Sunday, June 26, 2011

Moms of Twins: Stop, Smile and Savor (while you can)

I just read a wonderful article written by a friend about her hesitation to move from the house where her son was born. I know, because she is my friend, that it hasn't been all cashmere blankets and cooing and sleeping quietly all night. But in this article, she wrote about the sweet memory of lying with him on her sofa, his baby head asleep on her shoulder, facing only more sleep and feedings for the rest of the day.

I read that, and I almost started to cry. Because try as I might, I don't have any memories like that in the house where my sons were born. You see, they were born at the same time - well, one minute apart - and my only memories of sweet baby bliss are when we were all still in the hospital (or the "hotel" as my friend Amy called it by mistake one week after we were home - as in, "don't you just wish you could go back to the hotel?"). I remember those days in the hospital, with the babies learning to breast feed, and having them sleep on me, so quiet and sweet, and having 24 hours of nurses and caretakers to help us.

And then we went home.

People say to me all the time, "Wow - twins. I don't know how you do it." And I want to say to them, "You don't have a choice. You survive." But I feel like that was what we were doing while my boys were infants - we were just surviving. My memories of being on my own sofa when my boys were babies include them both crying so hard because I could not feed them at the same time that I started crying too.

I remember propping pillows on either side of me and trying to get them to lie without rolling while I put bottles in both of their mouths (breast feeding never happened at home - I tried, and one of the babies tried, but when this is your schedule, it is really, really hard: 6 a.m.: breast feed Baby A for 20-30 minutes, burp Baby A, breast feed Baby B for 20-30 minutes, burp Baby B...and now it's 7:20 a.m. and Baby A will need to eat at 8 a.m. - so you get 40 minutes out of every 2 hours where you aren't breast feeding - if you're lucky - and in this time, you need to pee, change the babies, try to eat and drink, maybe pump if they haven't gotten enough, do laundry, try to clean kitchen or self maybe, etc. etc. etc....)

I also remember crying while I propped them on pillows on that sofa because I felt guilty that I couldn't breast feed them, and I felt guilty that I could not even hold them while I bottle fed them. The simultaneous feeding was so stressful and difficult in fact that I gave up on it, and I would feed one at a time. But this meant that someone always needed something - a bottle, a diaper, a burp...rarely did they sleep at the same time.

"Sleep when the baby sleeps," people would say, and I would laugh bitterly. The babies did not sleep at the same time for a long, long time. There were times when the sun would rise and I would have had a grand total of 20-40 minutes of sleep the night before. And my husband helped. A LOT.

I was so tired, and found it so hard to care for two newborns at once, that I really don't remember many sweet baby times. There were twice as many bottles to wash, bottles to make, diapers to change, onesies to wash. And I know there are lots of Moms out there with more babies, or with less help than I had (my Mother was incredible, as was my husband). But what I remember from when they were babies was feeling slightly sick to my stomach from lack of sleep most of the time, and having little or nothing left to give toward enjoyment of any kind.

So my advice to Moms of twins is this: I know it is hard - maybe impossible. But if there is any way you can, try to enjoy little moments here and there. Have someone take a video of you having a quiet and happy moment with each of your babies. It will go so fast - which I know you don't believe at 4 a.m. when you haven't slept for more than a few minutes in weeks - but it will.

The good part is that I'm really working hard to try to enjoy them more now (they are 2.5) - to try to just let the house be a disaster, to try to just Let It Go so that I can sit and laugh with my boys and watch them be their hysterical selves.

1 comment:

  1. I have 11 month old boy/girl twins and I know it is hard, but I too try to remember that it is important to just "be" with them and enjoy as many moments as you can. I am so grateful for the help that I had from my mom and husband. And it is true, you just manage and just do it because you don't know any different. I wouldn't have it any other way even with all the hard times and craziness that they have brought us.