Hi there! Mom of a single invading your board -- Hope you don't mind!
My very dear, dear friend recently found out she is pregnant with twins. She's asking for some advice on birthing classes & books... I'm kind of stumped... do I just pass along all my books (Birthing from Within, Baby Book by Sears, LLL's Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, etc) or should I alter my approach. Being pregnant with twins she's already classified as high risk & is worried for other personal health reasons that she will likely have a c-section & will have trouble breastfeeding. I want to be as supportive as I can be without being (a) "oh, it's all the same & you'll be fine" or (b) "what! twins! you might as well have told me you're having aliens! I have no idea what to tell you!"
Also, just curious... What was the worst/best advice you got from friends who are parents of singletons?
Mama to my little busy bee.
I think that it's great that you are so willing to help. My friends with singletons really had no idea what I was going through or what I was about to face :-) This board is a great source of information, encouragement and support. I think I would have lost my mind the last weeks of pregnancy and the first few months after I had my boys had it not been for the support here. Just be there for her, listen, and what I found helpful was an obscure book one of my friends lent me "the girfriend's guide to pregnancy". That basically kept me laughing. For me, my twin pregnancy and my singleton pregnancy were not that different, so most of the same things do apply. I had to have a c-section because one of my twins was in distress and they were both transverse, I nursded them exclusively for 18 months so it can be done. I took my pump with me to the hospital and was pumping less than two hours after giving birth, right out of recovery. Food was also helpful. Friends and neighbours kept coming around with dinners and that was very helpful both before and after I gave birth.
Hope this helps.
: wife to James, MoM to R and D (Aug 2007) and E (Nov 2009) and Y (April 2012)
Definitely give her support. I found that most of my most useful books were pregnancy books. (not specifically twin books)
The exception to this was that I had a hard time with the books that were extremely anti-intervention. They just made me feel bad about something that I didn't have a whole lot of control over. (I wound up with an induced, but otherwise unmedicated natural birth, but it could easily have gone differently).
I don't know your friend, but one of the things I needed while I was pregnant was someone I could vent to, both when I was on bed rest and after the twins had arrived, about my ambivalence. Of course I'm very happy to have my babies, but I was terrified that I would lose them and I was worried about the birth, and I needed to talk to someone about that without them trying really hard to make me be cheerful. Sometimes it's easier to be cheerful when someone's heard your fears and issues. Which is to say... try to support her in the way that will work for her.
Also, bring her food. :) And hand-me-downs.
Not every one likes, it, but the nutrition information (and the take it easy-- really! information) in Dr. Luke's book When you're expecting twins, triplets or quads was very helpful for me.
THere is a difference in the management of twin pregnancies, so things will (probably) be different for her.
And honestly, this site really helped me get my mind around the whole parenting thing. I found I had much more in common with people who felt like I did about family & kids, then people who just happened to have twins, too. So if she's willing, encourage her to find this board, or at least a parenting board that she identifies with.
It's so cool you are so supportive of your friend. Just that will help her loads. All the birthing books in the world won't do any good if she doesn't have the right people around to help her out. I know there are those who have done a twin birth UA, but it doesn't sound like your friend is going that way. If she is really trying for a non-surgical birth, she needs to find an attendant who knows about delivering breech. I had an OB that is older and very experienced with breech, so I lucked out. Baby A was vertex, Baby B breech, and all went well. A lot of drs won't go vaginal if one baby is breech and my OB wouldn't have gone vaginally if Baby A was breech, no matter the position of the other baby. Anyway, the point is, books aren't as important as finding the right birth attendant. I wish I had tips for that, but I don't. I just stumbled on mine.
As far as twin pg goes, the biggest thing to keep in mind, is that by the end of her 2nd trimester, her body will basically feel like she would at the end of her 3rd trimester with a single pg. BUT she still has that 3rd tri to endure!!!! EEEEK! That 3rd tri should be reserved for taking care of herself AND that is IT. No more outside employment, no trips, no running around all day long shopping excursions, no cleaning aka nesting marathons, none of that. Her body will be taxed enough. There are women that carry on like they would with a single pg and everyone and everything is OK. But why take the chance? And after the babies are born it is going to take all she's got to care for them (which she really should get as much help as possible for as long as she can), so it wouldn't be a good idea to wear herself out before the birth anyway. One thing I didn't realize when I was trying to plan ahead, but near the end of my pg I couldn't drive cuz my belly was too big, so I couldn't reach the pedals or the steering wheel. This is very common. Your friend should make connections with those that can help her with transportation needs for that possibility.
Nutrition is super important. Mostly it's about getting enough protein and fluids. An awesome prenatal like the Rainbow brand is essential.
As far as nursing goes, she needs to find a moms group for twins or multiples, or a LLL group and hook up with some moms who have successfully BF twins, esp those who have BF after a CS. That will be her best help. Also, an EZ2Nurse pillow will be a God send, whether she BF or not.
As far as being a mom of a singleton goes, try and keep in mind that while there are many things that are quite alike no matter how many babies you are carrying, having twins is NOT the same. If you can refrain from making comparisons, that's great. I doubt you would do this, but if I had a dollar for each time I had some woman tell about how she knew what I was going thru, yet she never had twins....So very frustrating. And try to take it easy on the "oh you have it so hard" comments too. If you keep things positive, that will be the best help. She already knows all the bad stuff, she doesn't need everyone else reminding her. Unless, like a PP said, she wants to talk about it.
If you are very close to this woman, it would be wonderful if you took the time and found out exactly what she is facing in terms of risks and possible outcomes and what not. That way, when she does talk to you, you are already clued in. I think the hardest thing about talking to those around me about my twin pg, is that none of them had been thru one, they had no frame of reference, so they had to have everything explained and/or didn't appreciate the consequences of the situation. It makes you feel very lonely sometimes. Ok, I wrote a book, sorry. HTH
Why CAN'T you say, "Wow, twins, I don't have any experience with that so I'm not sure what to tell you?" (It's the truth, right, since you are asking for advice on how to advise her right now, which means that you weren't sure what to tell her?) Especially if it's followed up by, "But I want to be your support and I'd love to learn about stuff TOGETHER."
My advice to you would to stop worrying about how you can give her awesome advice; why not be willing to be humble and walk WITH her rather than attempting to lead?
I think the worst/most annoying "advice" I got from parents who had never experienced multiples was less about the advice and more about the huge assumptions that were made about what I could and could not do.
I'm so excited for my friend but I know she is anxious about the pregnancy. That's why I want to be sure to tread carefully & be as supportive as possible & learn about twin pregnancy & parenting.
She specifically asked me about books that she should read, and I was a little hesitant to pass along some of the more natural birth/AP ones because I do know that twins are such a different challenge. So I'm glad to hear that there's a lot of overlap. The last thing in the world that I want is to make her more anxious by giving her something that will make her feel pressure to do things a certain way.
Mama to my little busy bee.
If she's asking you for recommendations, I would suspect that means she is interested in the way you parent. I found it really hard to find support for exclusive breastfeeding and attachment parenting when my twins were babies and would have loved to have a good friend who parented that way, no matter how many children she had at a time. Definitely, the challenges are different with two babies, but just being supportive and letting her know that she doesn't have to compromise her parenting ideas is so important.
Barbara Luke's book as a PP mentioned, is an excellent suggestion for pregnancy. As far as birth, if she's already working with high-risk practitioners, than the more non-intervention birthing info might just be upsetting to her and highlight how different her experience is likely to be. Sears' books usually do a good job on being somewhat middle-of-the-road about birthing choices and circumstances. For breastfeeding, besides Womanly Art, I'd suggest Mothering Multiples by Karen Kerkoff Gromada. Karen Gromada is also one of the moderators of the LLLI multiples forum, and is active on the Yahoo group APmultiples (or at least she used to be). If your friend plans on breastfeeding and attachment parenting, both are great resources for her, as well as these boards. If you attend LLL meetings, inviting her to go along while she's pregnant.
Once her babies arrive, she will need HELP. Anything you can do to provide that, or to organize your circle of friends to provide that, would be so wonderful. Organizing meal deliveries for her, making sure everyone knows what sort of help she needs/wants, that sort of thing. If she wants to attend moms groups or LLL meetings or the like, offering to go along and help her out. I was terrified of being alone in public with two babies for a long time.
As far as worst advice, none of my friends had children when our twins arrived, so I was sort of on my own. I wish I had $10 for every time a young, childless woman has told me she "hopes" she has twins, though! I had so many people tell me that "it gets easier after a year" and that was a lie. Well, probably not meant to be one, but it didn't get easier, it just got different. Now I was chasing two TODDLERS who wanted to either help each other in destruction or take off in different directions. Honestly, I'd just steer clear of advice at all. Be there, support her, be happy for her. Share what you experienced, but not with the thought that it's what she should do, just as one idea of what worked/didn't work.
Good luck to her!
DD and DS are 11 & DD is 4 Our car is a bike!
Sharing our with 3, 2 & 4