Mum of Mutliples
Published on 24/10/2019 by EFUF
…perhaps two of the most daunting words for parents-to-be. For Zoe, this was no different. She is a mum of four beautiful children ages two through eight. Her eldest, Ruby, was three when Zoe and her husband discovered their second would be second-s.
Zoe was particularly panicked about the birth – how on earth would two little babies come out? And was she ready for a very busy household?
The family knew at five weeks that they were twins, as they are IVF babies, like their big sister. Being pregnant with twins was a blessing, but it was also terrifying, and Zoe discovered a lot of negativity around the idea of multiples. She’d receive charming comments like “you are MASSIVE!” and “they will be double trouble!” alongside helpful questions like “how on earth will you feed them both?” and “how will you sleep with two crying all night?” If a pregnant belly is an open invitation for the public to comment, a belly with twins is even more scrutinised. All Zoe really wanted was cake, cuddles, and coffee – and luckily her family and friends were delighted to oblige.
The twins arrived safe and sound, all 20 fingers and 20 toes. Zoe remembers those hazy days of twin mothering all too well and collated these top tips for anybody else who is about to embark on this rollercoaster.
Routines were essential for Zoe in that first year. She managed to stagger feeds around 10-15 minutes apart. ‘I had a toddler at the same time as the twins,’ she recalls, ‘so they automatically had to fit into our routine with nursery runs and appointments. The sooner you can get a routine going, the better. It doesn’t have to be iron-clad; loose does the trick at the start.’
• Accept all the help
Don’t be afraid to say yes if people offer to help. ‘If someone offers to snuggle those sweet bundles so you can shower… Mama, you stand in that shower and you enjoy it. Have friends make YOU tea when they come around. If you are visiting someone who has just had twins (or even a singleton!) take some sort of food.
• Don’t panic
Try to find your inner peace. ‘Babies are like dogs… they can smell fear on you.’
Work together and communicate. ‘We shared the night feeds, I did the baths, he did the cooking…. and we did our best not to resent the other for getting the easier gig. We were pretty much single parents to a baby each when he was at home. We chose a twin and they were ours until the next shift.’
Happy Mum, happy twins. ‘It can just be a quiet 10 minutes with a cuppa. Self-care is tough when you have little ones. Invite a friend around for a little glass of wine in the evening. Sometimes a good cry is helpful. And completely normal!’
Having twins reminds you the world is not set up for multiples. Double buggies are not especially easy to manouver. Just getting in and out the front door was a challenge for Zoe, let alone on and off a bus or train. Just when life couldn’t get much busier Zoe discovered she’d fallen pregnant – naturally – with her fourth! Baby Lucy was their surprise bonus baby. The early days of having the twins were a challenge but toddler and potty training twins alongside having a newborn was a whole new level of craziness.
The twins, Harry and Emily, are now four and the special bond they have is still evident. As babies they slept together and Zoe often remembers seeing them cuddling in the cot if one of them was crying or unsettled. They still behave like this now, always there for each other when they are upset.
Having multiples is double the work, but, as Zoe says, ‘eventually you are lucky enough to get double the rewards. Listening to their twin laughter makes it all worth it.’
As well as being a talented family photographer, Zoe is an Instagram blogger (@mylittlewildlings) who loves to share stories of motherhood and family life. When Zoe is not busy with her little wildlings there’s nothing she likes more than a good cup of tea and a large slice of cake.