When my husband and I were dating we went on a cruise to Mexico. On the ship, we met an amazing couple from Canada who had twin boys. Halfway through the trip, my husband told me he would do anything to have twins. At the time, being 22 years old and just dating, I looked at him like he was crazy! I also explained the improbability of that happening since neither one of us has a history of twins in our family. However, 8 years later, we’re happily married and the proud parents of 17 month old twin girls!
I know, I couldn’t believe it either! But, after trying to get pregnant on our own for a while and not being successful, we decided we needed help. Actually, I thought we didn’t really need help, but that once we were tested and told everything was fine, we’d just magically get pregnant. Did I also mention that I believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy? All kidding aside, getting pregnant turned out to be much harder than I thought, but after 6 months of fertility treatments, our second round of IVF worked, and twin girls arrived!
They have been the most amazing additions to my life, besides my husband, but it has been challenging to say the least! Anyone out there going through fertility treatments, pregnant with twins or starting out with newborn twins, I have 2 very strong pieces of advice:
1. Join a Mother of Twins club and get some support! None of your family and friends will ever truly be able to understand what you’re going through with 2 babies at the same time. The only people that totally get it are moms (and dads) that have gone through it. Through my county’s mother of twins club, I have met one of my dearest friends who I can literally share everything with. We cry, we laugh and we are there for each other through this crazy journey in a way that no one else can be!
2. Put your babies on the same schedule ASAP! I heard this piece of advice over and over again while I was pregnant, but to be honest, I wasn’t totally sure what it meant until I had both girls home with me. I put the girls down to nap and sleep at the same time. Even if one girl doesn’t fall asleep right away, they are in their cribs together and you would be amazed at how used to each other they get and can sleep through each other. As for eating, it’s easier now that they eat real food at real meal times, but as newborns, I would feed one baby and then immediately put her in a swing or bouncy seat and feed the other baby. As they got a little older, I would prop the girls in seats or on boppy pillows and give them their bottles at the same time, but ultimately I would have to stop and burp one baby, then the other, and then try to resume the feeding. In general, feedings are tough no matter how you look at it, but it gets easier and you have to have them on the same schedule.
Over the last 17 months, I’ve figured out some other useful tricks of the trade that have helped me not only survive, but thoroughly enjoy being a mom of twins! For one thing, I started taking the girls out of the house immediately so that they would become accustomed to it and so would I. This is my life, I don’t know any differently, and I certainly did not want to be trapped in my house all the time. I would recommend my stroller to help with outings, the City Select. This stroller has adaptors for the infant car seats and once you move into the regular stroller seats, the twins can actually face each other, one in front of the other. I find it’s much easier to maneuver through doorways instead of using a side by side double stroller.
Something else that has helped me, especially when I go out to eat or have lunch at a friend’s house, is to carry 2 booster seats in my trunk. This way I never had to worry about a restaurant running out of high chairs or where I could trap my girls to feed them at someone’s house. This being said, between, the booster seats, the double stroller and my diaper bag, I also recommend a car with a big enough trunk!
I think the hardest lesson I am still learning about having twins is to not compare them to each other. I have really found this close to impossible but I’m trying! I feel like my mommy friends all talk about their kids and of course, it’s hard not to compare your kid to everyone else’s kid. Who rolls over first, sits up, starts real food, walks, talks, etc. But, as a mother of twins, I found it easier to ignore what everyone else’s kid was doing beacuse I was in such a different situation. But, I am with both my girls all day long, every day and I found myself always comparing them to each other. Once one girl mastered a milestone, I was happy and excited, but could only think about when my other girl was going to get there as well. As they’re getting older, I’ve been getting better about it, but it’s still so hard to do. I want each of my girls to have their own identity and be their own person, but I also wonder when one will do what the other one is doing. I just can’t help it sometimes!
Overall, being a mother of twins is a phenomenal experience. It’s one I don’t think I would like to repeat again, but I wouldn’t change anything that’s happened so far! I love my girls more than I thought it was possible to love and I can’t wait to continue watching them grow. It’s hard to have 2 babies, but as the saying goes, 2 heads are better than 1! And I know my girls will have a best friend for life. They were born together and I know they’ll be friends forever!
Carrie Grochow is a former guidance counselor, licensed mental health counselor and currently the proud mother of 17 month old twin girls. About a year after her girls were born, she started a blog called “Twinsplicity” (www.twinsplicity.blogspot.com) to share her experiences, thoughts, advice and stories with everyone.