Pregnant With Twins? Here Are Some Common Myths About Raising Twins.
If you are pregnant with twins, you can be sure that as soon as you announce your great news to the world, you will be bombarded with facts, figures, horror stories and oh so many myths about raising twins!
While bringing twins into the world can indeed be ‘twice the blessing’, there are a few common myths that every ‘twin parent’ should be well educated on and prepared for before their twin parenting adventure begins!
Twins Mean Double Trouble
Double the number of mischievous munchkins does not necessarily equate to double the naughtiness or double the mess. It is quite likely to be quadrupled! Where one toddler may test the boundaries slightly, they ultimately receive all their feedback from you and any older siblings. When twins get together they feel safety in numbers and use it to their advantage. Not to mention that they quickly learn how to reach higher places by using each other as stepping stones. If you are used to a clean and tidy house, be prepared that there will be some days where your two little adorable ‘cyclones’ will leave a path of destruction that is just impossible to keep up with. If you are pregnant with twins and you are a bit of a clean freak – get ready to let your standards for tidiness drop, temporariliy at least. As frustrating as it may be, try to remind yourself that if a particular mess doesn’t get cleaned up that instant it really isn’t going to matter in five years time.
Sleep Deprivation Is Doubled
Sleep deprivation can vary from child to child, but any twin parent should expect the level of sleep deprivation to be exponential to that for a single baby. For example, let’s say that on average a single baby will wake twice a night. If this is a single baby, this might mean that each parent is required to get up once during the night. Now let’s say that two babies both wake twice a night each. Despite what the text books might say, the chances of the babies waking for changing and feeding at the same time is quite unlikely. This means that often, when each baby wakes during his/her natural cycle, it will wake it’s sibling up also. With two babies waking a total of four times a night each, both parents are required to get up four times a night. Remember, this is the formula for a ‘normal’ waking cycle so if you get woken up less than this, consider yourself very lucky. If you get woken up more than four times a night, console yourself that they will eventually sleep… hopefully at the same time!
Shopping Centres Are Twin Friendly
While most supermarkets have isles big enough to fit a twin pram, you are still likely to find yourself ‘trapped’ by that chatty elderly lady who has bee-lined for you from the other end of the isle. Once she is hovering over your pram and blocking your path, your only option is to smile and pretend to listen to her well intended but extremely outdated advice.
Twin shopping trolleys for babies seem like a fun and cute idea until you attempt to use one. One would assume that the idea of twin trolley is to allow twin mothers to get her grocery shopping done with both babies in tow. In reality, simple logistics render these trolleys somewhat useless. Let’s say a twin mother parks in the car park and needs to acquire a twin trolley. In most cases these ‘special trolleys’ are kept inside the shop, which means the mother must either leave her babies in the car park to retrieve the trolley, or place her babies in the pram to go inside the shop. Once inside the shop with her babies in the trolley, she must then find a way to take the pram back to the car all while managing the twin babies in the shopping trolley. Some might suggest that the mother can avoid this situation by taking a helper with her. The truth is if she was lucky enough to have a helper, she would most likely take the opportunity duck out to the shops on her own! Some twin parents find using a twin pram with a large carry basket easier than using a twin trolley. The most obvious way to avoid twin shopping issues is to order your groceries on line and have them delivered direct to your door!
You Will Get Double The Love
Be prepared that the bond between most twins is stronger than that of mother and child. Twins are likely to ‘need’ you a lot less than a single child, simply because they already have someone who is an even bigger part of their personal space already. Don’t take this personally – after all they did share a womb together. Of course a parent is still very special to a twin child; the bond is just ‘different’ to that of a parent and single child.
Everyone Is A Twin Expert
As soon as you announce that you are pregnant with twins, prepare yourself for the onslaught of ‘expert’ advice from family, friends and people who don’t even know you that well. Everyone has a twin story, whether they are a twin or have had twins is irrelevant at this point – if they know someone who knew someone who was related to someone who was a twin, this will be enough to make them think they have all the answers. There is nothing you can do to prevent the influx of twin stories, well-meaning advice and yes, those many myths about raising twins. You will quickly learn to have your ‘bullocks’ filter on high alert at all times.
Strangers Will Respect Your Space
Even if you wear a T-Shirt that says "Yes, thank you, I DO have my hands full!" in large print, you will still attract unwanted attention. Strangers will stop you to chat, completely oblivious that their well meaning conversation is actually making your day even harder and longer. In addition to strangers feeling they have the right to take up what little valuable time you have, be prepared for inappropriate questions that might normally be considered out of bounds. Even if your twins are one of each sex, you will still frequently get asked if they are identical. Along with questions like "Do twins run in the family?" and "Did you have IVF?", many strangers will also follow up with an ambiguous comment such as "Well aren’t you lucky!?!’ While most twin parents do feel lucky to have two happy, healthy children they certainly don’t feel that lucky when they are up at 3AM with two screaming babies.
Friends And Family Will Be There To Help
Apart from that rock solid best friend or a doting grandmother, most other people in your life will only ‘be there in spirit’ to cheer you on through the tough times. Don’t take this to heart, after all you know first hand how daunting it is to be left alone in the same room with two babies. Your friends and family may be scared or unsure of how to look after two babies at once, so try not to take it personally if you feel them backing away. If you are needing support, make it clear that you would be just as grateful for help with meals, errands and chores if they are not comfortable caring for the twins.
There Will Be Double Expenses
On the surface this is true – you will need to buy double the nappies, double the clothes and pay for double the child care. However, there will also be double the number of sick days, so get ready for a reduced income as well as increased trips to the doctor and chemist! Remember to place your twin’s names on child care waiting lists sooner rather than later. Be prepared that you may need to pay to hold onto one child care placement while you wait for a second spot to become available as the chances of two spots becoming available at the same time is very unlikely. The more you can prepare financially for the first two years of the twins life, the more you will be able to relax and enjoy your two little bundles of joy.
Bottle Feeding Is Easier
When it comes to breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it really comes down to each individual situation and what works best for mother and babies. While bottle feeding does mean that others can help with the feeding process, a mother at home on her own with two babies may prefer to breast feed simultaneously in order to save time, money and energy. Many twin mothers will use a combination of breastfeeding at home for ease and convenience, while using bottles as a ‘back up’ system when they are out in public.
You Can Treat Twins Equally
While most parents insist on treating their twins as individuals they will also agonise over being seen to be ‘favouring’ one twin more than the other. It is a very difficult balance to treat twins equally while tending to their different needs. This can be handled by spending the same amount of money and time on each child, but on different things that reflect their individual needs and personalities. For example, one twin may enjoy spending time doing craft activities with you while the other twin would prefer to be playing outside in the sand pit.
Myths About Raising Twins Summary
While raising twins can involve hardship and sacrifice, most twin parents will agree that the enjoyable and rewarding aspects of raising two amazing little individuals makes it all worthwhile. Being a parent of twins is something that can really only be understood by other parents of multiples, so anyone who is pregnant with twins should prepare themselves for the onslaught of questions and misconceptions that other people may have regarding twins. While having twins can be taxing on your time, energy and finances, you can also be assured that a little smile or cuddle from the two amazing ‘little people’ in your life will instantly remind you just how blessed you really are to be their parent.