I was going through my Google reader the other day and I stumbled across Postpartum Progress. I found this post about a study that found mothers of multiples are more likely to have PPD then regular moms. I discovered this when I found out I was pregnant with the girls because like all other pregnant women I most have been given the list of increased risk factors 10 times. The study said they could not determine why this was true but it was.
I can tell you why:
A singleton mom doesn't have to do triage when her infant cries. Which baby needs me more, which baby is more likely to escalate their crying quickly, which will be ok to leave for a minute, which baby is hungrier, which baby pooped more, which baby can I get to calm down faster.
A singleton mom has never had to figure out how to feed two infants at once. If I can roll this one over and prop the bottle here then I can balance this bottle and wipe the formula from her chin at the same time, This baby is done and crying because they need to burp but the other will scream and not take the bottle back if I put the bottle down for a second maybe I can roll her with this hand and lift her by pushing her against me, "Hush honey mommy can't do anything for you until your sister is done eating," "Hold on I'll finish giving you your bottle as soon as I can get your sister to stop crying"
A singleton mom has never had to break up baby fights during tummy time. "No baby you can't suck on your sister's ear," "Stop, when you grab her it scratches her," "Stop kicking your sister," "You can't roll over her"
A singleton mom has never had to figure out how to get two babies and her groceries into a grocery cart. Do I get two carts and put one in each seat and then drag one and push one, do I get a cart and bring a stroller, do I put one in the seat and one in the carrier in the basket
A singleton mom has never been ridiculed by her peers for simply giving birth. "Are they natural," "Are you going to be the next octomom," "I'm glad I'm not you," "You have your hands full," "I don't know how you do it," "Wow TWO"
I'm not saying that singleton mothers don't have a hard time and I'm sure they have experienced some of the things I described. Being a first time mom (or even a second, third, fourth time mom) is hard and comes with it's own challenages. I know that any mother with two or more children experiences a lot of these things, but when it's two infants it seems to amplify the pain. It pierces your soul and breaks your heart when you have to choose between the cries of your two 3 month olds. I can certainly see why so many more MoMs would have PPD.
The fears that come with two seems to be doubled. I worried how we would pay for two. My twins were a surprise. We never expected to have more than one and didn't have a plan in place for paying for twins. We worried about our living space (a one bedroom apartment wouldn't work for four people), day care costs, the cost of diapers and baby food, the cost of clothes and cribs and toys. I still worry about those things.
We worried about the pregnancy. I was in fear my whole pregnancy that they would come early or something would go wrong. I know this is common for pregnant woman but the risks that come with twins seems to be double- worrying about two babies.
I worried when we came home from the hospital that I wouldn't be able to tell my babies apart. It only took a day or two and I knew who was who, but that initial fear was so real and so scary. What if L was really S? What if I didn't know my own babies?
I worried that I would love one more than the other. The nursing books and mothering pamphlets talked about bonding with your baby and I had fears that I wouldn't be able to bond with both.
I worried that I wouldn't be able to handle both of the babies by myself. The thought of both of them screaming scared the hell out of me. I didn't think I could handle letting one cry, or trying to feed both of them. J stayed home with me for 6 weeks and I dreaded and feared the day he went back to work. He was much more confident about caring for the girls then I was. I learned that I could do it. I could handle both of them. I could feed them and take them places but it was scary to be out numbered.
The worst part about being a MoM is having to choose one baby over the other when they are both crying. I can pick up both at once and I have soothed that way but sometimes you have to let one cry and that is the worst feeling in the world. The feeling that there is nothing you can do for your baby.
I completely understand why being a MoM increases your PPD risk.