We were planning on giving ourselves a few more years to get on top of things before trying for another, and we wanted to stop at 2. So it was a not-entirely-pleasant shock when I found out I was pregnant again. (One little lapse on my birthday, idiots.) But we had JUST worked through the fear and other negative feelings and gotten to a point where we were excited about another baby, even though it wasn't exactly what we'd envisioned. "As long as it's not twins," I joked.
Ha ha. Of course, it's twins. I'm 8 weeks along now, and in a complete panic. Literally, like heart pounding, can't sleep, crying at every opportunity, PANIC. We JUST bought a small 2-bedroom apartment and moving right now is not an option without serious financial losses that we can't possibly absorb--oh yeah, also, it's a 4th floor walk-up. And space is the least of our problems. My daughter will be 22 months if the twins go full-term. I will certainly have to stop WAH for a time, which probably means MORE work for my husband, hence less support at home from him--and STILL no money for help. Returning to the workforce full time is not going to be a financial gain with the need for childcare for 3. (Also it's not what I want for myself or my family.) Plus I can't imagine how it will feel to my daughter to grow up as the one non-twin, and it breaks my heart to think of losing any part of the beautiful relationship we now share. Not to mention the possibility of bedrest during pregnancy and complications after birth!
I just can't, can't, can't, can't see how my family could possibly take the addition of two newborns--but if it IS possible, I very much want to see how!!!!!! Because we have not ruled out the possibility of termination (it's that dire--please keep your opinions and judgments to yourself), I can only talk to my husband (who of course is not neutral) and one trusted friend (who's a great listener but, having never been there, has limited insight).
So, please, anyone who's been there before--twins and a toddler or more on a limited income without close extended family--help me find some clarity. I am NOT looking for anyone to tell me this will be easy, or even less near-impossible than I fear. I'm also not looking for anyone to weigh in on whether or not I should keep the babies. I just want to know, practically, if you have done anything like this, HOW???? Are there options / resources / ways to get support that I'm not thinking of?
Any and all experience and advice appreciated.
Here is a thread of mine from early in my pregnancy:
You get no judgement from me. The same thoughts crossed my mind too. And I won't lie, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. They are almost 9 weeks now and our lives are forever changed (in some good ways and some bad). I will say though that I love them and am glad that they are here.
As I said in the other thread, I'd just had four babies in four year and I was WHACKED on little sleep, constant nursing, non-stop demands. And then I got pregnant when my youngest was 8 months old. I didn't want another baby. I had plans that didn't involve another YEAR of doing nothing with myself but baby care. My daughter was very high needs and I knew that bringing another baby into the mix was almost impossible. Just like you, I thought "no way".
But as I'd already had an abortion many years ago and I knew what the emotional and mental ramifications were going to be I decided I just could not go there again. Not as married person with options. I was 16 and unmarried (and stupid) before, I was able to let it go much easier. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that as an almost 30 year old married woman.
Then, at 20 weeks, we found out through routine u/s that we were expecting a daughter AND a son. Too late to change my mind then!
The last two years have been a ride. Very tight financial situation, no family, six kids under the age of six. I won't tell you it was easy. I won't tell you that you can do it. I'm still not sure how I pulled it off, to tell you the truth. I went full term and nursed my babies (NO money for formula) and cloth diapered part time to save money.
Then, in December of that year when the babies were 7 months old, my husband lost his job. We moved in with friends, which eventually destroyed my friendship with that family. We applied for food stamps and moved into an inexpensive rental in the shadier side of town to make it happen.
In August of last year my marriage imploded. We're hanging on by fine threads these days.
Would I take it back? If I could go back and terminate before I knew it was twins? No. I am so in love with these two children. It's not easy, it's just worth it.
I don't envy you, having been there. Many nights I lay awake, horrified that we were going to be adding to a family already on the brink and a mother already at max capacity. I cried, I was sick to my stomach. Oddly, once we found out it was twins I sort of just threw my hands up and laughed manically. What else could I do!?
I wish you all the best.
I know I haven't given you any advice or thoughts on how to make it work because I don't have any. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that someone is thinking of you in this difficult time. I guess the best I can say is that somehow, it just works out. Best of luck with whatever you decide and may you find peace with your decision.
Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:
1. Ways to get outside help: local churches will often send people to your home and/or meals for the first x months, and probably longer for multiples; local high schools may require community service - would helping you count? Your local Mothers of Multiples group would also likely help.
2. Ask your neighbors ahead of the babies' arrivals if they will pick things up at the grocery store for you, etc., then be sure to enlist their help when you need it. You cannot be afraid to rely on near strangers if that's what you have. People like to help; it gives us all a feeling of usefulness.
3. Four flights of stairs sounds somewhat nightmarish, truth be told. However, you can easily babywear two babies at once for months, even years, so there ya go.
4. If you breastfeed and buy second hand anything that you need, your expenses will not increase by a whole heck of a lot. Also, if you put an ad on craiglist or contact your local Moms of Multiples group, I bet you could get baby clothing and gear for nearly free or free.
5. Two bedroom issue - our babies slept in our bedroom for the first nine months. In many cultures around the world (and up until the last hundred or so years in our culture), the entire family sleep in the same room. It may not be your idea of right or heaven, but I bet you could make it work.
6. Your comment about having just worked through fear & negative emotions re: more children really struck me. I tend to think that the universe serves us things when we are ready, whether or not we realize our own potential and the meaning of the situation.
We're here for you.
I'm wondering if you could get somebody to throw you an alternative type of shower, where people sign up to help with specific tasks (bringing a few frozen meals, folding laundry on x days, helping you out the door to pediatrician appointments, grocery shopping). I don't know if that would work, or if it would even address your main challenges, but it might be worth a thought.
In particular get your friends with kids to take turns minding your daughter for a few mornings a week. For me, the hardest part of having twins is figuring out how to occupy my toddler; I keep thinking that if I only had one baby I could just pop it in a sling and then play with my toddler. But with two babies, it's a real struggle.
My babies are four months old and things are starting to get a lot easier. We have a routine; there's never a dull moment but it isn't chaos either. But those first four months were pretty rough. I really don't know what I would have done without help.
Good luck, and I'll be thinking about you.
Once you tap into your local resources I am sure that you will get the help that you need. You found the right place to come. We are here for you.
: wife to James, MoM to R and D (Aug 2007) and E (Nov 2009) and Y (April 2012)
mine came early, at 32wks, and spent a month in the nicu. the first ~4 months were the hardest thing i have ever done in my life. i won't lie to you. i think the sleep deprivation is the worst part. but... i managed. and it progressively got better. now, at the age they're at, they will hang out and play and do their thing for a nice long while while i get work done, make dinner, etc. it's just the first like 6mos that are completely insane. but when you think about it... it's 6 months. it passes. and as they get older and into a routine, are able to amuse themselves, etc... it gets so much easier. i am able to maintain my business from home, take care of the kids, cook all meals, keep the house relatively straight (i do have a housekeeper 2x/month, a luxury, but if i didn't it would be ok - my toilets just wouldn't be as clean). again, i don't have a toddler. but i don't have any help, either.
big huge hugs. the idea of 2 babies is absolutely terrifying, even if you're prepared for them. but once they arrive... and you settle into a groove... twins are awesome. watching them develop differently, interact with each other... it's just such a wild wild thing. is it easy? NOPE! but nothing worth it usually is......
Learning that it was twins was definitely a shock for us, especially me. There was no way that we could afford daycare for two infants, so one of us would have to stay home with the babies whether we wanted to or not. Twins meant reevaluating all of my plans. In spite of all the terror we felt, we couldn't help but feel blessed. Spontaneous twins only happen about once in 100 pregnancies. We figured that these two little souls needed to come together and we were chosen to be their parents because we could handle it. And you know, over the past few months we've been approached by parents of twins of all ages and not one person has said, "I wish we hadn't had them." As hard as it is, we all get through the rough first months.
If you do decide to continue with the pregnancy, here are somethings I wish I did and that I'm glad I did:
- Take good care of yourself and do everything you can to carry those babies full-term.
- Make sure you have maternity coverage and consider applying for state assistance to pay for the birth.
- Plan to breastfeed. Then plan to pump and introduce a bottle early so you can take some time away from the babies.
- You will probably feel like you're doing a terrible job at first because you can't answer all their cries/meet all their needs right away, but that's how it goes with twins.
- Try to start putting them to bed a before you and your husband retire for the evening. It's amazing what 2 hours as a couple will do for your sense of well being.
- Expect it to be overwhelming at times. It is. But, you'll find that you develop time-/effort-saving techniques pretty quickly.
- Tandem nurse at first, otherwise you'll feel like you're feeding them ALL the time.
Good luck! You have more strength and resources than you realize.
When we had our daughter we were SO naive, and we thought we could do it all by ourselves, and only when we hit a wall a few days in (she was tongue-tied and we had serious nursing issues) did we call anyone. We got a rush of lasagnas delivered, and then everyone disappeared again. (Our friends at the time were mostly young and single and clueless--we've since made more friends with kids but not a whole hell of a lot.) The newborn phase for us was just completely bananas, and almost drove us nuts. I know we learned a lot from our experience, so it wouldn't be exactly the same kind of horror, but then there are all the ways it would be so much harder, because there are two, plus our toddler.
I talked to my husband about asking for help from friends, family, church, community. Asking for help is VERY hard for me, but for him it triggers some deep self-loathing and rage. He declared that NO WAY were we going to go to people and ask for that kind of help. This is one of his core "issues," and I think I have a pretty good idea about where it comes from (old family stuff, naturally), but when he goes there he's totally unable to get any perspective or even connect with me. Somehow he'd have to get past this in order for us to do this, and I just don't know how that is going to happen. I suggested to my husband that we make an appointment to talk to someone at our church (we're Unitarians, so it's a liberal church)--just to TALK to someone, to help us sort through what we're up against--but he refused because we've been such lousy church-members. We've gone to services maybe twice in the last year because it seems like our daughter is ALWAYS napping! And we've had a hard time paying our church dues.
This is threatening to turn into a rant, so I'm going to let it go at that. Thanks for the stories and the company.
I was thinking about your apartment situation and remembered that one of my twin parenting books talks about this. It suggests carrying one in a carrier and the other in one arm, leaving another arm free to hold onto the railing. It also suggests putting them in a light-weight side-by-side stroller and backing them down/up the steps -- proceed with caution! Once they can hold up their heads and are less wobbly, you might be able to carry them both at once fairly easily? If none of this sounds workable, what about sub-letting for a bit?
As far as having to stop working at home - could you hire a student as a cheaper "mother's helper" who could entertain the kids while you work from home? Also check out colleges with nanny programs -- I'm sure there are quite a few in NYC? I know sometimes the students have to do a practicum in a person's house as part of their degree -- you could sign up to do that, and it shouldn't cost you anything. You would probably have to be at home while the student is there, but you are working from home anyway. Could you make more $$ if you WOH part-time, and therefore be able to afford chld care for a few days a week? Personally, I find work to be a refreshing break; if you feel the same, I would seek out any way to continue.
Finally, regarding the relationship with your dd who will be 22 months, and her potentially feeling left out b/c she is not a twin: IME, this is surmountable. They will all be close enough in age that they will likely all play together at some point. Also, it's likely that at some point, the twins will be sleeping at the same time (morning nap, afternoon nap), and your older dd will not be taking a morning nap, and then eventually not taking an afternoon nap, leaving you a lot of time to spend with her individually. If this doesn't happen, you can always carve out some time for your older dd individually and leave the twins with your DH. If there's one thing I've learned about having four kids (though I'm still new at it!), it's that the kids like that there are now more kids. My 5 year-old and 2 year-old love to interact with each other, and they both think it's pretty neat that there are 2 babies on the scene. Who's to say whether they will someday be on a therapist's couch complaining that they were displaced by twins at a young age -- right now they same to be enjoying it...
Obviously no one else here can know whether this is right for you, but I do think most of us humans have an innate ability to adapt to very difficult situations and to come up with workable solutions. I have no idea whether you (or any of us) were "meant to do this," but I do think its doable if you do choose to do it. Again, it may not be something you're happy about right away (I'm hoping my outlook turns around eventually), but you never know how you'll feel about it when they are 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and so on.
Having twins, once I get past the really hard parts, has been amazing. It's been very special. Not that I don't love my singletons, because I do. Something about having twins is different though and has been a seriously neat experience. I don't know what you'll decide but I will tell you that it's been a crazy, bad, wonderful ride and I'm glad I got on.
Re: your husband....I don't know what to tell you there except in my relationship I'd probably say "I respect your right to not want to call people. You'll have to excuse me while I get the help that I need". He's not going to be able to help you with your three babies while he's working two jobs, eh? So, someone is going to have to do it. If you decide to carry forward, get help despite his issues. You're going to need it.
My husband grieved. Truley grieved!! It caused such turmoil in our relationship. He mourned as if one of our children that are here and alive had passed. We didn't really speak for weeks, which was very tough. I still don't really bring it up and when we see twin children....it makes us stop and wonder.
I know my story doesn't really have much meaning to you or helps with wise words of advise. But you are not alone in being scared. Everything will change but you will adapt. You may have to move closer to family or get assistance at the state and federal level but that is what it is for. Times are hard and you need not be afraid to extend out a hand and ask for help. You have been blessed. A friend told me once when I was pregnant with them that God wouldn't give two babies to a family if God didn't think they were incredible parents twice over!!
I suggested to my husband that we make an appointment to talk to someone at our church (we're Unitarians, so it's a liberal church)--just to TALK to someone, to help us sort through what we're up against--but he refused because we've been such lousy church-members. We've gone to services maybe twice in the last year because it seems like our daughter is ALWAYS napping! And we've had a hard time paying our church dues.
Her eventual choice was to terminate one of the babies and keep the other. I don't know if you have thought of this as an option or not. It may not even be possible depending in the type of twins. It wasn't a horrible experience physically for my friend although she still has enotional stuff going on.
I just wanted to offer it as a possibility...
Much love to you all x
Next comes some birthing choices--my daughter was born at home, but I'm not sure whether our midwife will do twins. I'm hoping I can line up dual care--see the midwife and do a homebirth if everything is optimal, and also find an OB who is natural-birth friendly in case I have to deliver in a hospital. (It's next to impossible for homebirth midwives to get hospital privileges in the city.) Thankfully, we do have health insurance through my husband's job.
I'll be getting another sono next week--twin B is smaller than twin A so the OB who did the first scan was concerned about vanishing twin...I really won't know how to feel if, after all this, I end up with only one healthy baby. A complex cocktail of grief and relief, I suppose.
Thanks for all your support and hopefully I'll be checking in as things progress. If you're the praying type, please pray for an uncomplicated pregnancy and labor; nice, big, healthy babies born at term; and 2 easy-going, mellow temperaments. (What are the chances of THAT?)
My twins were born at 36 weeks and have been perfectly healthy from the beginning. No nursing issues, no jaundice, nothing. They're awesomely mellow. My first kid was a bit of a challenging baby so of course the twins seem easy by comparison. I hope you have the same experience.
Erika, former single mom of twins who had help from every religion and every organization while pregnant with twins/mom'ing newborn twins.
mom of (8) (5) (3) and born at home on Christmas day!
If you're the praying type, please pray for an uncomplicated pregnancy and labor; nice, big, healthy babies born at term; and 2 easy-going, mellow temperaments. (What are the chances of THAT?)
My 2nd child was the worst. baby. ever. EVER. Seriously, ever. She screamed NON STOP for 8 straight months, never slept more than 6 hours total in a day and never for more than 90 minutes at a time, threw up constantly, nursed horribly, had to be held every waking and sleeping second, would scream bloody murder if you put her down, or in the car, or in the stroller, or gave her to someone else. And even worse than that, my husband was gone for the better part of her first 2 years and I got to deal with her and my oldest alone. I wanted to drive my car into a phone pole, I'm not kidding.
When I had finally gotten over the trauma of her first year and figured her out and what was making her so miserable, I started to feel better about life and I finally felt like I was getting it together. On her first birthday I wrote her a letter and in it I said, "I have no idea how we survived your first year. I really, really don't. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and that scares the crap out of me. I don't know what is in our future that we need to be stronger for. Those months were the hardest of my entire life and I can't even imagine any more months that could be harder. I don't even want to try to imagine what could be worse than those months."
I never would have thought that going through the hell of her first year was really preparing me to be a mother of twins. It never entered my mind, but the second I found out I was having twins (about 10 months after I wrote that) it all clicked. And let me tell you, my twins are a cake walk compared to her. The 2 of them combined at their very worst don't even compare to what she was at her "best". It's not because they are super easy babies, but because I have seen what the worst is and know how to handle the pressure and challenges they bring.
So I hope it works out for you that way too. You will figure it out and get through. I promise . You are going to do great.
I am mom to a 3.5 year old son and wasn't trying to get pregnant. Just found out about the twins at 11 weeks. My husband and I are going through the wringer over this. We never wanted three kids, two would be plenty. I am struggling with the idea of terminating but can't imagine doing it. It just seems so overwhelming and simply not what I wanted (I know you don't always get what you want). I'm 41 and I barely have the energy to parent my son now.
Anyways I send you my love and understanding for where you are at. I hope whatever decision you make, it feels like the right one for you.
I don't usually frequent this board, but when I saw the title, I thought this might be what it was about.
Good luck for the rest of your pregnancy and congratulations!
Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will. If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk New User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/articles/user-agreement
My twins were also born 17 months after THE HELL CHILD. 6 months of non-stop screaming and could never be put down-the only place she'd nap was on my back (and she WASN'T petite). Oh, what a first year we had with her! So yeah, even though my twins are probably "average" as far as mellowness goes it was a cake walk as compared with #4. They slept pretty well, nursed well, played nicely together until they got to about 20 months (now they try to kill each other--I won't elaborate lest I scare you more ). It's been totally awesome.
My suggestion is to be extremely flexible with yourself when the babies are here .. don't get locked into any ideas about how things have to be with them or your toddler. Just see what works and then change what doesn't. This I mean in terms of sleeping, feeding, naps, etc. Forgive yourself quickly for any moments of lost temper or tears ... the kids won't remember and neither should you.
Even though it is not very AP (no flames), I would suggest trying to get the twins on the same schedule as soon as you can. One, you'll get more sleep if they are feeding at the same time at night. Two, the predictability will give you some sanity. I found it pretty easy to do by always feeding them at the same time, even if it meant waking one up.
What might work for you as far as the stairs: if possible keep a tandem/double stroller in the lowest part of the stairwell (lock it up maybe?). Have the toddler bump down, wear one baby and carry the other. Two go in the stroller, one is worn.
I was very worried about the effect another baby would have on my relationship with the twins. You have enough love for them all. They will be very close because they are so close in age and interested in the same things. My children are just great together.. three peas in a pod.
Good luck with your pregnancy. Keep everyone up to date.
I work part-time in the evenings; I took four months off after the twins came, and then another month around the time they turned a year old (because of DS's allergies and sleep issues.)
As far as your older daughter, I think I have some perspective on that now. It definitely rocked my daughter's world, having twin siblings when she was only 2 years old. (It doesn't help, too, that I got very sick after they were born, with a chronic serious illness, and we didn't get my disease under control for a whole year after the birth.)
There were some really hard times, where she felt very lost in the shuffle, and where she indulged in some attention-getting behaviors. But on the whole, I think having her brother and sister has been a transformative experience for her, and a blessing. She's learned all kinds of things about compassion and about patience and about living together with other people. She and her siblings are incredibly close-- they have this beautiful web of love and caring between the three of them. They drive each other nuts, sometimes, with all three living in the same bedroom, and drive me nuts, too, but it's so worth it to see the relationship they have. So I wouldn't worry about that. Love doesn't run out, and when patience runs out, everybody learns an important live lesson about what it means to be in a family.
The physical logistics of a walk-up sound daunting, but anything can be done with patience and planning.
Anyway, I gotta go and cook lunch for this crew, but if you ever need somebody to talk to, let me know.
FWIW, DH and I joined a local UU church here when the twins were 2, and it was been the greatest thing we've ever done. Even if you've been lackluster members thus far, reach out to them. I so wish I'd joined a church before the twins came, because I can see how having a community of people to draw on for support would have made it so much easier.