Nothing, not even your own previous parenting experience can prepare you for the demands and the logistics of having multiples. from the moment they are born the reality of having two tiny babies to care for hits you. Who do you pick up first? Who do you feed first? Who do you comfort first when they are both crying? How do you carry them together, oh wait you can’t!
As the days go by and you are living on maybe two hours sleep a night, grabbing an hour in between feeds to tidy the house, wash the bottles, wash the endless clothes and entertain your other children all before it’s time for the next agonisingly slow feeding session, you realise that having multiples is much harder than just doubling the workload of one newborn.
The guilt is quick to set in and it’s hardly surprising as you sit several times a day and feed one baby whilst listening to the other scream for their food or because they have wind and you are powerless to get to them. Can you imagine spending hours everyday listening to your newborn cry and you can’t help them because you are caring for the other one?
You beat yourself up because you never get to just hold them and adore them and let them drift off to sleep in your arms. By the time you’ve finished feeding the second one the first has cried themselves to sleep and you daren’t allow yourself to cuddle the second one to sleep because that’s surely not fair on the first who just cried for an hour solid.
You feel dreadful for leaving your other children out, you know it’s not your fault, you know this is seriously hard work but your a mother and you feel shit all the same for spending 90% of your time with the babies.
Then comes the logistics of trying to get out of the house. It doesn’t take long before you realise that the smallest of tasks is now far from simple. They’ll be no baby class for your babies, who will help you prop them up? Who will help you carry them round for the dance bits? Damn that one pair of hands, it’s not enough yet again and that soon becomes the mental chant of most of your days.
You feel more exhausted than you knew was possible, left out of normal mummy activities and not fully understood by non multiple parents. You feel a constant weight of people’s expectations, all the comments of “you’ve got your hands full” and “I bet that’s hard work” make you feel that people are expecting you to fail or struggle so you never ask for help, you never admit to the wider world just how hard it is because you want so badly to prove everyone wrong. You want to be the ‘supermum’ who takes it all in her stride and makes it seem easy.
As the months go by the challenges change but parenting multiples remains something you are never prepared for. From delays with getting mobile to the stresses once they finally are and you have two toddlers running in opposite directions (just like strangers constantly told you they would). From in fighting, god they can be nasty to each other, to double the terrible twos, nothing prepares.
Despite all of that, despite every single stressful bit there is no way to ever describe accurately the overwhelming joy raising multiple brings. People may comment “rather you than me” but they have no idea.
You are privileged on a daily basis to peer inside the world of twins, you see their unique and often unbelievable bond develop and you get to listen to them chat away in a language only they understand. They are truly fascinating and remarkable little miracles that you get to share your home and life with.
You get double the cuddles, double the love and double the laughter and you are lucky enough to experience every milestone twice, every achievement twice and every single wonderful part of motherhood twice in one go and that’s pretty bloody special!
Despite all of the challenges, all the times I felt alone and not understood, despite all the times I thought I couldn’t do it and I felt like I was failing, I wouldn’t change a single bit of it for the world. Parenting is hard, parenting multiples is a hole new level of hard but my god is it worth it.
Love An Ordinary Mummy xx
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