Myself and 4 month old Cade in 2006
When I was 21, I gave birth to my twins.
Let me tell you, they completely turned my world upside-down.
I was once a type-A, ultra-organized, my-way-or-the-highway kinda girl. For me, becoming a twin mama changed all of that. From the beginning, those babies had plans of their own, plans to change me, to undo me.
And I have never been the same.
Those first few months home from the NICU were some of the hardest (and if I’m being honest, darkest) moments of my life. I lived for the moment my husband came home from work, or my mom came for a visit. If not for my husband, we’d never have eaten, and if not for my mom, we’d never have had clean clothes.Between nighttime feedings, latching issues, coordinating the non-stop nursing/pumping sessions, breathing issues and the seemingly never-ending screaming, I was a walking zombie. A zombie who cried, A LOT.
During the twins’ first year, my husband’s job was about an hour away, and I would call him every afternoon to inquire about when he thought he’d be home. Well, without fail, I would be counting down every single minute until he was scheduled to arrive, only to be disappointed when the appointed time came and went without any sign of my much-anticipated backup. When I would call to check on him and make sure he was just a few minutes late rather than hours, I would usually discover that he’d had an emergency patient and hadn’t even left the hospital. Upon hearing this news I always promptly burst into tears. I usually cried with the twins until he finally got home. I’ll bet we were a real joy to come home to back then!
Why am I taking you on this depressing trip down memory lane? Well, I wanted to show other twin moms out there that I’ve been there. I’ve dealt with very, very premature babies (born at 27 weeks) with a host of medical issues, I’ve dealt with developmental delays, I’ve dealt with the massive discouragement that comes along with breastfeeding twins, the exhaustion of sleepless nights and the headache of two screaming babies. I remember hearing “just get through your first year, it gets easier after that” and counting down the days until their first birthday, only to feel guilty in the next second for even allowing those thoughts to cross my mind.
So, three paragraphs later, I am finally going to reach the point of this post:
It really, truly, I promise you, HONESTLY, does get better.
Because you know what? I want to share with you now why I think having twins is actually easier in the long run than having your kids the old fashioned, one-at-a-time way. So if you are in the trenches of twin mama-hood, read on, because there is hope.
4 Reasons Twins are EASIER (yes, easier!) Than Singletons
1. They have each other! Twins always have a playmate, thus they are always entertained. My twins have always, since they were 15 or so months old and really getting around well, played together. I remember getting to a point when they were both walking and showing an interest in their toys where I realized I actually had to remind myself to play with them. Really! They were so good at occupying themselves that I had to make time to just sit and play, otherwise they appeared content to just hang out with each other.
2. They don’t fight! I know when they were still babies they would fight over toys, but once they were aware of what they were doing, they literally stopped fighting. Now, I have boy/girl twins, so I know I can’t speak for all twin combinations or all children. But kidskin our family, the twins just don’t fight with each other. They each will fight with their little sister, who is only 15 months younger than them, but very, very rarely amongst themselves. They are very caring towards one another, considerate of the other persons feelings, and very protective of the other. It’s not that they’re not caring or considerate of their younger sisters, but it is just different when directed at their twin. The twin bond is definitely different than that of a non-twin sibling.
3. The bond they have is an amazing example for other siblings. I swear my kids get along better than other kids do with their siblings in families where there are no twins. I think the way they treat each other has set the bar really high for how to relate to the other girls, and therefore, all the kids play very well together.
4. Eventually, they sleep really, really well. The twins and our next daughter are all still in a room together (and in the same bed most of the time). Once the twins started sleeping through the night, they became the best sleepers. I attribute some of this to the fact that they have the added security of having their twin nearby. It’s like having a full-time, built-in, lovey.
These four things are just a few of the reasons twins can eventually be easier. They are also four great examples of how someday, things will settle down. The utter chaos that can invade your mind when your babies are still babies will go away. And it may make me sound completely unhinged, but now? I miss those days. I wish I could go back and tell 21-year-old-me to chill out. Snuggle them when they want snuggled, and nurse them when they want nursed, because despite what it may feel like it does not last forever. I wish I could see the ease that lies ahead. I wish I could tell myself to just breathe.
When you feel like the crying will never end, know that it most definitely will. If it seems like your nipples are about to fall right off, know that they won’t. If it seems like the three of you are never going to really get the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing, know that you will. Right when you most want to give up, you will push through and see a light at the end of the tunnel. And if you don’t? You’ll improvise. You’ll come up with some hybrid method of feeding that works for you, and your babies.
And it will be perfect.