I’ve had these babies a year now, although honestly it feels like longer. Isn’t it weird with children how the time can fly by and yet part of you still can’t remember what life was like before they existed?
Twin moms have consistently told me that the first year of twinhood is the hardest. The year certainly had it’s difficult moments, but overall I’m not convinced it was that much harder than it would have been if we’d only welcomed one baby home last May. On the other hand, twin toddlers terrify me, so the fact that everyone agrees twin newborns are harder than twin toddlers is a huge relief.
To wrap up the first year with these two cuties, I thought I would put together a year in review: the best and worst of. Let’s get the negative out of the way first:
THE WORST OF YEAR 1:
Now I know this didn’t technically happen in the last year, but it’s worth noting that the absolute worst part of having twins so far was the 8 months before I had them. I remember being 34 weeks and thinking if I had to be pregnant one more day I would die. You think I’m exaggerating here, but sometimes it literally felt like it was killing me.
The level of discomfort I reached at 39 weeks with my first two was easily surpassed at 25 weeks in my twin pregnancy. Everything hurt. My back, my hips, my skin, and my stomach. I had trouble sleeping throughout and in the last trimester morning sickness even returned. For those of you who have been pregnant with one baby, just imagine your most uncomfortable moment… and then double it.
When I finally had them at 37.5 weeks and they were both full sized (6.5lb +), it all made sense. I had over 13lb of baby packed in there (in addition to two placentas!), had gained 65lb, and was still lifting and caring for a 1.5 and 3 year old. No wonder I felt lousy!
The logistics of having four under four are not necessarily difficult, but they definitely do add a certain layer of complication to every outing. Once the babes can sit up, things get much easier, but when you have two newborns, outings like grocery shopping require more thought. How do I logistically get all four children through the parking lot? If I wear one and keep the other in their carseat in the cart, where do I put the groceries? What do I do when I’m wearing both babies and my 1 year old throws a tantrum in the middle of Walmart?
Logistically, middle of the night diaper changes with two newborns are a nightmare. Even figuring out how to get both babies out of their crib and onto the breastfeeding pillow takes some practice. The twin breastfeeding pillow itself is a logistical difficulty. It’s like the size of my bath tub and I had to have it with me every time I breastfed for the first five months!
Now that they are older, crawling can complicate things. I’ll set one baby down by the couch to nurse them, go get the other baby, and by the time I get back the first baby has crawled away. When I’m changing one baby’s diaper, the other baby is always trying to reach in and grab hold of the poop.
The worst is when they are sick. How do you adequately comfort two sick and crying babies? You can’t. I do my best, but my best just isn’t good enough. Sick babies want to be comforted individually.
>POST BABY BODY
I don’t know if this is a result of having twins or simply that it was my third pregnancy, but my body has failed to bounce back in the way it did with the first two. A year has passed, I’m close to my pre-pregnancy weight, I run 3-4 times a week, and yet I still look a little bit pregnant. My skin is saggy, my boobs are withered, and the nothing in my closet fits me quite right. I wish I could say I’m strong and confident and it’s the inside that counts! but in reality I feel sad and embarrassed every time I see my naked body in the mirror. I know, I know. This body has done amazing things! And of course it was a worthwhile exchange. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to be twenty-nine with breasts like a grandma and a belly button that sags into a frown.
Now, don’t go getting me wrong. It’s not all bad. In fact, my year was overwhelming good. The best year I’ve ever had. And here’s why:
THE BEST OF YEAR 1:
I’ve said this before, but twins are just the neatest. From the birth to breastfeeding to watching them love on each other, it’s been a unique and incredible experience. I’ve loved observing the way they interact – how they used to scoot themselves closer until they were touching in the crib, how they follow each other around the house, and how they smile when they see the other enter the room.
Any logistical difficulties in having twins is far outweighed by how fun they are to have.
>SEEING GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
Perhaps this would have happened independent of having twins, but this year we really experienced God’s faithfulness, specifically in the area of our finances. Having twins was EXPENSIVE and the decision for me to stop working had a significant impact on our already very tight financial situation. There were many times this year we nearly threw our hands up and screamed WE CAN’T DO THIS!, but what followed each of those times was a very real, very clear sign from God that both fixed whatever the financial problem was and also encouraged us in a way we couldn’t have imagined. I wrote about one example here, but that story was only one of many events that occurred just like it over the past year. It has been an amazing year of spiritual growth for both my husband and myself.
>INSTILLING ORDER IN THE HOUSEHOLD
My twins have been a gift to our household in terms of order, structure, and organization. The more kids you have (twins or not), the more structured you must be in order to get through the day. The more structured you are, the smoother things run and the easier your job is as a mother. For that reason, I’d argue that having more kids can actually be much easier than having less kids. When I had my second baby, I became much more organized than I was with just the one, and life became easier. When I had the twins, I became even more organized than I was with just the two, and again life became easier. There is a level of routine and predictability that didn’t exist before I had my twins and it’s had a really positive impact on our household as a whole.
On a personal level, I myself have become more ordered. I am calmer and more in control of my emotions. I am impervious to chaotic moments. Yes, they happen, but they fail to affect me the way they use to.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
The news that I was expecting twins was met with a lot of gloom and doom. So many people told me that having 4 under 4 was going to be terrible that I started to worry about it myself! I went into the year feeling unsure and anxious about my ability to adequately care for these four kids.
The reality was different. I think it’s probably generally true that people just grow into the role they are given. A mother with two kids is at her max because she’s only ever had two kids. A mother with six kids is also at her limit, but when she only had four kids, she was maxed out then too. With the addition of my twins, my capabilities have expanded, and so my life at this moment is really no more difficult than it was when it was just me and my first baby.
In addition, I would be remiss to not acknowledge what an outpouring of support I’ve received over the past year. So many people stepped forward to help me in different ways – and when I initially turned down the help, the asked again and again until I broke down and said yes please! I look forward to being in a position to pay that forward someday.
Yes, this year has been a GOOD year. A year FULL of joy, of peace, and of thankfulness for the blessing our twins have been. I cannot wait to see what year two brings.