Nothing can truly prepare you for newborn twins.
When the girls were born, I was already a mom four times over. I had successfully kept four little boys alive, and yet, I was totally unprepared to bring a set of twins home from the hospital.
In some ways, it was like starting over again.
Well, I’m a survivor of sorts. The twins turned three on Monday. Somehow I’ve managed not to ruin them beyond repair.
I admit, a lot of what got me through my early days of twin parenthood was the help and support of the multiple community. I have several moms of twins in my city that I could see face to face and were so happy to see me cart around my two pink bundles of joy. I also found many, many supportive multiple moms on the internet.
If there is something I learned about multiple moms, it is that they are so happy to share what works or does not work. Most of the moms I met had twins at least a few years older than mine. So I knew that twin motherhood was survivable. So, I asked my online tribe the question,
“What bit of advice do you wish you had been given right before your babies were born?”
You see, there is a lot of advice that gets thrown at a pregnant woman throughout pregnancy, but that last-minute pep talk? Those are the words that stuck with me. I still remember my friend Kathy telling me the day before my induction, “I wish someone had told me how much fun this would be!” Those words stuck with me. Because Kathy was not a mom of adorable five-year old twins, or fully grown adult twins. Kathy had given birth to her twin boys just three months before I had my girls. While she was still “in the trenches” she was finding the fun and joys in twindom! What an encouragement!
@Dakotapam If someone had told me "when people ask to help, it's okay to give them household chores" life would have been easier.
— Amber Hassler (@upnorthtwinmom) January 16, 2013
Amber’s advice really resonated with me. Giving birth to twins was a very humbling time. I am a strong, determined, “can-do” woman. I don’t complain much. I power through a lot. But having twins brought me to my knees. Two newborn babies crying at one time are very overwhelming! I learned that when people asked how they could help me, I had to give them a way to help! Other moms cooked for our family for weeks after the girls were born. Women came over to clean my house. For some women the thought of being waited on like this sounds heavenly, but for this control-freak mom it was humbling. I had to accept help, because I needed help. My friends pitching in was a necessity, not a luxury!
My friend Krystle wrote, “It will be nothing like you expect.” I know that this is true, as I met Krystle online and was a long-distance breastfeeding and all around moral support person. When one child at a time is all you know, having twins really can turn things upside down!
Laura (with twins a year older than mine) writes,
“you will have those moments when you break down and cannot handle it all. It is OK and it is OK to ask for help. This is not a sign of weakness. Also, if the help that is being offered is not what you need and you need something else it is OK to say “thank you for the offer but what would really help is …”
They will BOTH learn how to drive AT THE SAME TIME. Talk about sticker shock All joking aside, it is a learned process and it is just like mothering one child. Always ask for help and advice when you need it.
Nicole advised, “Organized chaos will become your new normal, try to enjoy it when you can because the first year is a blur.”
Write every thing down! I forgot which baby I feed at what time and who had pooped all the time! I eventually figured out that I needed to “chart” things! It really helped when the needed medication.
And sweet Nicolette, who took her lunch break to come and hug me while I was a weepy mess when Emily was in the NICU, knows all too well the joys and frustrations that multiples bring. . .her triplets are 14! She said, “Hang on ‘cuz it’s going to be a wild, wonderful ride!!!”
All of these moms are so, so right.
Forget the advice about schedules, and color coding, and all the other stuff that will get thrown at you! Just remember to accept help, set aside your expectations, write things down, and enjoy the ride!
What advice would you give a brand new twin mom right before her babies are born?