Hi Everyone. Just to give you a brief background. I am a full-time working mother of a 5 year old boy and recently found out I am 7 weeks pregnant with twins. I am sure their are upsides to twins, but the only people I know with twins really struggle and they are in a completely different situation to me - the mom is a lawyer who works from home and has help from a nanny plus a healthy and supportive husband. Me...well, different situation altogether. As I mentioned I work full-time, take care of my mom who is disabled, and my husband is currently fighting advanced cancer. He is doing ok right now though.
Ladies, I am so so scared I can't even tell you. My son has turned out to be a wonderful and relatively easy kid, but his infancy/toddler years were incredibly hard. I didn't sleep for two and half years. I am so afraid of having two that I am literally paralyzed. I even just sobbed when I saw two little heartbeats on the US screen.
I am afraid I wont have any time for my son. I am afraid that twins will mean I have to function with years of no sleep and extremely limited resources.
Also, I really value many attachment parenting principles and I simply can't see them being possible with twins. DS still sleeps with me - how can I add twins into that mix? I was able to breastfeed DS but it was incredibly difficult because of the way my nipples are makes latching very difficult (really nothing for baby to latch onto).
I want to be happy and rejoice, but I just dont feel it. I am sorry to feel this way. Wish I could feel like twins were going to be amazing instead of a disaster...sounds harsh, I know...just how I am feeling. Any success stories from working moms with twins and made it all work? Is it possible that twins could be easier at some point?
Thanks so much.
I can relate to how you're feeling. I was a basket case when I found out I was having twins. It took me a good week to calm down and accept it.
I won't lie and say it won't be hard. My guys will be 3yo next month, and they sleep-deprived us for over 2 years, and one still gets up in the night to sleep with us. I'm just thankful it's not both of them anymore! It takes a lot out of you, but they are two little people who will brighten your life even as they make more work.:-)
I struggled horribly with breastfeeding, which was a new experience for me as I'd successfully breastfed 5 children already. Nipple shields were our salvation, and you might want to consider using those, as it really helps them to latch on. I tried to wear them, as I'd worn previous children, but couldn't figure out how to wear both so ended up just not doing it at all. I'm a staunch supporter of cloth diapering, but that also eventually fell by the wayside in the interest of time. I'd had 3 in diapers before, but it's not the same as two babies of the very same age, particularly when they are both pooping numerous diapers daily!
Whatever lies before you, I wish you all the best. Take joy in all the little moments you can. And yes, some days it might feel like you do nothing but feed and change, and never sleep, but those days shall pass.
Coming in late here, but...
I had my twins 17 months after I had my firstborn singleton. (Now, almost 11 years after the birth of my twins, I'm having surprise #4 in march).
Twins are a lesson in compassion and...humility. You will be able to keep your AP principles intact, and it won't be that hard. What is likely to be very hard for you is to learn how to navigate a different way of doing it than you did for your singleton. You will need to learn how to seek and find help. You will learn that sometimes you're not going to be able to meet every need right when it happens (though if you want a secret? This is not a bad thing, and you will learn it earlier than many people do, and your children will be well served for it). Yes, you will sustain some loss of IQ and brain damage from sleep deprivation. Depending on what kind of an AP mom you are, you may find yourself growing in compassion for other mothers who didn't quite do things the way that you did. :)
Keep in mind that *every* one of your children is an individual. Neither one of your twins will have a personality identical to your firstborn. Don't get me wrong, the volume is going to be hard, but there's no guarantee that either one of the new babies is going to give you the same challenges as their sibling. OTOH, yes, this is going to be a time of great sacrifice for you personally. But things *do* get better. I was in a slightly different situation because after the birth of my twins I had 3 children under the age of 2 (and thus, still not firing on all cylinders from the birth of my first, so I never got a breather which I then had to readjust to--but boy am I staring that in the face *now*). But even for me, once the boys (singleton is a girl) hit age 2, I felt I had some breathing space again.
I would encourage you to get involved with your local Mothers of Twins Club, even if you don't like non-AP groups. I kind of steered clear of that for awhile because of the AP thing and I think I did myself a disservice (and guess what, while there were 'norms' in that group, there were plenty of AP folks and blends too). Sometimes it's good to have local support from people who are going to "get" what it's like balancing life with twins.
I've never had to deal with a difficult breastfeeding relationship (yet, keeping my fingers crossed, I guess we'll see) but I was able to nurse all 3 of my kids at once (well, not LITERALLY at once obviously) with no problem. It can be done. I have heard anecdotally that sometimes it's easier to BF round two even after difficulties with round one since you know a little more of what you're doing and so does your body? But it might be a good idea to find an awesome LC who is very experienced with twins.
You're in twinshock right now. This is normal, this is okay. This has nothing to do with how awesome a mom you're going to be to these little ones. You also have a lot going on in your life. You need support. What groups can you call upon to help you? I hate asking for support, I don't like being vulnerable, but I had to with my twins, and it really made me better all around I think. It's the hardest thing, asking. But realistically you're going to have to do it. I think a MOT club would be one place to start. Do you have a church/religious community? Group of friends? Parents of your son's friends? It's hard, but most people really love it when you allow them to help you and have joy in that way. YOu'll tighten your community network. It will feel awkward and weird if you're not used to it at first, but it's an invaluable skill to learn for the long run and more importantly to model for your kids.
But yes, for me, it was very hard, I didn't sleep much for 8 months, and we have limited resources. I kept my main priorities of breast feeding, responding to their needs as best as I could, and not leaving them to cry themselves to sleep.
A bit of my story:
I had a 5 yr old girl when my twins were born. My husband had 4 months before he started his next year of school. The year after that, he worked full time and did courses in the evening so he could finish his diploma sooner. I did 70-90% of the work with the boys, homeschoolled H for kindergarten and now grade one, and the cooking/housework.
I have learned to be extremely organized, and mostly efficient.
The boys were born vaginally, with no medication, at 34 weeks. They spent 11 days in the hospital, and I came 3-6 times a day to nurse them, otherwise they were fed pumped breast milk. I wish I had fought more to hold them and be with them more. Be encouraged, that even if it is don't go perfectly here, attachment parenting is possible. They have had all of the lovely attachment behaviours as my daughter, even spending 11 days in a hospital.
I nursed them until just recently when they turned two (partly because I am pregnant again and my milk dried up), and never left them to cry by themselves to sleep - as I say, these were my primary goals. I spent so much time rocking them to sleep or snuggling them to sleep. I co-slept with them (even right now, it is so lovely to wake up with them) but I didn't wear them. Honestly, i didnt even carry them much, at least compared to my daughter. But they are doing fine.
Sometimes you've tried everything and nothing helps, and you just have to be ok with that. Do the very best you can and stay as close to your values as you can, and honestly don't feel badly about anything, especially your feelings. Feel your feelings, accept them, but act according to your heart and values. Treasure and enjoy every moment that you can.
It's pretty crazy having twins. Sleeping is definitely a challenge. But, yes, I do think it is sometimes easier having twins. And I do think you can practice a lot of attachment parenting techniques. I sleep with my twins. We have two mattresses on the floor next to each other, making our room one giant bed, and there is plenty of room for everyone. I breastfed for 6 months and it was awful, so I stopped. And that's fine. Some women master tandem breastfeeding, but bottles are okay, too, if that's easier. Do whatever is easiest for you, rather than putting pressure on yourself to do what's "right".
I found that around 6 months, my twins started to entertain each other. And now at 14 months, they are typically fairly manageable. And the first year is really just a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things.
Oh, and mine typically sleep through the night, sometimes 12-13 hours. It helps that I sleep between them. Occasionally they will cry, but I usually just have to rest a hand on them or drape a blanket over them and they go right back to sleep, disturbing me minimally.