A MoM asks…
I am a new mom of 3 week old twins. I've always been a very independent and confident person, but since bringing them home I've never felt more vulnerable and anxious in my life. I am terrified to leave the house with them for the the first time. All I can think of is all of the dangers out there — strange people, disease, bad drivers, accidents, etc. I know my fears are irrational but how can I shake them when all I want to do is protect my babies and keep them safe?
Here's what our Twiniversity community had to say…
– Congrats… what an exciting time for you. I'm sure you are having all kinds of emotions… you are exhausted and have more hormones than any one person deserves. Possibly a bit of postpartum depression. Add in sleep deprivation, exhaustion, hormones… we're all a wreck for a while. The world at large is huge and scary no doubt about it, but in your small world you will keep them safe and secure. You will venture out a little at a time – you will become more secure with each outing. In time you won't even give all these concerns a second thought. However, if these thoughts and concerns grow and take on a life of their own, do speak with your doctor. You'll do great – it'll get easier.
– My twins are 7 months and I'm finally feeling okay enough to take them out alone. I don't stray too far from home and save big trips for when hubby is around…and driving! But getting out of my house and neighborhood breaks up the day. It makes me feel like my old self. I understand and share your fears. I drive a lot slower than I used to, and watch other drivers closely.
– Take it day by day, one step at a time. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Don't start with a big, all-day outing. Maybe just go and pick up some coffee. Once that becomes easy, maybe go to an outdoor mall or park for an hour. It takes practice to do these things! Don't start out so big and, most importantly, believe in yourself! Tell yourself you can do it and praise yourself when you do! You will be fine and so will your kids.
– Ah, yes, the signs of a good mommy! You'll know when you're ready. Don't go out until you feel comfortable and don't feel guilty because it's not how you're “supposed” to feel.
– You can make a sign to put on their carriers which say, “Please do not touch,” or, “Please wash your hands before touching.”
– Don't feel pressure to venture out with them yet! But if you must, have someone either help you get out, meet you while you're out, or help you when you get back in.
– It'll ease. It won't go away but it will ease off as you get used to it and get better and handling everything. You are certainly not alone; I sincerely empathize with your feelings.
– I agree with what many of the other ladies shared, it sounds like you may be experiencing postpartum depression/anxiety. Your babies are strong and so are you. Take tiny steps to get out there, even if it's just a practice run of putting them in the car or taking a short walk. I would suggest talking to your OBGYN or mental health professional to see if you would benefit from some sort of treatment. I had anxiety before and after my twins were born and asking for help from professionals and family helped me calm down and feel more secure in my mothering.
– Start off with very small trips and build up. You'll get your confidence back. Try just running to the grocery store for a few items. It'll take longer than you think. LOL!
– I also dealt with significant anxiety after having my twins (who are now 10 months old). Sometimes medication is definitely necessary — I didn't pursue that route with mine. It may have helped. Your hormones are going crazy. And the sleep deprivation only adds to the problem, big time. One of the best things I did was to stop reading the news for a few weeks. I also took a break from social media where news stories that just weren't helpful during this time were shared. Facing my fears and just starting to get out, slowly but surely, helped. Having friends come over and save me from just being alone with my own mind and thoughts all the time helps. And as someone who believes in God, I prayed more than I ever have before. You will eventually come out of it. If you find that you're not or that it's getting very difficult, seek professional help. There is no shame in that! Feel better, Mama. It's not all dark out there. There's still plenty of light.
– Totally normal! I had all that, also frightening VIVID nightmares of me doing bad, bad things to people if they harmed my babies. I later learned its your protective mama instincts kicking in. The nightmares lasted about 8 weeks, but I wasn't completely comfortable for about 6 months.
– I felt like that with my first child! I had my twins 12 years later. With the twins I didn't worry so much. One thing I did was every time I took them out as infants, I used the double stroller! I used the canopies for the car seats and stroller to keep them covered, so people would not touch them!!
– 2 is not 1. It's a big job being a twin mom. Take your time.
– Start small, in the stroller. Take them for a short walk. Then build up to things like a quick trip to the grocery store. Once you feel comfortable doing those things and knowing you can handle it alone you'll be unstoppable! Don't be too hard on yourself momma!
– I was terrified to just be left alone with my twins for a while. They just turned two and we can do anything now. But when they are so small and helpless and it's all brand new, it's scary, and it's normal to feel that way.
– Remind yourself that you can only control your actions and you are doing everything you can to protect your babies. Use your mom instincts. If you're around an erratic driver, pull over and let them get down the road. Put signs on their carrier to ward off overly touchy people. My twins are now four (with a 2 1/2 year old brother) and getting everyone out of the house still seems daunting! When they were newborns I would take them on errands or to friends house so if there was ever an emergency I had the confidence to take them myself. My diaper bag is still crazy loaded with the “just in case” stuff. My husband calls it the zombie apocalypse bag!
– Here are the signs I made and put on our car seats. The little red ones we got from our NICU nurses. Helps a lot to have the signs on. People don't just reach into touch them anymore. I also try to go places like Target and the grocery store during non-peak hours. I have found that between 10 am-1 pm places are not super busy and it's more relaxing and fun for all of us. We have a Contours Options double stroller which is perfect because I can use that instead of a cart; I just put everything in the bottom basket. The only time it doesn't work is for a Sam's Club run and then I take my hubby with.
– Try just going and sitting out side with them. Bring theirs seats or swings and just get some fresh air. Then try taking a walk through your neighborhood. Our first real outing with our twins, besides to dr appts, was to the park. We met up with some family, ate donuts, and watched our nephew play. We didn't do a lot in public with them when they were small. It gets easier as they get older and you become more confident as a twin parent too! It's always a little overwhelming leaving the house with them those first couple of times. It does get easier!
– I was and am just like you. At 3 1/2 years old, it is still a learning process. Do everything in your power to create a safe environment then use self talk to reassure yourself that worrying won't protect them. I also hardly went out without help because of the hassle.
– I had severe anxiety after bringing my twins home. I got on meds and that helped a lot. Also, just get them out and once you do it, you will gain confidence. Try someplace you are comfortable first and then try new places little by little. It will get easier.
– Welcome to the life of mother, and a mother if twins to boot. You are super tired, your hormones are out of whack and your world has been turned upside down. Allow yourself some time to get used to your new life. If the feelings are too strong, speak to a medical professional. You are not weak to admit you need help physically, mentally and emotionally. Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of if you are diagnosed with it. I have it…as well as OCD and anxiety. My motto is “better living through chemistry”. And you always have all of us to lean on. But I highly recommend finding some other twin mommies to have in your life!
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Are you a new twin parent? Check out Natalie Diaz's new book “What To Do When You're Having Two: The Twin Survival Guide From Pregnancy Through the First Year”, available in stores now!
The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
What to Do When You’re Having Two is the definitive how-to guide to parenting twins, covering how to make a Birth Plan checklist, sticking to one sleep schedule, managing double-duty breastfeeding, stocking up on all the necessary gear, building one-on-one relationships with each child, and more.
Accessible and informative, What to Do When You’re Having Two is the must-have manual for all parents of twins.