You are a mom to multiples! What now? Brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride and before embarking on your journey as a -Super Mom’ look into the mirror, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for hard work, sleepless nights, seeing double – if not triple.
The first year is arguably the hardest year of all and moms need to learn to accept all the help that they can get and they need also come to terms with the fact, that life as they knew it, will never be the same.
How to survive the first year
Accept any type of help with both hands. If you are in the position to employ a night nurse, do it. Even if the night nurse is able to help out only a few nights a week, these few nights will give parents the chance to catch up on sleep, interact with each other or catch up on household and family chores. If a night nurse is not an option, ask your partner for help with night feeds over a weekend. For the most part of the first year with multiples, sleep is a distant memory and even a few extra minutes of sleep will go a long way.
For the first few weeks after the birth of multiples, mothers will feel emotionally drained and physically exhausted. There will be little time for household chores or for preparing meals. If possible, try to find help, and again – a few days a week will be able to remove the anxiety and stress and moms will be able to concentrate of caring for the multiples and establishing a routine.
It is a lot more difficult to plan a trip away from home with infant multiples. A day out with infant multiples will require deliberate logistics and often parents feel overwhelmed by the thought of leaving home to visit friends or family. To avoid cabin-fever and to avoid feeling isolated from the rest of the world, parents need to find a good babysitter who is capable of caring for multiples. An hour a week or an evening out will help parents to cope with the isolation and will give them a chance to reconnect with each other.
If you do not have a home Internet connection – get one. Grocery shopping with infant multiples requires a lot of skill and moms will find online shopping to be their saving grace. Social media sites or news sites will also give stay at home moms an outlet to connect with the real world and remain up to date with news and events. Social sites are great to start groups or join other groups of moms with multiples in their area, while SAMBA (South African Multiple Births Association) a well-known and established association, will provide the benefit of obtaining experienced advice (from other multiple moms), as well as access to great savings and discounts and the opportunity to get together with other families with multiples.
As the multiples grow, life may return to relative normality. Once the trials and challenges of the first year have been met, parents of multiples should then prepare to brace themselves for twin toddlers (or triplet toddlers or even quad toddlers) and it is during this phase, that parents need to grow another pair of hands, and another set of eyes. The terrible twos are doubled or tripled and the most part of life is spent running in every direction possible, trying to keep the toddlers safe and out of mischief, which for the most part is a futile mission!
One great of benefit with multiples is that they keep each other entertained and parents with twins often laugh at the idea of play dates – a home with multiples is a never-ending play date and parents are used to hearing the shrieks and laughter, the cries of sadness and the giggles of delight that fill their homes, from morning to night.
An outing with multiples will attract a lot of attention and parents will be faced with a bombardment of questions, the most common being, -Are they Twins, Triplets, etc. or -How do you cope? . People are fascinated by multiples and although they are becoming more and more common, multiples are without a double, one of the most wonderful blessings and with a lot of planning, the rewards for parents with multiples are twofold, threefold or even fourfold.
“There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins.” ~ Josh Billing
Truer words have never been spoken. The bottom line is no matter how many books are read or how many parenting classes are attended, twins or higher multiples will move in and take over and parents will be totally unprepared. Enjoy each moment and when asked, -How do you cope? . Simply say – -I am a mom with multiples! . Enough said.