Women who are diagnosed with postnatal depression after having twins or multiples are often relieved to find there is an explanation for their feelings. Sharing your emotions and accepting you need help is the first stage towards feeling better. Apart from talking and medical treatments, there are a number of practical things you can do to help care for yourself and your babies. Your partner and family are often keen to help you, not just with practical tasks such as childcare and housework, but also with emotional support and just being there for you.
If your partner and family aren’t able or willing to help, please talk to a supportive friend, health visitor, GP, midwife, or Twinline, Tamba’s confidential listening and emotional support service (0800 138 0509 - open every day from 10am-1pm and 7pm-10pm).
Some Practical Suggestions
Ask for help with the housework, the babies, and older children. Your partner, friends, family, and neighbours are a great source of help.
Homestart is a charity that offers practical support to families and is also a useful free resource (couple of hours a week) if you’re struggling to cope. If you can afford it, or can get financial help, consider hiring someone to help with the housework or childcare. .
Join a local group or club for multiples – often friends with only one baby cannot understand the unique challenges that mothers of multiples face.
Although it’s not easy to find the time, physical exercise can help ease the symptoms of mild to moderate PND. Regular walks pushing your babies in their buggy can be enough to start releasing endorphins, also known as ‘happy hormones’, into your system helping you to feel better.
- Ask your health visitor to do a home visit to discuss the babies’ progress, including weighing them, so you don’t have to struggle in a busy health clinic. .
- Routine – some mothers find having a routine helpful in gaining a sense of control.
- Try not to blame yourself or feel guilty when things go wrong. You do not have to be a super-mum – being a good enough parent is enough.
- Work out your priorities. You can’t be expected to do everything.
- Get out of the house. If your babies are crying a lot, pushing them
out in the buggy can be a great way to settle everyone’s frayed nerves
(even in the cold, rain or wind!)
- Learn some relaxation techniques.
- Identify troubling worries and get the feelings down on paper, for example, keep a diary for 10 minutes a day. Write down how you feel - you don’t have to reread or be grammatically correct.
- Listen to favourite pieces of uplifting music and/or read some poetry or quotes that are uplifting.
- Try to go out together with your partner – get a babysitter or reciprocal arrangements to sit for others.
- Make sure all the help you are getting is helpful and is not actually the opposite – occasionally friends or family may not be willing to help.
- Identify an activity you enjoy doing with your children, such as reading, and try to do it every day .. Watch comedy on the television/ DVD/computer
- Seek professional help immediately – talk to your GP, health visitor or midwife.
Courtesy of Tamba - www.tamba.org.uk