(This post is especially for you J -- having twins is amazing and I promise you will love it!)
#1 It's different
Having two babies is not the same as having one. Life with twins will be easier if you just accept and embrace that fact. And don't make comparison to other moms and babies, even your own prior experience with your first child. If you're anything like me, you will probably have to slow down during your twin pregnancy. Other mothers run marathons while pregnant. Well, not me or most twin moms. I could barely move near the end (click here for an amazing gallery of twin bumps - I'm in the 37 weekers). However you feel while pregnant or after your babies are born, it is okay. Don't get too caught up in how singleton moms are doing/feeling (or how it was with your first baby). Embrace twin pregnancy and parenting, and find other moms of twins when you have those twin specific questions like "how do I feed two babies" and "should my twins be in the same or different classrooms".
#2 It's not easy to get around
I barely left the house for the first 4 months. And after that I only left the house when I had Matt or my mom to help (for, like, the first 18 months). My girls were born in winter, so there really weren't many places to go. That said, it was just hard to get out with the demanding feeding schedule not to mention all of the baby gear involved in having two babies (click here to see how I used to travel). I remember being envious of other new mothers who were at brunch or yoga with newborns. I just could not do those things. But in time, I started to get out more and life started to get back to normal. Getting out with twins will attract a lot of attention but that's a whole other story.
#3 Get help
Accept as much help as is offered to you, and if you find yourself needing more help then don't feel bad about it. I had so much help from Matt, my mom and the rest of our family members. If I ever needed a break, they made sure that I got one. There were difficult days, surely but I never felt overwhelmed or isolated.
The one person who was also very helpful to me was a lactation consultant. She was very supportive and never made me feel badly about my lack of milk supply. She did everything she could to support me in giving my girls as much breast milk as possible. She set up a very functional schedule, which I still credit with establishing excellent sleeping patterns for my girls. Find people like this -- whether they are family members, night nurses, nannies, etc -- and keep them around as much as needed.
#4 Set boundaries
For your own sanity, it is okay to set boundaries. If it's too stressful to go out, don't feel pressured by other people to do so. I got all kinds of weird/rude/unnecessary comments about when I did or did not go out or why I kept my babies on a strict schedule and on and on. The truth was those boundaries were there for my own sanity (and were also in the best interests of my babies). I got through that initial crazy newborn phase because I was very committed to a schedule. No matter how much I would have wanted to feed on demand, my babies ate on a strict schedule. The same with sleep. The schedule worked for me and my babies, so I paid no attention to what other people had to say about it. It was sometimes hard to say no when there were outside pressures or even things that I wanted to do but didn't feel ready for or capable of. In the end, I trusted my own instincts and only did things that we could handle.
#5 Do what works for you
The theme recurring in all of my reflections is that twins are different and you should do what works for YOU. What worked for your friends may not work for your twins. What worked for your first baby may not work for your twins. Even what worked for other twins may not work for your twins. All babies are different and twin babies only magnify that fact. For me, being very scheduled made my job as a twin mom more manageable. I firmly subscribed to the 1 up, 2 up and 1 eats, 2 eat philosophy of twin parenting and I kept a diary of everything. My girls were sleeping 12 hours a night by 6 months old and were generally easygoing babies. That's what worked for us. It may not work for you. My advice is to find what works for you, and be unapologetic about it. It's not easy to be easygoing when you have two babies (plus an older child)!
I hope those reflections are helpful to anyone out there expecting twins. They're not really the most practical pieces of advice. I could give you those too; however, back to point #5 -- different things work for different families. I'm trying to convey that the twin experience is unique and should be celebrated rather than treated as a problem to solve. The fact is I terribly miss having two infants and would give anything to go back to those days of changing diapers. Not to say I don't love this stage. I do and as a matter of fact, I think 4 might just be the best age ever. They are sweet, smart and self-sufficient. And while all the logistics of having twins are much easier now, the more challenging issues are arising at this age. They are starting to pay more attention to each other and competition/comparison is arising. I think we are at a stage where we have to be very mindful of treating them like two unique individuals and making sure the rest of the world does the same thing.
My girls love each other fiercely! I couldn't imagine anything more beautiful than the bond they share. I can only hope that the bond will last into adulthood. It's a privilege to be their mommy and I wear the twin mom badge proudly.
|We've come along way, |
Here are some other posts related to twin parenting: