I knew I was perfectly capable of loving and had enjoyed a nursing career where I cared for others at their most critical times — but I was unable to love even myself. I felt the emotional highs and lows of my patients, so the last thing I expected was to feel numb. From the outside, I was a successful nurse married to a doctor and I was known for my happy, carefree personality. My pregnancy was joyful and I carried my twins to full term. I had a good life, a big house, wonderful friends, and I still couldn’t scrape myself off the floor.
The day we arrived home from the hospital, I locked myself in the nursery. I rarely left the rocking chair over the next two weeks, for fear of my infants dying. I slept two hours a day and was hyper-alert, yet bored and disinterested. I went through the motions, caring for my infants and meeting their basic needs, but I felt numb. Everyone told me it would be a joyful time, that I would never love anyone like I loved my children the first second I saw them, and that there is no joy as fulfilling as motherhood. I felt overwhelmed, distrustful, obsessive, resentful and very angry. Breastfeeding was stressful, my house was a mess, I had no social support and I was distraught. Initially, when I told my mother I wanted to kill myself, she laughed and said, “Who can be so sullen and angry with a set of newborn twins and a husband who loves you?”’