My twin babies turned a year! I am thrilled. I am grateful. I am excited about the future and looking forward to the journey ahead. Many have asked how the year has been, how we made it through and to be quite honest, on many instances, I do not know what to say, other than God has been gracious!
Raising multiples is tough, but what we forget mostly is that it is also quite an amazing journey. YES! Despite all the upheavals, motherhood is a beautiful journey! And how more beautiful it is watching your twins, or triplets, play, laugh, learn together. Sometimes they will fight for toys or something, but just the sheer joy of watching them grow together is priceless!
So for those expecting multiples, or those who are already walking the journey, here are some tips on how we made it through this far.
Take a day at a time
Anxiety sets in as soon as you find out that you are carrying multiples. This happened to me. I was anxious from the moment when the doctors announced that we were going to be having twins. I wondered – how would I carry them? How would I breastfeed? How many cots would we need? Would I ever sleep at night? I worried about so many things some of which I learnt did not even matter. I continued worrying even after the twins were born. I totally haven’t gotten rid of all anxiety to date. Can you really? I still worry when one gets sick, because I know the other might fall sick as well. I worry about being separated from them. I actually think about them a lot when I am away. I wonder about whether I am being the greatest mum, and if I am doing my best.
One thing that I have learnt through the year is to take a day at time. There are days when they have slept through the night, and days when they’ve woken up to what feels like a thousand times. Taking a day at a time has been my remedy. Expect no two days to be the same. Give your best each day and hope for the best.
Keep the babies on one schedule
The sooner you create a routine, the better it will be for everyone involved in raising the multiples. With time the babies also get to understand that there is an order to things. They can predict that it is bath time, sleeping time, feeding time or even nap time.
It will not always go perfectly and will obviously take some time, but once there is a schedule, your days will be way better than they were with nothing to sort of give a sense of direction.
Raising multiples can be overwhelming. You cannot do it alone. Accept all the help that comes your way and especially during the first months, while you may also be healing post pregnancy. Work as a team with your partner. If he offers to pick up the groceries, cook, change diapers, bath the twins or even stay with them while you take that well deserved break accept it!
Family and friends also come in handy during this time. So long as you are comfortable with the people around you let them help you. It may not be in directly taking care of the babies, it could be in taking care of other duties.
Make time for yourself
As much as the kids’ welfare is key, your health and sanity is also important. Take a break, you deserve it. Keep post partum depression at bay by taking a break from the babies and all the new responsibilities that you have. If your partner is supportive enough, let him keep watch of the babies as other people such as the nanny, family or friends take over from you. Take those long walks, exercise, go to the mall and enjoy yourself for a little bit.
Being a multiple mum can take a toll on you. Getting out and even talking to people helps a lot in understanding that you are not in this alone and that whatever you face, there is always a way out.
Personally, going out to art events, meeting friends, and going to church even just to pray has kept me grounded.
Don’t be too hard on yourself – accept mistakes
No matter how much you are prepared to be a mum there will always be things that you had not anticipated that will happen. When something goes wrong, do not be too harsh on yourself. Do not blame yourself. Just learn from the mistakes, accept them and move on.
Finally, there is really no guide to making it through. Trusting in God and doing my best each day has done it for me.