Looking back on the time that my twins were infants, sometimes I wonder how I survived that first year without significant hair loss and mental duress.
I have four kids. A sixteen year old boy (Trey), a 4-year-old boy (Jonah), and 21 months behind him the twins: 2-year-olds Max and Macy.
I had Trey when I was just a baby myself. I had gotten pregnant my last semester of high school and gave birth to him during my midterms of my freshman year of college. I finished the semester with a 4.0 and nursed Trey a whole year.
After a failed marriage and several failed pregnancies, Jonah came twelve years later. I was a manager at a huge retail store and went back to work within 8 weeks. I nursed Jonah exclusively, so many hours were spent in my office with the horrible sounds of my electric breast pump working itself (and me) to death.
Three months after Jonah’s first birthday, I learned I was pregnant with twins! There was no elation running through my body. All I felt was fear. I couldn’t fathom that I would be the mother to four and I also stressed about pregnancy loss. (I will write my birth/pregnancy story another time.) The further along my pregnancy progressed, though, my fear was replaced with confidence. I figured I survived being a full time student at only 18 and nursing my baby full time. I survived corporate hell and no sleep for a year with a baby and we were great! I could handle twins! Twins were going to be a cinch!
My husband and I decided I’d stay home full time after all the bed rest and child care costs so I was ready to tackle the task! I was superwoman! Ready to conquer the realm of twins with no hesitation.
Well… hats off to all moms out there, but I’ll take my shirt off and give it to you moms of multiples. Infant twins are tough and I’m a proud survivor.
First of all, knowing that it’s going to be twice the work, and executing it are very different. My twins came out with very different schedules and needs. Neither ever wanted to feed together, sleep together, or anything together. I felt my life was a constant cycle of breastfeeding, pumping, changing, bathing, holding and kissing
I am super blessed my twins came home straight from the hospital, but I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t get Macy to latch on for almost five months. Max was a nursing fool from three weeks on, but my girl needed coaxing. So in addition to eight to ten nursing sessions, I had to pump every three hours. Their toddler brother was very upset he’d been kicked off the mommy milk train and began to throw tantrums at the sight of me doing either.
My house looked like a Babies ‘R Us. I didn’t have much help from anyone because my husband was working constantly and most of my family was far away. My extra hands were swings, bouncers, Boppy pillows and Bumbos. I tried to hold at least one baby at all times because I felt guilty to put them down. I held and rocked my singletons constantly. I cried daily thinking I didn’t bond with my twins the same way.
With twins, I had to learn to just “let it go”. This was the hardest thing to learn and I still struggle with it. My house isn’t the dust free museum of cleanliness it once was. I have relinquished control of laundry, dishes, and pretty much anything that doesn’t need immediate attention. My home is not a pig sty, but my children are evident in every square inch.
The biggest difference of having one infant compared to two was what happened within myself.
I can give lots of advice on what gadgets to use, how to wear twins while pushing a stroller and shopping for six, how to tandem nurse successfully, or how to baby proof anything. I have tons of ‘how-tos’ to hand out.
Those things were helpful to know. The real secret and best piece of wisdom I have though is: Be willing to change.
Be willing to accept defeat. Be okay with crying. Be okay with not being superwoman. You will adapt no matter the circumstances. One baby or three, working or not, single or married. I do so many things I never thought possible.
My twins are now two and it’s a whole new level of difficulty. They run in a dozen different directions every time I blink.
That first year, though… I survived! And so did they.