By Heidi Hamm
I’m not going to lie. When we found out we were pregnant with twins at our 12-week ultrasound, my husband laughed and I cried. For 5 months.
But I am going to let you in on a little secret. I actually find twins to be easier than I thought they would be.
Perhaps it is because I spent my entire pregnancy freaked out over the idea of having twins. Not minor, “Oh wow, we’re having twins,” kind of freak out. More of a, “Holy freaking, mother of everything, twins!”
I was terrified. Seriously. I thought I would never sleep again. I worried about breast feeding and never leaving the house and that we had ruined our two-year-old daughter’s life. But the thing about all that worry? The reality could never measure up to the monster I had created in my mind.
I’m not saying twins aren’t hard. They are. There are two babies that cry and fuss and poop. There are two babies to feed, change, comfort, rock, burp and love. Two babies to bathe, dress, snap into carseats and strollers. But take heart: there are ways in which having two is better than one.
One pregnancy = Two babies.
If you are anything like me and don’t love being pregnant, the morning sickness that lasts all day, the inability to sleep on your stomach, your bladder shrinking to the size of a pea, then this is a huge perk.
They were put on a schedule. Because, twins.
My first-born was a product of the “on demand” parenting philosophy, taken to the extreme. I would jump at every little moan, cry and fart. It didn’t help that I had no clue what I was doing and was terrified of doing something wrong. My boys were premature and in the NICU for a few weeks. While there, they were put on a three-hour feeding schedule. That schedule saved my sanity when they came home.
There is less mom guilt.
I found having twins to be strangely liberating when it came to mom guilt. The idea that with two babies I just physically could not do it all unless by some strange miracle I grew an extra set of arms (which clearly didn’t happen) was freeing. As moms, we put so much pressure on ourselves to take on the world and do it all. Having twins forced me to slow down, focus on doing one thing at a time, and accept that my best just had to be enough.
I had to accept that I wasn’t Wonder Woman and couldn’t do it all by myself.
Also liberating. For me to ask for help is about as easy as pulling an elephant through a key hole. I just don’t. But with twins and a toddler? I had to. I needed family members to help look after my daughter while I was on bed rest and then while visiting the boys in the NICU. I needed my husband to take time off work when the boys came home from the hospital. And when he went back to work? I still needed him to help with the middle of the night feedings even though I knew he would be exhausted at work the next day. We were partners. Asking for help was hard. But not asking would have been even harder.
But…there will be days that you feel like a superhero.
Just getting out of the house with two babies, two car seats, and a diaper bag the size of a mothership is a huge accomplishment. Everyday events such as grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments will suddenly become badges of honor. Random strangers will remark on just how remarkable you are, even with your messy bun, milk-stained T-shirt and yoga pants that haven’t been washed in weeks.
There isn’t the same pressure to socialize the twins as there is with a singleton.
The beauty of twins is that they always have a built-in friend (and foe). They have each other. This does not mean you have an excuse to be neglectful, but it does mean that you don’t have to play My Little Pony or Dinosaurs or Hide and Seek (unless you want to and then by all means, have at it!)
There isn’t the same level of fear and worry as there is with my singleton.
With my daughter, every new situation she enters on her own causes anxiety – mine. Will she be okay? Will she be accepted? Will she be scared? Lonely? Her first day of kindergarten, her first unparented lesson, her first night away. My boys? Not so much. They conquer the world together, as a team. They have each other’s backs, even on the days when they don’t particularly like each other. For now they share everything. The same teachers, the same extracurricular activities, the same friends, the same clothes, the same toys.
Twin moms live longer.
Yup, it’s been scientifically proven. According to a study done in 2011 by the University of Utah and published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, moms of twins live longer. They also have shorter postpartum recovery and are generally healthier. So there’s that.
Double the trouble? Sometimes. Double the love? Absolutely. Having twins is amazing and I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. But then again, having kids is amazing, multiples or not.
About the Author
Heidi Hamm is a writer, wife and mom of 6-year-old twin boys with the alter egos of the Hulk and Spiderman and their 8-year-old sister, who is in training to rule a small (or large) country someday. She has been published on Sammiches and Psych Meds, Scary Mommy and Mamalode. You can also find her on Facebook.