Writing this article was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. It’s 8 am. There are already ten bottles that need to be washed. The coffee was long gone by 6 am, and the six month old twins are slowing falling into slumber for their second nap. But more important than washing bottles or collecting laundry or inhaling more caffeine is my husband sitting next to me. We are both now on our electronics trying to catch up with the world, yet worlds away from each other. This is our only down time now that we are twin parents.
I compiled a list of questions that twin parents frequently get asked, which my husband and I asked each other. We usually have a generalized, blanketed answer for these questions when asked by friends or even strangers… but when asked each other ou answers changed. Not only were the answers surprising, but having to ask and answer questions to one another promoted entrance into each others intimate worlds. In a way, it recharged some heartstrings that were lost to 2 am feedings. I’ve transcribed the questions and answers for not only your reading, but for our strengthening.
Q. How did you feel when you first heard the news of twins?
H (Husband). I was so excited. I felt I got a two-for-one special. But when I saw my wife, I saw she was distraught, so I had to hold back my excitement.
W (Wife). Petrified. Twins was never in my scope of expectations. I was so excited to be a mom, but honestly I was angry I was given two. I didn’t know what to do.
Q. What were your biggest fears/excitements of pregnancy and babies?
H. Finances was and is my biggest concern. I felt my wife’s health was pretty good so I wasn’t too concerned there. I know so many things could go wrong in pregnancy especially with two, we were higher risk. I’m excited to play with my children. A daughter to have tea-time with and a son to throw a ball around with.
W. I was so excited to be a mommy, but I feared the complications. Since I work in the healthcare field I’ve witnessed the tragedies pregnant moms and families faced. I always worried when the other shoe would drop with me. I still see all the what-ifs flash in my mind. It gets scary and lonely.
Q. When was the moment it struck you that you were a twin parent?
H. When I saw both little babies laying together in the OR, after the C-section, wiggling a little and making little noises I knew I was a parent.
W. Well, I said all the typical things new moms say when seeing babies and talking with people, but it really hit me when everyone left. My husband went to work, family flew home, our night aid stopped. I was in charge of these two wiggly humans by myself. With you, forever. Maybe I should’ve felt it right away like my husband did? Maybe I did. It was all so crazy.
Q. When dealing with a parenting conflict how did you deal?
H. It varies by day and depends on the mood we are in. We still are trying to figure it out.
W. We are still working on it. I think it’s roughest when we are tired or hungry or overwhelmed. We have to care for these basic needs first before opening a can of worms. Whatever it may be.
Q. What has been the hardest part for your marriage as the family dynamic changed?
H. My wife being exhausted while I’m at work. I come home and she goes to sleep. We sleep in different rooms when one of us is “on duty”. We are maintaining but not thriving as a couple right now. Not yet.
W. I think my supersonic new mom hearing has burdened us, as I need true silence in order to sleep, causing us to sleep apart. Knowing someone is listening for the babies so I can power my brain and ears down finally is important.
Q. What are the positives you’ve found in your partner since they became a parent?
H. She has become an amazing multi-tasker and has this ability to anticipate the babies’ needs before they happen. She has been doing great balancing the babies, while also keeping her head on straight (most of the time).
W. I remember seeing my husband play with neighbor’s kids when we were dating and loving the future father he was going to be. I see that now with them at play time. He is also good at texting me at random times saying “I love you”, “you’re such a great mommy” without any other motive, just when I need to hear it.
Q. What is the biggest tip for a twin parent to continue to grow in a marriage and family?
H. No more kids! Just kidding. Try to find a way to make your spouses day a little bit easier and try to do something to bring a smile to their face even if it’s something small.
W. Make sure to eat and sleep or else it will just add fuel to the fire. Appreciate the little moments between each other and between the kids now, because as I say each night, they’re never going to be this small ever again.
What was to be a simple five minute exercise to generate an article, became a twenty minute discussion beyond the questions asked. It rejuvenated meaningful, marital dialogue outside of the everyday baby talk and texts (“buy diapers after work”, “please defrost chicken”, “shhh nap time”, etc.). It helped, at least for the moment, provide clean air to inhale between the two of us.
I urge you to try this at home. Ask these questions to your partner or whoever else is your teammate who is sharing the parenting load with you. It doesn’t have to be these specific questions, although you may use them as a template or springboard for more! Adjust the questions to fit your needs.
Besides our constant prayers of health and happiness for our twinnies, we remember the best thing for their well-being is having healthy and happy parents; a physically, emotionally, and spiritually connected team of family, friends, and cuddler-givers. Happy 2017.
This article is dedicated to my husband.
Molly Kessler is a clinical social worker, presenter, and writer in south Florida. Molly is married and currently working full time as a mom of almost six month old boy/girl twins. Molly enjoys everything from being an informal birth doula for friends to playing with puppies to photography. Molly is available for writing, speaking, and counseling upon request. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, check out her blog.
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.
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