Two late to take it back

In my first post of this series, I talked about preparing for twins during pregnancy. I am going to continue that theme today.

 

The Issue: Family support

 

What I thought: When I was pregnant, I had so many people wishing me well and offering help. I honestly felt like I would have gobs of folks lined up and out the door when my twins were born. I never thought otherwise, in fact.

 

What really happened: No one showed up. We had help the first two weeks and barely anything after that. I was overwhelmed, depressed and exhausted.

 

My advice now: Even if you think the world will show up, plan for it not happening. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of my blogging days writing about this topic because of my experience. There are lots of ways to help mothers of multiples and for MOMs to help themselves, too. Check out these old HDYDI posts of mine here and here.

9 thoughts on “Two late to take it back

  1. You are so right! That is exactly what happened to us! I was really hurt by it too! But also VERY proud that we did everything and got through everything on our own! Our b/g twins were six weeks early and our daughter came home with us but our son stayed for 2-1/2 weeks. I think people thought we only had one child at home that it must be do-able or something. It was harder trying to get the NICU with one twin at home. And if you are like me, I was not about to ‘beg’ for help! So unless you came knocking on my door insisting you help out, I wasn’t asking!

  2. I agree, but I think it has more to do with other people now knowing how to help. We had meals brought to us from our church for almost 2 months. Other than that, we were on our own. My mom lives close, so she was available almost any time. I just had to call. When my boys were a 6 weeks old I finally gave in and called on some friends who had offered to help. They were more than willing and it was a huge blessing…but, I had to get over my pride and ask them first. Two different ladies at church have had twins in the last couple of months and that is one piece of advice that I gave them–accept help when others offer, tell them how they can help you. People are wanting and willing.

  3. We also had a similar experience although the one saving grace was my mom. Although she lives three hours away she came almost every other weekend for the first couple of months to keep the house running orderly and me sane. My MIL on the other hand stayed with us for a few weeks and added MORE work to my already overwhelming list of to do’s. While she was with us I cooked three meals a day, cleaned up afterward, did all the laundry and housework, and even managed several outings so she wouldn’t be “bored at home” , all while nursing newborn twins around the clock and running after a two year old. The last straw was the afternoon I was almost delirious from lack of sleep and she announced that she was taking a nap since she woke up sooooo early that morning …. at 7:30 am!! That was the day I thanked her for her “help” and sent her packing! Needless to say things have been uncomfortable since.

  4. I agree it’s a situation where you very specifically have to ask for help. People don’t know what or when or how to help without being asked!

    It’s also a situation of managing your expectations. We were new in the area when we had our twins, and living very far away from family. So we really had no one to ask for help and knew we’d be doing it all. I think not expecting help, we didn’t really miss it when it didn’t arrive :)

    Plus, those times when my parents did come into town were a little piece of heaven! Though I must admit that Cristal and I apparently share a MIL…I had the same exact experience with “help”. Sometimes the wrong help is a thousand times worse than no help!

  5. Yea, we were on our own. This is mostly our own fault for living on a remote island. What used to drive me bananas the first year was all those books and articles about having twins that said the thing to do was have others minding your babies 24hrs a day, so you can just concentrate on breastfeeding. Ummm, who are these people that can afford round the clock help? Angelina Jolie?

    My husband and I became an incredibly close team. I think the time right after the birth was the closest we’ve ever been. We may not have known what we were doing, but we were very supportive of each other, and that made all the difference.

    It’s funny, I always desperately wanted help, but when relatives did come for visits they always drove me crazy second guessing the methods my husband and I came up with. I think it’s great to have help if you can (the right kind of help!) but if you have just one person in your corner, fully supportive, you can do just fine :)
    .-= Jungletwins´s last blog ..It’s the End of the World as we Know it… =-.

  6. We don’t have much family in the area, but had tons of people (friends, neighbors, colleagues) volunteer to help us while I was pregnant. I was so fearful that they all would show up at the same time on the same day, and I would be overwhelmed with all the people in my house. Someone (I really, at this point, have no idea who) recommended that we use lotsahelpinghands.com to organize people and tasks. It worked wonders for us. It’s basically an online calendar where you can post specific tasks (housework, baby help, rides needed, meals delivered, etc.) and then people, who you’ve approved to visit your site, can sign up to be helpful in the way that they wish to help. It takes out the direct asking, which was really hard for me. We had meals delivered 2-3 times a week for the first 3 months, people came to care for the babies so we could eat the meals that were delivered, and we actually had people pick up and drop off relatives at the airport. I can’t say enough good things about this free service.

  7. We didn’t expect non-family help at the beginning; after all, I was on maternity leave and being able to focus on the girls was luxury enough! My coworkers took up a collection and got us gift certificates to restaurants near the NICU, a most thoughtful and useful gift.

    My twins were in the NICU for two and three weeks, and the nurses were angels. Perhaps in a way, we got lucky, with the hospital easing us into parenting. My in-laws came from the other side of the country, and they were amazing. They hit the perfect balance of letting us feel our way as parents when we needed to, giving advice when we asked, reminding us to take care of ourselves, and providing an extra pair of hands when it got overwhelming. They still do. They managed to schedule their lives to give me six weeks of support after the twins were born. I only had the girls by myself for about a week before my husband came home from his military training exercise.

    My mother had promised to come, but we expected her to flake out, which she did. When she did finally visit, I was really glad I was already confident with the twins, because I spent two weeks playing chauffeur and cleaning up after her. (How someone makes such a mess of the kitchen, I cannot imagine.)

    The times where I’ve needed help since the newborn haze, my neighbours have stepped up, and I’ve tried to return the favour. My husband’s a soldier, so he’s away every other year. I’ve had a neighbour help me clean vomit off the floor in the middle of the night; she’s pregnant now, and I really hope I can be there for her once Baby arrives. I have a friend who has a standing offer to let my girls sleep over if I just need a break. I’ve only taken her up on it once, but it was wonderful.

    I think part of Shawn’s lesson is to pay it forward. If you’ve received help, help the next person. If you commit to supporting a family, do it. If you WISH you’d received help, treat others the way you wish you had been treated.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Learning happiness =-.

  8. The thing I learned with my daughter that I took to heart when my twins arrived is ASK FOR SPECIFIC HELP. Lots of people said ” let me know what you need” but the first time around I was too overwhelmed and shy to ask. This time I ask all the time, and get a lot more help, from people making us dinners to playing with my older daughter to helping with laundry.

    People want to help but often don’t know how and don’t want to intrude. You have to ask for what you need.
    .-= nonlineargirl´s last blog ..Pata-Pata =-.

  9. I feel better knowing that I am not alone with the visiting parents from…
    After my girls were born, my parents – mother, father & step mother came in from out of town (only live 1.5 hours away) for the week and all stayed at our house. My DH family lives near us so we didn’t have to house them too. My poor husband was responsible for entertaining, cooking, cleaning, laundry and caring for our 4 yo daughter (shuffling her back & forth to daycare and to visit mommy too). My family is apparently useless and clueless; to top it off, my husband’s family told him he should be grateful that my family was there to “help” and of course he should do these things. When I came home, there was a point where my husband and I were up with both girls, one who hadn’t stopped crying for over 12 hours and my mother and his aunt were sitting there watching us try to get the babies to settle at 3 am. My husband yelled at them “we don’t need and audience for this. Go to sleep so you can take the next shift and give us a break!” Then it got worse. On the morning after everyone finally left, I returned to the hospital with heart failure (stress from the pregnancy, fine now). Well, they all came back and stayed for about a month between them all. My husband is still scarred from it all (it got really ugly) and their relationships (and mine with them as well) has suffered for it. Some families come together in times of crisis, others take the time to tell you exactly how they feel about things.
    The kicker of the whole story though is that during the entire pregnancy all my family would say is “it takes a village to raise children, especially two. Anything you need we’ll do”. Well since we essentially kicked everyone out after a month of their “help” we haven’t really seen them since. Maybe a day visit every 2 or 3 months. Now, we’re not complaining about that part, but what happened to the village?

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