So you’re in the doctor’s room, being poked and prodded in a most undignified way.
I guess you have to accept that it’s par for the course when you’re pregnant.
All your dignity goes out the window. But finally the grainy image appears on the screen and you feel all gooey because you see your little bean in there.
Until the doc says with a delighted giggle: “Oh wait, there are two.”
Finding out you are having twins is pretty shocking.
Many women have told me how they wished they had or could have twins. I always smile politely but inside I snort.
Because it’s much more romantic on paper, let me tell you!
But hey ho, you have to get used to it all.
And apart from the hugeness and possible complications of a high risk pregnancy, you feel that it’s pretty neat to be a twin mama!
Finally after months and months of stressing about all the stuff you need to get, the puzzling about the logistics of breastfeeding, the awe at the sheer amount of food you can consume and the amazement at how enormous you are, the babies arrive.
And it’s a whole another level once your little beans are actually in the world. If I look back now, I wish I could have given myself the low down of what really matters and what I can just let go of.
That’s why I’m telling you future mom of twins what you really need to know.
1. You Don’t Need All the Stuff
I was obsessed with getting everything that was on some crazy list I had found.
It was a long list. And it was an expensive list.
And I was devastated about the things that we weren’t able to afford. But you soon realize that you don’t actually need all the stuff.
Your babies are going to share everything longer than you think because they are going to be small.
There’s no need to get two travel cots and two wooden cots for home, for example. One of each, or even just one travel cot, is going to be enough for a while.
The same goes for cupboards, changing tables and all other big-ticket items. The the thing you are going to need is lots and lots of diapers! So I suggest investing your money there.
2. Get a Sensible Stroller
Twin strollers are insanely expensive.
And because my twins were my first pregnancy, I was going to take out a second mortgage to get the stroller of my dreams. Luckily we weren’t able to buy that one and had to settle for a second hand Maclaren Twin Techno. And it was such a good buy.
It lasted us for years and we sold it on again for a fairly decent price.
The most important things to remember about a twin stroller are that it can fit through a normal door, that you can drive it easily and that you can adjust it so that it lasts for a few years.
3. Don’t Fear Second Hand
During my pregnancy I had visions of beautiful pristine white furniture, fashionable designer clothes and shoes and only the very best mommy equipment.
Once again, this did not happen.
But one thing I did realize, is that twin mamas stick together.
Moms would tell me about twin mamas they knew. And twin mamas would tell me about other twin moms they knew. It was like an amazing supportive club with lots of lots of useful second hand goodies. I got clothes and pumps and carriers and bottles and books. And they were all used by me with appreciation.
4. Breastfeed or Don’t
There is so much pressure to breastfeed exclusively nowadays.
And to do so for as long as possible.
I also held this belief for a long time.
I was adamant that my boys would be on the boob for at least two years. And used to exhaust myself keeping my big hungry boys satisfied.
I had cracked bleeding nipples because there was no recovery time. I remember crying with frustration, pain and tiredness. But I was so bloody-minded that I just carried on.
I finally got to 7 months and could go no more. I think I would have enjoyed those first months more of I wasn’t so hard on myself. Be kind to yourself. Do what you can.
A happy mama is just as important as happy babies!
5. Get a Supportive Tribe
Rally the troops, call in favours, scratch backs and get a tribe going.
You are going to need all the support you can get. I have control issues at the best of times.
And when my boys were babies, in my mind, nobody was able to look after them as well as I could. As I look back now, I see that everybody tried to help.
But I was in such a mist of adrenaline and anxiety and exhaustion, that I couldn’t let go. Take all the offers of help you can because everybody will be much happier.
And if you don’t have friends and family around you, pay for babysitters. It will be a good investment!
6. Prepare for a Caesarean
A twin pregnancy is generally considered high risk.
And this means you might have a c-section. We pretty much decided at the beginning that we would go in for surgery because of my major fear of childbirth.
And then towards the end of the pregnancy when my one boy was breached anyway, it was pretty much set in stone. The whole process is pretty quick and easy.
But you don’t really realize how major the surgery really is. As someone who doesn’t like to go to the doctor or to take medication, I was shocked at the amount of drugs administered.
Don’t get me wrong! I’m no super woman and the pain was immense. But I stopped the drugs as quickly as I could.
So be prepared to undergo major surgery and all that comes with that. This is the time to call in all the favours I mentioned above because you are going to be in a whole world of pain.
We were definitely not as prepared as we could have been. Those first few weeks were crazy. So I suggest you stock up your freezer, buy lots of healthy fruits and veggies (and loads of treats) and make your house as comfortable as possible.
Don’t stress about cleaning or money or anything else. Just take that time to recover and to bond with your babies.
7. Go With the Flow
This is the best piece of advice I can give you.
Looking back, I’m sure that I was suffering pretty badly with the Baby Blues.
Everything was so overwhelming. And I was miserable. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish I had been more relaxed.
I wish I had been kinder to myself and that I had accepted help.
Try and enjoy the time with your babies because it will go by in a flash. Your kids will turn out like they will turn out.
And all those tiny things you are worrying about, won’t be important. Take a breath, smile at your beautiful babies and pat yourself on the back.
Being a twin mama is pretty darn cool! And you are doing an amazing job!
Are you a twin mama? Tell us the one thing you absolutely needed when your twins were newborns!