Dear Parents of Twins …

If you are a Mummy or Daddy of twins, please read this post and if you can, please reply.

Esther and William are now nearly 7 months old.  They are good babies on the whole though William can be quite easy to upset and hard to settle sometimes.  At the moment they are both teething and we are 2 days in to their first ever cold.  I am trying so hard to be a good Mum but even with the support of my work from home partner I am still finding it incredibly hard.  I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for making things easier?

This week is particularly bad because of the illness and teething but I often find myself exhausted with too much to do and wondering what I can do to make this work.

I love my children dearly and I want to do right by them but increasingly I am feeling that I just don’t know how.

We have had a hard start to parenting, David and I.  The twins’ arrived early after major abdominal surgery for me, from which I am not sure I have ever really recovered physically or emotionally.  59 days in NICU also took their toll and though it is wonderful having our babies home now it has been lonely through the winter months as we have tried our best to protect them from infection and diseaase.  And winter is not over yet!

I know I am sounding desperate and I don’t mean to.  I know that after 5 cycles of IVF I really am the luckiest girl in the world to have two beautiful babies, a boy and a girl, our family could be complete.  I am grateful and I count my blessings every day but I do not feel that I am appreciating the babies or motherhood as I should.  I don’t feel that I ever have the time.

I envy mothers of single babies and think how much easier life must be with one.  How you can meet one child’s needs, hug them as soon as they cry and hold them as long as they need.  I feel that I am cutting myself in two and always feel that one babies’ needs are not being met.  William is so ill at the moment he should be in my arms all the time but Esther needs me too and she does not complain so quiet and good natured is she, but I am aware and I feel torn.  Why can I not be a good enough mother for two?

And I am not alone by any means.  David is home most days but he is trying to run his business.  I feel so guilty taking up his time but we need him every day, he feels guilty if he does not help, but he is also impatient to be focusing on his work.

On a good day I am fine alone and I enjoy being Mummy, on a difficult day I struggle but I still enjoy the challenges that being a Mummy brings, on a bad day it is awful and I often end up in tears. 

Today is one of those days.  Even David, the calm one, is frustrated today as he is getting nothing done.  He wants me to get help. With the babies, with the house, help?

It is 21.45 and we have only just got both babies to sleep.  We have had dinner but I cannot easily get in or out of the lounge because of baby stuff, David is still working at his computer and I am about to drink yet another cold cup of tea.  My airing cupboard is full of damp washing that needs sorting and the bathroom is full of more washing to do.  We are not unpacked from last weekend away and the babies are being fed from packets and jars.  I am about to eat my fifth cereal bar of the day.  Trying to lose weight is just not going to work!

I thought long and hard about posting this.  I am hoping that someone will read it who will know what we should do. 

I want to enjoy my children.  Have time to play with them.  I want to wake up from a whole nights sleep feeling like I could take on the world.  I used to feel like that once.

We do have good days.  We have good moments in most days but dark dark shadows loom over them.  We laugh together, we play, we read and we sing. We cuddle and we chat.  I know that I am a good Mum, a potentially excellent one I am just scared that right now I am losing my way. 

When I was pregnant I imagined the singing, the stories, wearing a baby round the house, walks to the park, coffee with friends, baby groups and classes, making friends with other new Mums …

As it is I will go to bed in a minute, the house still a mess, the washing undone, I will wake through the night to feed and in the morning this will start all over again and before we know it it will be bath time.  I will probably have spoken to no one apart from increasingly short exchanges with David about how we need help!

If you are reading this and you are a parent of twins please please let me know how you make it work because I want to make this family a happy one.  Please point us in the right direction.

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About willest

Very proud 34 year old Mum of twins William and Esther, born on 24th July 2010 at 27 weeks and 3 days
This entry was posted in Baby, development, Family, love, NICU, Parenting, Prematurity, relationships, routine, SCBU, Weaning. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Dear Parents of Twins …

  1. Karen Spencer says:

    Hi Jennie, David, Esther and William

    We are looking forward to those lovely sunny days when we can get out and about abit more and we certainly won’t miss the winter months. Like you we are struggling with colds and coughs – it really can be miserable.

    5 cycles of IVF is tough (We know we’ve been there too), but at the end of it you have your two gorgeous miracles and soon it will be Summer and you can all get out and about abit more 🙂 : )

    Washing – we know what you mean – we’ve never done so much and are fed up off folding it! Ironing and cleaning have gone out the window – apart from when relatives visit and we hand them the hoover.

    Hang in there until the Summer months and you will have a super time!

    Lots of love

    Karen, Jon, Sam and Joe xxx

    PS Enjoy the cereal bars whilst you can and think about losing weight later (it’s not worth worrying about and you look great in your Sister’s wedding photos)

    • willest says:

      Thank you. Do need to lose some weight soon though as my own wedding 7 months tomorrow!!! Roll on summer! William is now up again and under his gym, happy as anything, pivoting on his back hugging a soggy muslin! Moments like these are wonderful I know and I know I am so lucky. Sleep deprivation is an evil thing and I know much of our heartache is from a lack of knowing, lack of routine. May have to look at Gina Ford again????

  2. Cassie Adams says:

    Hiya

    I’ve just read through your words and found myself nodding and shaking my head in all the right places! To say you are going through a lot with the twins at the moment is an understatement, and you have still explained things far easier than I can 16 months on!
    I am a parent of twin boys, born at 38 weeks by c section, naturally conceived. I also have a daughter who turned four a few weeks ago. Even though their births were straightforward and relatively on time etc, I think unless you have two babies at the same time, absolutely no-one else has a clue just how hard it can be.
    I was lucky and had support from my family, but not 24 hours a day, so even with that help, it still seems like a never ending circle of what seems torture some days!
    Everyone says this, and it is true, all babies are different, but yours are 5 months corrected age, so they are still very dependant on you. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but there will come a time when they both sleep through or at least just require tucking back in rather than a feed. I personally wear earplugs and my husband tends to the boys at night, but that’s because I am exceptionally grumpy if I don’t get a good 6-8 hour block of sleep and hubby seems to do ok on smaller blocks of sleep. Perhaps you could alternate with your husband for a few days as everything seems that much easier to deal with when you feel rested.
    Do you use dummies? I use them at bedtime/nap times only, and very rarely leave the house visibly with one as I personally don’t like to see them in childrens mouths, nor am I fond of the lack of speech development in older children.
    Naps….. I read something when my daughter was around 6 months old, it said that all babies need sleep around 2 hours after they last woke up. I thought ‘What?’ but I have to say that all of them from quite an early age had a nap at 10 and a nap at 2, and all slept for around two hours at a time (great if this works as it gives you chance to do some housework…. sit down for half an hour and actually drink the tea or coffee warm…. speak to a n other adult on the telephone….. go on facebook!)
    Housework…. My house is rarely showhome tidy or clean. I have two loads worth of light washing on my kitchen floor waiting for me to empty the last load of light washing out of the machine. I can only walk up the right hand side of the stairs as there are so many things I have ‘tidyed away’ on the stairs waiting to be put somewhere else. Our dishwasher needs emptying constantly, and our children regularly ate from jars and packets…. now its the freezer and smiley faces and fish fingers!
    I understand the ‘envy’ of single children parents, especially given that I had almost three years as one myself. I sit and think how ‘bad done to’ the boys are as they don’t go to mother and baby groups, or baby massage, or indoor play areas. All of these things my daughter did and I thoroughly enjoyed doing them with her.
    What the boys do get, in whatever quantity I can give them in a day is love, cuddles, kisses, laughter and as much time as I can give them in a day. It will be hard for you to see this yet, but they don’t know any different to what’s happening now. You will see the love they have for you soon enough, and when they say your name, hold their arms up when you walk in the room, and then walk up to you and put their arms round your legs as you walk, you will believe that you are doing a great job. A flipping hard job, but one that not everyone can do, and it sounds as though you are a fantastic mum. If you weren’t you wouldn’t have put those thoughts down for others to read, you wouldn’t even question what you were doing.
    We all question our parenting skills, just give your beautiful babies all the love and attention you can, squeeze in cuddles and tell them you love them every day. Forget the housework for now, pop an airer over the bath and enjoy those babies xx

  3. Mine are only 8 weeks so I have no great words of wisdom to offer, except to say thank you for writing that post. I already have days of feeling I’m not good enough for them and ‘envy’ Mums of one.. but great reply above and it is so true.. I figure as long as they are fed, warm and cuddled that we’ve had a good day. Don’t be so hard on yourself – (typed one handed, feeding one baby, still in dressing gown, surrounded by washing, desperately in need of a shower, with stone cold drink) I think you are doing fantastic!!

  4. Françoise says:

    I’m taking the risk of upsetting you all, mothers of twins who are struggling so much and whom I have so much admiration for, but I actually feel the same often.

    I pictured myself a great mother singing, reading etc… to my child before I gave birth and I often feel overwhelmed with things to do.

    I haven’t lost any weight. Worse, I think I’ve put on weight. I fear that if I don’t eat enough, my son will lack something and suffer from it.

    When my boyfriend comes home after what felt like a very bad day, I just want to hand him the baby so that I can breathe and do all the house cleaning I was unable to do in the daytime. Afterwards I feel guilty as I have the feeling I’m just trying to get rid of my baby, which of course is not true…but it is what it feels like.

    When Rew works from home, I do my best not to ask him to help because I’m the one who gets time off work to look after our baby, but I’m angry at him for not helping and I feel guilty for feeling angry at him because he doesn’t deserve it at all and he’s actually ensuring we live comfortably.

    I often drink a tepid cup of tea, because there’s this thing and this thing, oh, and also that thing that I quickly want to do before I sit down and relax…

    I’m not trying to say that you are wrong to think that it’s easier with one. I had to look after my little nephews in the past few days and I have more and more admiration for mothers of several children.

    I’m just trying to say that the problem isn’t only and necessarily in the number of children : isn’t our feeling of struggle also due to our character ? our way of life ? … It seems that we all have a picture of the perfect mother and that we try to match it as much as we can, so that we can’t stand little things that we consider as failures at doing so. We probably also are a bit too cleaning obsessive, isn’t it ? Why is it such a problem if we go to bed with the washing undone ? I just feel exactely like you but is it that important ? And when you go away for a few days, it takes you about a week to sort out your house again … but is it such a problem ?

    Maybe we need to relax.

    When I feel overwhelmed, I put Maël in the babycarrier or in the pram and we go for a walk … It is enough to make me relaxed. That’s what I did today : I couldn’t cope with the mess filling the lounge and the bedroom after my trip so I left it all and went out. It didn’t bother me so much when I got back…

    • willest says:

      Francoise, I am sorry that you are finding things hard too. This is the worst bit though
      I envy mothers of single babies and think how much easier life must be with one. How you can meet one child’s needs, hug them as soon as they cry and hold them as long as they need. I feel that I am cutting myself in two and always feel that one babies’ needs are not being met. William is so ill at the moment he should be in my arms all the time but Esther needs me too and she does not complain so quiet and good natured is she, but I am aware and I feel torn.
      I am not saying this makes it harder for me as a Mummy of twins but the challenges are definitely different x

      • Françoise says:

        Yes, yes, I definitely agree with this and I can easily imagine, though I can’t feel, how torn you must be all the time. I really hope William gets better very soon as it’s upsetting to see an ill baby and feeling powerless at taking the illness away from him as quickly as we would.
        You are always on my thoughts Jennie. Be strong !

        p.s.I have read about an american doctor, William Sears who seems to be quite the opposite of Gina Ford in some ways (from what the critics I read about him said). Do you know him ? I’ve ordered a couple of books from Amazon. I will let you know what I think about it and i’ll quote if he says interesting things and gives good tips.

  5. JallieDaddy says:

    Looking after twins is tough! Both of us have been basically at home & available 24 hours for all of their 11 months so far, so we’re lucky. But in the early months we still struggled! Housework, laundry not done, sleep deprivation – that’s normal. Actually David’s advice is good- get help, family, friends, if you can. If you have favours to call in, now’s the time! The times we’ve felt most on top of things were when my in-laws stayed over: they took care of cleaning, little DIY jobs, shopping that we couldn’t do & were available to hold a baby at a moment’s notice. There’s also NHS help available, I think only a few hours a week, but it could make a difference.

    Teething + colds: no wonder you’re struggling, that’s hard.

    Teething: Calpol, teething rings, TLC. Stuffed noses: Karvol, nasal sprays, maybe a humidifier (although I sometimes use a bowl of water by the radiator). For sleep: head then facial caresses ( stroking down the nose tends to close their eyes), whispering calmly, singing softly (Frere Jacques, Silent Night are our faves), stroking the neck, rocking, walking; but you probably know all that. I found my greatest weapon was my iPod Touch with its (free) White Noise app: magic for getting them to sleep. It’s on iPhone & iPad too. Great for keeping in touch with emails / twitter / facebook / blogs while feeding too.

    Gina Ford / Ferber’s “Crying out” – hate it! We’ve never done it & never want to. I’d go so far so say it’s cruel. But our twins have always been pretty good at staying asleep once they’re there.

    There’s a book that we’ve found invaluable: “Juggling Twins” by Meghan Regan-Loomis http://www.amazon.co.uk/Juggling-Twins-Strategies-Pregnancy-Toddler/dp/1402214057/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297811098&sr=8-1. I highly recommend it.

    From what I can see you’re a terrific & loving Mum, but there’s only 1 of you & two of them; there’s only so much you can do. Don’t beat yourself up, just do your best.

    The book talks about a ‘tipping point’ where the advantages of having twins outweigh the early hardships. You’ll get there: trust me it will get better!

    I’m not active there at the moment but I’m on twitter as @JalleDaddy. I’m following you so if you DM me I could give you my email in case you had anything specific you needed help with.

    Hang in there!

  6. JallieDaddy says:

    Typo: my twitter is @JallieDaddy; sorry about that

  7. Pingback: Juggling Twins by Meghan Regan-Loomis pages 1 – 219 | Welcome to the World Esther and William

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