Dear New Twin Mom,
In October of 2017, my life was complete when my dream of motherhood came true. I had not one, but two babies on the same day, a boy and a girl that I had always wanted.
Leading up to the birth of my twins, my pregnancy was mostly uneventful until the end when my son (Baby B) was diagnosed with IUGR. This led us to deliver at 36 weeks which was considered almost full term for twins and something I was thrilled about!
Before they were born, I remember sitting in the nursery glider, daydreaming with my huge belly and new twin nursing pillow, just staring in awe at the two cribs waiting for their arrival. I pictured myself serenely holding each baby, nursing them at the same time every few hours as they would peacefully drift back to sleep.
Every day, I’d imagine how wonderful the newborn stage would be, playing with my babies, watching my favorite TV shows as they slept, enjoying their snuggles, taking them for leisurely strolls and “play dates” with other moms for coffee and conversation.
My husband and I would discuss how amazing and fortuitous it was that we were getting two kids at once, “killing two birds with one stone”, especially since we were getting older. I was just 37 and he was 48, first time parents married for just one year and about to become a family of four.
The nursery was picture perfect, filled with fresh crib linens and laundered onsies and blankets. We had changing stations set up in almost every room. My hospital bag was packed and life was good.
I had a scheduled C-section at 36 weeks and I remember being very calm that day. Surgery was scheduled for morning but there were some emergency C-sections that took priority over mine so we waited for what felt like hours and hours (it was).
A nurse came in to make sure I was ready and asked me if I had any questions but I said no! For some reason, I just put the faith in my doctors and couldn’t think of any questions to ask. I did not even have a birth plan. Looking back, I wish I had asked more questions.
Surgery went well but I did not get to hold either baby once they were born. My daughter was whisked away to the NICU for respiratory issues and I was so out of it due to the drugs they gave me that my son was wheeled alongside of me into recovery.
The anesthesiologist thought I was having anxiety because I was talking a lot throughout the c-section, so he decided to give me a little “something extra” in my IV to take the edge off. I regret this wholeheartedly. I was pretty much delirious and between that and the anesthesia, I began vomiting profusely for hours with a fresh incision and sheer exhaustion as they wheeled me into recovery.
Long story short, my son also ended up having respiratory issues and was taken to the NICU to join his sister. On day 5, our daughter came home with us from the hospital but our son ended up staying for 4 weeks and came home on his due date. Leaving one child behind was an emotionally draining experience. Needless to say, this was not the birth story I had imagined.
To the New Twin Mom
To the new twin mom who feels like she is drowning in quick sand, I feel you. I’ve been there on more nights than I can count. I could hardly breathe. Minutes felt like hours. I was helpless. At least, that’s what I thought even though I had the help of my husband AND mother.
If you feel overwhelmed, sad, defeated and depressed…call your OBGYN and ask for help. Do not suffer in silence. There’s so much help out there and it can make a huge difference. I promise.
To the new twin mom who feels like a failure because she can’t get both babies to latch, or just can’t tandem breastfeed with the twin nursing pillow that is “supposed to make it easy”, or the twin mom who isn’t making enough milk for two humans, I KNOW. I know how you feel. Give yourself some grace. Fed is best. Nursing, pumping, bottle feeding, supplementing, or exclusively formula feeding…FED IS BEST.
To the new twin mom who was up all day and has been up all night, and now has to be up again all day with two helpless, hungry, innocent and crying little newborns and you are literally wondering if you will even survive.
Believe me, I know this all too well. There was not enough coffee in the world to help me feel more awake. You are a warrior, you got this and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You will survive. And it will get easier. I promise.
To the new twin mom with both babies in the NICU who has to come home to an empty nursery, scared and full of anxiety, exhausted and stressed, recovering from a C-section or vaginal delivery–you got this. You have more strength than you’ll ever know. Those babies need you and you will find it within every ounce of your being to rise up and be strong.
Strong doesn’t mean not crying. Strong doesn’t mean not being scared. Strong means loving those babies, having faith and doing everything in your power to be there and advocate for them. YOU ARE STRONG. Your body grew TWO (or more) humans at once. I mean, that is fierce!!
To the new twin mom with one baby at home and one in the NICU, perhaps with a fresh incision and unable to drive. This was me. Or maybe you are recovering from a vaginal birth. Either way, I know how you feel. It is not easy. The challenges, emotions, pain, worry and exhaustion are truly overwhelming.
Or how about trying to figure out how to get to the NICU and how to take care of the baby at home (even with a partner, this is difficult). Maybe you even have older children at home as well! Feeling the guilt of being there for one baby and not the other. Mom guilt is real. And it sucks. But it means you care.
To the new twin mom who is wondering if your baby in the NICU is being cuddled and cared for like you would do.
Aside from feedings and diaper changes, I’d wonder if my son was being left alone all day in the cold, sterile and noisy NICU away from his twin sister, mommy and daddy. I wondered if he missed his twin sister and was going to have difficulty bonding. Gut wrenching.
But he was being cared for and he was in the best hands to make sure he stayed healthy and grew so he could come home. The NICU nurses are nothing short of amazing. Have faith.
To the new twin mom breastfeeding one baby at home and then trying to pump enough breast milk to take to the NICU before it goes bad, so your other baby can get the same nutrients. I KNOW. It is survival mode and you are doing the best you can.
Nothing was more physically or emotionally draining than trying to nurse, pump and feed two newborns in two different locations. I desperately wanted both of my babies to get as much breast milk as possible but I had no choice to supplement with formula.
It gives me peace knowing they had some of my milk and antibodies during those first 6 weeks of life. After that, my mental health was at rock bottom and I needed to make a change for the well being of my family. I am not ashamed that I formula fed and you shouldn’t be either.
To the new twin mom who is exhausted and loses count halfway through making a 24 hour batch of formula and has to throw it away and start over again, I feel you. I did it more times than I can count. So demoralizing, especially when you think about what formula costs for two babies.
To the new twin mom who can’t remember the last time you washed your hair, maybe haven’t showered in a few days and you’re wearing baggy sweats covered in spit up.
The days are long, but the years fly by. Try to enjoy those cozy clothes and not worry about the stinky stains.
Focus on the fact that you are doing a damn good job keeping two humans alive and loved. This is just a phase of life. I promise you will shower, put on makeup and wear nice clothes again!
To the new twin mom using all of your energy just to get both twins dressed, the diaper bag packed and make sure you have everything you need so you can attempt to go to the grocery store or pediatrician. Food shopping/running errands with infant twins seems like an almost impossible feat.
It is overwhelming, it is scary and it is exhausting. But it can be done.
Maybe wear one baby and push the other in the stroller. Maybe wear one and put one car seat in the shopping cart. Maybe push a double stroller and put a few groceries in the storage under the seats JUST to get out of the house and feel accomplished.
Feed and change the twins right before you leave the house. Perhaps plan it around their nap time so they can sleep through shopping.
I know exactly what it’s like to go through this.
Messy hair bun (not the sexy perfect kind you see on social media), stained leggings and a baggy sweatshirt. Bags under the eyes and large coffee in the cup holder. A look of fear on my face as I pray neither baby wakes up as I grab a few necessities. An oversized diaper bag bursting at the seams, tugging on my neck and shoulders. Avoiding eye contact with all of the people fascinated by infant twins because I don’t have the time nor desire to answer questions.
As intimidating as it seems, I believe it’s good for your own sanity to get out and feel like a human again. My twins are now 3 and we actually enjoy going to the store, they are my little shopping buddies (of course within a limited time frame). I just bring lots of snacks! I honestly thought the day would never come, but it did and it will for you!
To new the twin mom who feels guilty because you only have two hands and can only soothe one baby at a time when they are both crying. Who feels like you are having trouble bonding because you literally go from one baby to the other and back again with no time to spare.
Please know this. The only thing your babies will remember is that you loved them, fed them and cared for them.
They will see you loving on their sibling and that will teach them how to love. They will learn empathy. They will learn how to share. They will learn patience. These are the traits of many twins because they have shared you since birth.
These are the things that your babies will learn from you because you are doing the best you can and giving all the love you have. You are doing a great job.
To the new twin mom who feels so lonely, missing your social life and the days of just getting up and going out whenever you wanted. Feeling isolated all day long without any adult interaction.
This is just a phase. It goes so fast. Before you know it, you will be out and about with your family, hanging out with other moms and seeing your friends again. The twins will grow and you will adjust to a wonderful, busy new normal.
To the new twin mom who feels like you are climbing an uphill battle with no relief in sight. Who feels like you just can’t do it. Who feels like you are failing.
YOU ARE NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING! You are the center of the universe to two humans you created at once. You are superwoman.
I promise you it gets better. Being a twin mom is the most rewarding, challenging and amazing gift you will ever experience. Like I said before, the days are long but the years fly by.
Try to stop every now and then to soak it all in. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Ignore the mess sometimes. Let the laundry sit for a day. Pick and choose your battles. Be kind to yourself and know you are doing a kick ass job!
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Twiniversity is a fantastic resource for all things twins! www.twiniversity.com