An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What I Learned Postpartum From Twins

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Monday, January 28, 2019

What I Learned Postpartum From Twins

Reflections on life changes immediately after delivering twins


There's so much anticipation leading up to delivering a baby. Or two babies. The last stages of pregnancy are hard physically and emotionally. With multiples, odds are extremely high that you'll be on bed rest, attempting to get every last minute you can keeping those babies gestating, as most twins are delivered at 35 weeks. Then in a blink of an eye, you deliver them and boom! You're officially in the postpartum stage. In my opinion, no matter how hard your pregnancy was or wasn't, the three months immediately after delivering the baby/babies is far more challenging. Exponentially so. If you're a first time mom, there is no book you can read or class you can take to prepare you for it. If you're a second or more time mom, odds are good you've forgotten what it's *really* like (funny how that happens... It's natures way of getting us to keep reproducing, I swear!) If you're like me and expecting or recovering from having multiples, you're in for a whole new level of postpartum chaos! (I wanted to use the word hell there, but thought that was a little strong for an introductory paragraph. But it's hell. Postpartum is hell.) Twins magnify the postpartum chaos/hell exponentially, too. Here's what I learned, postpartum from twins:

Me sleeping with Knox in the bed; hubby holding Teddy

- I need more alone time than ever before and it needs to be made a priority
This one is hard because at no time in my life was I more needed... Around the clock! And that's probably why I discovered myself needing away and alone time. Clearly that couldn't happen every day, but if I could escape for a lunch by myself, or some work time at a coffee shop even twice a week, I was not only a much happier person, I was a better mom when I was with my kids. The constantly being needed, touched, spit up on, and caring for children made me NEED time away to sit in silence or have a complete, uninterrupted thought.

To this end, I think the older I get, the more I'm transitioning to an introvert. I was an extreme extrovert in my 20s. I loved and was energized by people. Now, I'm down to a 50/50 split - I love to socialize and do indeed get depressed when I haven't filled our social calendar with enough events, but I'm also drained when I'm constantly around people (yes, even little people like my kids). Peace and quiet is absolutely glorious. After four kids, mom life has completely sunk in and I absolutely relish any alone time I can find. Any time I'm not being touched or my name being called or refereeing a fight or bouncing a baby on my knee is precious, precious time.

- Don't fight your spouse. You NEED your spouse
When I finally started getting out of the house again after birthing twins, or finally invited some friends over to see/hold the babies, the constant question I got was, "So, do you want to kill your husband?!" And my answer was no. Nope. Not at all! My husband was my most helpful assistant after we had the twins. Not only was he entirely hands on, he also understood all my ticks and annoyances, so he was helpful in a way that wasn't obnoxious/draining/actually resulting in more work for me - he was simply helpful. With twins, your spouse is your co-pilot. Y'all are on the same team, working towards the same goals. So don't fight your spouse! Figure out how you're going to teamwork it all out.

It's hard, I know. After our first baby we didn't fight because it was just one baby and in hindsight, one child is SO EASY! After four kids, I want to punch one-baby-Paige in the face for thinking it was so hard! But after our second, we fought constantly. I truly think it's because with two, it's all hands on deck and he had to make some of the same sacrifices I had to make after one baby: no more 45 minute showers, eat a [cold] meal in under 10 minutes (maybe even five), get ready for the day with children hanging off of you, and so on. We were already at that level of understanding when we had the twins, and also had some marriage counseling to help our communication skills to boot, so shockingly, the twins were a relatively easy transition for our marriage. We had already solidified as a parenting team. If we had started with twins though... I honestly might be singing an entirely different tune as a single mom. If you're a first time parent expecting twins, my best advice for you is to get a really good marriage counselor and see him or her often. I'm totally serious. The demands of twins on unprepared parents *could* completely ruin you, and the odds are strong that you'll need outside help so that you don't fight your spouse... Constantly.

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- Enjoy whatever moments you can
Sleep deprivation is real with a new baby, but times it by about 100 with twins. Again, I'm not kidding. In the early weeks, one baby would go down to bed well and the other wouldn't. He'd stay up until the next feed. Then they'd trade, and the sleeping baby would be up while the formerly feisty one would fall asleep. There was more than a few nights where this went on ALL NIGHT LONG. Quite literally, zero chances for sleep at night. That makes enjoying your newborn really difficult, especially if you're like me and have other kids to care for during the day (so no naps for you!).

I resolved to get through this truly awful season of sleep-deprived-life by enjoying picking out the boys' outfits and dressing them alike. Yes, they were my third and fourth babies of the same gender, but I found myself buying tons of matching outfits, and really enjoying seeing them together, dressed alike. Also, it made it impossible for my husband, nanny and mom to tell them apart, which I got a kick out of! I know my husband enjoyed putting the twins in the stroller and having the older boys on their bikes, and going for walks in the neighborhood. This served a dual purpose, because I was then able to get 30 minutes of peace while they were out walking. Whatever it is that brings you joy, find it and plan it daily. Even if it's as trivial as an outfit. In those hard early days, having something to look forward to is essential. It does get easier (like when they get on the same sleep schedule! When they start to smile and coo at you!) but in those first few weeks postpartum, you've got to take whatever bright spots you can and hold on to them to get through.

Matchy matchy 3 month old twins

- It is a season, and this too shall pass
So cliche. But it's true. Sometimes, at 2am when you've been rocking and nursing babies for 12 hours straight and you'd literally cut off your baby toe to go to bed, it feels like it will never end. That you'll be in postpartum hell forever. That you'll never get a spare minute again, never get a hot shower and never sleep. But you will! You will. For us, we turned a huge corner at 10 weeks when the twins started to get regular chiropractor adjustments. That helped their gas issue almost entirely go away, which meant they weren't as fussy in the evenings and when they went down for naps. By 12 weeks, we were getting them to bed in 2 hours or less (instead of staying up with them until 2am, alternating which baby was awake!) By 3 months, we were in a pretty solid routine with consistent daytime naps and a concrete bedtime routine.

When I was a first time mom, I had pretty severe postpartum depression (PPD) and a big part of that was this massive feeling of doom, that the hard season would never end. That this was just what my life would be like now, and it was a sucky life at that. But it passes! It does get easier, even if you have twins. Yes, new challenges arise, but nothing (in my opinion) is as hard as those first three chaotic, hellish months postpartum.

The "4th trimester" is so hard because it's a huge learning curve. You're learning about being a parent, you're learning about the particular baby (yes, they're all different, even if you're having twins! My twins have nearly opposite personalities), and the baby is learning about you and the world around him. That makes the postpartum period HARD. With twins, it's insanely hard. There's essentially two learning curves taking place simultaneously, which is immensely stressful. I've learned things about myself and life in general after all of my children, but quite possibly my biggest postpartum period for growth and learning was after I had twins. 

9 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration. What a great set of tips for new moms, especially moms of twins.

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  2. Great tips for any new Mom wether you have multiples or one. I have 5 kids and can relate!!

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  3. Such a great post for new and seasoned moms! I related to so much!

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  4. I'm 34 weeks with second pregnancy/twins. Thanks for posting so honestly! It's a help to know what to expect and see beyond cute twins pictures.

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  5. Oh, Mama! Such power to you! You are so strong and this post is inspiring to new moms like myself. I had no clue what to expect postpartum with my son and I can relate with some of your journey.

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  6. I have an enormous amount of respect for twin moms! I know how hard the postpartum period can be, and I salute you for making it through happy, healthy, and sharing your story.

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  7. I can't imagine! I am 35 weeks with my first, and am already trying to anticipate postpartum life!

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  8. I think remembering that "it will pass" is so important. It's really true, things get better. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  9. "if I could escape for a lunch by myself, or some work time at a coffee shop even twice a week, I was not only a much happier person, I was a better mom" YAAASS momma!!, i agree with you 100% I feel this so much! I take 30min trips to the dollar store just to "get away" it does become overwhelming and you do need that time alone. We are currently in the terrible 2's and im willing to give them to who ever wants to watch them (grandma's) lol

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