In August 2012, when we found out that we were expecting twins, my immediate reaction was panic. I tell people all the time, that after finding out, I don’t think I even blinked for 24 hours. I was afraid of so many things in those early days of knowing: something happening to one or both of them, the label of a high risk pregnancy, restrictions being placed on me that would impact my other kids, premature labor and birth and the NICU, a c-section, and of course just the prospect of having two infants to care for at the same time. I could get past the potential medical issues. For one thing, I was fairly certain that based on my previous history that I’d have no problems carrying the babies close to term. Secondly, I already had one NICU experience under my belt, and while I didn’t relish the possibility of it happening again. I knew that I could make it through if it did. The hardest thing to wrap my head around was that there would be two babies here, constantly requiring my care, in addition to three other small people who already lived here, and were very set in their ways. It didn’t help either that twin moms around every corner told me stories of woe and catastrophized every worst possible scenario—not unlike the things say when you are expecting your firstborn, but somehow…worse. “Prepare to NEVER sleep again!” “You will never leave the house with both of them alone; it’s just too much work!” “Don’t plan on having any sort of social life, especially for the first year. Your life will be babies babies babies!” I’ve always sort of excelled at the newborn stage, and these comments knocked me down, and made me question whether or not I’d truly be able to handle everything that was to come. I was sure it would be terrible.
And then it wasn’t.
We brought Molly home on a Tuesday; that much I remember. I remember that she would only sleep on top of me for those first few nights. I remember feeling so torn leaving Angus at the hospital and getting so much one on one time with her, but then two days later, on a Thursday, he was home too and the true experience of having infant twins began. There were long days and even longer nights. I was tired, sure. Sometimes I was frazzled and I definitely had some moments of feeling hopeless. But there was never anything so terrible that made me feel like it wasn’t worth it or that it was too much to handle.
I’ve chronicled the months of being pregnant, and then the months of parenting twins over these past 19 months with the original idea being that somehow, if someone else was going through it, that I could help them. I’m not sure that any of the posts are actually helpful or provide any sort of insightful advice, but I will say that they do give a true picture of everything that I’ve been through. I know that I am beyond lucky to have carried my babies for over 36 weeks, and to have had them here with me happy and healthy, since they were one week old.
In a way, I am thankful to the moms who gave me the doom and gloom perspective. Maybe if they hadn’t I wouldn’t be here today thinking that things haven’t been bad because I was expecting the absolute worst. I don’t know. What I do know is that I would not paint a doom and gloom picture to any mom who is expecting twins. Every single day wasn’t sunshine and roses, but there were very few days that were all thunder clouds and thistles. I have really enjoyed this first year.
I’ve connected with a lot of new twin moms since becoming one myself and when they ask for advice, I always say the same thing: You are enough. It’s easy to feel like this can’t possibly be true, but it is. You ARE. Tell yourself. Hear it. Believe it. Even as you are ignoring one who is squawking because the other is yelling louder, and you inevitably feel guilty that you are causing irreparable damage—you are enough. Things even out. Babies are resilient, and will be no worse for the wear.
My twins will turn one year old on Saturday, which is what is prompting this sort of reflection. I’m excited to celebrate their birthday but if I’m being honest, I’m just a tiny bit sad that it’s over. I feel the same way every year, for every kid’s birthday. I love to watch them grow up, but I’d love it more if I could keep a tiny piece of them as they are today in my pocket forever. This time is no different; it’s been a great first year.