This spotlight comes to us from a mom who’s getting real when “what to expect” turns into expecting twins!
Our twins are 22 months old, and people still ask questions like “were you shocked when you found out you were expecting twins?” and “what was your/your husband’s reaction when you found out there were two?”
Yes, shocked. Stunned silence.
I remember my heart pounding so hard, I couldn’t hear the doctor talking for a while. I also couldn’t hear my husband, but that’s because he didn’t say anything for about four hours (he wasn’t angry, he was just processing the news). We went from feeling relatively confident going into another pregnancy – we already had four kids – to feeling like we were completely unprepared for the experience.
But after that initial shock, our brains were flooded with so many questions.
How will my body be able to carry two babies?
Do we need two of everything?
Will I be able to breastfeed them?
Will they have to spend time in the NICU?
Will we ever sleep again?
There are so many more things to consider when expecting twins, and it starts from the very beginning of pregnancy.
Carrying more than one baby is automatically considered high risk, even if the parents have no other risk factors. That means there are many more appointments – more tests, more monitoring, visits with specialists – and that’s just at baseline. I, like many other twin moms, had a number of complications throughout the pregnancy. I have connected with so many other moms of multiples since then, and we all agree, to at least some extent, that the joyful anticipation we expected to feel was overshadowed by the anxieties and fears that come with expecting twins.
There certainly is a special kind of excitement that happens when a couple finds out they are expecting twins. But, to be honest, much of that time throughout pregnancy can be really overwhelming.
If you or a loved one are expecting twins, here are a few words of advice and encouragement as you navigate the months ahead.
Take it a day at a time.
It is SO easy to get lost in the worries and what-ifs of a multiple pregnancy. Remember to take care of yourself and focus on the things that you can have an impact on – hydration, rest, nutrition (to a degree – coming from a hyperemesis mama, I know this can be extremely difficult). There are many things that happen in any pregnancy that are out of anyone’s control. As hard as it can be, letting go of the worry about those things is so important. I always had to remind myself, what will be, will be.
This also goes for the pure physical challenge of carrying more than one baby. It can be so taxing and downright painful sometimes. This is something I also struggled with, and as a previously active person and mom of four other kids, it was so hard to be forced to slow down. I truly got through those painful, exhausting weeks moment by moment.
Be reasonable with your expectations.
It’s ok to have dreams, goals, and ideal scenarios. But sometimes, we have to make decisions in the best interest of the babies or our own physical or mental health. This could mean not working all the way up to delivery, reducing or eliminating exercise, or having a Caesarian delivery. When you’re expecting twins, it doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your goals for pregnancy and delivery, but be open to the possibility that things may not go the way you had hoped because of things that are out of your control.
It’s ok to ask for and accept help.
Again, a very tough one for moms who are used to doing and being everything. There are people who truly do want to help in some way, and even just getting help with small tasks like picking up a grocery order or giving an older child a ride to soccer practice can make a big difference.
We had somewhat of an extreme circumstance, but one that wasn’t that far off from other moms of twins. I was hospitalized for the last ~5 weeks of my pregnancy due to preterm labor. Thanks to the pandemic, I could only have one visitor throughout my stay, and that was my husband. He had four other kids to care for, a full time job… and it was December. As hard as it was to let go, I had to rely on others to help my family. But I knew that this was temporary, and that one day I would get my chance to help someone else. It’s ok to be the one to receive the help sometimes.
Carrying a multiple pregnancy is… A LOT.
If you’re expecting twins, or more than twins, congratulations! Take a deep breath, and maybe read through this again. If someone you love is expecting twins, I hope this offers a bit of perspective on what they are experiencing. There are definitely wonderful, joyful moments, but remember that there is a lot of stress as well. Encouragement and grace are so important through this process.
You can do this.