By Caroline Vencil, Contributing Writer
Everything is better in twos… and threes… and fours!
Congratulations! You’re expecting, not just one, but two or more babies to arrive in just a few months. Maybe the shock has worn off, but there are still many questions that you have moving forward.
Maybe you’ve hit the point of worrying about everything! Double the stress of a singleton pregnancy, double the diapers, double EVERYTHING!
Then in come the never-ending questions: Will I ever sleep again (yes)? Can I still breastfeed them both (yes)? Do I need two of everything (most likely)? Should I just go and schedule my c-section now (NO)?
A normal pregnancy and postpartum are hard enough without there being double the new little people to care for at the end of it. Pregnancy and postpartum are already huge adjustment periods for families. And adding a second (or more) baby into the mix often makes that transition a little more challenging.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, I promise. You will make it. There will be ups and downs, bu there are ups and downs even with just one baby!
Here are some tips that can help you prepare for two babies.
Learning to Survive Multiples (Part 1)
Take Each Moment As It Comes
One moment you’re shopping for matching Christmas outfits, and the next you’re frantically taking measurements in your nursery for two cribs and panicking that you’ll never be able to fit them both in there.
Or maybe one minute you’re excited to find out the gender of your newest additions, and the next you’re dreading the idea of having to deal with twin boys as toddlers or twin girls as teenagers.
That’s ok! Take a minute to relax. Worrying won’t solve the problems, but talk about it with someone might. Talk to your husband, sister, mom, mother-in-law, friends… anyone who will listen. Yes, you might sound crazy sometimes. But talking about those fears, concerns, and even excitements can really help you process the idea of having multiples.
If you’re feeling concerns about the pregnancy and delivery, don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor or midwife. This is the person who you trust to help bring your babies earthside. You should feel completely comfortable talking with them about your fears and concerns. They’ll also be able to calm you down if you have some outrageous concerns (like that your stomach will actually explode from how big it will be… chances are good that you aren’t the first patient that’s asked that).
Seek Out Good Info
If you spend a lot of time researching everything to do with twins, be careful of Google!
The internet can be a scary place sometimes. The most popular stories that we hear are the horror stories. The same truth applies to pregnancy with multiples.
Especially if you are hoping to have a natural and hands-off birth and pregnancy, Google will likely be your worst enemy if you’re not careful. Avoid any stories that are the1% of failures or the worst-case-scenarios. There’s no need to add any more concerns or worries to your list.
As bad as it might be, the internet can also be your best friend. There are a lot of resources on Google about how to feed twins, how to survive the first year with twins, home birth with twins… and more. If you’re going to take the natural route, talk with your midwife about where she would suggest looking for resources for you.
Find Other Multiple Moms
Local moms groups can be a fount of knowledge and a great resource for helpful tips. It takes a village, after all!
As with everything in motherhood, everyone has their own ways of doing things, and they might differ from yours. Take everything with a grain of salt if it doesn’t align with your parenting, and if you hear anything that really sounds like a great idea, jot it down for when the time comes.
Other multiple moms will understand you better than singleton moms will. If motherhood is a club, multiple motherhood is a secret society that few know about. Talking with other multiple moms will also help calm your concerns and worries.
Lin Up Help Before the Babies Arrive
Having a support system in place before you have the babies will be key. This is unknown territory for you, so having as many people planning on helping you will be a great key to success.
Talk to your church and set up a meal program. Or ask your mom to set up a meal program for you with her friends. Even if it’s just someone ordering pizza, it’s one less thing for your to worry about so that you can focus on healing. Knowing that your meals will be taken care of is a huge burden off of your shoulders.
Ask your mom, mother-in-law, sisters, aunts, cousins, neighbors… everyone! Anyone who can help, ask them to help. Having this support system in place will be so comforting and key to helping you relax and prepare for the birth of your babies.
When the Babies are Born, Ask for Help!
If, after the help and support starts to dwindle off, you still need help, make sure that you ask for it! There is no shame in asking for help. Whether it’s doing the laundry, vacuuming the rug, holding a baby, or just being in the house for a little so that you can get some sleep, these tasks are so small but have such a big impact.
You can’t predict how a baby will be… much less two babies! They might be the best, easiest sleepers and eaters. Or they might be colicky. You might find that you’ve got a nice mix of both. You never know what you’ll get. But remember that the same holds true with every pregnancy, whether it’s one or 10 babies.
Having multiples is challenging, there’s no question there. But once you find a groove and a system that works for you and for the babies, it becomes second nature. You won’t be in survival mode forever.
Remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s the day after, the month after, or the year after the babies are born. You can do this!
What was the best advice that you ever received about having multiples?
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