Because I want to pay it forward, or because I am finally in a place where I feel I can speak on this blog in an expert capacity, I want to share some things that I have learned being a twin mom, for other expectant or experienced twin moms that could benefit (either with the help found, or just a good laugh) from this information. Here goes:
Baby and Body
Let me first say, good job! Being pregnant with twins is twice as hard. There are twice the amount of hormones, and weight that you will carry. You may have more risk associated with these and other factors, so you will have more appointments than you normally had. The babies also have stress of course, and twins often must be delivered before full term. Never ideal. Neo-natal care is often, but I have to say, not always. Many of the moms in my twin-group have had full term multiples with no special care. It is just that the incidence is higher. I think if it does happen that you will need special care, or therapies, that you know where to go to get the help (see Twin Moms Get It, below).
Your body will get messed up. I am sorry, but it is true. There is nothing more frustrating to me then a mom, who was pregnant with one child, tell me about how she “lost all her weight” in one year or less…Ugh. Maybe the weight came off for me, but the skin still knows(!) There is no bringing back the bikini for many twin-moms. Let’s just embrace this, shall we. But let’s not embrace pelvic floor problems, or incontinence. That is not “normal” no matter what your doctor says. Well, maybe it happens more with twin-carries, but there is help. There are many physical therapists that specialize in pelvic floor dysfunctions…look into it, because your doctor may not tell you this. They also may not tell you about Diastasis Recti, where your stomach pooches out in front, because the muscle walls have separated. A physical therapist can help with that too. (I linked to two resources just to give you some background, they are not affiliate links).
Ask for help
Ask the neighbors, kid’s friends parents, siblings, parents, in-laws, and co-workers. You have a lot of work to do especially if there are other kids in the house, aside from the twins…people are waiting to help, and you need to ask. There will be a time when you can pay it forward yourself, even if you can’t see it yet!
Lots of twin parents have other kids already. Some are older and can understand the new-baby expectations, but sometimes you may have just a toddler at home, who all of sudden is a new “big” brother or sister… and may feel pushed off the lap a little too early. That’s where any help in the form of: special attention, play-dates at a friends house, away from the house time with a walk in a stroller, can all help mom spend time with the new baby while also helping an older child feel good. Alternatively, seek help caring for the babies from others who will jump at the chance to watch the sleeping babies or bottle feed while mom can just cuddle the sibling or play a quiet game.
My friend who is a grandmother, had a great idea when her daughter was expecting to deliver at any moment, that when she showed up at the house to see the new twins, she brought a bunch of toys, that she stacked on top of each other, so that it made a huge-looking tower of gifts. When she walked in, the sibling thought of course these gifts are for the babies…but instead, they were for him. What a wonderful surprise! The sibling(s) need to feel that they are not forgotten. This is easier for older kids, that can be helpers, and they also understand more about their new baby, but toddlers that are now “big” sisters or brothers… so help your family by letting them know ahead of time to pay attention to the other kids.
Twins are Two Different Tiny People
You know this. However many people around you will think that since they had two children 10 months apart, that it is the same thing as having twins. It is not (aside from that one little detail, that you had to have them both in your uterus at the same time, people will say that it’s the same). Twins have a unique challenge for parents as they are at the same level at the same time. Feeding, diaper changes, crying…all happens at once, it seems and as a mom, you still have to do one thing at a time…one baby at a time.
Unless you have help around the clock, you have to understand that you can’t do it all. There are lots of mom-groups around, but handling twins for one parent is like juggling fire! I honestly could never go to the library story-times with my boys until they were able to sit quietly in an independent way…the whole mommy-and-me workouts, or library times were just out as options for us…You need one parent per child. It just doesn’t work.
A Note on Leashes and Strollers for big-twins
Twin-toddlers don’t run in the same direction, just because they are twins…they go in two different directions, a lot of the time!! A twin stroller is essential. Sometimes a backpack with a connection to the parent or stroller is essential. Moms of two single-born children may scoff at the “leash” or the 5 year old in the stroller…but safety is first. If the method you are using to keep your twins from running into the road, or lost at the park works for you, then do it! Other twin moms get it! We just do.
Twin Moms Get It
Look to other twin moms for tips and things to do in your area that work for twins…I am a part of my local chapter of a state twin-group, that is part of the Multiples of America group (formerly known as the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club). They have a listing of local chapters in all states (U.S.) and also have tons of information on their site of research studies, tips, books, and so much more. My local chapter organizes mom-only outings, family outings, play meet-ups, and also swaps clothes and participate in a huge toy and clothes swap twice a year- a big money saver for many! Local twin moms will also have lots of recommendations on good twin-friendly outings, or playgrounds that are fenced in (for runners!) or doctors that specialize in certain things for you or the kids.
…the twin groups that are local, often know more information for you (for certain things of course) than anywhere else! I found out more information (not that I needed it all, but more information is always better, I think) on speech therapies, IEPs (for school) and autism resources from twin moms who are negotiating these challenges than from any other resource.
No matter, where you are in your twin-mom journey, there are other twin moms out there who love giving advice and it’s the real-deal, tried-and-true, workable advice. Reach out to them, or email me if you need to connect!