Hey there, mama of newborn twins: I see you. I know you haven’t slept for more than two hours at a time since your twins were born. I know that every time you move you feel the soreness in your abdomen from the major surgery you just underwent to deliver those babies. I know that you’re pumping round the clock and pushing your already-tired body to make more milk, and skipping the dairy because it seems to hurt your twins’ tummies. I know you sigh everytime you pass your reflection in a mirror because you don’t recognize your body, still reeling from the aftermath of creating two babies at the same time. I know you’re feeling like your friends have moved on without you because it’s been so long since you felt up for socializing. I know how frustrated you feel when you just got one baby cleaned up and the other twin decides to join the party to the tune of yet another diaper blowout. And most of all, I know the question you’ve repeated in your head when you feel like you can’t possibly wake up tomorrow and do it all over again:
Will this ever get easier?
I know your question because it’s the same question I asked myself time after time for months on end. Some days it was asked with a laugh, other days with a tear. And while I knew my twins wouldn’t always be babies, there were times when the golden age of “easier” seemed so far away, that I truly questioned if it even existed. I remember the twins turning a year old, and on a particularly difficult day, thinking to myself, “Shouldn’t things be getting easier by now?”
The truth is that even though we know our twins are growing each day, change can happen so imperceptibly slowly, that we don’t even notice it. The Earth continues its orbit and leaves on the trees slowly turn golden and one day we open our curtains and it’s fall. Our twins’ little bodies are always changing and yet we don’t even notice it until one day we realize their shoes are getting tight and those little feet we tickle every day were growing all the time, right before our eyes.
Sometimes it feels like every day is the same and you wonder if things will ever be different. In those moments it’s hard to picture a time when things will be easier but you have to hope that it will come. Still, in the hardest moments, you doubt.
And I am here to answer your question, mama.
It will get easier.
It will. I know that in your most difficult, sleep-deprived state, it can feel like things will just always be this way. But they won’t. One day you will cook an entire meal from start to finish without anyone crying at your feet and you’ll panic at the realization that the house is too quiet. You’ll rush off in a frenzy, convinced the twins have surely been abducted, only to find them happily playing in their room. At this moment you will most likely hear a chorus of angelic voices replace that question in your head and you will see on the horizon the golden glow of a land called “easier.” You will know it does exist and that you are approaching it. Take a moment to bask in the glow, mama. You deserve it.
Now that I’ve (hopefully) given you hope, let me also be honest. It will never be easy. Nothing about raising twins is easy. Easier does not mean easy. Right about the time those angelic voices in your head fade into an, “Amen,” one twin will whack the other with a block, the crying will begin, and both twins will be appalled at the dinner you just slaved over, because how dare you assume they still like the same foods they liked last week? Each stage of life has its own unique challenges, and often one challenge is replaced with a new one. Everything involved with the endeavor of raising twins calls for a surplus of energy, wits, creative problem solving, patience, and determination. It takes a special tenacity of spirit to face the challenges you’re presented with day after day.
But slowly, change occurs. You pack away the baby swings. You begin to speak of things like bottles and diapers in the past tense and remember them almost (dare I say it) nostalgically. You discover the magic of Daniel Tiger and your twins actually sit and watch it for an uninterrupted 20 minutes and you shower like you’ve never showered before. You emerge from that bathroom a new woman and you feel like you could conquer the world. You are actually on time for an appointment and you get those pre-pregnancy jeans buttoned. Slowly the grip of the constant demands loosens, one finger at a time, and for the first time in years, you breathe.
My fellow twin parent, if you are still in the throes of endless feedings, all night parties, perpetual crying, and blowout competitions, you have been wearing the same yoga pants for four straight days, and you’re pretty sure you fell asleep standing up earlier today, please let this give you some hope and strengthen your resolve to hang in there, because it will get easier. It will be gradual, it will take time, and the change will be imperceptible while you’re in the midst of it. But one day all those hours spent pumping, rocking, changing, wiping, and crying will be a distant memory of a time that went by in a flash.
And when that memory becomes so distant that you actually dare to tiptoe back into the past to peek at it, when nostalgia paints it with a golden hue and you find yourself daring to miss those first few months, you will know it was all worth it. Surely there will be many challenges ahead as you bravely march on in parenthood. But you have kept two people alive up until this point and so you will know that you are strong enough to face whatever challenges lie ahead.
Natalie Downey is a stay at home mom to six rambunctious but lovable kids. Her two-year-old boy/girl twins were the surprise of her life and keep her on her toes. She gets by with lots of help from coffee and yoga and enjoys literature, spontaneous dance parties with her kids, and playing guitar.