Hey mom-to-be. You’re adorable, even though you feel like a swollen hippo that solely dines on crackers and Gatorade. Every mom feels your struggle – we know the discomfort of pregnancy. Every mom of multiples knows you’ve got extra things on your plate you weren’t anticipating: being too big for maternity clothes; the extra ultrasounds and doctor appointments simultaneously giving comfort and causing fear; buying two (four, six) of everything and looking around in wonder at how small your home suddenly feels; realizing there are two tiny tenants on the way who are already relying on you for, well, everything.
It’s not that I’m not excited for you. I am. I just know the magnitude of hard work and exhaustion that is before you, and I know how little I understood what I had coming when I was in your spot. I had a four-year-old already. I knew how to raise an infant. But two babies at once is nothing, nothing, like one baby. It’s not even multiplied by two, it is exponential.
Curious, well-meaning people are no doubt already asking you strange questions and telling you bizarre stories of people they know with twins. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t stop. There is a fascination with twins that seems to make people lose some common courtesy. Even as two little humans sit adorably and do baby things, you will get asked questions with the kind of wonder usually reserved to the alien and supernatural. I typically choose to smile and nod; may you have the bravery to answer exactly how you want to answer.
Pay close attention to the detail of all the baby stuff you are preparing. Read the directions to the machines. Enjoy the pattern of a cute outfit. Feel the softness of the new teddy bears. Once your babies are born, your life will go by in such a blur that you most likely won’t have time to appreciate any of those things again until you are packing them up or giving them away.
Any hope of keeping germs to their own people are impossible. They just are. You can sterilize, name, organize, sort as much as you want, and then the healthy twin is going to put the boogy-covered finger that was just up the other’s nose in her mouth. For the first few years of life, someone in your house will be in some state of illness from October through April.
What I do want to tell you, is that of course, it isn’t all struggle. It is rewarding and beautiful and humbling and wonderful, too. The best advice I can give you on how to make this any easier is to accept help. Find the people of your village and let them do anything, anything, anything that is useful. I had never been great with accepting help. I had spent most of my life proving, for some reason, that I could handle it on my own. That all changed, even before my twins were born. I spent six weeks on complete bed rest and couldn’t even take a shower without help. That was a hard pill to swallow, but it prepared me for the necessity on the way. Figure out how to be ok accepting help, how to be specific about what you need, and how to let others take care of not only your children, but you as well.
What I do want to tell you, Mom-to-be, is that you can do this. Everything in your life will be seen from a new perspective, and nothing will feel as hard as it did before. You will have weekly opportunities to remind yourself that if you could do that, whatever that is, you can do anything. And even though you can, bring your village along with you anyway.