Having twins is hard … on your body

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Having twins was hard on my body (and still is).  First there is the stress of the pregnancy: the weight gain, the aches and pains, the hormonal changes, and the restricted activity. These changes stretched and strained my joints and muscles as I carried two babies and a lot of extra weight. I dealt with swollen hands and feet, light-headedness and fatigue.

After the babies are born, there was healing after a c-section. It took time for my body to recover after giving birth. In my case the doctor recommended restricted activity for 6 weeks, but my incision was uncomfortable for more than 6 months. Of course the first days and weeks were hardest while my body was healing and I was breastfeeding two babies.  I was tired and sore.

Then caring for two babies was hard on my body. The repetitive actions of lifting babies, carrying babies, bending over to bath, dress and change babies, and the hours of holding and feeding babies are all focused more on caring the baby than on good posture. Over time, sitting in uncomfortable positions wore on my body. And having two babies and a toddle to care for didn’t leave much time for exercise or taking care of myself.

And then the babies got bigger and heavier and more active. Lifting babies, car seats and diaper bags strengthens some muscles but also puts strain on my body. Hoisting a double stroller in and out of the car made it harder. I definitely get more active as the girls got more active, but again I was too busy caring for them to look after myself.

My girls are 16 months and not yet walking, so I’m not sure of what new challenges they have for my body. I hoping that when they start walking my back will have a chance to rest and heal. Fortunately, the discomfort caused by my feet flattening from the weight gain has improved with custom orthotics, but my doctor says I’ll just have to live with some of the post-pregnancy issues I’ve developed.

I’ve finally got enough of a routine in my life and some childcare options that allow me to go to the gym and to yoga. I’m trying to incorporate more activity in to our daily routine now that the weather is improving. One added benefit is that fresh air makes everyone sleeps better. Looking after my body definitely makes it easier to look after my children. It also gives me a chance to think about something other than who needs my attention now. The benefits are obvious, but sometimes it is hard to get motivated to go to the gym after a long day.

How do you care for your body/yourself? How do you keep motivated when you’re tired? What are the benefits that make it worth the effort?

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13 thoughts on “Having twins is hard … on your body”

  1. I’ve written about this topic myself. The most uncomfortable change in my body is the state of my hands after four years of constant washing. The other day my husband was surprised to note that my hands look older than his .

    Exercise helps in SOOOOOOO many ways. When I’m working out, I’m more patient, I need less sleep, and I feel more comfortable in my skin. I use exercise DVDs, and one my daughters loves to do them with me, although I usually wait until they’re asleep.

    Yesterday, she threw an epic tantrum, and I had to put up with screaming and being kicked in the back for the 30-minute drive home. My husband asked what he could do to help out – he offered dinner, wine, a bubble bath, a chance to take a nap. I asked him to take care of the kids so I could exercise. By bedtime, it all felt manageable again.

    Gyms aren’t possible. After 55 hours a week away from my kids, I’m not going to leave them with a strange babysitter so I can exercise. Also, my husband is overseas a lot, so I can’t argue that it’s Daddy time. My cardio and weights DVDs work great for me, and it doesn’t hurt that my daughters see Mommy taking care of herself and frequently join in.
    .-= Sadia´s last blog ..Overheard 36: Anatomy =-.

  2. I could have written this post. Weight gain, sore back (hips), flat feet, you name it. I’m still up about 25 pounds from my pre-IVF weight, and working on it daily.

    I HAVE to exercise. I feel like total crap if I don’t. I guess that’s the payoff for me, that I feel healthier and stronger when I work out. I am far less sore when I workout than when I don’t.

    I’m lucky in that I’m a SAHM. I feel that gives me a lot more flexibility on when I can work out without feeling the guilt I might feel if I were working outside the home. I can push the jogger on one of my 3X/week jogs, or I can take the kids for a walk in the middle of the day. Because I’ve been “cooped up” with the kids all day, my hubby is more than willing to take care of things so I can get out for a jog or workout to a DVD or Wii Fit when he gets home from work. He knows I’m a better wife if I have that time. :)

    My new favorite workout is Yoga. I have found it does wonders for my post-pregnancy and aging body. It strengthens, tones and stretches, all so important for a 40-year old (and anybody!)

  3. I have 15-month year old twins and still coping with the body changes. The year before I got pregnant I was in the best shape I’d ever been in. Little did I know what was to come.

    Today, I’m still struggling to be consistently active. I’ve done a few charity runs as a fitness goals but I was never able to properly train. I’m just so tired and sore! My back, shoulders, arms and knees ache by the end of day. The only time I can really workout is during their naps, if they nap. I’ve tried to wake up early, but I just can’t seem to get out of bed before they wake. I’ve tried after my husband and I put them to bed. I’m just so tired from the whole day I end up sitting in front of the television.

    Since the weather is getting better I’m trying to make it a point to be active with the twins outside. Although my back takes a beating getting them dressed and carrying them out to the stroller. However, chasing the grass out of their hands before they shove it into their mouths keeps me on my toes. LOL!

    I know I just have to keep trying. I’m hoping to try to have a structured workout 2x a week and the rest will have to be being active with the twins. It’s a start.

    I know the healthier I am the better I feel about myself –which will make me a better mother and wife. Also, another motivation is I want to set a good example for the kids to live an active lifestyle.

  4. Things will get so much easier when they start walking, despite what other people (parents of singletons) say. Everyone told us that it would totally suck because then they would be everywhere. Then I had a wise mother of adult twins tell me that it would get so much easier when they started walking, and she was right. Sure, I can’t let them walk through the store with me at 2 years old, but I don’t have to carry them everywhere!
    .-= Leigh Ann´s last blog ..Books about multiples for all ages =-.

  5. Every part of being more independent has been GREAT for me. I’m not one of those mothers who wants that dependent stage to last forever.

    My one is standing up and cruising and I expect her to talk before her 1st birthday (they’re 10 months now) and I honestly can’t wait!

    My back eased up when they could hold their own bottles and I almost don’t feel like I’ve had a twin pregnancy anymore until I look in the mirror. TO be fair, it’s not really them but me as I’d lost all the baby weight at 5 months and promptly put on 3 kg when I went back to work (canteen food).
    .-= Leigh from 123 blog´s last blog ..Letting go – part 2 =-.

  6. I had a pretty easy pregnancy and recovery, with the exception of my back. I saw three doctors before I finally landed with an orthopaedist who recommended physical therapy. After a couple of months of therapy (when the girls were 5 – 6 months old), my back is 100 times better than it was…but sadly, I don’t think it will ever be “normal”.

    When our girls were much smaller, between 4 and 8 or 9 months old, they napped really consistently in the mornings. I used that time for some mean work-outs. I loved working up a big sweat and feeling great afterwards…and having time for a shower before they got up!

    These days, what works for us is to make time for a walk every day. I do a pretty vigorous walk with our double jogging stroller. It’s actually a pretty decent work-out. I think the fresh air does all of us good.

    Although there are days when I don’t feel like getting out and about, I try to push myself. In the end I always feel better. It helps me rest better, and I love knowing I’m setting a good example for my girls.
    .-= MandyE´s last blog ..Fab 5 Friday =-.

  7. I am 35 weeks pregnant with twins right now, and boy does my back, feet and everything else hurt! This pregancy is so much harder on my body than my first single pregnancy, and I’m only up 12 lbs. from my final weight with my first pregnancy! I am really hope my body recovers well after the babies are born. I have already pulled out my old work out DVD’s and bought a new Yoga DVD for when the doctor says it’s ok to start exercising again.
    .-= Dolli-Mama´s last blog ..A touchy topic =-.

  8. My girls are almost two and I finally feel like I have enough energy during my day to consider working out on a regular basis. I did 6 months of PT with a therapist post-partum and con’t on my own but now I feel like I can step it up a notch but still not doing anything with impact b/c of my back/hip problems having a torqued pelvis after the birth. I am a SAHM so I find the time during nap [after I’ve taken a breather myself] to pop in a yoga/pilates dvd. I also try and get out with the girls for a stroller walk most mornings as well. I often wonder if my body will ever be the same. I feel like my body aged 15 years after 10 weeks of bedrest and all of my back/hip problems.

  9. I was in excellent shape before getting pregnant with my twins. Soon they turn 3 (and soon I turn 40). I have “let myself go” during the last year or so and am fully aware I need to take better care of myself but MAN AM I TIRED. I get a full nights sleep every night and I do go to bed early. But I’m still tired. I know more regular exercise actually WILL give me more energy. During the work week I do occasionally do a noon time workout. My goal is to increase those noon workouts and make them more of a good, healthy habit. I’m really in terrible physical shape compared to before having twins. My mental state is another story but that’s not so great either these days (0:

  10. Ah yes, I feel so much more sore and tired (physically) these days, and I am not sure if it is from the twins themselves (now 2 years old!) and all the carrying/lifting/stooping and stair climbing I still do with them, my lack of yoga and exercise (that used to make a huge difference for me, now I feel like I don’t have the time or energy) or that I am just getting old, ha ha! I think its a mix of all of that.

    I need to be better about getting out for walks with them, or doing exercise without them (the former is way more likely than the latter). Giving myself 15-30 minutes of yoga (even while watching TV or something) helps so much too.

    Some if it is also the sleep debt! I am only now JUST starting to get enough sleep, after years of not, and am hoping that as I get caught up I will feel better all around….
    .-= Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings´s last blog ..The next big transition: big kid beds? =-.

  11. It was great to see what people had to say about twins, but I am extremely angry and upset to see people “bitching” about what it did to their bodies and how tired they are. I would give anything to have my twin sons with me today. They died 11 mos ago, today, due to being born premature at 22wks 2days (incompetent cervix; first pregnancy). They lived for only 2hrs. Regardless of what the pregnancy did to your bodies, be grateful for the fact that you have your twins…some of us only have their memories.

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