what I wish someone told me

I was asked if I could talk to a mom who is expecting twins by a teacher at our preschool drop in.  Long story short, the expectant mom is a neighbour who I see almost daily walking her two kids to school though we have never got beyond a nod and a “hello, how are you?” before.  She is usually walking by while I’m wrestling my toddlers into their stroller and yelling at the dog to just “BE QUIET ALREADY!”  (It’s been surprisingly difficult to tone down my language and drop the “shut ups” now that we have kids but that’s another post. I never say “shut up” to people, just my dog. He’s very yappy.  Anyway.)

So we finally had a “quiet” moment to talk while all our kids were busy playing or at school.  My new friend already has two kids, one in school and one still home.  She appears to me to be overwhelmed by the surprise of two babies on the way and I feel real sympathy for what is ahead of her in the next year.

When I had my twins almost 19 months ago, they were my first and I was lucky enough to be able to stay home on (almost) bed rest for two months before they arrived.  I could just nap and eat. And once they were here, it was challenging to say the least, but I had no other little ones to care for.

What did I need to hear when I was pregnant with two?  That it would be OK.  That it would be hard, but that we would get through it.

My friends with kids warned me that “You’ll never sleep again!  Ha! Ha!”  The sleep deprivation was no joke.

That breastfeeding can be very challenging for some and that most likely you will need to supplement with formula until your milk comes in and you get yourself some rest. That there are ways to boost your milk supply with diet, herbs, pumping, and/or medication.  See a lactation consultant before you even leave the hospital if need be.  Oh, and pumping sucks.  You just gotta do it.

That if you can afford it (and I couldn’t) get yourself a night nanny so that you can take care of your babies with a clear head.  That they will stop crying.

And don’t do it by yourself.  When people offer to help, take it.  When people want to visit the babies, ask them to bring food.  Do the dishes, wash the bottles, walk the dog, fold the laundry, take the babies for a walk in the stroller.  You don’t need to  do it all yourself.  People want to help you, they just need you to tell them how.

We are in year two now, and though it has it’s own challenges, life is so much easier than in those early days with two newborns.

It does get better.  And you can do it.  And it’s so worth it.

What do you wish someone told you when you were pregnant with multiples?

You can catch up with me and my toddler twin boys at http://littlegrovers.blogspot.com/

7 thoughts on “what I wish someone told me

  1. I wish someone had told me to expect the constant stream of (mostly well meaning) twin anecdotes that people want to share with you … usually when you’re at the checkout with screaming babies in the cart trying to juggle your phone, purse, change bag while opening snacks to pacify those screaming kids. That and the ridiculous questions…
    Idiot: Are they identical?
    Me: Yes!
    Idiot: Boy and girl?
    Me: Do you want some time to think about that one?

    Great post by the way! Thanks!
    Mx
    P.S. My twins have turned 3, and despite new challenges with each stage … it does get even easier!

  2. As a new mom to 2 month old twin boys I totally agree that the sleep deprivation is no joke! I keep hearing about all my friends babies who sleep through the night and nap during the day. My boys still eat every 3 hours all night long and only take cat naps during the day, very rarely at the same time! It is relieving to know it does get better! I received advice from friends but never another twin mommy. I would have loved advice from another mom of multiples.

  3. You never truly believe the horror stories people love to tell you. You always somehow think it will be different for you. I remember when I was pregnant and someone asked me if I would have “help,” I thought she was insane. Why would I need help? Fortunately, I learned very, very early after my twins were born that I would indeed need help and I had no problem taking it.

  4. Very cute photo of your two! I wish I had known another mum of twins who would have shared any stories. I definitely prefer the “It’s hard, but you’ll get through it,” approach, and I am liking the “it gets easier,” line. I wish someone had told me that it’s completely normal and not to feel bad about having no time for myself or others (at first), and to accept that others will have a strong presence with your children very early on, just because you can’t take care of two babies with high needs, on your own, all the time. And that it’s fine. I did know that I would need help, but I didn’t realise how much.
    I wish I had accessed some MoT blogs before they were even born! I wish I knew that the best thing is to pick out what works for you.
    I could go on and on….I have a friend miles away, pregnant with twins. Hoping all this helps. Your friend it lucky to have your thoughts and all others ideas thrown out at her.
    My husbands advice: you’ll be tested. You’ll need patience. The only way to deal with personal weaknesses and faults that you might have never known about, is to accept them and understand them. And not to beat yourself up about them.

  5. I do agree with (and love! ) the prior post, which included the husband’s advice: “My husbands advice: you’ll be tested. You’ll need patience.”
    I wish someone had just told me straight out that my life would change dramatically and completely and to just let go of all my old expectations because the entirety of my being would be radically transformed. And my twins were healthy and almost full term, and I have a very capable and involved husband, and I still struggled mightily just to “survive” caring for TWO. Keeping them safe and fed and clean and accounted for and out of trouble and God knows what else every waking hour of every day tested limits I knew not, until I lived through it. And it actually got harder when they were toddlers (twin tornadoes) around age 2. When they were toddlers I hit a low point in my own well being. My own psychological shortcomings (!) became so clear. I am only now digging out as my twins have turned 4 years old. You will be tested, it will be a wild ride. Whatever faith you have, you will need it more than ever. Your marriage will be tested! Try to get in agreement with your husband, in advance, about your night time plans for getting the babies through the night. Two sleep deprived adults is worse than one. Make sure at least one of you gets decent sleep so they can relieve the other spouse the next day for a long nap. And get the babies on a feeding schedule from day one, if at all possible! Hang on and good luck!

  6. To elaborate on the night time plan – when you add twins to a family with older sibling(s) – my recommended plan is this: The mom sleeps in the same room as the twin babies for the first month or so at home, and goes to bed with them EARLY, and takes care of night time feeds in the babies room without waking the husband or the other kids in the process. This enables the husband to handle the older kid(s) bedtime routine whilst you are already down for the night with the babies in another room! I put a mattress on the floor next to the twins crib (when they still shared a crib) and this was a lifesaver for making night time feeds quick and quiet. It may be worth considering!

  7. Have a backup plan for everything. Most particularly for help. Have a second babysitter/nanny/relative lined up ready to go. Our nanny left when my babies were 3 weeks old (long story), the day before my husband was heading overseas for two months. I was home alone for two weeks with my twins and two year old until I could arrange for my sister to come to stay with me to help. It was not a good situation for anyone!

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