I went to my mother's group at Parent Leadership yesterday and asked about this. Patty (the group leader) told me it is common for twins to feel this, and even singletons who had hard births - for example I told her my daughter I see this most with was stuck in the birth canal for over 2 hours. Patty said this is a very common reaction.
Further, she told me that children who had hard births can take 100 - 200 hours of listening/crying time to realize they are safe. When my Monica has her sessions of back arching, tearless screaming when I hold her, I should gently but firmly hold onto her and tell her how safe she is, how wonderful it is to be with her, and how although she is afraid, she will never be stuck like that again. All this with a calm and pleasant face, not fearful looking. It's hard since I AM afraid when my baby looks so terrified.
I have been doing this with Monica several times a day (whenever she cries in that way) since coming home from my vacation with the family. Oh, yeah, Patty said that spending three full days focused on my daughters - 100% 24 hours for 3 days - primed Monica to feel safe enough to show me her fear. She knew she would be supported to work on her terror.
Since I've been trying to support her this way several times a day, she has already started looking me straight in the eyes while playing and cuddling
She is definitely trusting me more and letting me in. She has such beautiful eyes!
Patty reminded me that I did not DO anything to cause my daughters to be so afraid. I am a good mom, an attached mom, and factors outside my control have given my kids some fear to work on. I am seeing results, but I always need the encouragement of the other moms and Patty to remind me it's ok for them to be terrified while I support them - it is how they heal. To soothe them to stop their crying just tells them it is not ok to feel their feelings.
Thanks for listening.