What It’s Like Raising Twins
I don’t know about you, but I always thought it would be amazing to have twins. In fact, I dreamed of it and wished for it in every pregnancy but my fourth. 😉 And I’ve had a slight obsession with twins since I was old enough to understand what twins were — just ask my identical twin best friends.
And I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks (or thought) that having twins would be cool! In fact, I think at least half of my friends growing up told me they wanted twins. And no joke, tonight my clerk at Target randomly told me she wanted twins. Moral of the story – who doesn’t love twins?!
So if you’re pregnant with twins, count yourself blessed! And lucky. Because not only is there research that suggests twin moms are likely to live longer lives due to having strong genes, twins are growing in frequency — but they are still a rarity! However, there is good news for those ladies hoping to join the Twin Mom Club.
According to a 2012 report by the CDC, the twin birthrate rose 76% from 1980 to 2009, making 1 in every 30 babies born in 2009 a twin! This is likely due to more women using fertility methods to have children and due to women having babies at an older age, which means they are more likely to release two eggs at once instead of one, thereby increasing the birthrate of fraternal or non-identical twins.
And while there is a hyper-ovulation gene linked to moms of fraternal twins, identical twins are not linked to any type of gene. It can happen to anyone at any age and occurs in 1 of every 3 twin births. In fact, identical twins are still a scientific mystery because nothing can predict or explain what causes an egg to split. Pretty amazing!
So if you’re reading this today and pregnant with twins (or if you just love twins like I do), I wanted to give you a look inside what it’s like raising two babies at once! I called upon my friends to help me, and below you will hear from five twin moms: Joanna, mother of identical twin boys, Sara, mother of identical twin boys, Katie, mother of identical twin boys, Tammie, mother of a fraternal boy and girl twin set, and Stephanie, mother of a fraternal boy and girl twin set.
And here’s what they had to say…
How would you describe raising two babies at once?
“In a word? Madness!” —Joanna
“The first 6-9 months was definitely survival mode… routine and schedule was a must!” —Katie
“I describe having twins as chaotic.” —Stephanie
“So hard yet so rewarding. I feel sorry for anyone that doesn’t get to experience life with multiples. I get all the hard stuff times two, but I also get all the good stuff times two!” —Sara
What is the greatest twin lesson you have learned?
“Ultimately, they struggle to be individuals, and so we try to encourage and celebrate their respective preferences but not to push their differences. It is ok for them to be the same. It is ok for them to be different. Most of all, though, we actively avoid anything that encourages competition between them.” —Joanna
“That it is the coolest blessing! I still catch myself looking at them in disbelief that God really gave us two!” —Katie
“That they truly are individuals with their own likes and dislikes, and totally different personalities.” —Tammie
“Mine are only 11 months so I still have a lot to learn myself, but the greatest lesson I have learned is patience. Never go anywhere in a hurry!” —Sara
Are twins special? Do they have a special connection?
“From the day we found out there were two, my husband was adamant that they would be individuals, NOT two of the same. Ours are identical but different as night and day. They may pick at each other, but if anyone else does, watch out.” —Katie
“I don’t feel twins are any more special than other kids. Mine don’t have any special connection.” —Tammie
“If by special connection you mean fight all the time, then yes! 😉 I never knew babies this age knew how to fight. They are little copy cats. If one is doing something like clapping, laughing, saying momma or getting into something, the other one starts doing it. In all seriousness, they do have a bond. I love listening to them babble to each other when they are in their cribs.” —Sara
“Twins are definitely special. There is a special bond and although I don’t see it as prominent as others, I believe I will when they get older. I believe he will be very protective of his sister.” —Stephanie
“They fight like regular siblings and still wrestle like they did in utero (the sonographer used to say that they were like cage fighters). But their bond is extraordinary. One is deeply affected when the other is unhappy. One celebrates the other’s successes as though they were his own. They will fight endlessly over some coveted item only to willingly share it in the end. They are fiercely loyal. They shy away from competing with one another. They are ever mindful of one another’s well being.” —Joanna
What is the biggest challenge with having twins?
“NOT meshing them into one.” —Katie
“Having two kids going through the same stages at the same time.” —Tammie
“THE GUILT. So much guilt. I never knew how intense guilt could feel until I had twins. I had a singleton before and she got a ton of attention. I got to nurse and cuddle her all the time. You simply cannot do that with twins. Change diaper, feed baby, and move on to the next one. Very little cuddle time even if you tandem feed. It’s not easy to cuddle two tiny babies at once. Very little one-on-one time. It is heartbreaking. I felt like I was cheated of precious bonding time and so were they. It’s getting better as they get older.” —Sara
“Lack of sleep with twins is absolutely indescribable.” —Stephanie
What is the best part that you’ve discovered about having twins?
“The best part is a baby on each hip giving you hugs and kisses. It definitely makes all the other troubles melt away. I get twice the love and twice the pride.” —Stephanie
“I couldn’t even begin to tell you. Every day is a miracle.” —Joanna
“Watching them do life together.” —Katie
“They have a built-in playmate on the same level.” —Tammie
“Watching two babies grow and develop at the same time is so neat. I have a shy guy and an outgoing guy. So far they have gotten the same teeth on the same day. When one sat up on his own, the next day the other did. It has been this way with everything. Pulling up, clapping, saying new words. Sometimes they learn the same thing on the same day. It is very interesting.” —Sara
Do you have any advice for future twin moms?
“Color code them. A fellow identical twin mother gave me this advice soon after they were born, and it was the best parenting decision I have made. When they each wear their own respective color, it’s never difficult to tell them apart. It gives them something unique that they don’t have to share.” —Joanna
“Prepare yourself for pre-term babies with a possible NICU stay. I had it in my head they would be 37-38 weekers, and we would be home enjoying family life in a few days. If it’s possible, have a game plan to deliver at the same hospital they will be staying if NICU time is a possibility. I didn’t get to see my boys until 7 hours after they were born.” —Sara
“Routine is the key. One wakes to eat, wake the other. My (other) advice is to join MoM (moms of multiples) groups on Facebook. They are a must.” —Sara
“Accept all the help you can and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Get a double stroller and get out of the house, for all of your sanity’s sake! Take lots of pictures, especially for the first few months. I lived in survival mode the first two months and I swear I don’t know how I got through it, nor do I remember much. It’s almost like autopilot. I’m glad I have pictures to remind me!” —Stephanie
Do you have any encouragement for a mom getting ready to have twins?
“You WILL sleep again. Your body Will not be like this forever. You are NOT actually a milk cow even though you may feel like it. ENJOY it-the gift God has given you is so rare!” —Katie
Did this article make you want twins even more than before? Well here are two things you can try to increase your odds of having twins!
- Focus on a diet with dairy because non-vegans compared to vegans are five times as likely to have twins, due to a protein found in milk that increases the chances of releasing more than one egg!
- Or try and conceive while breastfeeding. Because breastfeeding is said to make you NINE times as likely to conceive twins! Wow. And to think, I got pregnant with my last three sons all while I was breastfeeding.
Cheers to Twinning!