Managing multiples, be it twins or more, can feel intimidating. But a strong support network can help with newborn care, household tasks and peace of mind.
Having a newborn at home can be hectic enough, but try doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling the chaos! Meet some moms who survived those first few months and steal some of their best “new mom” hacks for your own tiny tot or tots!
All in the Family
The news that she was having twins didn’t faze Dianna Albers at all. “We smiled ear to ear all the way to the car, and then as soon as our doors slammed, we looked at each other and said, ‘Holy cow, what are we going to do?’ Still smiling though!” She says a few things were in their favor — they were having boys, which meant that some items from their older son could be passed down and reused. What really helped, though, was a strong family support network.
When the twins arrived, their dad was able to take two weeks of vacation, and both grandmothers took turns staying over to help with household tasks like laundry. “My extended family also made meals and just came over to hold them while I showered,” says Albers, adding that you definitely have to schedule showers when looking after twins, a toddler and a 9-year-old!
Meeting Other Moms
Jen Howell is a mom of a 4-year-old and a 14-year-old, along with 7-month-old triplets. “When I found out I was pregnant with triplets (natural, spontaneous) when trying for ‘just one more,’ it was more than overwhelming and scary,” she says. “When you hear the words from your trusted doctor after an ultrasound that ‘we will be transferring your care because we do not specialize in high-order multiple pregnancies,’ it is the scariest of times.”
Fortunately, she adds, the Tri-State Multiples group welcomed her with open arms, and she found that being able to talk with other moms who had been there was a huge help, as they were able to offer advice based on their own experiences and sympathetic support. “These ladies have been a saving grace on many occasions,” says Howell. “To have a mom that understands when your dearest friends cannot help is truly life-saving!” Howell was also on hospital bed rest on the Special Care OB floor at Good Samaritan Hospital and met several other expecting moms there as well. So far, they have kept in touch, and recently had a play date in August — “12 sets of 6-month-old tiwns with six adults!”
Sometimes the best information comes from the sources you gather for yourself. Brittany Turner found out she was having twins shortly after getting married. “It is truly terrifying, not only because you grow and stretch to enormous lengths with multiples, but there is immediate worry about preterm labor, whether or not both will survive the first trimester, will you have to go on bed rest, will the babies have to be left in the NICU at birth … just to name a few,” she says. While her husband was her first and foremost pillar of support, along with her mother and mother-in-law, Turner says she loved the book What To Expect When You’re Expecting. “I also researched on the internet and checked out tons of books from my local library,” she says.
The Importance of Getting Organized
Amy Hoffman also prepared with some online research before delivering twins: “I did a ton of online reading, mostly about how to stay healthy during my pregnancy to ensure the best chances for the babies to get as close to term as possible. There are increased risks with multiple births, so while I was really worried about when they came, I was even more worried about getting them safely to birth (they were my first).“ Fortunately, she found a good way to distract herself from the stress. “We did a ton of consignment sales and garage sales and ‘craiglisting’,” as getting that many supplies is super expensive,” she says. “For things like bouncy chairs and boppies and such, it was much cheaper to bargain hunt, and it made the prep more fun.”
Before delivery, Hoffman also checked out the Facebook page of the Northeastern Cincinnati Mothers of Twins and More, pointing out that it’s a good spot to post questions and get quick answers from other mothers. She admits that she didn’t do all that much in the way of preparation before her children arrived. “We did think about who needed to be at the house to help after the birth, but didn’t pre-plan much beyond that,” she says. But once she realized how much help she would need, she reached out to the club and they were able to recommend a nurse.
Advice to New Moms
Moms who have “been there” often have good advice to share, and sometimes it’s just something simple. For expecting moms, Turner advises to “take the help that is offered, rest as often as you can, embrace your stretching skin, and keep a journal throughout your pregnancy to go back to later in life. It truly is a miracle to experience.”
What’s the best part of having a strong network? For some, it’s about finding people in similar situations who can understand. Says Hoffman of Northeastern Cincinnati Mothers of Twins and More, “It is so helpful to learn from the people who have been there and to meet other moms going through the same thing. Then as the kids get older, it is nice to meet up with people that have kids the same age. Multiples have unique needs and it is good to get expertise. The club also has the sale, which is a great way to get money for the things you are finished with and to stock up with new things cheaply. And I really like the events where we get together without kids and just relax!”
Regardless of the kind of support system you put in place, whether it’s family, friends, a local moms club, or even just some thorough research, it can go a long way toward preserving your peace of mind. Says Albers, “If you don’t have help or back-up when you are completely run down, tired, and cranky, you will lose your sanity — and us moms kind of need that!”
Local Support Groups for Moms of Multiples
Eastern Hills Mothers of Twins Club
La Leche League of Cincinnati Mothers of Multiples
Northeastern Cincinnati Mothers of Twins and More
Northern Kentucky Mothers of Twins Club
West Chester Mothers of Twins and More
Western Cincinnati Mothers of Twins Club