By Samantha Wassel of Between the Monkey Bars
It’s not uncommon for a mother of twins to face an onslaught of annoying questions after she gives birth:
- “What’s it like having twins?”
- “Did you have a C-section?”
- “Do twins run in your family?”
- “How much weight did you gain?”
- “Are you going to have them audition for the unfortunate-yet-inevitable Netflix Original Series, Fullest House?”
And then there’s perhaps the most frequent (and often rhetorical) inquiry: “How do you do it?”
Well, for one new mom living in Los Memoria, NM, the answer to that is, “I don’t know.” Literally.
Since giving birth to boy/girl fraternal twins last December, Sarah Bellum has been suffering from a rare condition her doctors are calling “Postpartum Dimatramnesia.”
“You know, I’ll take them [her twins] out somewhere—the mall, church, monster truck rallies, wherever—and people come up to us all the time,” Bellum said. “They ask me, ‘How do you do it?’ And the truth is, I have no f*cking clue. Really. I can’t remember a damn thing about taking care of them since the day I—
“I’m sorry. What were we talking about?”
Unable to obtain further information from Bellum regarding the specifics of her condition, we consulted the lead doctor on her case.
Dr. Neil Crane, head neurologist at Memorial Medical Center in Carlsbad, NM, says he’s never dealt with a case of memory loss quite like Bellum’s.
“We’ve seen mothers suffer temporary short-term memory loss in the immediate period after giving birth,” he said. “It’s actually not that uncommon, given the high levels of cortisol associated with the physical and emotional stress of childbirth. What makes Sarah’s case unique is how selective the amnesia is. The only memories that are blocked are those specifically involving how she cares for her children.
“For example, she can recall with absolute certainty what she had for breakfast in the morning, down to the exact ratio of marshmallows to crunchies in her bowl of Lucky Charms. However, she has no recollection of feeding her children, even though—as CPS has assured us—she does indeed nurse them on a regular basis.
“Sarah can neither comprehend nor remember how she operates with two infants at home. She is quite cognizant of the fact that the babies exist and that she was indeed the one who gave birth to them. But everything beyond that is a mystery.”
Crane believes Bellum’s memory loss is due in part to being asked, “How do you do it?” incessantly in the weeks following her twins’ birth.
“Sarah’s memory function was actually quite intact in the first 48 hours after delivery. But once she was discharged, it declined rapidly. We think the frequent repetition of the question—coupled with the hormonal shifts associated with breastfeeding twins—created a sort of ‘wall’ in her brain. It’s a defense mechanism. Now, instead of exhausting her already-depleted energy stores considering the question and trying to come up with a reasonable answer, she can simply—and honestly—say ‘I don’t know.’
“Unfortunately, since this is the first case we’ve seen, we have no treatment protocol to follow. To be honest, I’m still not quite sure that Sarah wants to be treated. I would imagine taking care of twins all day is pretty taxing on the brain, but she seems to be in surprisingly good spirits.”
While Crane still doesn’t understand the pathology behind Dimatramnesia, he does believe that early intervention will play a key role in treating future cases. He encourages friends and family of new twin mothers to keep an eye out for the following symptoms, which may indicate that the disease has taken root:
- Inability to answer the question, “How do you do it?”
- Short-term memory loss (failure to recall recent events)
- Long-term memory loss (failure to recall past events)
- Term-inator memory loss (failure to recall WTF John Connor is up to these days… Seriously, are they ever going to stop making those movies?)
- Tendency to confuse children’s names
- Inability to recall specific child-rearing events, such as changing diapers or getting up to nurse at 2 a.m.
- Disinterest in showering, frequently resulting in acne, oily hair, and what Crane refers to as “olfactory-nerve-endangering pit stank”
- Sudden cravings or changes in appetite—at times leading to reckless behavior, such as speeding to Krispy Kreme at the faintest hint of a rumor that the Hot Light is on
- Dramatic weight fluctuations resulting from either (1) neglecting to eat, or (2) neglecting to acknowledge how many calories are in a dozen Krispy Kreme Glazed Chocolate Cake Donuts
- Hardened traces of infant fecal matter trapped under the fingernails, likely resulting from desensitization to the putrid smell of baby shit
- Refusal to put on pants, even of the yoga variety
- Changes in sex drive or a sudden disinterest in administering blow jobs, even when Hubby does the dishes
If you know a mom of twins exhibiting one or more of the above symptoms, Crane advises that you encourage her to seek immediate medical attention. Or just, you know, drop off a few Krispy Kremes and then back the fuck off.
Related Post: 17 Tactics to Prepare You for Raising Twin Toddlers
About the Author
Samantha Wassel is a Stay-At-Home Mama to the cutest twin toddlers in the history of all Toddlerdom. When she’s not running her borderline-offensive mouth, she’s running masochistically long distances, often with the aforementioned toddlers in tow. She enjoys reading, writing, baking, marathoning, complaining, photographing, playgrounding, and Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie chocolate bars. Her writing has been featured on Scary Mommy, Club Mid, In the Powder Room, Bluntmoms, and Mamalode. Follow her on Facebook and check out her personal blog, Between the Monkey Bars.