The moment you receive the news that you’re expecting twins, the range of emotions go from joyful to terrified, then back to feeling happy and blessed.
Mostly, though, I remember feeling unprepared. As a mother of two singletons, I had experience with the pregnancy and birthing process. However, I was well-aware that carrying and delivering twins would be a different ballgame.
I would have loved a succinct and practical list of tips and advice to help me through this time. Here are eight tips that I hope will help expectant twin moms on this unique and incredible journey.
Pregnancy with multiples is a huge demand on your body. The key to a healthy pregnancy is enough rest for your body. Get enough sleep and remember that there is no shame in naps! Further along your pregnancy (20 weeks onwards), it is usually advised that you get a modified form of bedrest (whether or not if the doctor orders it). This means you should put your feet up whenever you can and avoid physical exertion.
You may find that your appetite diminishes in the first trimester, and along with that, a dip in energy. Keep healthy snacks handy and within reach. Nuts, trail mixes, and fruit are great options. And remember to stay hydrated!
Choose the Right Healthcare Provider
Choose your healthcare provider carefully as you will be seeing them more often than you would for a single pregnancy. You want someone you feel comfortable with, who will answer all your questions with confidence.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Start preparing for your babies early on. Premature delivery of multiples is common, and you don’t want to be caught out with no packed hospital bag or a childcare plan for older kids (if any).
Do Your Research
Do as much research as you can on all aspects of raising twins in the first year – breastfeeding, diapering, sleep routines, and so on. However, keep in mind that you know your children best – do what works for them, you and your family. Read books (like Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets and More) and scour the Internet for more information.
Ask for and Accept Help
Plan out a calendar of help for when you bring the babies home. Seriously, this is not the time to be shy about asking for, or accepting help. Make a list of things you know need to be done and put it in a communal area e.g. stick it onto the fridge door in the kitchen. What many moms of multiples will tell you is that to it is immensely helpful in the early days, to have someone do the dishes for you, or put a load of laundry in the wash or dryer, or wash bottles or prep them for later, or have weeks of meals lined up for you via a meal train.
Look for Other Multiples Parents
Join a multiples group online! You will find it comforting to know that you are not alone, and be able to share experiences with other moms-to-be of twins. Multiples of America is a good place to start.
Check Out Freebies and Discounts
Look into what you need to purchase for your twins and start looking for deals and freebies. Many retailers offer discounts for multiples. Check out this helpful list for a comprehensive listing of freebies and discounts.
Life with multiples is mind-boggling (many will say crazy!) and the first year is going to be challenging. On the flip side, there is nothing like it. It’s an experience only other parents of twins or triplets can understand. Most of all, there is the love and the joy. Hold on to those and enjoy the ride!
Alison Lee is the co-editor of Multiples Illuminated, a writer, and publisher. A former PR and marketing professional, she is the owner of Little Love Media, specializing in blog book tours. Alison’s writing has been featured in Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and Club Mid. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends (Fall, 2014), and has an essay in another, So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood (Spring, 2016). She is also an editor at BonBon Break. Alison lives in Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).