“I’m going to tell you something, and I don’t want you to freak out.” These were not exactly the words I was hoping to hear from my doctor when I went for my first ultrasound about three weeks after my positive pregnancy test. Of course, I was thinking the worst, as she had been staring at the screen for a solid two minutes without saying a word. “What?” I asked. She paused again, and said “You’re having twins.” At this point, I descended into a full on panic attack, even though she was telling me everything looked great so far. I had no experience with babies and now I was having twins!
As if the news of a twin pregnancy wouldn’t be overwhelming for anyone, I was especially terrified. I had never changed a diaper, fed a baby, babysat, or heck, even been around a newborn before, let alone been completely responsible for two of them at once! I was never that girl who fawned over babies. I mean, I always knew I wanted to be a mom… eventually. I just had so many other things I wanted to accomplish as well.
It was extremely daunting for an only child with zero experience to have newborn twins to care for. There were several things I did to help prepare me for the experience. The night my husband and I found out about the twins (ironically the date was 2/22), we immediately went to a bookstore. I was too impatient to order online and wait for them to arrive. We began reading everything I could about twin pregnancies and what to do once they arrived. Over the next few weeks, I found every website, blog, article, etc. I could about having and raising twins.
Twiniversity tip: Check out the bestselling twin parenting book What to Do When You’re Having Two by Twiniversity founder Natalie Diaz.
One piece of valuable advice I got was to seek out others who already had twins and hear their experiences. Several other twin moms recommended finding my local moms of multiples group to start building a network of moms with similar experiences. I would highly recommend doing this, whether you are currently expecting, or already have your little ones and still want to meet more families like yours. Hearing from others who are surviving (even thriving!) was extremely helpful for me. I joined several social media groups where I could communicate with other twin moms asking all my questions (What double stroller is best? How do you feed two at once? What do you DO with them all day?) and get answers from moms currently in the trenches. You can find your local group at the Multiples of America website.
The first time I walked into Buy Buy Baby, I was so overwhelmed, I had to leave after ten minutes. I didn’t even know where to begin. The best thing I can recommend is to prioritize what you need most / first, and focus on those to get you started. In my opinion, the stroller, car seats, cribs, changing table, and LOTS of diapers are the most immediate needs. If you are fortunate enough to have someone throw you a shower, see if they can ask all guests to bring a package of diapers either in place of, or in addition to, a gift. My friends did this, and we didn’t have to buy a single diaper for the first month. If you set up a registry in person, there is usually an employee to help you determine what you will need, and we were so grateful for that guidance. Amazon has a great checklist you can follow if you register with them, and you can find lists of necessary items for new twins in several books and online. Research is key.
During pregnancy, not only did I read everything I could find, but my husband and I also took every class on baby care the hospital offered: basic care, CPR, breastfeeding, delivery, etc. Having as much information as possible made me feel more in control of the situation. It really took some of the fear away prior to the babies’ arrival.
It’s amazing how quickly you learn to take care of the twins once they are born. I think necessity makes your instincts kick into high gear, and you just do it. People said this to me when I was pregnant, and all I could think was, “What if I don’t have that instinct? What if the twins come, and I have no idea what to do?” The truth is, you likely won’t know what to do. But, you’ll figure it out. With the sheer number of feedings and diaper changes you will have, you become a pro within a few days. This is not to say you won’t be a bit clumsy at first, and you will probably feel like a big fat failure at times, but just remember, you were chosen for this life for a reason, and YOU CAN DO IT!
Heather Rosenfeld is a full-time mommy to fraternal twin boys, Justin and Ryan. Wife to Mike, social media manager, and writer originally from Barboursville, West Virginia and currently living in Los Angeles, CA. She is an only child who is working hard to figure out the twin dynamic! You can follow her on Twitter.
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.
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