As I am reflecting on this first year of life with my twins, it is easy to immediately think of the obvious hard aspects. The several hours a month preparing bottles. Changing approximately 10-12 diapers per day. Tireless attempts to keep our girls on the same sleep schedule. As soon as my twins were born, I learned logistically that many parts of our routine were going to be very different than if we had only one. Though I became a professional strategist at trying to time everything around two different babies, my takeaways from this past year can’t be quantified. My hope is that these things I have learned (and at times am still working on) can help other twin moms in those early stages.
Learn to say yes AND no.
This is a learning curve that all families with a new baby must wrap their heads around. However, when juggling multiples, I knew I needed to clearly understand the importance of both actions. Understanding what your family needs with two more in tow will sometimes look like turning down social gatherings or family events. On the flip side, it can also be very easy to get in the habit of saying no, because let’s face it — it’s hard to get two little humans changed, fed, clothed, and into a car seat. Challenging yourself to say yes to things can be worth the extra effort, especially if it’s an outing that will fill your cup. Grabbing dinner during the witching hour may not work for you in this season of life, but taking a walk with a friend while pushing the stroller? Say yes to the doable! Deciphering between the no and the yes is difficult, but mastering that action can be monumental to your overall happiness as a mother of multiples.
Understand that conflicting feelings are real and normal — and it is 100% healthy to let yourself feel them.
In those first few weeks with my daughters, I would go into phases of having strong feelings of sadness that I wasn’t able to experience with my girls individually. I felt guilty and ashamed for feeling so negative and out of sorts. I loved them both, and I loved that we were fortunate enough to have these healthy twins. But I could not shake the envy I would feel thinking of other moms and their one-on-one experience with their baby. Talking with a professional was a game-changer in helping me through that period. I was lucky enough to have a therapist who happened to have six-year-old twins (hence tip #3!) and being able to voice my thoughts to her gave me validation and helped me move past those initial hard feelings. Even though it felt counterintuitive, talking with someone and giving myself permission to have those thoughts helped combat the shaming and self-blame.
Talk to other twin moms.
No one understands quite like another mom of multiples. All mothers can relate to one another and find solace when in the trenches, but the truth is there were times when being a twin mom felt completely isolating. While it was still helpful to surround myself with other moms, I realized that unless you are a mom of twins, no one quite gets what you’re going through as they do. I was fortunate to have several people in my life who had twins of various ages. They gave me advice on how to get out of the house and run errands on my own. They loaned me double pillows and car seat strollers. They listened as I spoke candidly about tandem feeding. Being able to look ahead two years, five years, and even twelve years, helped me envision my families’ future with our twin girls. Find your mom village, no matter what that looks like, but tap into resources from local twin mom groups if possible. These women can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and support, and I hope to continually pay it forward to other twin moms as they did for me.