There’s Such A Thing As Twin Mommy Guilt
We are all familiar with traditional Mommy guilt which typically results in a Mother feeling guilty that she isn’t giving her baby enough of herself. However, on top of this traditional Mom guilt, the Twin Mom often feels Twin Mommy guilt too. To explain Twin Mommy guilt I am going to state what is blatantly obvious here.
Newborn babies are extremely needy and it’s a pure numbers game.
There are two of them and only one of you and both twins will regularly need Mommy at the very same time. In the beginning, I felt constantly torn because I couldn’t be one baby’s everything all of the time. I felt like I was constantly failing at being a Mom because instead of devoting all of myself to one child, I had to play a never-ending tennis match between two. People with more than one child of different ages will tell you that they too have experienced this kind of Mom guilt. But trust me when I tell you, they have not. I am not saying that these Moms do not feel guilty about having to address the needs of one child over the other but it isn’t exactly the same thing. Newborns do not understand English. They also do not know what it means to wait their turn and they cannot exactly be reasoned with. Plus, they are tiny. So, if you are making them wait for something that is pivotal to their existence like food, you, their Mom, will also stress out as a result.
However, Twin Mommy, please try to give yourself a break. Understand that you are only one person and that you can only do the best that you can. You are nurturing from a place of love and trust me when I tell you that your babies will feel that love every single day.
One Twin Might Like To Breastfeed And The Other Might Not
My daughter loved to breastfeed. After each nursing session she looked similar to a little puppy that just got her back scratched. She was perfectly content, comfortable and happy. My son, on the other hand, was never a fan of it. He was a hungry little man and preferred the speed of the bottle.
Plus, it didn’t help that I was unable to master nursing both babies at once.
Before my twins arrived, my cousin, who is also a Mother of twins, had given me her twin nursing pillow to use. I just naively believed that once the twins arrived and they needed to eat that I would just use this magical nursing pillow that she gave me and I wouldn’t have any problems. Let me explain how feeding time actually went down. I would have two twins hungrily crying. I would successfully, almost easily, get one twin to latch on. Then, while attempting to get the other twin to latch, the first twin would unlatch. Then, I would work to get the first twin back on and the second twin would unlatch. So basically the process would get both twins increasing upset and would just result in all three of us crying the end. So, I ended up pumping a lot more than I had originally thought that I would have.
Basically my advice, twin Mom to-be, is to have a plan going in but to adapt in real-time to whatever situation comes up. Accept that when raising twins, it is truly their world and you as their Mom are just merely living in it.
Don’t Lift A Finger For Your Guests.
After you give birth to your two little miracles, family and friends will be chomping at the bit to come and meet them. I am not taking away from the sweetness of this experience because it is truly wonderful that so many people love you and your new babies.
However, my first piece of advice to the new twin Mommy is to be selective.
Your friend’s Mother’s friend’s sister should not be coming over to meet your twins in the first few weeks – maybe not ever but that’s entirely up to you. I would keep visitors down to just close family and friends only. Your twins are going to be here for a while and those who are not that close to you will get their chance to meet them eventually if it is truly important to them.
Next — when guests visit, do not be the hostess with the mostess.
People will not judge you for what you are not doing during this time, as they will be too busy oohing and ahhing over the babies. And if anyone actually does judge you, they can walk out the door that they just walked in at anytime they’d like. If you are in your pajamas when your guests arrive, that is perfectly 100% okay. Before having twins, I always was the quintessential hostess; offering food and beverages to my guests and ensuring they were comfortable. You have only two houseguests that matter during the beginning stages and these are your twins. So, unless you are offering the twins the breast or the bottle, stay seated and don’t lift a finger. Empathetic friends and family members will actually be the ones to bring YOU food during this time. God bless those people.
You Will Be Unable To Take Care Of Your Own Personal Needs But You Must.
You are going to be caring for two little people who are going to be demanding of literally 100% of your time. It is going to be hard to find a few moments to do the things that normal people totally take for granted like shower or prepare food. However, you have to keep in mind that you have to take care of yourself at least a little bit and it is by no means selfish of you to do so.
Those babies are nothing without you and you have to have enough strength to care for them.
Plus, if you are nursing you have to eat enough calories each day in order to be physically able to produce their milk. So, make sure that food is easily accessible and if you don’t have time to sit down to eat a large meal then graze regularly. I am not embarrassed to say I survived on a lot of takeout during the first few months. So, keep those takeout menus handy and make sure you tell anyone who will listen what your favorite meal numbers are at all the fast food joints within a 10 mile radius.
You Will Constantly Be Thinking That Having Just One Baby Is Incredibly Easy.
If you are a two-parent family, when the twins are born, you are immediately put into a man-to-man defense situation. This means you really don’t get to take a break and if you do, your partner will be thwarted into zone defense against an extremely high powered and demanding twin offense. When it’s a two-parent to one-baby scenario, there is an opportunity to take turns. With twins, you often find yourself thinking of saying something similar to the following to your partner: “Hun, I’m just going to take a quick shower would you mind watching the twins for a few?” And before that otherwise harmless phrase even leaves your lips, guilt will swarm in because you realize what watching two newborns alone entails and you decide that you’re really not that dirty after all.
Twins Give You A Full Blown License To Cut Corners.
My advice is to cut corners in every aspect of your life that your budget will allow. Get your groceries delivered. Hire a maid service. If you are unable to do so indefinitely, consider hiring one for the first 3 months. Hire a plow driver if it’s winter or a lawn service if it’s spring. Hire a personal chef. And no, I could not personally afford all of these things but whatever you can afford to farm out, do it. My twins are 2 1/2 now and I still get my groceries delivered. And I can’t stress this enough: always recruit the free help of friends and family in any capacity in which they are willing to provide it.
You Will Be More Exhausted Than You Can Ever Imagine.
I’m sorry to say this but I will never be able to adequately put into words the level of exhaustion you will feel during the first few months of twin parenting. I was never in the military but I would compare it to boot camp and your twins are the drill sergeants, waking you at 0100 hours, 0200 hours, 0300 hours; well, you get it.
But my advice is to do whatever you can do to just get through it.
If you are nursing and you have a partner, have that partner bring the babies to you to nurse when they cry. Saving yourself just a few steps may not seem like much but energy adds up and trust me, save all of the energy that you can whenever you can. I know everyone will say: when the twins sleep, you sleep. Unfortunately this doesn’t always work. Exhaustion is a nasty adversary. At the times you may be actually able to get sleep, your body might be trying to fight it. Plus, when the babies are sleeping you can actually have the ability to get things done like laundry or food prep. or cleaning, etc.
Have just one daily objective outside of childcare and keep that objective very small.
Daily objectives include doing one load of laundry – yes, just one, making a salad that would last you for a few days, washing and cutting up fruit that you can easily grab when you are hungry etc.
You Will Probably Be Scared To Be Alone With Both Twins Initially.
I would have never thought in a million years that being alone with my own children would have scared the heck out of me but initially, it did. You fully realize your limits when you become a Mom of twins.
Before twins, I was the person everyone could lean on.
My typical week consisted of countless projects at work, baking 200 cookies for my nephew’s birthday party, making my own pillow cases for my living room throw pillows, working out daily, and always being available to do any favor for anyone at any point in time. Well, all of that has completely changed. I mentioned before that when you have twins that you are going to be tired. When you are tired you will not be operating at full capacity and also when you are tired there is more of a chance for accidents to happen. Having another pair of eyes, another set of arms, and/or another person to talk to, will be more valuable than gold during the first few months.
It Will Take You Hours Of Preparation To Leave The House And You Will Need To Pack At Least 2 Bags When You Do.
As a result, you’ll probably feel that leaving your house, unless it is mandatory, is something you’d rather avoid. It’s just not worth it. It’s hard as it is to have every gadget, blanket, toy, diapering tool, bottle, etc. at your disposal, never mind when you have to play survivor baby and decide which items are going to be voted off your filled to the brim diaper bags. Unless it’s necessary, stay home and have people come to you initially.
Life Is Probably Not Going To Be How You Pictured It.
Throughout my twin pregnancy, I dreamed of the day my twins would arrive. I pictured myself staring adoringly at their perfect little faces, watching them in complete awe as they slept, contemplating what they were dreaming about, and constantly wondering how I could be so blessed. I was convinced that I was going to enjoy every single part of the baby stage with them – documenting everything in a baby book and taking a million pictures.
Honestly, I did adore my twins because they were mine.
They truly were the little miracles that I had always dreamed about. However, I didn’t really have many opportunities to stare at them adoringly and I definitely wasn’t able to enjoy every minute of the baby stage as I had thought I would because I was too flipping tired. I am here to tell you, prospective twin Mommy, that this is okay. Don’t fret that you are missing it because you are so knee deep in twin care that you don’t have time to do much else. You are doing exactly what you should be. All of the things you are doing to care for your two bundles stems directly from how much you adore them and how much you are truly devoted to them.