Photographs of Roald and Grant Bows

Transcript of 34th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, April 1, 1997 at 4 pm at her home.

Ms. Bows: Hello, Doctor. You're looking a bit withered today. Are you getting enough sleep? How are you feeling?
Dr. Balis: Hello, Sylvia. I didn't realize I looked that bad.
Ms. Bows: No, no...
Dr. Balis: I've been sick this weekend. But don't be worried--I wouldn't come here if I thought I was still contagious. It wouldn't be good to infect my own patients.
Ms. Bows: What was wrong with you?
Dr. Balis: It was the flu. Professionally speaking, I don't recommend it.
Ms. Bows: Well, I'm sorry to hear you were sick, and over a holiday weekend too. I guess you didn't fly out to New York to visit with your parents.
Dr. Balis: It wouldn't have been a good idea.
Ms. Bows: I bet they miss you. I know I'd miss my boys if they lived so far away from me.
Dr. Balis: It's not really an issue for a few years.
Ms. Bows: I was told that they'll be off to college before I even have a chance to notice that any time has passed. Already they are so big. Even Grant is beginning to suckle on his own and has gained a lot of weight. He doesn't look like a preemie anymore.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad to hear that. Is he home?
Ms. Bows: We took him home this weekend. Just in time for Easter Sunday. My whole family came over. My mother cooked the holiday dinner and my father, Rene, and Robert hovered over the kids. Even my brother was here. It was very nice. Here, I have some photos for you.
Dr. Balis: Good. I'm very happy for you, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Thank you, Doctor. I do feel like things are getting a bit better.
Dr. Balis: How are you and Tom doing?
Ms. Bows: It's still very strained between the two of us. But he moved out of the guest bedroom on the first floor and into the second bedroom upstairs next to the nursery. So I guess it's an improvement.
Dr. Balis: Tom doesn't sleep with you?
Ms. Bows: No. We haven't shared a bed since July of last year, when I threw him out of our room.
Dr. Balis: So you haven't been intimate since?
Ms. Bows: No. Tom's avoiding me somehow.
Dr. Balis: You told me last time that Tom would only touch you in a kid-related context.
Ms. Bows: I keep trying. During Easter dinner, I kept trying to get close to him. I thought that amid all the family warmth and celebration--we celebrated the twins homecoming--Tom would just forget and slip into my arms.
Dr. Balis: The way you forgot yourself during the Christmas holidays?
Ms. Bows: Something like that. But Tom seems to constantly be aware of where I am and what I'm doing. He's very pleasant to my family, even Rene. But somehow he never lets go. I really hoped that, after Grant came home, things would be different.
Dr. Balis: It's only been four days.
Ms. Bows: It seems longer. Especially at night. During the day, things at least appear to be normal--we care for the boys, we play with them, we do our business. But at night, when we go to our separate rooms...sometimes when I lie in my bed breast-feeding, I look out the window and see the trees in our garden. The shadows of their branches and leaves form faces in the dark. They are not friendly faces and I feel so alone then. I hold the baby close to my body and feel his heart beat and cry.
Dr. Balis: Does this feeling of loneliness and despair come frequently?
Ms. Bows: I guess I cry every night.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Are you still taking your medication?
Ms. Bows: I haven't been very good at it lately. I guess during our stay at the hospital I sort of just let it go.
Dr. Balis: You mean you stopped taking it all together?
Ms. Bows: Don't be angry with me, Doctor. It just wasn't the uppermost thing on my mind. And Tom was worried about Grant--the last thing he needed was some contaminated milk.
Dr. Balis: If you were worried about breast-feeding, you should have told me or Doctor Malleson. In fact, it's not an issue, it doesn't cross over into breast milk, and you should start taking it regularly again. Don't you think that your crying spells and depression could have something to do with you not taking your medication?
Ms. Bows: Frankly, Doctor, I just assumed it was due to my current situation and not because I stopped taking the drugs.
Dr. Balis: Next time you want to make a pharmaceutical decision, please consult me first. I noticed a little edginess in your behavior last time. This explains it. Please Sylvia, I can't force you to take your medication. I can only tell you what I think is best for you in the exercise of my professional judgment.
Ms. Bows: You really think that it's okay for the boys?
Dr. Balis: It's fine. And your milk quality will improve once you're not so distressed and upset all the time.
Ms. Bows: So I've been producing sour milk all this time. Roald and Grant might not like the normal stuff now that they are used to the "psychologically defective" kind.
Dr. Balis: They'll adjust. Now let's get back to Tom.
Ms. Bows: I was just beginning to feel better.
Dr. Balis: Good. Since Tom made you stay home last November, has he ever tried to kiss you?
Ms. Bows: In the beginning, I was too angry at him for forcing me onto bedrest and declaring me an unfit mother.
Dr. Balis: But after a while you started to realize that you and Tom were still in love with each other.
Ms. Bows: After a while. But the whole situation was still so strange. And I was feeling very sick. And we were both worried about the boys. Tom was treating me as if I was the most fragile thing in this world. I think he was afraid of holding me too tight, of touching me the wrong way.
Dr. Balis: So there was an attempt at getting intimate at that point?
Ms. Bows: The pregnancy and the well being of the twins was paramount. Our whole lives became just about that for awhile. And then when Richard filed the paternity suit...well you know what happened.
Dr. Balis: Do you want Tom to be that close to you again? Do you want him to make love to you?
Ms. Bows: Yes. I know that I can't engage in any sexual activities for about six weeks after the delivery. But I at least want to know that Tom desires me. That he wants to make love to me when it's okay to do it.
Dr. Balis: Did you tell Tom that? Does he know that that's what you want?
Ms. Bows: I didn't actually come out and say it. If he is really so disgusted by me that he can't stand touching me, how can I come out and ask him? I'm not prepared to hear Tom tell me off. I don't want Tom to come right out and reject me.
Dr. Balis: You're hoping that somehow Tom will change his mind and...
Ms. Bows: I try telling him that I want him in other ways.
Dr. Balis: What do you do?
Ms. Bows: I know my body is not what it used to be before pregnancy...
Dr. Balis: Sylvia, you're a very beautiful woman. You have nothing to worry about.
Ms. Bows: Thank you, Doctor. You're very kind. But I see myself in the mirror... I still try. I try to dress provocatively. At night, when Tom and I are taking care of the boys, I make sure that Tom can see me. When I breast-feed, I try to position myself so that Tom will have a good view. I know that breast-feeding is not the sexiest thing in this world, but it's the only way I can get Tom to look at my breasts. I even offered to let him taste some of my milk so that he would know what our boys are getting.
Dr. Balis: Did he accept?
Ms. Bows: No, he declined my offer. If I did what I'm doing now before our break-up, Tom would have been all over me. We were very passionate together, Doctor. Tom had a very good imagination and we did a lot of creative sexual playing. But now he doesn't even notice. I don't even catch him looking at me. I think that when Tom found out how many men I actually slept with, he became completely unable to see me in that way. I'm worried, Doctor, that if this doesn't change, we'll never be able to be together again.
Dr. Balis: You think Tom would want to leave you?
Ms. Bows: No. I don't know. But I don't want to be with Tom just for the sake of the boys. I want him for me. I want our passion back. I just want to be close to him again. Look, Doctor, I'm just too upset right now to talk. Let's schedule our next meeting and call it a day. Okay?
Dr. Balis: All right. But I want you to start taking Sinequan again.
Ms. Bows: I will, I promise.
Dr. Balis: Okay then, I'll see you next week--Tuesday at four.
Ms. Bows: I'd like to come to your office, if you don't mind.
Dr. Balis: No problem. I was just accommodating you.
Ms. Bows: I know. But I think it'll be good for me to get away from here, if just for an hour, to talk to you.
Dr. Balis: Then I'll see you in my office next Tuesday at four.
Ms. Bows: Good. Thank you, Doctor. Have a good week and I hope you feel better.
Dr. Balis: Thank you. Goodbye, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Goodbye, Doctor.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sylvia Bows' Transcripts Transcripts of Sylvia Bows' Therapy Sessions
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