I never thought this would be my first mamaME blog entry, in fact I did draft up a pretty riveting and hilarious pregnancy hormone-induced rant about parent and child parking spaces that I may have to revisit in the future when I'm feeling particularly fiesty again.
So this is day 17 post birth of my second set of twins. Roux and Etti entered the world via my vagina as opposed to their siblings entry through the sunroof, and although I’m grateful of the VBAC experience, neither method will be done again in a hurry, or ever, actually. The whole thing was not what I expected, but thats a whole other blog post!
Since their arrival it’s been, without sounding too cliche, like a rollercoaster. From the highs of them finally being here, healthy and bloody beautiful, it feels like we are floating on cloud nine or still high from the gas and air (I’m not 100% sure which). From those highs we dive deep to the lowest lows. Just today I cried 4 times before I even left the house this morning, full on wailing like a baby, my life is over tears, and it’s moments like that that leave me doubting my abilities to do this job that has been bestowed to me.
Every single twin mum will tell you the phrase they hear the most is “Oooh Double Trouble”. I bloody hate it, I usually retort with “No no, its Double the Love” or if we are feeling less social then I grit my teeth and give them my best bitch face- at this point they usually back off before asking me if my boy/girl twins are identical. But the thing is, deep down, I am aware that that irritating phrase rings true.
Finding out we were expecting our second set of twins was pretty mind blowing. Everyone wondered if it would be twins again but I genuinely thought there was just the one in there, a cute little loner baby that would be super easy and calm compared to twins. I was so looking forward to pushing around a single pram and not dragging every single item of clothing off the rails in Primark. Hell it would be so much cheaper! Just one cot to buy, one set of clothes to purchase! Breastfeeding is going to be a breeze with just the one mini body to worry about manoeuvring onto my nipples. But nope. Two beautiful little flickering hearts greeted us that day as we stared at the screen, and all we could do was laugh. We laughed and laughed and laughed because if we didn’t do that then we would probably cry.
You also get to complete your family in a short amount of time. In less than 4 years I have birthed 4 kids in just two pregnancies, I’m done and I feel really content about that, especially as the end of this last pregnancy was really really hard on me, that and the fact and I really don't want to have to buy a minibus.
The attention you get with twins can be a positive and a negative, it really depends on what mood I’m in if I’m totally honest, but either way, people think you and your babies are special, and even if some people are irritating AF it is nice to know that they take their time to talk and are genuinely interested.
But with all positives, come negatives. And jeez those negatives are hitting me hard this time around! I really did forget how difficult these first weeks are, every tiny little thing I try to do is a battle. Some days we win, others...not so much!
Getting out of the house with two 3.5 year olds and two newborns is like a military operation. The most important thing you need to do is make sure those humans are fed, even if it means going hungry yourself, because hangry kids are loud, irritable banshees that will push you to your limits. You either end up locking yourself away in the bathroom, sobbing in a pool of tears on the floor or just getting in the car alone and driving to a car park just to scream as loud as you can where no one else can hear you.
Then there's time. Time is not on my side. I admit I can get a little obsessive over the hours, minutes and seconds in the day. I get anxious if I’m running late or if my routine gets knocked slightly out of sync, but thats only because the way I personally cope with having twins is to have a strict timetable for the day.
These first few weeks have been completely out of sync, my mind is mashed because of this and I can’t think straight half of the time. Feeding the babies takes a while, and as soon as I’ve gone over an hour of feeding time with just the first baby I can feel that anxiety creeping up and taking over. Trapped is the best way I can describe how it makes me feel, and because I’m usually a get up, get dressed and get out kind of person, its been taking its toll on me. Some days I feel so lost and it seems as though this stage will never end, I will become a feeding slave to my milk obsessed ravenous little beasts and my arse will permanently mould itself to the sofa.
Apart from having more time it would be super convenient to grow another pair of hands. Words can’t describe how torn you feel when your attention is on one baby, whether thats feeding, changing or burping, and the other needs it too. Some people ask how do you do it, do you leave one to cry? The answer is yes, sometimes I do and unfortunately I have no choice. It literally breaks my heart knowing that one of my children, a tiny, helpless little person that depends entirely on me, is laying there crying his/her little heart out because of my inability to grow extra limbs. I dread going out in public because of the risk of running into a feed time while I'm out, and it sounds so stupid but I don’t want people to see me struggling with them and assume I leave one baby to cry because I don’t love them, or think I cant cope. How ridiculous is that? Having twins shouldn’t make you an agoraphobe but sometimes it does feel like you could head that way.
Everyone keeps suggesting I get out and meet other mums with babies the same age, but baby groups are the most unappealing places to me at the moment, a lot of other mums with just the one child tend to look at me like I'm an alien with three heads. Maybe not intentionally but that alongside the fear of looking like I only have enough love for one child is a factor which has stopped me venturing to my nearest session. Wrestling the doors with two car seats, while everyone else sits and stares at the un-showered, sleep deprived twin mum also plays a part in my reluctance. I worry that while the other mums happily chit chat with each other with their immaculately dressed, clean and well fed singleton babies perfectly balanced on their hip, I will be sat alone unable to pick up both babies for fear of messing up, feeling totally out of place while waiting for someone to say the dreaded Double Trouble phrase as soon as one of mine starts to wail. Putting myself in that situation is certainly not on my to do list for the near future. I’ll be a hermit for a while thank you, at least til they start walking?! Maybe til they are 5, or 10?
I don’t want people to read this and think I’m an ungrateful ice queen that doesn't appreciate her double blessing (for want of a better word), I want to be totally honest and for people to know how bloody hard it is. Especially those that catch me on a good day when I’ve actually managed to plaster some makeup on my dishevelled face and they tell me that I make it look so easy and that they struggle with one. I struggle too! The makeup is just covering up the broken woman underneath. I want those ladies that are struggling to feel like they’re not alone, even if they only have one child, everyone struggles at one point or another and you shouldn’t feel bad for that or question your abilities. I also want those women that tell me I’m doing an amazing job that I appreciate their words so, so much they will never know how much it means to me and how much it lifts me up. Your kind messages keep me going on the dark days.
But most of all I want those people that unknowingly greet me in the supermarket with “Ohh Double Trouble” to maybe take a second and rethink those words. You never know how much effort it has taken to leave the house that day, how many times that twin mum has been pooed on, how many times she has reapplied her mascara before leaving the house and how much crying she has endured throughout the night. Double Trouble may be true sometimes but these children also bring me so much joy and fill my heart with so much love you will never understand.
So the next time you see a twin mum, dragging those clothes off the rails with her humungous double pram, help her out, tell her shes doing a good job, and that those babies aren’t Double Trouble but “Doubly Lovely”. You might just make her day.
Sweet Tooth Super Mum