Are things really going to be as hard as everyone keeps telling me? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep telling myself that freaking out isn't going to accomplish anything, but some days that just doesn't work. Its finally starting to hit me that I'm going to have 4 kids to take care of and to be honest, I'm panicking a little bit. How do you mamas do it? Especially when you have a toddler (DD2 is 3) and two newborns? I guess its the logistics of everything that I'm concerned about. Things like going grocery shopping with all of them by myself, nursing two at once, cloth diapering two, driving DD1 to and from school, babywearing (is that even possible with two?)....it just seems so overwhelming!

I nursed both my girls for well over a year, but I know its probably a whole 'nother animal when you have two. DP also works really weird hours, sometimes 24 hour shifts back to back, and is away from home at least 2 nights a week. He'll only be able to take 2 weeks off from work when the babies are born. Normally that wouldn't bother me too much, but if I end up having a CS, I know it takes longer than 2 weeks to fully recover from that. I do have family close by, but honestly don't know how much they'll be able to come help out because they are all usually very busy. And then just thinking about all the STUFF we'll need with twins....gah. Its enough to drive you crazy!

So is it really going to be as hard as I'm thinking, or am I just losing my mind for no reason?

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#2 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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Well, you could lose your mind but it's not going to help you much . My twins arrived when my older ones were 3 and 5-1/2. Honestly, that first year was hard but not that hard. It was a lot of work (diapers, nursing, baby holding, etc...) but it was stuff that you just get done. I found the older two were the ones I had to invest more in emotionally and that was almost more difficult than meeting the more physical needs of the twins. I did have dh's help for 2 weeks and my SIL was here for a lot of that first month. Other than that we didn't have much more help aside from some friends dropping off meals and one friend to help clean the house a couple of times. The tandem nursing is possible, the double babywearing is possible, the cloth diapering is probably possible (I didn't do it) and having the experience with your older children will help you with that.

Hopefully, if you think it is going to be very hard than it will be easier than you're imagining . Personalities definitely play into it as well. My oldest is (and always will be I think) my biggest handful. The other 3 seem pretty laid back compared to him.

I won't scare you but I am not going to tell you that it all gets easier after the first year. I think I thought it would settle down a bit after a year but the twin toddler years seem more than a little crazy. And I very rarely take all 4 grocery shopping by myself .

Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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#3 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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A lot will depend on the temperaments of the babies and how your older kids take it. Also, if you carry the twins to term and bfing gets established easily, things will be a lot easier than if you have preemies and/or bfing issues.

You probably don't need as much stuff as you think you do - except food (especially prepared food in the freezer).

There is certainly a lot of work involved, but you will figure out what you need to do to make it work. I still do my best not to go grocery shopping with all the kids. Until they started preschool, that meant a lot of shopping very late at night after dh got home. Also, dh does a lot of stopping in at the store for non-perishables on his way to work in the morning.

I found babywearing very different with triplets than with a singleton, but I did it. I did a lot less wearing them when they were babies than I did with one, but more when they were toddlers.

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#4 of 18 Old 06-21-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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Yes and no.

It's REALLY hard to wrap your mind around caring for TWO newborns. I think you'll find some things will be harder and some won't be so bad.

For most people, the first year is kind of rough... but you've already breastfed your older children, so at least you have the hang of that!

Accept help from anyone who offers -- anyone! -- and prepare a lot of meals in advance and accept that things might not be up to your current standards for the first few months/year.

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#5 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 12:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aurinia View Post
I guess its the logistics of everything that I'm concerned about. Things like going grocery shopping with all of them by myself, nursing two at once, cloth diapering two, driving DD1 to and from school, babywearing (is that even possible with two?)....it just seems so overwhelming!
Be prepared to be submerged in dealing with the basics for a good long while. Survival basics. Food water sleep love. Keep plenty of water where you can reach it if you are trapped on the couch for a long time with one sleeping against you, one nursing, and then switch and you don't want to move and disturb anyone. I often had one baby in arms and one in an old fashioned simple bouncy seat that I bounced with my foot. Did this at the dinner table, while reading stories to big sis, etc.

We used two carts at grocery; I pushed one with infant seats-- one in bottom, one clipped on top and pulled another one with the groceries. I would often carry one but for sanity it was good to have a spot to lay each baby down at some point, or be able to switch smoothly, or help an older child. We later varied this as we did have three under three but I also tried to time shopping trips for when dh was home even if it was really late at night. After midnight may be less exhausting than four-in-tow. I have found it hard to think my shopping decisions through while handling multiple children--it can be done but I avoided it when they were littler. A supportive adult companion can help, but it can still be hard to even think while paying attention to the kids.

Nursing was fine and we nursed past two years, night nursing was tricky, nursing in public was tricky. But I just did it. I was actually able to find some laying down positions in which both could nurse at the same time at night. They weren't extremely comfy but we managed. Yes I have tandem nursed in public too and no it was not discreet at all.

Diapering was not a big deal. There were just a lot of diapers.

We didn't go out much. Baby wearing worked best with dad involved. Two parents carrying two babies. Although early on I had two in a sling quite a few times--they were smushed together a lot when they were tiny. Double slinging was a lot like double nursing with both to same side if you can picture that. This was for newborn-size though. Some people might not be able to work out the smush-comfort balance. I have also done a combo of front and back carrier, but we had a double jogger stroller as well which got a lot of use in different combinations with different kids in out and carried at different times. It is physically too hard for me to carry two for long--I only have so much body and I think that baby-wearing is mostly a one-on-one thing. Doing a lot of it is one thing, doing it for both all the time is another.

Whatever amount your dh can be involved he should and probably will just because you'll need it. He can make all the difference. It's not how many hours he's home but whether he is making the most of the time he has to support you, cook, help with laundry, and be hands-on with the babes. Dad's full involvement was one of the big perks of twins IMO. Dad HAD to be helping sooooo much whenever he was home. It was sweet and great for him as a parent in the long run because he couldn't leave a lot to me as he might have easily done otherwise It was also wonderful for our relationship to have traveled that challenging path together while supporting each other.

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#6 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 02:13 AM
 
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I had myself very stressed out and thought that it was going to be terrible but it really turned out to be no where near as bad as I had anticipated despite all the issues we were having at first.

Rachel
Mommy to DS13, DS12, DS7, DD5, DD3, and twin GIRLS : born at home in the water on 12/18/09
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#7 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post
Be prepared to be submerged in dealing with the basics for a good long while. Survival basics. Food water sleep love. Keep plenty of water where you can reach it if you are trapped on the couch for a long time with one sleeping against you, one nursing, and then switch and you don't want to move and disturb anyone. I often had one baby in arms and one in an old fashioned simple bouncy seat that I bounced with my foot. Did this at the dinner table, while reading stories to big sis, etc.

We used two carts at grocery; I pushed one with infant seats-- one in bottom, one clipped on top and pulled another one with the groceries. I would often carry one but for sanity it was good to have a spot to lay each baby down at some point, or be able to switch smoothly, or help an older child. We later varied this as we did have three under three but I also tried to time shopping trips for when dh was home even if it was really late at night. After midnight may be less exhausting than four-in-tow. I have found it hard to think my shopping decisions through while handling multiple children--it can be done but I avoided it when they were littler. A supportive adult companion can help, but it can still be hard to even think while paying attention to the kids.

Nursing was fine and we nursed past two years, night nursing was tricky, nursing in public was tricky. But I just did it. I was actually able to find some laying down positions in which both could nurse at the same time at night. They weren't extremely comfy but we managed. Yes I have tandem nursed in public too and no it was not discreet at all.

Diapering was not a big deal. There were just a lot of diapers.

We didn't go out much. Baby wearing worked best with dad involved. Two parents carrying two babies. Although early on I had two in a sling quite a few times--they were smushed together a lot when they were tiny. Double slinging was a lot like double nursing with both to same side if you can picture that. This was for newborn-size though. Some people might not be able to work out the smush-comfort balance. I have also done a combo of front and back carrier, but we had a double jogger stroller as well which got a lot of use in different combinations with different kids in out and carried at different times. It is physically too hard for me to carry two for long--I only have so much body and I think that baby-wearing is mostly a one-on-one thing. Doing a lot of it is one thing, doing it for both all the time is another.

Whatever amount your dh can be involved he should and probably will just because you'll need it. He can make all the difference. It's not how many hours he's home but whether he is making the most of the time he has to support you, cook, help with laundry, and be hands-on with the babes. Dad's full involvement was one of the big perks of twins IMO. Dad HAD to be helping sooooo much whenever he was home. It was sweet and great for him as a parent in the long run because he couldn't leave a lot to me as he might have easily done otherwise It was also wonderful for our relationship to have traveled that challenging path together while supporting each other.
oh my - can't get any better than that. sounds exactly like how we survive! LOL With the exception of shopping trips at midnite - no luxury like that in a small town of 1000.....I do the dual shopping cart technique.

Tamika
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#8 of 18 Old 06-22-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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I can't comment on the older kids/new twinfants mix, but on just the two babies part:

Yeah, I thought it was pretty hard. Mind you, I have nothing to compare it too, and I think if I had had any experience and known how much work just one baby was, it would have freaked me out a lot more.

The good news is while I was doing it, I thought it was doable. It's only looking back that I wonder at how I did it. For me it was a little bit like a triage center. I took care of the one that needed me most, then moved on down the line. I think the hard thing for AP parents is that AP-parenting twins is not going to be like AP-parenting a singleton. There's only one of you, and 2 of them (4 if you count your older kids). Someone's going to cry and you're not going to be able to get to them right away. I would talk to them and tell them I'm coming and if possible I would put them in a bouncy close to me so I could bounce with my foot as I was changing the other one's diaper or whatever. It might be more doable if you don't have unreasonable expectations for yourself.

Finally the nursing was OK but it was time-consuming. If you make it past the first 6 months, I don't think it's that different to nurse one vs two because as you know, they nurse so much faster when they're older and you can also nurse both at once.

Poppan ~ twins born April 2007
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#9 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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It's all about your outlook and mindset. Stay positive, believe you can do it and you will. I mean- you have to anyways, so if you just look at it in a positive light- it will be fine.

I also had to really compromise a bit on my "ideas" for how I would parent my girls- like babywearing all the time and exclusively breastfeeding. We had a supply issue which made formula a necessity- but you can supplement a bit when times are crazy and you just need to get them fed. Just go easy on yourself and your expectations and you will succeed!

Also- can you hire a post-partum doula? I didn't have the money, but I've heard it is incredibly helpful. Best wishes!! You are a super woman!
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#10 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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Oh also- about grocery shopping...I will often put one baby in the carrier, one in the carseat in the cart...although not sure about the other little ones. Our store has a car/grocery cart that could hold 4 kids potentially- 2 in the car, 1 in the bucket, 1 in the upper seat.

I always ask for help in the grocery store. We have people specifically dedicated to that and they load up my cart with bagged groceries and take it out to my car. They will even let me pull up and load it up for me...but that is a luxury only Wegmans could offer.
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#11 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone...I guess I was just having a moment. LOL DP has been gone a lot the last few weeks and its just making me realize how much more I'll be dealing with once babies are here, if his schedule stays like this. I know we'll make it through because, really, we have no choice, but I'm sure I'll occasionally freak out about it from time to time.

I think it also helps that DD1 is 10yrs old and LOVES babies, so she'll probably be a big help when she's not in school. As far as waiting til DP is home, or doing the midnight shopping trips, etc...probably not going to happen all that much. He works really weird hours, lots of overnights and we live in a small town, so all shopping must be done by 10pm or your SOL. C'est la vie, I guess. When they're teeny-tiny, I'm hoping I can wear them both in the Moby, put my 3yr old in the seat in the cart and make things work that way. Or I'll just have to do the two-cart method.

Twinmama2010, I absolutely LOVE Wegmans! Do you happen to live anywhere near Syracuse? Just curious...it would be nice to have someone somewhat local to chat with.

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#12 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 08:42 PM
 
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Yeah, it's hard. But what I learned is that when you HAVE to do a thing-- when you have absolutely no choice, and the survival of helpless children is on the line-- you can do pretty much anything you put your mind to. Then, when they're older, and things get easier, you'll feel like Superwoman. Like you could scale tall mountains with a baby on each arm. Mostly we got through life one moment at a time, with the one who needed me most desperately getting my attention in that moment.

There are lots of things that can make it easier. The first one is making sure the people in your life understand that just getting through the day is going to take all your attention, and that the niceties-- like a clean house, or well-prepared meals-- may have to take a back seat to the needs of the children. Especially, lining up help to do the household work can be very helpful. I also found it helpful to have lots of activities lined up for DD1 (who was 2 1/2 when her twin siblings came) with people other than me, so that she felt like she had something that belonged especially to her.

You may have to insist that your DH help you arrange some help during the times when he's away. Nighttime with twins and a toddler, all by yourself, might be challenging.

Until my twins were 3, I did my grocery shopping with a double stroller. Anything that didn't fit in the cargo space under the stroller, I couldn't buy. If we really NEEDED it, DH would have to go get it in the evening. I had one baby in a baby carrier (usually DS, who was colicky), one baby in the infant seat on the stroller, and DD1 in the front seat of the stroller. Once we outgrew that arrangement, I put the twins in the stroller, and sent DD1 to part-time preschool.

Taking DD to school was a production, since I had to walk her to her classroom. But it didn't take long to settle into a nice routine around that part of our day.

I dunno. I remember it being really hard. But here we all are, all fine and healthy and happy and well-adjusted. I was also very sick that whole first year, because of a serious chronic illness that I have, plus DS was colicky. So I think it was especially challenging for us.

Another thing I learned, with our twin experience-- be kind to yourself. You can't be everywhere, and you can't be everything to everybody. There will be times when a child has to wait for your attention, and that's okay. It's how responsive you are over the long haul that matters, not one bad night or a string of bad days. And also-- be kind to each other (you and your partner, I mean). It's really easy when things are so busy and stressful to start to bicker or snipe at each other, and that's a road I wish we hadn't gone down.

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#13 of 18 Old 06-23-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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I actually have fond memories of grocery shopping and going to Target. (Am I crazy?) It was frequently my one outing for the day. I pushed the double snap n go in front of me and pulled the grocery cart behind me. There is a trick to how to steer the snap n go with one hand/arm -- basically you put your whole arm wrist to elbow across the bar when you have to turn. When they got older, one sat in the shopping cart and I wore the other one on my back.

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#14 of 18 Old 06-24-2010, 02:31 AM
 
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While I was pregnant, I came to the realization that sometimes somebody is going to cry. The twins were our first, and I still cried every day for three months. It was really hard. But they nursed well and I figured out how to move my lower body off from lying on the couch with two babies sleeping on me without moving my upper body and getting them into their crib without waking them up, that was a feat that I was very proud of. DH had no option but to help because I was only one person. He very quickly learned that if he wanted clean underware, he had to do the laundry and if he wanted a clean plate he had to do dishes .

We ate frozen dinners I prepared in advance on disposable plates and I had some stuff that I had on hand ready between things that I could eat on the go, like granola bars and nuts.

Your 10 year old seems like she is going to be a big help, even if it's holding somebody while you are busy doing something else. Can you get help from your local church or a neighbor? Nights are really tough with two newborns, any chance you could get a night nurse who would bring the babies to you to nurse? That was DH's job.

It does get easier. Now that they are almost three I can see that they are so much more indipendant than some of their peers because they have to be and don't need me so much. Twins is a blessing.

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#15 of 18 Old 06-24-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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Aurinia-
I'm in Rochester- but would be happy to connect! PM me and I'll send you my email
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#16 of 18 Old 06-25-2010, 09:35 AM
 
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I have to tell you, I have been there, too. My oldest was 5 when the twins were born and although my husband was not out of the house as much as yours, he was teaching totally new subjects (he is a HS PS teacher) that year and the poor guy worked AROUND THE CLOCK, so we saw him for dinner and that was it. It was a time of "headless chicken", as I like to call it. Yes, I as running from child to child, task to task, from morning until evening. That being said, I was too in the thick of things to realize that I needed help. That is one thing I really wished I would have been able to see - to have someone come over - even if I or the house was not "presentable". I think if you know going into it that you may not be able to recognize that you need help, you can ask your husband to be your advocate for that. "Darling, if I look really frazzeled, can you line up or help me line up help? I may not be able to figure it out for myself". You know? I think this also goes for PPD. Sometimes we just cannot see clearly enough to recognize what is going on.

OK, now let me clarify that the first year for us was not a horrific experience, but it was hard. It was challenging and exhillirating. It was also really awesome. I would do it again if given the opportunity (with help, of course! ha ha!).

On the nursing end of things, we have really enjoyed nursing twins, and it has taught me a lot about raising little ones, which would require a whole new post to go into. Oh, there are some added perks to nursing twins that you may not have thought of - you produce more oxytocin while tandem nursing (happiness!), your menses stay away for way longer if you are exclusively BFing on demand (mine came back at 29 months PP!!! A personal record ), and you can eat lots!!! Mine are still nursing, and it provides all types of humor in our home. They get silly when there are two!

Baby wearing is not only possible, but essential, IMHO! If you have two carriers of any type, you can wear them both. Be careful, though, you might go carrier crazy (I went into twindom with a ring sling and came out with another ring sling, a moby wrap, a mei-tai and an extra framed backpack! ). Logistically, I liked the Moby for a double carry when they were infants; then one on front, one in back as they got bigger.

I went everywhere when they were babies. The trick is being flexible and knowing that if you need to bail out and leave, it is totally okay. Don't be too solid in your plans. I felt excited to be out and about - it was a nice treat.

Don't lose your head over this. You will work out all the details of everyday life. And how you do things will change often, as you adapt and the babies grow. Plus, you have this loving community to come to with whatever questions you'll have in the future - and there are some very wise mothers here!!! This forum has been indespensible for me (way more so than my local group).

I'll be praying for a lovely, joyful and natural birth for you and your new little ones!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

mother to girl (8), boy (7), girl (5) and twin boys (12/07) and a little boy due Feb 5!!
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#17 of 18 Old 06-28-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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Well, the good thing is that you aren't pretending or ignoring the fact that it is harder than having a singleton. It is harder, but that doesn't mean that you can't make it easier or at least more enjoyable by accepting that life will slow down, you will sometimes feel your other children are cheated of attention (esp. those first couple years), that when one needs breastfeeding - the other will most likely be crying and waiting his or her turn, etc. The getting in and out of the car/carseats is mindnumbing. Trying to think through the logistics of getting in and out of stores, running errands can be trying, etc.

I think attitude goes a long way. Accepting that one's life is changing, at least for a few years, and that life isn't about self - it's about service - can really help you get through it all. Also, having a spouse who is very helpful and sensitive can help too.

When our twins were born after 13 weeks of strict bedrest (7 in hospital), I could hardly walk in the house from the garage due to health issues, etc. We had a 19 month old daughter, 5 1/2 year old son, and a 7 year old son at home waiting for Mama to return from her "hospital vacation". I was overjoyed to be home and with the fact that my TTTS twins had survived and were doing quite well considering. That helped out. I was patient with myself. I had a little help during the day for the first couple of weeks, but that was it. And since that time, I haven't had any help really at all.

Two years later, the house is neglected. My older children are thriving despite all my worries about the attention I couldn't give to them. The twins were breastfed for 20 months! And they are doing well, the only thing "preemie" about them is the TTTS Donor's smaller size and their speech does seem a little delayed. But overall, my family is intact!

It wasn't easy, I will not lie. Vacations still exhaust me. I shall never catch up on sleep. Dinnertime is nervewracking. Everything is an undertaking still. But I wouldn't change it.

Well, except I would schedule a regular "alone time" at least 3 to 4 hours where I left the kids with my husband or someone I trusted so that I could run errands or do whatever totally alone.

Have no fear, just courage. Be steady. Be patient. Love your job, laugh at your mistakes. Work on your attitude of acceptance about what you're facing. Slow down. And if you do feel like you can't bear anymore and need a break, don't be afraid to ask for help and take that break!

If I can do it, I know you can.
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#18 of 18 Old 06-28-2010, 01:11 PM
 
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just a quick note to say - yes - the first ~9mos was crazy hard for me. but i also had NO IDEA what i was doing. my twins are my first, and i really knew absolutely nothing about caring for babies. i think it would have been infinitely easier (though certainly not easy!) if i had already breastfed one, understood naps, etc etc.

for me, once they got to the point where they could hang out and play with toys (even if it was just for 5 minutes!), it got much better. now, at 17mos, they are just so much fun and an absolute joy!
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