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did you use help? - Page 2

post #21 of 43
I was on modified bed rest starting at 29W, my Mom took leave from work (family company, was easy for her to do so) and stayed with us for about 2.5 months to help care for our not yet 2 year old. My twins were born at 32 weeks and then were in the NICU for 5 weeks. They came home, and I believe my Mom was here the first week they were home.

My husband took off two weeks after that, and then I was solo for two weeks.

By the end of the solo time, I was stark raving mad. It wasn't PPD y'all, it's just more stuff than you can imagine. Feed a toddler, nurse a baby, entertain a toddler, nurse another baby, oops all three are crying, find clean diapers, what's a shower, toddler needs a snack, toddler wants to play outside, both babies want to nurse, toddler has a meltdown, crying baby wakes up sleeping baby. It. Just. Never. Stops.

I personally think anyone that stays home with triplets or three very young needy children should be made a Saint. Gosh knows that *I* did not have the patience for it, even though I love all my children dearly. I felt like I couldn't even touch on aspects of AP because I was just so worn out.

My FIL was generous enough to offer us help at a reduced rate through his nursing company. We have somone here 40 hours per week, and even then there are still times when it's a madhouse. My twins are 1 now and my toddler is 2.5. I am all for help if there's anyway you can beg, borrow, or buy it.

Super Supper / Dinner Affair / etc. are also lifesavers in my opinion. It may not be the organic choice I would make at the supermarket, but healthy eating is still way better than fast food everynight. We have two eating adults and an eating toddler, so we buy the serves 6 meals - cook everything, make lunches for the next day, and there's still one serving left over for a weekly leftover night. It's cost effective for us, especially taking into account the time I was trying to spend making lists, cutting coupons, and shopping around the schedules of three kids!

I can also say that having help has never given me a "break" persay, but it has made it SO much easier to really focus on Mothering my babies, all three of them. I feel like I now take the time to get on my toddler's level more, I can let a baby nurse as long as they desire because there is someone to hold the other baby, and I can triage much more effectively with someone else to hand off the small things to.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by balawre View Post
By the end of the solo time, I was stark raving mad. It wasn't PPD y'all, it's just more stuff than you can imagine. Feed a toddler, nurse a baby, entertain a toddler, nurse another baby, oops all three are crying, find clean diapers, what's a shower, toddler needs a snack, toddler wants to play outside, both babies want to nurse, toddler has a meltdown, crying baby wakes up sleeping baby. It. Just. Never. Stops.
and

I can also say that having help has never given me a "break" persay, but it has made it SO much easier to really focus on Mothering my babies, all three of them. I feel like I now take the time to get on my toddler's level more, I can let a baby nurse as long as they desire because there is someone to hold the other baby, and I can triage much more effectively with someone else to hand off the small things to.


I completely agree with all of this.

Especially when you have an older toddler, I think it is just too hard on the mama to be alone, all the time, with twin newborns and a sibling. It *can* be done alone, but I think at a lot of cost of the mama's health (both mental and physical). We had our parents here for a week or two immediately after, and asked for lots of help from friends (meals, playing with our son, etc.) but ended up paying for two kinds of help -- someone to come and clean thoroughly every two weeks, and a mother's helper to come in 3-4 afternoons a week to play with son, hold a babe, etc. It might be been easier if the twins had been first (could have just sat and nursed all the time and let the house/meals/etc go) but with an active toddler who was experiencing a big shift in the universe, our lives were made a tiny bit easier with help.

And like the PP said -- it didn't mean I just sat around and did my nails and read fabulous books...it just allowed for less crying among the kids and much less stress on my part (I *still* get a bit stressed when I have all three kids alone all day -- I just get pulled in so many directions!)

Good luck!
post #23 of 43
Thanks to Bala and Lois . . . .

it seems far to often that "admitting" one has help is somehow akin to saying you don't have any interest in being with or raising your kids? What I find particularly funny is that this applies as MUCH to MoMs as it does to singleton moms? Nothing has allowed me to be a better mother to my 4 kids as having help has. As someone put it above . . . . its not like I am spending copious amounts of free time napping, doing my nails and devouring the current bestsellers . . . far from it! It does mean that I can 1) spend quality time with my kids, 2) take them on outings I couldn't otherwise handle on my own, 3) address their individual needs more, 4) get some always much needed 1-1 time with the kids who need and deserve it so much . . . . . . . and oh yeah . . . sometimes I do really selfish things like -- pay the bills (that only seem to get paid quarterly at this point) OR do the grocery shopping withOUT 3 toddlers and a preschooler in tow (to be honest - I've never gone with all of them - and I am skeptical as to whether it is even possible?) . . . . attend a doctor or dentist or haircut appointment for ME! Selfish, I know. But yes - I am a firm advocate for getting help if you can!

I note that this is such a "touchy" topic - that the MoMs in my local triplet moms group - NOT an AP group, BTW -- barely even admit to it? I know of one other mom with kids my same age that has regular help? The others do it all themselves all the time. One family is likely because of $$ -- the other it is because "no one can do it like us".

Anyway - I'm tired of having to feel apologetic about having help? I'm tired of feeling like I have to justify it? I'm tired of people assuming I spend all the time I do have help going to the gym and having lunch with girlfriends. And I'm REALLY TIRED of people not understanding that having help in the house is one of the BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE AS A MOTHER TO HELP ME MOTHER THEM BETTER!
post #24 of 43


It is also interesting to see what some people consider 'help' that others just take for granted. ie- do you do your own lawn? yardwork? Cut your kids/spouses hair?Trash pick up or haul trash and recycling to the dump? house cleaning? Grocery delivery? Prepackaged food or make it yourself? Driveway plowed or you shovel by hand? gutters cleaned? dry clean work shirts/good clothes or wash and iron, etc. We don't have any of those things but have a neighbor who doesn't consider it help, but just how life works.

I'm really trying to line up as much as I can, especially since DP is getting no time off, but will try to call in sick if she is in the states for the actual birth. I get the feel from friends/neighbors/family that I'm being lazy, but I'm trying to be realistic. I'm going to have 4 kids who don't sleep through the night!:

Coffee won't solve serious sleep deprivation issues for me since I don't use caffeine when breastfeeding.
post #25 of 43
My pastor's wife sent the women's home to my house 2 times a week to clean. They were a blessing and my house never would have been clean without them. The only time someone brought meals was for a week when they were 2 months and I was crying on the phone to a friend. That was it though. I wish I had alot more help. I definitely recommend getting help if it is available. If it isn't than stock up on frozen and easy to cook food so you don't get stressed out trying to prepare meals.
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaRabbit View Post
We also have a fulltime (daytime) maid/nanny : But that's normal for here to have househelp.
Case in point. Too often if you mention the "h" word . . . .you feel like she depicts above with the little smiley getting a tomato thrown at its head? Then there is the second sentence qualifier to boot to argue that it is normal.

No offense meant to you momma - just using as a good reference.

I'll point out - that this hesitance is so ingrained in me - I only answered partially in my original post. I did have night help with my triplets. But after a month or so - I had day help too! I was going back to work after my 6 months leave was up - so I knew I needed help - but honestly, even if I didn't HAVE TO WORK and if I could afford it -- I would still have gotten day help. Having 4 kids in the house 3 years old and under . . . . . I am sure some will respond that it is sheer bliss and totally doable . .. NOT ME . . .it pushed me to the very end of my sanity on more than once occasion. Which only got worse from age 1 to 2 (lest people think this is only a "baby stage" phenomena). I totally understand $$$ being a major issue - believe me - we have drained so much of our savings for help - and I am glad we have it to drain as I am sure many do not --- but I do not, can not, am completely boggled by people who can have help and declare that it is either not necessary or not advisable? Sorry for the rant - I think you touched a sensitivity with me . . . . .
post #27 of 43
I think having a little help will keep you sane! I am and was single when my twins were born, but I live with my mom. She was just as much help as a dh would be. My sister also came over on her lunch breaks (so I could shower or eat) for about a month. A few friends would bring over dinner and extra food that didn't need preparation. Finding time to eat was hard, forget about cooking! But what helped me the most was pumping some extra milk so my mom could do the early morning feeding and I could get 5-6 hours of sleep. Other than having help it is nice to have company, once you have gotten settled. It took me about 6-8 weeks to get settled and feel ready for company (other than family) but it was nice to have an adult to talk to. So I say yes, if you can find free help or if you can afford to pay for it do it! It is some much nicer to be able to enjoy that stage of their lives.
Good luck!
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by TripMom View Post


Anyway - I'm tired of having to feel apologetic about having help? I'm tired of feeling like I have to justify it? I'm tired of people assuming I spend all the time I do have help going to the gym and having lunch with girlfriends. And I'm REALLY TIRED of people not understanding that having help in the house is one of the BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE AS A MOTHER TO HELP ME MOTHER THEM BETTER!


I have been thinking about this topic a lot lately -- the thought of asking for and needing help -- and last night when a friend of mine was over from South America it all came together. My friend mentioned that she couldn't consider having a baby while she lives here because she wouldn't have her family around to help her. I asked what she meant, and said that people (like us) would be there, and she said it wouldn't be the same as having all her aunties, her mom, her cousins and grandma there to help with a new baby. She said she had never seen a baby raised who DIDN'T have a ton of family around to help the new parents, and she didn't know how you would parent without the support of family and friends nearby. She is slightly horrified that it is as lonely as it is for parents in North America.

Anyway - this is all kind of a rambly way of saying that I think everyone -- but especially parents of multiples -- shouldn't feel like we have to parent in a vacuum and that in other times and in other places, there would be SO many people there to help is SO many ways. Since that's not the case for so many of us, we have to create that to get the same benefit (stay sane, take a shower, learn from others). I think some of the great independence that is inherent in many North Americans sometimes comes at a cost. I know I have spent a lot of time thinking "Why is this so hard -- I *should* be able to do this by myself" -- but I am starting to understand that maybe it's less natural to do it by myself IYKWIM

So -- stepping down off my little soapbox this afternoon -- I think one of the biggest things I have learned since having twins is that it's important to be able to ask for help -- whether from your friends or from professionals. Friends and family often love to be able to do something (but might not know what is needed). And as for the "professionals" -- we have helped a woman start up her own business (professional cleaner) and university students pay their tuition (babysitter) and a high school student gain confidence and spending money for her summer vacations (mother's helper). Everybody is gaining something.

Thanks for listening
post #29 of 43
Heck yeah I had help, and it still wasn't enough.

My dh was home for about a week after I got home from the hospital. My mom was over every day (and a couple of times at 3 am when I called her in tears). My MIL was over frequently (but she was kind of anti-help, KWIM?)

DH was back at work a week when he realized he couldn't be up all night and go to work all day. So we had a nightime doula for almost 3 months. (I was still nursing at least every 2 hours all night, 'cause they wouldn't take a bottle, but at least she did the diaper changes and walking the floors with them all night.) I did not recover well from my c-section and without her I never would have made it. Oh, and I had serious PPD, one twin with colic, plus sleep deprivation like I never knew was possible.

I have also had a couple mother's helpers, one of whom turned into my current sitter. My twins are now 3.5 yo and I still have a sitter about 8 or 9 hours a week so I can get my head together.

Do you need paid help? Maybe not. But I would never turn down offers for meals, cleaning, or childcare. I would also have a plan for what you're going to do if you find you do need more help than you thought. I thought I would have my mom here for a couple of weeks and then I would be fine on my own. It didn't work out that way.:
post #30 of 43
I want to add that I agree with the statements about paid help. If we could have afforded it there is no question that I would have had it. Help is a sanity saver! I could have used more sanity during that time....and even now!
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoisLane View Post
Anyway - this is all kind of a rambly way of saying that I think everyone -- but especially parents of multiples -- shouldn't feel like we have to parent in a vacuum and that in other times and in other places, there would be SO many people there to help is SO many ways. Since that's not the case for so many of us, we have to create that to get the same benefit (stay sane, take a shower, learn from others).
This is an excellent point. I have a Korean friend -- 100 days of help in that culture - followed by a big "100 Day" party for the baby and parents. My chinese friends - i forget how long it is that they stay in with the baby and traditionally have a lot of family support. I think I've read in most cultures that the mother is generally relieved of any other responsibilities - such as cooking, cleaning, etc for an extended period when a new baby arrives. Post-partum doulas are actually the modern North American societies answer to our general cultural lack of this type of support - be it because the family is spread out across the country OR be it that the family will just not provide that much support. Who knows? Maybe if we all had MORE HELP . . . we wouldn't see as much BF failure or longer BF? I know I continue to be super-suprised at my BF-minded friends who either can't get BF going or can't sustain it . .. maybe if they had more help . . .? I don't know. I had a lot of paid help . . . and was NOT as naturally BF minded as these friends I am referring to . . and was able to BF my triplets exclusively for 6 months. OK . . . I continue to rant. . . .sorry!

But just let me say thank you to the moms that posted in support . . . I often feel quite alienated on this topic . . . its nice to see others out there that agree . . .
post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by royaloakmi View Post
My MIL was over frequently (but she was kind of anti-help, KWIM?)
My mom seems to have an attitude like "no one helped me so . . . .(I'm going to carry on that horrible tradition) . . " sort of unspoken vibe. She doesn't "say it" - its just clear from how she acts. Is that what you mean?
post #33 of 43
Did anyone ever get the comments like these? "I heard twins are really hard, except you don't have young children at home, you won't need any help." This was the latest from my MIL. I get similar comments a lot from friends, etc.

I am getting close. I am grateful I won't have very young ones to take care of as well as these new babies. I have 3 girls, 11, 8 & 5. We homeschool, so they are always here.

Yes, I am so glad I have big girls that are able to hold a baby, get things, even change a diaper, but they act like my kids can drive themeselves to their activities, get groceries, mow the lawn, take care of the horses, & make dinner every night to boot! They are just children themselves, not adults. They do work hard and already help me a lot. Just recently, we needed to change the 5 gal water bottle, but dh wasn't going to be home for 8 more hours. I got desparate, and I asked my neighbor who replied, "Can't your dd do it?" Uhm.. No! She can't lift it any better than I can." We have done so much for them over the years. It was frustrating.

Anyway, I think I will get some meals, but I don't think anyone would be willing to do anything else cause they think my girls can do it all.
post #34 of 43
My oldest dd was 27-months-old when I had my twins. I do have family nearby but did not get help. They would stop by to ohh and ahh over the babies but didn't help much at all. I don't think I needed help either. Twins - to me - seemed so much harder from the outside then they were in reality. :
post #35 of 43
Get all the help you can.

I hired a girl to help when I was 7 months pregnant with my twins. She did the grocery shopping and cleaned. She also helped with my 2-yr-old (taking to preschool once/week and playing with him or taking him out for a burger).

After the twins came, she helped out 10-20 hours/week for a couple of months. My husband stayed home for 3 weeks also. Here's a newsflash:

Babies "wake up" between two and three weeks of life.

THAT'S when things get hard: the well-wishers and stargazers are gone; the frozen meals are eaten; dad is back at work; family has flown back to another state; and you realize that you're exhausted AND that your baby requires even MORE of your attention now than ever before. And here you are--unable to shower, barely able to eat, longing for 20 minutes of solitude...thinking that you're a bad/inferior mom because you're not feeling complete bliss on your babymoon.

The thing that our society has forgotten is that "help" was the norm in the day when extended families lived together or nearby and very few women worked outside the home. Women were "there" for each other.

Just because the traditional infrastructure is gone DOES NOT mean that the need has vanished with it. It just means that we may have to go out of our way to find the help we need.

I'm reading a great book right now (Mothering the Mother) about women's needs in the postpartum period. It doesn't matter if you have one baby or multiples or if you're having your first baby or fifth. There are so many biological, physical, hormonal, emotional, and mental issues surrounding the transition to motherhood.

I seriously believe that depression and PPD could be lessened in our society if we (as a culture) honored motherhood and helped women gain access to the resources they are desperate for. Instead of expecting women to handle it by themselves, we should assume that they cannot.
post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by birthjunkie View Post
I seriously believe that depression and PPD could be lessened in our society if we (as a culture) honored motherhood and helped women gain access to the resources they are desperate for. Instead of expecting women to handle it by themselves, we should assume that they cannot.


I agree completely. My experience with birthing and having infant twins was horrible. I had more than PPD, I think it's actually called post-partum psychosis. At one point I actually had a plan to convince everyone I had gone insane so that I could be taken away from the situation...but I couldn't go through with it because then my children would have been taken away from me. Talk about a catch-22! Dh and I were not together for most of that pregnancy and the first year of their lives. I was in a town 45 minutes away from my parents, no car, my friends were all at college (I was 19 when they were born), no tv, no radio, no washer/dryer (with cloth diapers!). It SUCKED. Oh, god, it was so bad. I can see how having twins in a "perfect" situation, with a loving partner and a stable home could be less stressful, but to me it's all wound up together. And it's not something I EVER want to deal with again. EVER.

Okay, that wound up being more than about having help, but I know that if I had had some help, even a few hours a week, it would have been a lifesaver.
post #37 of 43
TwinMom, your situation sounds awful.

I've just recently become informed about PPP (through material I'm reading to become a postpartum doula).

Did you have it with your subsequent children? I've heard that's it's very likely to come back. Was your support better for your next babies?
post #38 of 43
The situations were MUCH better with my other children, yes. Dh and I married when the twins were 14 months old (they are his children, we just had a rocky start) and since then have had a loving, stable relationship. By the time the third child was born we owned a house, were financially secure...it's amazing how those simple (well, not really simple to achieve, I guess) things can help. I did have PPD pretty bad after the third child and took medicine for awhile. After the fourth child I had NO PPD, just general "baby blues" for a few months. The previous three had been c-sections, but the fourth was a homebirth and I really think that helped the PPD issue. Feeling in control of the pregnancy and birth was key for me, I think.
post #39 of 43
Oh, right, support, I forgot. I didn't really have any mom friends until we started homeschooling, so the fourth baby is the first time I had a baby with a large circle of women friends around me. It was wonderful to feel that emotional support, to have people bring meals and take my older kids to the park. Dh basically forced me to stay in bed for three weeks while he did everything. It got pretty boring, but once I ventured out I knew it would be a free-for-all on Mommy, so I cuddled up with the newborn, nursed, and read and watched bad TV. Man, I wish I could go back there for just a day or two. Without the baby!
post #40 of 43
Whether you will really need help depends a lot on the circumstances surrounding the births of your twins.

Our babies were on the big side for twins, 3 days shy of their due-date, and caught onto nursing right away. I was adamant that I needed to "hit the ground running" (as much as one can while resting a lot!) because we have older kids ages 2, 4, 6. I refused almost all birth interventions, it went great, and we left the hospital less than 12 hours after they were born.

The twins are four months old now, and it gets easier all the time. The first month was defintely the hardest. We were basically holding/wearing babies all the time and I was nursing rather continuously. My husband works out of the house sometimes. He was able be almost completely on holidays for their first three weeks.

I co-sleep on my side while nursing and couldn't feed them together at night this way. So his nighttime help was particularly important as he would get out of bed to provide cuddling and comfort as one twin usually awoke hungry and crying before the other was finished. We chuckle that it took having twins for us (him) to finally know about that bleary-eyed fatigue other new parents talk about. I continued to make good night sleeps a priority.

The fatigue in the first month was weird, but not at all horrendous. We felt bright, fine, and mentally alert almost all day every day. But if we reclined on the couch for even a moment we were pretty-much instantly asleep (soundly!)

We had family members and friends bring us prepared meals about 6 times and that was AWESOME! Our nearby family has continued to be available as pinch-hit babysitters for our other kids. We didn't really have people come to just hang out and do housework. There are a few times I have specifically called my mother-in-law or sister-in-law to help:
  • hang around the house and baby-cuddle while I packed for our out-of-town trip
  • wash the kitchen floor twice while I took the twins and two pre-schoolers to a mom and tot session in town
  • iron a whole whack of DH's dress shirts b/c my MIL loves ironing and I just wasn't getting around to it
  • general house-cleaning, streamer and balloon decorating and baby cuddling on the morning we were preparing for the 6-year-old's birthday party.

We didn't freeze-ahead meals in anticipation of the birth because our small freezer was already full. I didn't assign relatives to come in and do laundry because by the time I explain how I want to clothes sorted to best preserve their colors, what soaps and stain removers to use where, what items DO NOT go in the dryer, etc it's just faster to do it myself. We have such an overabundance of clothes (mostly hand-me-down and 2nd-hand buys) that I can easily go 3 weeks without doing laundry for anyone - except the twins, so this gives me a lot of flexibilty.

Another reason why I didn't specifically phone relatives to come in was that everyone is busy with their own lives. Yes, they would have gladly helped if I'd asked. Yes, they told me to ask anytime. But I know they are giving up things they need to do to come here and I'm really not doing that poorly. If I were to have someone here cleaning my bathroom, that relative AND I would be thinking, "Man, here's the lady of the house just sitting around!" I have TONS of time to be on the internet and read while I'm nursing and cuddling content little babies. As soon as I jump up and do something is when they get upset (this was worst in the first month). I would feel that it was an ineffective use of resources to have my relatives sacrificing their own needs to clean a bathroom while I nursed babies and yakked on internet forums. I just put up with a dirty house and we're all doing fine in spite of it.

I should underscore that what has really made an enormous difference (in a positive way) is the help I get from my 4-year-old daughter during the day and her 6-year-old sister after school. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is the littlest things that make a huge difference during the day. My daughter grabs the ringing phone since I often forget to set it beside me when sitting down to nurse. She can grab a kleenex for her snotty 2-year-old brother while I'm nursing. She can hold one or both babies so there's no howling while I snag a shower every few days. This is not the kind of help that it would be practical having a second adult hanging around the house to provide, but it's great that she is available and I feel the help more than offsets the work I have parenting our 3 older kids.

In summary, in my personal experience, having twins has been a lot smoother and less work than I thought it would be (having read some real horror stories). I love it. I feel happy, busy, but well-rested. I've kept up with things like parent meetings, an arts council I sit on, mom & tot sessions, shopping trips out of town, occaisional "dates" to small concerts and lots of restaurant meals. I've decided to temporarily care even-less-than-normal about washing the kitchen floor, windows, bathroom, etc. Everything seems to be meeting up nicely in the middle.

I think the key is to do everything you can to get those babies to term and keep a relaxed attitude front and centre. My husband read a funny thing from some frustated parent on a twin forum, "Just remember, this two shall pass!"

Good luck.
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