I birthed two humans at the same time. Here’s what I know about twins, so far.
When my husband and I found out we were having twins, 9 weeks into an otherwise uneventful pregnancy, I had the strangest feeling: I’ve been here before. Somehow, unimaginably, I had imagined the idea of my second pregnancy culminating in the birth of two humans. There was no reason for me to have these feelings: twins don’t run on either side. But somewhere deep inside my gut I knew well before the doctor confirmed it: there were two.
I felt oddly calm. There was no screaming or ripping of hair. If I remember correctly, I may have even offered to drive us home. The news, however, set off a domino effect of events. All of the things I thought I could never do — leave my rent-controlled apartment, leave San Francisco, leave the Bay Area, leave my job — all happened in somewhat rapid succession.
But here we are (still alive!) nearly six months into our ‘multiples’ journey and this is what I know. So far, mind you.
Don’t let those fuckers scare you
No, not the twins. The others. Every single person who will mourn your ultimate and untimely demise when you tell them you are expecting twins. And the ones who will constantly stop you on the street to tell you what a wide load you have once the babies are here.
Do. Not. I repeat: do not listen to them. There will be men and women, young and old, who will make your news feel like the approach of the apocalypse. La la la ignore them. Better yet, tell them to shut it! The fears they project onto you are only as valid as you allow them to be. I literally un-friended friends who brought this kind of negativity into my life and I haven’t looked back.
Yes, twins are hard. Babies are hard. Your arms will get sore and your back will throb. Your body will never be the same. Nope. Not this time. Start shopping for that one-piece bathing suit. You’ll get over it, I promise.
But you’ll survive. You will. I’m still here, remember? And I’m writing this post on Medium at 9 pm on a Tuesday night. They sleep, now.
I like to think of those first few months with the twins the way I imagine contestants on Surviver feel: extreme and extremely tore up (no pun intended).
If you attempt breastfeeding, which is totally up to you, you’ll experience something very few other people ever have or ever will. There will be a lot of pillows and blankets and you’ll sweat like you never have before from two humans pressed against you along with all those pillows. I have *somewhat* fond memories of my couch being a permanent pillow fort.
Plan ahead for childcare
No matter how amazing you are with children, you’re going to need help. There’s no “oh honey you hold the baby while I eat.” Thankfully for us, our emergency twin plan included a move to another state that allowed us to get the most affordable childcare option we could find: an au pair. If you have the space, I would highly recommend it.
A secret tribe
Before I had twins, I had no idea that I would be welcomed into a secret tribe of families with ‘multiples’ — I had never used the term ‘multiples’ in my life. But I’ve quickly seen how supportive this community is. I routinely meet parents of twins who generously hold open doors, help with heavy lifting, and even offer bakery treats. Most importantly, they bear words of encouragement and support vs. fear mongering. They remind me that many have survived before me and we will, too.
You do YOU
Here’s the thing about parenting: everybody has an opinion. In my opinion, it’s best to do you. There are lots of twin groups out there, should you need that kind of support; I’ve found a handful of “keeping it real” twin mamas that I turn to is a-ok. I’m not a big parenting group kinda person, I guess.
Some people are all about the books; start googling twins and you’ll discover authors who claim you’ll ‘never survive’ unless you read their book. Guess what? You will. Though my one and only piece of advice (and you do with it what you will!) is to put them on a schedule early. It won’t stick right away but keep trying and eventually, they’ll get there and life will get easier.
The babies! (awwwww)
Of course all babies are different (and mine had plenty of hard-to-live-through colicky moments) but something about twins makes the whole experience somewhat even MORE magical than I imagined (and I have a toddler, too). Watching two babies roll towards each other in their sleep and then start to actually see each other is incredible. It is a rare gift that I feel honored to have been given.
So here’s what I know now. Stay tuned for more.