My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I feel so guilty

All the time.  Just guilty.  All.  The.  Time.

Most of the people reading this blog have been with me through the infertility and miscarriage struggles.  You're here because you share a similar struggle and maybe you just haven't removed me from your feed yet now that the topic of the blog will inevitably change to actual parenting instead of fantasizing about parenting. Maybe you found me because you're also a new twin parent and are looking for various tips, or just looking for someone else who's sleep deprived like you are.  However you found me or your reason for reading, you're going to absolutely hate me for my next statement.

So far, I hate parenting.  There.  I said it.  I have everything I've been dreaming about for years and I'm hating it.  I'm not overwhelmed with connection to my babies, or an addiction to holding them like other mothers describe.  They are a job, one that I'm not very good at, and until they can look at me and recognize me, I'm not sure that connection will really hit me.

I absolutely dread the moment my babies will wake up, and I endure the parenting process until they fall asleep again.  When someone else is in my home, be it my husband, or an aunt or cousin who has come over to help out for the day, I simply want to foist the parenting onto them and get in my car and run away.

Of course I'm not actually running away.  Ok, so I'm taking advantage of helpers and when they come over, I'm leaving to do some grocery shopping, or taking a half hour to sit at the local Starbucks, but I'm never more than about 10 minutes from the babies.  And eventually I do want to come back.  I just hope that they are sleeping when I do.

I am so overwhelmed with guilt.  Constantly.  And a solid 50% of my guilt is completely irrational.

  • I feel so guilty that I don't feel a stronger connection.  That I'm the ungrateful infertile.  (PS - this is one of the main reasons I haven't been writing much.  I complained about not being able to get pregnant, I complained about being pregnant, I'm totally ashamed of the fact that most of my thoughts are now complaints about being a mother.  So I'm just not writing because obviously, I just suck as a human being.)
  • I feel so guilty that we're in a financial black hole from achieving this goal and I'm not happy now that I've achieved it.
  • I feel so guilty that my girls are so little because I wasn't able to grow them bigger and hold them in longer.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm crying all the time.  Sometimes there's a reason, sometimes there's not.
  • I feel so guilty that K is doing more than his fair share of baby soothing in the middle of the night, even when he has to work the next morning.
  • I feel so guilty that there was a fun holiday yesterday and it didn't even occur to me to do anything about it in terms of having some sort of fun or showing the fireworks to the girls (even though they are too little for it, I feel guilty that I'm just generally a party pooper and will miss out on future fun opportunities for them because I simply can't be bothered).
  • I feel so guilty that I'd rather be washing bottles and let K get the girls when they wake up rather than just automatically dropping everything to be Mom when the girls cry.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm pumping rather than nursing, even though nursing is really difficult when they are this small.
  • I feel so guilty that I've only taken about 200 pictures of the girls and absolutely no video.  I'm a videographer for fucks sake!  I have 2 devices within reach at all times on which I can record video and nope, nada.
  • I feel so guilty that they are starting to exit the itty bitty stage and enter average newborn size, and I didn't do more to document the itty bitty.
  • I feel so guilty that we aren't even using the nursery I spent so much time decorating and arranging, but rather we're keeping them in the living room with us during the day and in a pack and play in our bedroom at night.
  • I feel so guilty that I haven't bought a mobile to put over their heads, even though they don't have the eyesight to see one yet.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm looking at Facebook on my phone while feeding babies.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm thinking about when I can stop with giving them breastmilk because I really hate being hooked up to a machine or a baby every 3 hours, and my boobs hurt all the time.
  • I feel so guilty that I spent money on a few preemie items that are now being outgrown.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm a total clutz when trying to burp my babies and I can't seem to keep their heads from flopping as I try.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm using disposable diapers a good portion of the time, even though my grandmother gave us 6 months of diaper service.  I'm trying to use the cloth, but their butts are so small, they almost swim in the preemie diaper covers and pre-folds!
  • I feel so guilty that my grandmother died when they were only 6 days old and never got to see them.  Various family members are pretty certain that she was waiting for the news that the girls got here safely before she passed.  She was 100, her body was fading out on her, and she was ready to go.  But once she knew the girls were here, one of the few things she would say in her final days was to call my father "grandpa" and then squeeze his hand.  And  I feel so guilty that at the family gathering to celebrate her life next month, there's a good chance the girls will still be too little for a big gathering and game of pass the baby and we won't be able to go.
  • I feel so guilty that I don't know how to play with the babies.  Or sing lullabies.  Or just in general, what the fuck do you do with a newborn after you've changed their diaper and fed them?  I just don't know what the heck you're supposed to do to pass the time until they fall asleep again!  I have no play instinct!
  • I feel so guilty that I generally keep the house pretty dark because my eyes are so light sensitive and I might be fucking up the babies ability to learn proper circadian rhythms.
  • I feel so guilty that I kind of want to get rid of my 13 year old cat because the bastard insists on peeing in front of the litterbox instead of inside of it.  Yes, we have pads down, and I'm sick of having cat urine either sitting on the pad or going through my washing machine again.  (No, I'm not actually going to get rid of the cat)
  • I feel so guilty that I want a diet of pure cookies.
  • I feel so guilty that I'm pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and with all the dieting I did the months before pregnancy and now the general shifting of where the weight is on my body, none of my clothing fits and I might have to buy clothing yet again, for the what is it now, 5th time in a couple of years?
  • I feel so guilty that I'm not as excited about being able to have sex again in a couple of weeks as K is.
And the list goes on and on.  New mom guilt.  Possibly the beginning of post partum depression.  I'm gonna go eat a brownie and probably disappear for another week or two before writing again.  Maybe I won't.  I dunno.  I don't even know what day it is anymore.


  1. Alex, these are all classic signs of postpartum depression. It's very common, especially among women who have been through all that you have. The good news is that it's very treatable. Please see your doctor right away and get the help you need. Being a mother of twins is hard enough, without carrying these huge burdens of sad and guilty feelings.

  2. Alex, no one talks about this part of being a new mom. I always tell my friends when it sucks and you don't like your baby give me a call. They all look at me like I am crazy and laugh. And then about 4-6 weeks into it I get the crying call. I had a perfectly normal pregnancy, with a c-section at 36 weeks because of pre-e. We had a colicy kid who cried non-stop. I loved her, but I didn't like her. I skipped out the door the morning I went back to work. It is hard. I can remember feeling the same way about bonding with her. Keep taking time for yourself. Keep letting people take over when you need a break. Keep talking about it to someone. Check in with your doctor. I know it sounds cliche but it will get better. Becoming a parent is a total transformation and it is scary. You wonder if you are still the same person. And the truth is, your not. Some parts of you are better and some are just a little different. None of this makes you a bad person or a bad parent!!!!

  3. Oh Alex, I don't have words of wisdom for you since I'm still in the trenches, but I wanted to let you know that I am sending you love and strength to help you though these challenging weeks. ((big hugs))

  4. These are all normal feelings. No one takes about it though. (hugs)

  5. Hi there - I'm so sorry that you're feeling this way. This is a tough time and I've found that many people who are already parents will admit it only if asked... and most of them ad one baby, whereas you're dealing with two. I hesitate to jump right to "OMG you have post-partum depression based on this one blog post!" for a couple of reasons - first, because I am not your doctor, and second, because I think this is really complicated and tough stuff and you may not want to jump right into taking meds or whatever. You may just want to set up a baby nurse who can come in for 2 hours a day so you can get out of the house (your sanity is worth the $), or bake that pan of brownies and eat all of them, or talk to an old friend over the phone while you're pumping. No matter what you choose to do, I hope you feel better soon, and I do think that this too shall pass!

  6. I feel like not liking your baby is a pretty normal thing. Babies are hard work, and they totally don't give you anything back until much later. But if this continues for too long don't feel bad about reaching out for help. :/

  7. Hey...I also have twins. And the first 3-4 months was HELL. You are NOT alone trust me! could have PPD so please see a dr to get meds to help as this is not a great combo. It is hard work and I didn't enjoy much at all about the first 4 months. Heres the BIG DOES GET BETTER. Promise. I am loving them so so so so much more now I can actually interact and get feedback. There is nothing worse than a newborn crying non-stop for no apparent reason and no feedback other than screaming. You will get through this. This will pass. In the meantime, get help - as much as you can. It is lonely and scary and sleep deprivation wears you down like the worst form of torture. Sending you huge amounts of fellow twin mommy strength xx

  8. Oh man, yah, it's not easy. It's more than not easy. And your feelings as a parent do seem to change with time (at least, mine did). You've gotten lots of great feedback and advice (I'm so glad everyone is being kind because these feelings are SUPER normal but most people try to act like they'd never *gasp* feel this way toward their babies. B.S.) On a practical level, get one of those books they have (Baby Play or Baby Games, something like that) which will give you a bunch of ideas for things to do with the girls. I didn't really know what to DO with mine either and that silly little book helped a lot. Hang in there!

  9. Sweetie, I 100% agree with Ellen (the first commenter). Everything you're describing classically describes postpartum depression. Take your first pregnancy and birth trauma, the loss of your first babies, mix in more IF bullshit and a pregnancy in which you felt (rightfully) scared and waiting for the othe shoe to drop, and then throw prematurity and NICU time in - on top of your normal Alex issues which you've so beautifully described here before, and it would be an absolute miracle if you *didn't* have a least mild PPD.

    Please take care of yourself and have a convo with your OB. You don't have to suffer from this guilt,'s your hormones and past experience f*cking with you.


  10. Oh, hun, this sounds exactly like postpartum depression. Please call your doctor-- you could feel so, so much better than this, and you deserve to.

    ALSO, please know that there are plenty of wonderful, dedicated, CARING and LOVING parents out there who are "not baby people." Babies are tough, and you put so much into them to get little tiny bits back-- that's why people freak out and say "AHH! SHE JUST SMILED!" when a newborn twitches. We'll take anything! Babies are hard, and totally different from toddlers, who are different from preschoolers, etc. It's much easier (and probably more "socially acceptable") to say "Man, I am NOT a fan of the Terrible Twos/kindergarten tantrums/teenage years" than to say "I just had this baby and I'm not really a fan" because you've had time to build that bond, establish love and connection, show that you love being a parent, etc with older kids. But it is VERY TRUE for many, many people that they're hoping to just fly through those baby years and get to when the kid(s) can talk, move around on their own a bit, not need to be hand-fed, carried everywhere, etc. You may find that 4-year-olds are SO your thing because they get excited about stuff, or 8-year-olds because you can start to have really deep conversations with them, or teenagers because they're nearly adults...

    And let's all acknowledge that you are parenting NEWBORN PREEMIE TWINS. There are about seven layers of "hard" stacked on top of that. You are tired, burnt out, and probably haven't brushed your teeth yet by this time of the day most day. You have a LOT on you right now, hormones included, grief included, major life change ALL INCLUDED. You're doing a really, really good job taking care of those babies, even if your mind and heart are longing for a break right now. That is huge. <3

    Call those relatives. Line up a few people to overlap for the next few days so you can get lots of breaks and regroup. And please, please call your doctor.

  11. Although I am not a mom I think ts sounds like post partum depression. Just because you are not crying every minute doesn't mean you are not experiencing it. Also, you spent a good part of your pregnancy not thinking you would give birth to live girls. You are still there in a sense. You may be subconsciously afraid to enjoy and love them for fear something will happen. Think about it. Don't wait to long to call the doc. Docs have heard it all and nothing you tell them will shock them. It is ok. You will be ok. Also, if you have need to confide in k.

  12. I haven't read all the other responses so forgive me if I repeat anything or contradict anything...
    While I'm no expert, I think this sounds like post partum depression rearing it's ugly-as head. I know you've struggled with depression in the past, so it's likely you would get PPD. Then you add in the c-section (which was absolutely the right thing to do - I'm not debating that) but it is REALLY COMMON for women who had c-sections to struggle with bonding with their babies. I know that there are support groups out there for that. You add in the fact that you're recovering from major abdominal surgery, having intensely fluctuating hormones, are sleep deprived... Also, part of surviving IF is dreaming of the day we are mothers. But it's pretty rare for dreams to match reality. (Think of a wedding; even the most perfect weddings usually have some kind of low point, something someone forgot, something someone shouldn't have said... nobody dreams of their wedding day when their drunk cousin gets up and tells the room all about the skeletons in the family closet!)

    I had a friend who really struggled to bond with her son. While she only had one baby, she was alone (baby daddy skipped out) and I'm pretty sure she could have written most of this post. She found a support group, and worked really hard and had to be really intentional, but now her son is just over a year and she has a very "normal" mom relationship.

    All that to say: Don't deny yourself help. I really urge you to contact the doctor or hospital and inquire about a PPD evaluation and/or support group. I am so sorry you are struggling with all this guilt, but you've got no judgement coming from me. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help and support you!

  13. Hang in there Alex, I've been reading your blog for a very long time but have never said anything before. You can do this, and everything will be ok. You are not wonder woman and no one expects you to be. Just hang in there, one day at a time.

  14. This is "the baby blues" in full swing honey!! It's a terrible feeling! I felt like the worst mother ever as well... Try to get and see your Dr ASAP ok?! They can and will help you through this.
    It does get better..your hormones will balance back out and everything will start to click, the fog will lift, and the connection you feel is missing will flood you like you've never imagined! Hang in there!

  15. I am so sorry your suffering from all this guilt. I am also an infertile who, once I was blessed with my almost 5 week premature baby that was perfect in everyway, completly hated my life. I tried to talk my husband into giving him up for adoption, I did only the basics of caring for him, and then only when I couldn't find someone to do it for me. I cried constantly, over everything. Even picking a movie at the video store sent my into a horrible panic attack and meltdown. We ate at the same 2 places for weeks because I was simply to overwhelmed to decide on anything else. I found myself dreaming about driving my car off a bridge eventually, seriously considering it. How did I go from years or trying, begging God and Buddha and the Flying Spaghetti Monster for this miracle, to wishing I had just gotten another cat instead?? Everyone was so disappointed in me too, no one understood or cared at all. I didn't honestly think I loved my son, let alone liked him and my husband did 75% of the child care along with working. I would run out the door for any little errand, I would even lie and say I had a dr. appointment so I could go sit somewhere and cry alone.

    Having fertility issue, a miscarriage ( I had one of those too), a premature birth, a c/s, a previous history of depression all makes it more likely you will get PPD. You can't help it, you can't wish it away, you can't think that if only you were more grateful or happy this would all stop. PPD is far more common than anyone cares to admit, and a total mind fuck. I found a local support group, I got a phone buddy and went to meetings...and I got on some pretty heavy medications. 3 kinds actually, to help with the depression, anviety and general lifelessness I was going through. At one point, after I tried the first kind of medication, my Dr. gave me a higher dosage because I was getting worse. it was the scariest moment of my life because I told myself "if this doesn't work in 3 weeks like he says, I am going to kill myself" and I was dead serious. But slowly, very slowly, it helped. It got just a little better every day. When my son was 8 months old I realized I was okay, maybe not who I was before, but I loved him so much and I started enjoying everything about him (okay, almost everything, the reality is babies and parenting are not amazingwonderfulblissfulcandyandglitter). You should speak to your Dr., get a therapist, maybe look up support groups in your area. You don't have to go through anything alone!

  16. Hi, I'm also a twin mom, I also hated the newborn phase, I also felt like I couldn't bond with my babies, I also just wanted someone else to take them over, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

    The first 3-4 months was spent just trying to cope.

    Antidepressants helped a lot and let me feel like a human again, and better yet, they let me be the mommy I wanted to be.

    I didn't get the love feeling for my babies until sometime between 5 and 6 months. It happened slowly for me, in little sparks until eventually I felt that love everytime I looked at the boys. It does get better. I promise. Go see a Dr, it will help more than you can imagine.

  17. As a mommy to premiee twins myself (they were born at 27 weeks) I think I could have written your post almost line for line. They will be 4 yrs old here in a couple of weeks and I still have the "guilt" feeling. I love my boys. I love my boy with all my heart however I still dont seem to feel what others describe. I was told that dealing with infertility and loss then parenting premiee twins its ok to feel all that we feel. Even after our most recent loss I thought I would feel "more connected" to the twins but now. I still love them the same. There are still times when I feel like I am just an over all failure and going to screw them up when it comes to emotional bonds. I hope things look up as the girls are growing bigger and older. I would also mention it to your doc at your next visit just in case it is a bit of postpartum like others have mentioned.


  18. This sounds pretty normal for this point in time, for most anyone who's had a c-section, and didn't get the opportunity to breastfeeding from the start. I'm not trying to minimize anything, but I don't think it's PPD at all. I am the mother of 5 children. The couple that had complications at birth (meaning it involved lots of medical intervention and time away from them) I didn't feel close to, but I wasn't depressed. Baby blues, yes, but not PPD. The couple of times I did have PPD, I fantasizes about dying and/or committing suicide, but it didn't mean I didn't feel connected to my baby. Sometimes baby blues can progress into real PPD, but it is kinda obvious when it does. If you aren't sure, just keep checking in with someone. Even if it's just your doctor, no harm in that, right. Doctors are taking PPD more seriously nowadays. But i have to be honest and say, that i think too many people are quick to label any not-so-perfect feeling as PPD, when that isnt the case (not saying you did). Not everyone is going to like this stage, and that's fine. It happens. It's normal to feel guilty about it.

    1. Um, it *isn't* always obvious when baby blues morph into PPD. I wasn't diagnosed until 6-months postpartum, and I'm a depression vet who had constant watch on myself for the classic signs of PPD. I still missed them. Minimizing PPD as "baby blues" is one of the reasons some women with PPR hurt or kill themselves. It *is* very serious and a very big deal...

    2. I never said it wasn't a big deal. I know what PPD is, too. My husband is active duty and couldn't deploy once because my situation was so bad, so believe me, I know the difference. I said I wasn't trying to minimize anything, and I also said she should check with her doctor to be sure. Don't put words in my mouth.

    3. Basically, my biggest point (which probably wasn't obvious) was that I don't think feeling detached a guilty don't always necessarily go hand in hand with PPD, as that wasn't the case for me. With a few of my children, I felt some of the most euphoric love from the start, yet I wanted to blow my brains out. I will say, though, that for one of my children, what caused my PPD was a sudden crash in hormones from weaning cold turkey. So a note to Alex: if you decide to quit pumping, please do it gradually.

  19. I'll echo what everyone else is saying and say it is normal. I was my most depressed after my first was born. It was nothing like what I thought it was going to be. I'll offer a suggestion that may not be very popular-think about giving up on pumping. Pumping is exhausting. You have all the work of breastfeeding (up every few hours, tied to the pump) and none of the benefits (bonding time, no bottles to wash,etc). I told my pediatrician that I felt more bonded to the pump than to the baby and she very sweetly told me that it was time to give it up. I mulled it over for two more weeks and then took her advice. Best thing I could have done at the time. I went on to breastfeed my second for a year and my third is now going strong at 9 weeks, but at that point, for that first child, I have no regrets giving it up when I did.

  20. Don't feel guilty about not feeling a strong connection. I'm pretty certain it's purely hormonal at first. There's no rational reason to fall in love with someone you've just met who is extremely needy and never smiles. It'll come.

    My husband also does more than his fair share, and I also didn't do anything for the 4th. Except cry because someday my son might ask me for pictures of his first 4th of July and I'll have to say we didn't do anything and he'll think I didn't love him. Totally ridiculous, but I had a good sob over it.

    In fact, I could have written most of this post myself. It's like you're echoing all the things going through my head. You're definitely not alone, and I don't think it makes us bad moms.


  21. Ive totally been where you are about 2 weeks ago. It does get a little better but mostly it just changes. Now my baby is awake longer and we figure out stuff to do during the day so I'm finally feeling like I'm getting the hang of this. Mostly I just told myself to sack up and I literally pulled myself out of depression. I've decided I hate pumping so I'm weaning my little one to formula in the next couple of weeks (we could never transition back from the bottle we had to supplement in the hospital). I'm getting more sleep and the biggest thing.....get outside for a walk with the babies if at all possible. I try to do this every day and it has done complete wonders for both me and the baby. He loves the fresh air and conks out, I like the sunshine and not seeing my 4 walls 24-7. You are totally normal. I felt horrible and I wanted to run away too right away. Now I look at his face and think I've got a pretty wonderful kid! He's learning to hold his head. He has some expressions. He's playing a little on his activity mat. He's done all of this in 4 short weeks and he was 3+ weeks early so we spent a lot of time just sleeping for the first 2.5 weeks. I'm slowly adjusting to being a mom and last night DH and I went to a movie while my sister watched him. That felt great to get away for 2 hours just as a couple but do that and you'll be surprised how short of time it takes before you both look at each other and say that you miss them not being with you. It was then I realized how much I do love and care for my son even though it is a lot of work right now. They are a part of you more than you even realize right now.

  22. I know you've gotten so much support from this post so far, but I can't help but chime in a bit too. I didn't see a dr and should have. I believe I had ppd issues up to and 2 yrs later - only now seeking treatment . .. because I just didn't know. And to be honest - I was TOO tired to think straight. I used to say - Sleep Deprivation is what we do to terrorists! I felt so abused by the sleeplessness. I love my son more than anything, but there are still days I need a serious break - we all do. You are SUPPORTING LIFE. . . they just aren't inside you anymore, and that's even harder. Also - for full term babies - dr's often think of the first 3 months of life as the 4th trimester... you have extra time at the start of this last out of womb "trimester".

    Whether you seek medical attention or not (and it's probably a good idea - harmless if you think about it versus not asking some questions!), you need to find ways to get as much sleep as you can. Your body from the surgery AND the hormones AND the parenting is healing. Any help you can get . . use it to close your eyes and heal.

    You aren't alone in this. It's the hardest part and everyone goes through some form of it. The beginning months of their lives are less rewarding and more work than anything imaginable. But you are doing it... one day at a time - you're making it through to the other side.

    Hang on, hang in, and you will make it!

  23. I agree with lots of above comments. Sounds like some baby blues or PPD. My Mom went through the same thing. For the first 6 months of my life it took everything for her to just feed and change me. Like you she just wanted to get away. You have been through a lot and you have a lot on your plate right now. Hang in there hon. Maybe you can go talk to someone? I wish I could take away your guilt. You are doing a great job!


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