Interview with dh – coping

I struggled for a while [with anxiety and mild depression] before going on anti-depressants when the girls were 15 months old. What was that period like for you?

I don’t think I saw it really. I knew you found it hard but I didn’t really realise what was going on. It’s hard to explain isn’t it?

I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t want to let you down. Everyone kept saying how well we were doing and how well we coped and I knew that I wasn’t coping. It created an expectation and I had to keep pretending. I couldn’t tell anyone.

I found it really difficult to imagine, to understand. The harder you found it, the more stuff I did, but I think that made it worse. I thought I was helping you out but that made you feel less and less helpful yourself. I wanted to give you a rest.

It was self-perpetuating because the worse I felt the more you did and I felt that you weren’t letting me do anything because I couldn’t cope.

I should’ve just left you alone! I still went to work and left you with them. I didn’t think you couldn’t do it, I just wanted to help as much as I could. You never gave up – you always carried on.

What’s been the hardest time for you?

The first bit. The not sleeping. The first six months. Once you can get a proper night’s sleep you can cope.

My perception is –correct me if I’m wrong –that you went through a hard time about six months ago

They’re more frustrating now. They’re a lot cleverer and answer back now. I couldn’t go back to not sleeping…to sleeping in two hour segments every night. They’re a lot easier now, relatively…they can be exhausting, but they can be quite fun as well.

When do I need to buy you a shed to escape from all these mad, hormonal women?

They’ll just follow me into the shed!

Having escapes is a good piece of advice. That’s something we got from another dad of twins – plan your escapes.

I get quite a lot of time on my own during the day. I often have rest days when you’re at work and the girls are at nursery. I’m lucky that a lot of my friends live and/or work in London so I can meet up with them.

I remember sending you out once to have some ‘you’ time on a particularly fraught day and you went for a drive and came back with a bag of potatoes! You could’ve gone for a coffee, a drink but you did something useful!

We needed potatoes! I felt I should do something useful.

You don’t have to. Sitting in Starbucks with a coffee and F1 Racing for an hour is perfectly fine.

It’s just not being with the kids for a bit.

Do you think life was nicer before twins or after twins?

Before was easier! A couple of people have asked me if I can recommend having kids and I reply ‘I wouldn’t recommend having two at once!’.

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