Did you just learn you are having multiples? It can feel like your life is turned upside down. See 3 lessons this mama says she has learned having triplets.
Imagine you’re going on a trip to Hawaii or some other exotic tropical location. You pack your bags with bathing suits, shorts, dresses, flip-flops; throw in extra sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Then, for what seems like an episode of Ashton Kutcher’s “Punk’d” or any of these prank shows, you end up landing in Norway in the middle of winter. Yup, Norway of all places. And while I’m sure it’s beautiful there, you’re completely unprepared. After all, you didn’t pack any warm clothes, boots or gloves. I know this is super unrealistic, but I find it to be a good way to describe motherhood in general – you’re never really prepared for it. But for me, it really exemplifies my journey in discovering and coming to terms with having triplets.
When I was trying to conceive, I did a lot of research. I talked to friends who had babies and I was dead-set on having a natural delivery, possibly even a water birth. I wanted it all: exclusively breastfeeding and on-demand, co-sleeping, baby-led weaning, you name it. And it’s important for me to mention that where I come from, Brazil, c-sections are usually preferred by both women and doctors. Only in recent years, with a movement called “humanized delivery” have natural births become more popular and sought after for the health of mom and baby.
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I can’t keep calm, I’m having triplets!
After a year of irregular cycles and no success, I finally decided to visit a specialist. It turned out I had a mild case of endometriosis and PCOS. A laparoscopic surgery and one cycle of hormonal injections later, in the span of 6 months, I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was so excited I booked my first appointment with a renowned OBGYN in Brazil when it came to natural births. Everything was going according to plan until I actually had my first ultrasound and saw three gestational sacks. I was having triplets.
My world stopped; my heart sank. And I’m pretty sure that was my very first experience with mom guilt. Having triplets would most definitely ruin all of my plans. I’d literally have to throw away all the bags I’d packed to Hawaii and start from scratch. I obviously felt guilty and ungrateful. My dream of becoming a mom had come true, but not like I’d envisioned. I soon had to educate myself on all things high-risk pregnancy. I had to learn about bed-rest, pre-term labor, 99% chance of a c-section, miscarriage of one of the babies, in-utero steroid shot for lung development, NICU stay, etc.
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My babies were fine; they were and are healthy. Out of all the things that could have gone wrong, none really did. Yet, the emotional toll of pregnancy and motherhood of triplets is something hard to explain. It’s the very reason why I decided to embark on a journey within to ensure I was making the best of what I’ve been entrusted with.
Now I see that the biggest plot twist of my life has become my biggest lesson and motivation to be the best version of myself. Learning I was having triplets was disappointing in some ways but was also an invitation to a greater challenge. I’ve learned a lot about relinquishing control, being gentle and patient with myself, and finally, giving room for vulnerability.
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Relinquishing control when having triplets
As a girl and a woman, we usually grow up seeing our female role models take charge in their homes, call the shots most times, and have people wrapped around their fingers. Motherhood, however, can be quite the rude awakening, a double-edged sword. While you feel so powerful in growing life within, you also feel powerless. Every doctor’s visit, every ultrasound, every strange sharp pain comes with uncertainty and fear Among the rewarding experiences that come with delivery to their first words also lies that subtle anxiety every time we say goodnight and close their bedroom door, or wave goodbye after school drop-off.
The truth is: a piece of our heart will forever beat in someone else’s chest – and that’s scary. The only comfort we have is in cherishing every single moment together and turning them into unforgettable memories. We come into this knowing we’re loving them only to have to let them go eventually and as hurtful as that can be, it’s also beautiful. It teaches us to understand that loving deeply means accepting to lose control.
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Being gentle & patient with yourself is necessary when having triplets
Suddenly being responsible for someone else’s life and their knowledge of the world is a lot of pressure. It adds to the anxiety that is having to teach someone about life and yet not being 100% in control of the outcome. I have to be patient and gentle with my children as they learn. My children have taught me to do the same with myself. I’m also learning!
It’s hard to be a beginner and accept when things go wrong because you didn’t know any better. But just like you don’t punish a toddler that falls repeatedly when learning to walk, we should show ourselves grace as we make our way through motherhood. There is no perfect, fool-proof way to mother; we all learn as we go. That means probably having to throw away all our pre-baby expectations and preconceptions (welcome to Norway!).
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Giving room for vulnerability
Finally, as I’ve learned to be gentle and patient with myself, I’ve also grasped the importance of forgiveness and vulnerability. Coming to terms with having triplets, for me, really meant embracing the unknown. It meant choosing to see my weaknesses from a place of love, and using my strengths to make it through the uncharted territory that is motherhood – and life.
Ultimately, I’ve been accepting that difficulties and disappointments are detours to help me see things in a way I couldn’t have seen otherwise. Instead of beating myself up when things go wrong, I now choose to think they went unexpectedly well for reasons not yet apparent.
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So instead of throwing a fit when you get to Norway in your bathing suit and flip-flops, be grateful for the crisp cold air. Be grateful for the glistening soft snow. True happiness is a product of gratitude and, therefore, can be wherever you are; it comes from within.
Marta Spirk is a triplet mom and success coach. Her focus is teaching moms how to define & create their own happiness from within regardless of what’s going on around them by using NLP strategies and positive psychology. Through her podcast Mom Does It All and her programs, she hopes to encourage and uplift all moms to step into their own power and realize they can DO IT ALL!
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