I’ve had no less than three people today talk to me about friends they have – who are either pregnant with, or just had – twins. I know people laugh and love to give the ol’ “Better you than me….” jokes out by the handful when someone finds out twins are on the way. I loved busting my own chops for the benefit of a laugh when I would tell people. With a roll of the eyes and a pat on the ever expanding tummy-oven we’d all have a laugh at how overwhelming it was going to be to have two babies.
But sometimes the idea of one baby is too much, and the idea of two babies just makes even less sense. It’s easy to fall into a panic and believe that there is no way you’re going to be able to pull this off. And it’s also easy to stay in that panic and feel completely surrounded and trapped. It’s very tempting to believe that you are alone in this, and that even worse – you will never be alone again.
When I find out someone is going to have twins, what with my vast experience of six months and all – I feel an instant camaraderie. There is absolutely something special and magical about building two babies at once. I also want to give that mother a hug and look her square in her tired eyes and let her know that it’s actually and truly really going to be ok. It’s going to be more than that. It’s going to be great. And then it’s going to suck. And then it’s going to be ok. And then it’s going to be great. And then exhausting. And then guess what? Great again!
It’s life, same as it ever was. Just maybe a little more saturated and concentrated, but really just the same. If you already have other kids, you will feel guilty that you’re spending too much energy on your new babies. If you don’t have other kids, you are going to feel guilty that you’ve made one twin smile more than the other, or that one twin seems to be liked more than the other, or that one ended up with a face full of water and soap in the bathtub because you haven’t perfected putting two babies into their bath-seats yet. It is challenging and obviously tiring. But I’m here to tell you, there’s something more: the upside.
I’ve found that having two babies at once has afforded me certain things that I didn’t get with just one. I have become more strict with routines and schedules and you know what? It has built a structure that these boys of mine seem to thrive in. I put them down more, out of necessity. And this has helped create two babies who love to roll on the floor, stare at each other and play with imaginary (I hope) ghosts in the air. I believe they are more self-reliant because of this, which speaks to me of self-confidence. At age six months! My boys know they are safe and can make each other laugh even if I’m not immediately next to them. And while I would love nothing more than to stare at their messy and slobbery faces all day, I just don’t have to. I can walk away, take a phone call, get a few things done and it doesn’t stress them out. This is very very freeing.
Certainly this could be done with a single baby – but it is easier with two. I love that they will have each other to rely on for security and friendship and love in the future. Right now they’re only relying on each other for those things for 3 or 4 minutes at a time while I’m running around the house like a whirling dervish, but these periods will stretch out with time and my boys? They will have each other. And I do believe this will give them a huge advantage in life.
I find great peace in that.
Having twins is certainly intimidating – but just keeping perspective on the reality is key. They are babies, and babies need very few things. Love, food, clean diapers and sleep. It is not impossible to give these things, and once a few months have passed, it even becomes a little less challenging (dare I say easy?). I’m not going to say that I start every day with a song in my heart. Somedays I begin with guns blazing ready to shoot the sky because I’m tired and even a little bored with all things babies. But then a goofy grin comes my way or a sweet sigh and I am owned by them again.
Holding my boys and kissing them and hugging them and watching them hold each other’s hands while they nurse are gifts to me from them. Being a mother to twin babies is a really big deal. It is beautiful. It makes you feel strong. And when it doesn’t, it teaches you to manage your circumstances to get yourself to the other side so you can feel strong. It teaches you humility and encourages the skill of knowing when to ask for help. It is all the gifts of motherhood, doubled. So to the mothers of twins of the world I say this: Breathe, relax and enjoy. You’ve got this.