Twinfant Tuesday: Getting that Motherly Feeling

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Categories Finances and Saving, Parenting, Theme Week

When I entered into the new, thrilling world of motherhood, I did it with a bang – TWINS!  And to be honest, I wasn’t very prepared for it, emotionally, mentally, or financially.  Motherhood was not all that I had expected it to be.  I didn’t experience that “love at first sight” experience that everyone seems to talk about when giving birth to their children.  I wasn’t getting that motherly feeling at first.  Life was crazy!  And I didn’t have time to slow down and appreciate the two precious little people who I was blessed to have call me mother.

On my blog, I wrote a blog post when my twins were two months old.  Here’s a snippet:

that motherly feelingBecoming a mother is one of the hardest things I have had to do, because, to be honest, the first several weeks I felt like I was in survival mode. I was just “being” a mother. I was just playing the part, feeding them, changing them, burping them, and wishing they would stop crying and fussing.

I did not enjoy breastfeeding very much because it hurt like crazy and I seriously felt like a milk cow. It’s ALL I did, round the clock since they needed to be fed every 3 hours, and with two of them, feeding them back to back could take up to an hour! I didn’t understand why I needed to breastfeed if formula is almost just as good (other than the fact that we can’t afford formula).

They didn’t see very much at first or smile, and so it didn’t feel very rewarding or magical. I was just performing motherly duties. And getting up in the middle of the night is SO hard. I would dream I was getting up, changing them and feeding them, only to discover I was still in bed, and they were still crying.  Also for the first six weeks I was still recovering from major surgery and giving birth.

Now, do not misunderstand me. I love them very much. I hated having Lisa in the NICU for three days (after birth). It broke my heart to see her hooked up to tubes and not with us downstairs. She was my baby! I hated when Alison got sick and was throwing up a lot of her food and wasn’t eating very much for several days. I was so worried about her because I care for her so much. But, I wasn’t getting the “being a mother is the best thing in the whole world” feeling….

And I go on to say how at two months postpartum, I finally started to get that motherly feeling.  And it was gradual.  There wasn’t a sudden moment of epiphany.

Part of the change happened because our situation changed – we moved across the country from Utah to Indiana, moving in with my in-laws, where I had extra help.  Another part was that I went to a lactation specialist who gave me tips for getting one of my daughters to open her mouth up more, so my nipples stopped hurting so much.  Another big help was when my babies started sleeping through the night!  (Sleep is heavenly!)  Also, one of my daughter’s daytime crying started dying off, and my other daughter was being weaned off an expensive formula the pediatrician recommended, but no longer seemed necessary.  As things in our lives started to settle, and we got into a regular routine, I could see how blessed I truly was.

Although that motherly feeling was finally present at two months out, there was still so much more to come.

Another move in another two months’ time to a place I had never lived, far away from anyone I knew, would again have me questioning much about who I was and what my purpose was, and what exactly it meant to be a mother, especially when I was home, alone, all day long, without a car, as my husband started his first year as a high school math teacher.

My first year with twins was a whirlwind.  And experiencing motherhood for the first time with twins, without having much help, left me completely windblown, as I tried to hang on for the ride.  I was forced to learn as I went.

In a different post I wrote (when my kids were 2.5 years old):

[N]othing can prepare you for being a mother, especially not to two at once.  It’s a whole new world of experiences, of delights and frustrations, of sorrow and gladness, of pain and joy.  […] Parenting is hard, hard work, and often extremely frustrating, because you don’t see the fruits of your labor for a long time.

Mothering is a selfless sacrifice that is often unappreciated, under-recognized, and underscored.  You give and give and give.  And sometimes I have a hard time giving or making motherhood a selfless sacrifice, because I am selfish.  I crave time to edify myself for my personal benefit.  I spend so much of my day towing to the needs of little people, that I often just want to connect with the outside world to feel like a person of worth outside of my small sphere of my home. I want to be more than “just” a mother and wife.  And that selfishness is hard to overcome.

And then there is the doubt – you doubt yourself, your parenting, your choice of activities, and how you measure up to others.  You fear that your faults and imperfections will one day come back to haunt you in the form of defiant teenagers or vagabond young adults.  You worry if you are teaching them enough academia so they’ll know how to read before kindergarten, or if you are teaching them enough about Jesus and religion.  And you also start thinking about when you should introduce sports or musical instruments, if you should home-school or not, if you should split up your twins or keep them together.  But, most especially you worry about how to protect their innocence for as long as possible.  Motherhood stresses you out and makes you think so much about someone under your care.  And again, nothing prepares you for that, and I am still trying to learn how to be a good mother but still retain some sort of identity.

I had to learn how to get that motherly feeling, but when I did, it came full force, in its mamma bear mode, stressing me out, making me care deeply and profoundly about daughters well-beings.  I now experience that motherly feeling every day, not just with my three year old twins, but with my newborn son as well.  In my experience, you learn to love fully, yet differently with each passing month and each passing year.  And that motherly love changes, and your kids break heart again and again in so many tiny ways, as they do more and more amazing things all by themselves.

I’m glad that I experienced twins as my first, despite its steep learning curve.  I’m glad that I had to work very hard to experience that deep, satisfying, truly blissful feeling of being a mother.  I’m glad that I did get that motherly feeling, even if it seemed to take forever.

If you are a new twin mom, how have you felt in your new role?  How have you learned to embrace motherhood and garner that motherly feeling?

ldskatelyn is a stay-at-home mom to 3yo fraternal g/g twins and a 5mo baby boy.  She loves being a mother with all her heart, and is so grateful that she gets to stay home, despite how hard it has proved at times. She blogs about her life and more at What’s up Fagans?

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Katelyn is a stay-at-home mom to three year old fraternal twin girls, Lisa and Alison, and a brand new baby boy, named Michael. She is enjoying having a newborn again and also loving the dynamics (so far) of having kids of different ages. When Katelyn isn’t playing or taking care of her kids, she’s often reading a book, blogging, watching a movie, or taking care of business. She’s also a talented artist, a Sunday School teacher to a group of 6-year old kids, a supportive spouse to her graduate student/math teacher husband, and a musician. She works hard to have a clean house, great preschoolers, and a happy home. She shares bits of advice and much of her life over at her personal blog What’s up Fagan’s?

10 thoughts on “Twinfant Tuesday: Getting that Motherly Feeling”

  1. I was terrified that I wouldn’t bond with my girls at all after the horrible birth experience I had and not being able to see them for over a day. I also thought that not being able to hold my NICU babies would keep us from bonding, but I did have that instant feeling of connection… once I knew which of the NICU babies were mine!

    1. I am glad you were able to bond, even in the NICU. One of my main motivators for having a VBAC with my son, was so I could bond with him instantly. I didn’t get to hold either of my daughters until 4 hours after delivery, and the one in the NICU not until much later that night. I hated it. And I do believe it affected me getting that motherly feeling.

        1. Seriously, night and day difference. I have been SO ridiculously happy in love with this adorable son of mine from day one. I think a large part of that is that with the girls I was recovering from a c-section, so I wasn’t really myself, being hopped up on some heavy drugs for a while, all while learning the ropes of being a first-time mother.

          The funny thing is, I didn’t actually cry when I delivered my son, I just smiled. Really big, and happy. So glad he was here. With the girls, it was a planned section, and they pulled down the curtain and lifted them up one by one as they delivered them, and I remember crying and being excited and nervous at the same time. And then they were wheeled away and I was left on the operating table as they finished up, falling asleep as they were doing so. And then I pretty much slept for an hour in the recovery room… and then they moved to a different room, where I waited for a few more hours before I got to really see Alison for the first time, for who knows why. And I remember thinking she was so cute, and she nursed great right away. But, it was odd only having her with us, cause didn’t I just have two kids?

  2. The part about dreaming you had woken up and fed them – argh! I hated that. I remember arguing quite fiercely with my husband that I had just fed the babies when he woke me up and brought them to me. I was so sure my dream was real. And I had lots of terrible dreams about bad things happening to them. Those have thankfully passed now that I get regular, peaceful sleep again.

  3. Both times I think I was mesmerized for a long time that the peacefully bundled up baby(ies) actually came out if my body. It’s kind of surreal.

    Then with my first I immediately cried, knowing finally how my parents feel about having me. But with my twins I didn’t feel an immediate connection because I was so preoccupied with how their sister would react and how her life would change. Of course now all 3 have the most amazing bond with each other!

    1. Interesting! I totally get the surreal thing about looking at these kids and being amazed that I made them, that they came out of my body!

  4. I’m SO happy I stumbled upon this blog, I am going through the 1st part of your blog right now and it is SO frustrating! My twin girls are 6 months now and me and their father are separated (more physical than anything) but very actively co-parenting. The problem for me though is the fact that we live in 2 different households (I live back home with my parents blehhh lol) so I don’t get the help I would like. I had a bond with my girls automatically, I had them early then they were in the NICU for 6 weeks and I was there everyday, trying to spend as much time as I could and also learn as much as I could before they came home. I pumped every 3 hours for the first 6 weeks (talk about annoying!) and then my milk dried up afterwards :( I never really got a chance to breastfeed because they were born so young that they automatically were fed through the tubes than bottlefed once their sucking reflexes kicked in. But they were drinking breast milk, so I had to switch them to formula instead, which I hated at first. Anyways, I just started going back to school and have been at home with the girls and have been itching to get back to work. I didn’t though because my ex would rather me stay home with the girls (not to mention daycare would be SO expensive), and he just takes care of my bills. But me being so independent (and I hate feeling like a kid having to ask for money from someone UGH), I really want to work even if its just part-time. I find myself very frustrated with him because I barely have time now for ANYTHING since I have the girls all the time. He comes over and helps me but then he has his own life once he goes home and I think I’m definitely starting to feel resentful because I never get that break. We have a good relationship (way better than most exes) but he really doesn’t understand how taxing emotionally and physically it is to have the girls 24/7 and I have to sacrifice simple things like going to the mall, or rearrange my whole schedule if I need to run errands because I have to feed and change the girls first. Like you, I feel that I have that selfish streak where I want time to myself. And I try not to feel bad about it, I also was totally unprepared for motherhood but even more unprepared for twins. It has taught me a lot about patience and sacrifices I will tell you that. And I love my girls so much, we’ve had a bond from the beginning but now that they know who I am, “MOMMY”, I love them more and more. Sorry for the LONG post but I’ve wanted to get this out for a long time LOL I speak my mind often but I feel like I’m talking to brick walls and I have no one in my family who can relate to having two babies and being single at the same time so I get some pretty unrealistic advice.

    1. Welcome to the community! We all have a different set of challenges to face, (I wasn’t single, exactly, when my girls were little, but their dad was deployed a lot, and now that we are divorced, we don’t co-parent, which breaks my heart), but we all get that caring for two babies is hard, hard, hard. Please know that this is always a place you can come for a listening ear and people who (at least kind of) “get it.” Hang in there. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, but your priorities are in the right place.

      Have you looked for a Mothers of Multiples group in your area? You might be able to find some kindred spirits and realistic help there.

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