If you are expecting twins, there is one thing that I, a former twin carrier, would like to plead with you not to do. This one thing, like a giant red button with a sign hanging from it that says “do not push,” is tempting (trust me, I’ve been there). You will want to push it. You will want to see it. You will start typing into Google…
But don’t. Trust me.
And I’ll tell you why.
The Reality Starts Sinking In—You’re Expecting Twins
When I was early on in my pregnancy with twins, there was no denying how much my life was never going to be the same. I noticed how much was changing—and strangers enjoyed pointing this out as well:
“Wow, it looks like you are about to pop!”
“Shouldn’t you be in the hospital? Like, now?”
I’d tell them I was only five months pregnant and they just looked at me bewildered.
There were few things that I could do from my BT (before twins) life. Running, eating without getting heart burn, and sleeping more than 30 minutes a pop—these were all distant memories. Often, I hobbled around the house and did chores, taking breaks every couple minutes out of breathless necessity. I slept entire afternoons away on a regular basis. I walked the dogs down the block. And by “walk,” I mean waddle, with the neighbors peering at me from their windows, afraid a baby or two would fall out onto the sidewalk any minute.
On one such walk I fell down in exhaustion in a stranger’s yard and waited until my husband could come and pick me up in the car. This was a block and a half from our house.
Some days I longed for a moment in my old skin. I’d stare lustfully at the mid-waisted yoga pants in my closet that I used to slink into with ease. Or those cute dresses with boots I’d love to wear for date nights. But pregnant with twins? My outfits quickly became a series of stretched out tank tops and rotating pajama pants that were bigger than my husband’s. One of my favorite pictures from my pregnancy I posted on social media is one where I’m lounging in a brown recliner with legs up, eating from a bowl propped on my giant belly with the caption: “I am my own table! Pregnancy for the win!”
I had a sinking suspicion that my closet was never going to be the same.
It wasn’t too long after an epic fight over nursing chairs with my husband that I decided to do a little internet research to find out what twin pregnancy does to the female body. I was watching my fiftieth hour of Parenthood, eating peaches from the can with a fork, and staring loathingly at my husband who was so energetic and mobile. The Google search began, and when I got to the term “twin skin” I decided to search images.
I’m going to stop here.
Ladies, I don’t recommend this.
I started crying so hard that I ran to the bathroom and threw my head into the toilet bowl. I cried so hard I puked. This was a first.
How to Cope with All the Physical Changes of Pregnancy
My body changing—or better, expanding in all directions and how to cope with this—it was all too much. How was I ever going to see this pregnancy to the end? What was it going to do to my body and my sanity? Or, my marriage?
But then standing in the bathroom at that moment, it struck me like Braxton Hicks: if I was going to do this and do it well, I needed to let go. I needed to let go of my expectations about what twin pregnancy was supposed to look like or what I was supposed to look like.
At that moment, I knew that if I continued obsessing about my body changing or fantasizing about how I looked before pregnancy, I was only going to make things worse. I started to rub my belly, thinking about the two little people growing inside. My body was accommodating them. My body was protecting them. If I got too caught up into what this pregnancy was doing to me—I might lose focus on them, the little precious babies inside of me, and I knew I couldn’t do that. They deserved my all.
After I had a few more tears, I decided that I had to re-focus or I wasn’t going to get through this twin pregnancy thing at all.
Reaching Out for Support from other Mothers of Multiples
If traditional pregnancy is a walk in the park (and I realize this isn’t the case), then expecting twins or multiples is like climbing the Himalayas without having trained for it. I knew I had to start letting go of the need to have my body look a certain way and I knew I had to reach out for support.
I searched Instagram posts and blogs written by other mothers of multiples (the real, filter-less ones). I joined Facebook groups and La Leche League. I found mothers of multiples clubs and social groups in my area. I submerged myself in all things twin.
And what I found out was this: I wasn’t alone. Other twin moms had been there and lived to tell the story. Not only did I learn that mothers expecting twins most definitely needed two Boppys, car seats, cribs, and several thousand diapers (sorry Earth), but I also learned other helpful things like twin breastfeeding techniques and alternating sleeping shifts with my husband so that we would not lose our minds.
Even though I started to feel very much alone in my everyday new world (and treated like an alien by most of my single, hip, and childless friends), I learned that there were other moms who got the good cry-pukes out of the way. They got rid of the old clothes, got over themselves, and had gotten through it.
Today, I still wear yoga pants (in fact, they are my favorite). But today, mine are high waisted and I love every inch of them. I might not be able to squeeze myself in to my old clothes, but my new life is pretty special. Today, I can marvel at a body that carried two human beings. And I can praise God for giving me the opportunity. I can give my belly a little pat and say “Thank you,” And mean it. My body, this quiet temple. How honored I am to have been able to carry and grow two little humans inside of me. Feel two feet kicks and two little fists—times two—in my womb.
Some More Must-Haves For Twin Moms:
1. Salt scrub for the bath or shower
The most enjoyable thing I was able to do towards the end of my pregnancy was rub my lovely belly with the yummiest lime bergamot salt scrub. This ritual was a time for self-care and did wonders for my skin.
2. My Breast Friend Pillow
This was an indispensable gift during breastfeeding (yes, breastfeeing twins is possible!). Not only is the name of the pillow worth the price in laughs, it worked wonders. Twin mom trick: you’ve got to get two so you can stack them to support the littles when they are very small or you’ll wind up hunch-backed.
You. Must. Buy. Two. Boppys.
That is all.
4. Help from your mother-in-law
It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you have with the MIL, all hands on deck are needed, especially in the first couple months. My MIL saved our lives (for real) by helping out with night feedings, cleaning, and keeping us fed (well). If you think you can do it alone, I’ll help you right now and say: you can’t.
As a twin mom, I might have been stretched (literally and figuratively) and stretched in other amazing ways today, but God continually gives me the grit and grace I need to get through and appreciate it all.
Maybe you’ve already finished the pregnancy phase and have officially entered parenting mode (kudos to you!). No matter how old your kids are, one of the biggest questions you’ll ask yourself is how you’ll manage to raise strong, responsible children. Take it from two mothers who have been there, done that—and are still doing that: How to Raise Responsible Kids: Tips for Every Age – 087