out for the monthly LLL meetings is something I look forward to for weeks in advance. I wish I had more friends, but it's so hard to make good friends that you can call and get together with at a moment's notice. It's not like it's easy to plan with a little one, and even harder with two!
    Sorry you're feeling so down right now :(.

  5. ugh. I'm so sorry you are feeling this way. and i can totally relate. mothering twins is hard and add to that grocery shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry and keeping things clean and tidy and it is exhausting and overwhelming because it never seems like there is enough time to even do the bare minimum that needs to be done. forget about time alone or time to actually do something you enjoy. i am lucky to have a great multiples group and look forward to the monthly meetings. I also have a moms group i try to meet up with once a week. i think it's really important for you to keep going to your moms group and try to change the daycare day. you need the time with other moms to vent, share ideas and know that you aren't alone. things will get easier as the kids get older. i try to tell myself this when i feel overwhelmed. and i know how quickly it all goes by.

    i struggled with breastfeeding and had to work really hard to make it successful. i am happy i did in many ways, but when i look back, i think i made it much harder on myself, my well being and my relationship by doing so. you do what you have to do to get by when you are a parent of twins and you shouldn't feel bad about stopping breastfeeding. i don't know many parents of twins who breastfeed at all. your kids love you, they are happy and healthy. that's all that matters :)

    i hope having the kids in daycare a few days helps you rediscover some of the things you enjoy and take some time for yourself. maybe getting some time to relax will help you muster up the energy to get out on the other days. even a short trip to the playground is good for the kids and maybe you will even meet some mom friends or other moms of twins.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!