Dear MoM to be,
Congratulations! You’ve recently found out your expecting multiples! The shock has worn off (a little) and if you’re like most MoMs you’ve now entered the Must Find All the Information Mode. This where you begin frantically googling things like:
- Twin pregnancy tummy- images
- How soon do twins sleep through the night?
- Can I afford electricity and diapers for twins?
- Nursing twins-really?
All joking aside I bet you’re a big mess of happy, worried, scared , and excited. We’ve all been there. Crying one minute and smiling the next is completely normal. You’re about to experience pregnancy and parenthood in a very unique and wonderful way. You’ll wish you had other MoMs to talk to and confide in- Don’t worry you’ll find them. Until you do, here’s some advice I wish I’d been given at the beginning of my pregnancy.
When you’re announcing your pregnancy you’ll find parents of singletons saying adorable things like “Better you than me” and “Ugh, I’m so sorry!”. Parents of multiples will squeal with glee, crush you in a hug, and make you a list of all the MoMs groups in your area. Take comfort in the fact that those with actual experience in parenting multiples are the ones excited for you. They know what you’re facing and how amazing it is.
I know you’re wondering and the answer is YES! Your belly is going to get huge. Bigger than you can even imagine. Bigger than the maternity clothes sold in most stores can handle. Even more shocking is that you will grow to miss this belly. My twins are almost two and I’ve just recently started pining for my pregnant belly. I look at pictures of myself pregnant and wish I could feel my sweet babies bump around inside me one more time. You won’t want to, but please take lots of pictures. Document the amazingness of your body.
Caring for newborn multiples is hard. Harder than anyone can prepare you for. Give yourself permission now to do what works in the moment. My twins slept in their swings until they were 9 months old. That’s right… 9 months. If I wanted to sleep (and oh how I did) then they had to be swinging. The only reason they moved to cribs was because they got so heavy the swings stopped working (that was a sad, sad day). Throw out your books, plans, and ideas of how things “should” be. Start practicing your mantra “Whatever works NOW”.
Enjoy long showers and baths, eat hot meals, and wear clean clothes now. Once the babies come these will all become luxuries. This sounds horrible and awful but I promise you won’t mind (much). The first year with your multiples will most likely be a blur. I have some very distinct memories that I cherish, but mostly what I remember is a feeling. I was sleepy, overwhelmed, and so very happy.
Practice walking briskly while smiling and nodding. This is how you will maneuver through all public spaces for the next two years. The amount of comments you are receiving right now about your growing belly will multiply by a million when you have infant multiples in tow. Don’t stop, don’t engage, don’t make eye contact. I’m kidding… just prepare yourself. You will attract attention and people will love to talk about your babies. Sometimes this will bother you and sometimes it won’t.
This last one is a biggie… You probably have some very specific fears regarding your pregnancy and postpartum period. You may worry that you’ll end up on bed rest or that you won’t be able to nurse your babies. As scary and awful as these things seem I promise you that if they do occur you will handle it. You will rise up to the challenge and do what needs to be done. Parents of multiples are a unique breed. We are a resilient and creative bunch. We figure things out and make it work. YOU are now a part of this group which means you are more than capable of conquering your fear. I had two worries during my pregnancy: that I might have to have a C section and that the babies would potentially have NICU stays. I have 3 other children and thinking about managing babies in the hospital with the needs of my kids at home scared me. Both of those things happened. I gave birth vaginally to Laurel and had Rhodes by C section 40 minutes later. To add to the fun my epidural wasn’t working so I had to be put totally asleep for Rhodes’ birth. My babies were born at 34 weeks and had to stay in the NICU for 2 weeks. It was a rough time, but my husband and I pulled together and did it. You can handle whatever this phase of life throws at you.
Please enjoy this time, sweet MoM. You have so many happy and exciting things ahead of you.
Elizabeth, Laurel, and Rhodes
What advice do you wish you could give your pregnant self?