I've got through 6 months with my twin boys and can honestly say after having two singleton babies, the experience is very different. I started this blog a little while ago and finally had the chance to finish it and I think it's a good topic for Bell Let's Talk Day!
|These boys have kept me on my toes these past 6 months|
I am often asked if I would have wanted twins first or after subsequent babies. I would say after subsequent babies, the only way I know it. If twins were to come first, you know no better and are thrown into the deep end and make it work, eventually. At least with other babies (which also adds an additional layer of difficulty into the equation) you have a toolkit full of ideas on how to handle a baby but have to adjust by learning to do this twice. But you take what you are given and I wouldn't change it.
|You do what you gotta do with twins and figure it out|
While I was pregnant I asked my friends with twins for tips and tricks on how to hold, what to do or simply how to juggle two babies. I wondered how I was going to handle it?! I had no idea but knew I would figure it out quickly in the throws of desperation. I've since learnt is not about how to do things, it's how to cope with each situation. There are so many ways to parent and every child is different. You need the help to be able to figure this out for yourself.
|Getting dressed can be a big task. We take it step by step and if it gets derailed by something, we roll with it.|
Being a twin mom or a mom with a baby with health issues can be very isolating. You are often stuck at home or busy with appointments. I'd like to share what I learnt. And it revolves around one thing because if you don't have this, you can't look after anyone.
Now you wonder, how do you do that with twins??
I'm still improving this skill as I'm only six months in but I've learned a thing or two along the way.
1) Ask for Help - Realize you are going to need it and ask for it before you get to your breaking point because it's then too late. Working on little to no sleep makes normal everyday coping skills difficult. I knew when the doctor told us we needed to feed Walker every 2 hours it was going to be an extra stressful time. I reached out to our mothers and asked for some help for a few hours a couple of times a week each during the dinner hour. I knew this was a time where we all are tired and we have limited time to get dinner made, bathe our toddler and get him to bed. Coupled with caring for twins and one twin who doesn't eat very well, this was a must. Some days are easier than others and on those days we often enjoy adult conversation and visit. The other days, our usual days, include my husband making dinner, me tackling our toddler and a grandma feeding a baby. Knowing help is on its way, even only for a few hours, mentally gives you something to look forward to and helps you get through the hours leading up to it.
|As you know I've had trouble getting my toddler to sleep. My best friend had the trick last week!|
2) Take all Offered Help - I've never had much offered help or maybe more so the fact that I never took any help. If someone includes these words in a sentence, "if you need help or anything, anything at all", I say take it. It's hard to actually take people up on their offers when you are used to being self sufficient. For those people you aren't as close with you can ask if they could help by making a dinner. For those closer, perhaps they can help hold a baby or help with some chores. I like someone to watch the babies so I can have a shower!
Remember, the help will never be as good as you, Mom, but your babies will be fine. Trust the person helping you so you can enjoy the break better.
|Help may not always be perfect. It's Ok. The babies will be fine.|
3) Take Time for Me - I wrote a Blog called More than Mom earlier but wanted to mention it again. To feel good we need to feel some sense of normalcy. Whatever that normal is. For me, I like to have my hair blow dried and wear make up. When I wear make up I feel more like myself. Blogging is also an emotional outlet for me. I haven't been able to get to the computer as much as I'd like to lately but when I do, I realize how much I enjoy it and need to make time for it.
|I'm not the first person to ever have a baby - ask friends for help.|
Try and find the moments to do these daily tasks to have an outlet and feel a sense of your normal self. Of course we will never be normal again but find something that you enjoy. It's a small thing but can change your outlook on the day. I don't have my babies on the same sleeping or feeding schedule mainly due to Walker's health issues so I don't always have the small luxury of having two sleeping babies at one time. But as your babies get older, they will play more and you will find more moments to take time to make some normalcy in your everyday.
If there is a sport or activity you normally do, try and find help or a moment where you can include it in your day. I am hoping to start back at the gym soon and my plan is to start, with lower expectations and go twice a week. I will go when my husband gets home from work and while our mother's are still helping us. Things are getting easier, especially with Conrad as I find he is more content now and has longer stretches of play time. And now that I am working on sleep training, he may start sleeping through the night which is only going to help me feel better overall.
|It was a good day, showered and hair done!|
4) Take Time for We - I am very aware of this one but have not been able to take much time for my relationship. I think its important as a couple to be united in order to handle life with twins (and children). You will need to lean on your partner during those times when you are at your limit and need to hand off a baby. By the end of the day, I am done. When Sean comes through the door, I usually hand off one baby to him. I love my babies but around dinner time I am at my lowest.
|We have our hands full at the moment but I know the sun will shine through soon.|
Taking time to reconnect and find some of those feelings that we used to have for one another is so important. Our romantic relationships get put on the back burner; I've especially noticed that in our house hold. I go to bed and relax upstairs shortly after dinner in hopes of getting a few hours of sleep. This is something I've recommended to many new moms and have done with each new baby. Take time away from the baby where you can leave baby with your partner and not be "on" all of the time. But this separates you as a couple daily.
|Vacation time away is a great time to reconnect. I don't anticipate a trip soon so we need to find new ways.|
It's so easy to grow apart or to forget what we once had together. We need to be proactive and make an effort for moments where we can be affectionate or make the other person feel special. It's very easy when we are tired and hormonal to complain or be picky as to how our partner cares for the baby. We know the baby well because we are home and provide most of the care. Let your partner do their thing and try not to nit pick about the way the diaper is changed. I often find he has different ways that are better than the way I do it. A friend had suggested it is important to have the Dad involved in the care of the baby and assign a particular task to Dad.
I am hoping to plan some active date nights for Sean and I soon where we can get exercise and have fun. We tend to go on dinner dates which revolve around food, I'd like to change that and have some active fun.
|I don't even have a recent photo to include here. This photo is from our honeymoon!|
5) Take One on One Time - This tip isn't necessarily focused on self preservation but I think if you take time with each of your twins (or other children) individually, you will get to know each of your babies and develop strong relationships with them which is going to benefit life in general. My twins each have very different needs. At first I found Conrad to be very emotional and needy. This was mainly because I found he would always complain when we would get to the NICU. I'm sure he didn't want to be there; carted back and forth and spending his day in a small space with no windows. He now has become more easy going and will play on his own. The early days with twins often includes a NICU stay which has it's own challenges that I hope to share.
|One on One with Conrad. My mega roller!|
My babies are identical but they are definitely not identical in personalities and needs. Spending time on your own with each baby will help you identify what those needs are and will make life easier in the long run. It doesn't have to be a long period of time but a few moments a day.
|Although different sizes and personalities the boys like to do the same things|
Today being Bell Let's Talk Day, I think it's important to reflect on our lives as a mom or twin mom. It's not easy living on no sleep and trying to navigate our way through life with two new babies. Whether they are your first and you are thrown into twin life or you have some parenting experience; it's not easy. I feel like I have managed life these past 6 months quite well but it's because I am proactively trying to determine the issues that may arise. Writing this blog has been very helpful to me to simply get my thoughts and words out there when I don't always get to speak to someone personally. Having all of you to reach out to has been so helpful to me and especially when I get feedback and emails saying how I've helped you. I love that helping myself cope has actually helped others. Please reach out to me if you think I can help you at all.
I also know what my coping level is, which is often hard to figure out as a new mom. I try to ask for help and deal with the situation before I reach the point where I fall apart. I look at the situation and try to simplify it if it's overwhelming. Sometimes that involves giving up the things I want and like to do. But I realize this period will be temporary and I will get back there again. There have been many moments or days where I felt like I was at my breaking point and definitely was but I have tried to learn coping methods from those situations for the next time. Stay positive and try and find the good in each day despite how crazy it can be. The last 6 months have been extremely trying for me and my family. Walker's health issues have been extreme the past few months but I try not to let it get me down or overwhelm me.
|Some of the items that have become regulars in our life! It is what it is so I try not to let it get me down.|
I am not perfect but I think I have managed through it because I have recognized how difficult it is and have asked for help. You can't and don't have to get through this life on your own. Find the people that will stand by you and support you the way you need it. I realize my partner will not always be this person. I think you should always be open with your partner but sometimes other people will satisfy different needs - my girlfriends are my cheerleaders and help boost me up.
|One of the many appointments that occupies our days. Not my favourite thing to do but this time is TEMPORARY and we will get through.|
I think it's important to identify your weaknesses, as hard as it is, because if we don't, your mental health may become at risk. Be kind to yourself, it's not easy being a new mom or new twin mom! You aren't a bad mom if you ask for help. You aren't a bad mom if you don't breastfeed both of your babies. You aren't a bad mom if you cry and can't handle every situation. You are human, we are real, in a crisis situation and are doing your best. Life is not a perfect Instagram photo (it doesn't have to be) and there will often be one baby crying and one baby not being held. Know this going in and know that everyone will be alright despite not getting 100% of your attention. Help, whether it be emotionally or physically will be your savior. I honestly think asking for help is awkward but it is the most courageous thing you can do as a mom!
I've got this. You've got this.