Triple The Look
We started posting pictures of our girls paying homage to the gorgeousness that is Holly Willoughby on 27th March in our Triple The Look.
Triple The look is a celebration of the fun, chaos and CUTE, that is having triplet girls. It’s about sharing the joy with those who want to share it with us. We have started doing TTL at the point at which we have ventured into a new chapter of our life as Mummy and Daddy to Triplets & Bro.
This new chapter is free of the pressing major health concerns that we lived with until January 29th 2018, when we got the all clear on Amelie’s biopsy results. Our house arrest expired on April 1st when RSV season ended and we could relax about taking the girls with their pre-term lungs to public places.
Prior to this new chapter we were constantly scared. It was during this time I was diagnosed with Post traumatic stress disorder and I became addicted to shopping and comfort food. The girls wardrobe grew and so did I.
We all respond differently to trauma. I hadn’t experienced the type of trauma we’ve had to deal with since that night the girls and I nearly died when they were born. We faced a series of life threatening health traumas that left part of me broken.
My coping mechanism to momentarily escape the fear and anxiety was to online shop. And to comfort eat.
PTSD and Medication
I realised after a few months of repeated trauma, that I needed help.
I went to my GP and said I couldn’t do this by myself anymore. I constantly felt like I was waiting for the next terrifying thing to happen. The fear and anxiety was too overwhelming and I needed some medical intervention to assist me whilst I attended therapy to overcome the trauma we had experienced.
I’d been frightened to talk about how I was feeling, somehow ashamed that I wasn’t coping.
I look back now and think how could you have felt any differently? You nearly died in terrifying circumstances in which you were also scared of losing your babies; you spent 11 weeks visiting your babies in hospital where you had to leave them every night, and the health rollercoaster of ups and downs involved in NICU; once home you had three newborn babies and a 3 year old to look after; your daughter stopped breathing in your arms and was in a coma for 3 days (could there be anything more terrifying?); your smallest girl, who was so poorly it was such a constant worry, then needed emergency heart surgery; you found a lump in your daughters neck that was constricting her airway for which she needed biopsy surgery and you worried for the third time that you could lose her; you were under ‘house arrest’ due to your girls suppressed immunity. Please tell me how a mother can experience all of this and not have her mental health impacted upon?
And yet I was ashamed of how I was feeling – worried that people would think I was weak, negative, not coping. My goodness, we are so hard on ourselves.
Finally I spoke to my GP and I was prescribed Sertraline. This is used to reduce fear and anxiety and so is helpful to treat the symptoms of PTSD.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but as the medication took hold my clothes shopping increased.
Fortunately, and very timely, David and I watched a documentary about research into the impact of this drug. In summary, as one of the intended effects was to reduce fear – the reason for which I was taking it – people using this drug had behaved in ways they might not have done previously because they then had no fear.
Prior to the girls being born I was being extremely careful with money. I was concerned about our finances with the increase in our family and the likely decrease in income if I had to leave work. I barely bought any clothes for the girls. And yet, here I was spending with no fear or responsibility on clothes that we couldn’t afford.
My shopping was getting out of hand. It was really upsetting David as he knew I wasn’t well and he didn’t want to argue with me, but he was becoming increasingly frustrated by my spending.
Having watched the documentary, I changed my medication and the spending slowed down dramatically. I agreed for David to return some of the items. We also came to an agreement that we would enjoy buying things together as a way of being open about what was being bought.
Rainbow After The Storm
We’ve found lots of rainbows in recent years. Our children are our rainbow after infertility. Our girls being well is a wonderful rainbow after prematurity and ill health.
Following the challenge of a shopping addiction, we have used the girls wardrobe to do something really fun in Triple The Look that celebrates all that they have achieved. It’s brought us wonderful opportunities including being able to meet Holly and Phil on This Morning. It just shows once again how something positive can come out of a negative.
Every one loves a rainbow and all that it symbolises. But remember, you can’t have a rainbow without the rain first.