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#31 of 43 Old 04-10-2007, 11:45 PM
 
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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 . . .

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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#32 of 43 Old 04-10-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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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?

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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#33 of 43 Old 04-11-2007, 04:23 AM
 
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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.
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#34 of 43 Old 04-11-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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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. :

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#35 of 43 Old 04-11-2007, 06:37 PM
 
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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.
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#36 of 43 Old 04-11-2007, 09:11 PM
 
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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.

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#37 of 43 Old 04-12-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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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?
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#38 of 43 Old 04-12-2007, 11:34 AM
 
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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.

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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#39 of 43 Old 04-12-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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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!

Homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 18, 18, 10, and 6. 

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#40 of 43 Old 04-13-2007, 02:18 AM
 
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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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#41 of 43 Old 04-13-2007, 02:40 AM
 
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BTW, as independent as my post surely sounded, I loved reading the exchange between BirthJunkie and TripMom (and LoisLane, if I remember correctly) about help for parents/parenting in other cultures, support among women, etc. I agree with many, many of those sentiments and it's nice to read others feel that way, too. (When I sometimes raise like thoughts at coffee or mom-sessions in town here, I always feel like I'm getting some weird looks, kwim?) So thank you, Ladies!

Six kids, sixth sense, six degrees of separation. . . from sanity!
Not sure that I'm crunchy, but definitely a "tough chew".
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#42 of 43 Old 04-13-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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If you need a lot of help depends more on your babies personalities/health than anything else. ALthough everyone could use some serious help those first few weeks!

I was lucky to have my mom with us for 3 weeks and my MIL for a week. Then, I went to stay at my Mom's for a month (which meant I had help during the day, but nothing at night).

I actually was fine until they hit about 9 months. They nursed every 3 hours like clockwork and slept in 3-6 hour stretches (my oldest was up more times at night!!). Then they stopped sleeping!! For the next year I was SERIOUSLY sleep deprived (hallucinations, dizzy spells, insomnia, panic attacks, etc.). Now I have a babysitter occasionally, but I need to find someone with more availability (vs. a high school senior!)

And my house didn't get really dirty until they stopped sleeping and started crawling with food (try as I did to keep it contained at the table). So you may not need a housecleaner either.

I really feel like I need more help now than when they were babies, but all of my family deems us fine, and my friends have all abandoned ship. Soooo, we will see how the next year goes.

I agree with other posters' that help only makes me a better mom. Without it, I am a crazy screaming lunatic at times!! (and according my my ped. I am the ONLY mother she allows to come in with 3 kids and no other adults!!).

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#43 of 43 Old 04-13-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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I didn't have any help but I could have sure used some, especially the first couple of months. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, showering, cooking & cleaning just were not really doable a lot of the time. But my standards changed for a while & we survived.
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