If you or your partner has been diagnosed with twins, then you should probably read this before you lose your shit. First off, remain calm, I’ve got some good news, but don’t get too comfortable, you are having two kids at once! You will be happy to know that having twins is a fully treatable condition and, even better, it has been my experience that having twins is only about 1.6 times more difficult than having a single baby. Of course the bad news is that a multiple of 1.6 still makes it an extra 0.6 times harder than having a single child.
How to Successfully Treat Your Twin “Condition”
Try to prepare yourself mentally. This is a bit of a farce because as much as you think you are prepared for kids (unless you’ve already had one) you are not really ready until it happens. If you are having twins, there is the added “holy shit” factor of feeling way out of your element. Having said that, try to prepare anyways, at least you’ll hear some useful things along the way, even if you don’t know what any of it really means. Do some research on sleep. Try to organize your house a little so that you have some idea of where things are going to go. Put some thought into how you are going to schedule your days after D-day (birth day). Look for twin groups in your area to find other panic stricken parents to share your fears and strategies. I guess you could also try to find a prenatal class that is for parents of multiples, but I think the quality of prenatal classes can be hit and miss. We missed, but on the up side, we met another group of parents to be that we have become friends with.
Another side of mental preparation is to be honest with yourself. A lot of people talk about the “beauty of birth”, the “journey” of pregnancy and other flowery terms to describe what is a pretty traumatic experience for a woman’s body. If that’s how you see pregnancy, then more power to you, but that seemed like an overly simplistic way of seeing pregnancy and that language put me off. I think you will be much better off if you can be honest about the fact that you are not going to like some things about becoming and being a parent. For example, I did not like the first 3 months of being Papa. I didn’t hate it either, but infants really just aren’t my thing. The point is to be honest with yourself and your partner, and don’t feel pressured by everyone to make it sound like having children has turned you into the hippy that you are not.
The 1.6 Factor
- The good
There are built in efficiencies with twins. If your going to clean a load of puke catcher blankets for one kid, then that means you’re already going to gather the laundry and head to the washing machine anyways, so why not just do double the amount in one trip? Well guess what, you won the lottery and that is what your life is going to be like with twins, but at least you are doing it more efficiently by raising two kids at once! If your pureeing some food, then puree twice the amount and save on having to clean the kitchen twice. The work involved isn’t quite double what it would be if you were only raising one child, you get the point, right? Having said that, I wouldn’t want triplets!
Another benefit that we stumbled upon pretty early was that once our kids were about 6 or 7 months old, somewhat paradoxically we started getting more spare time during the day than our singleton parent friends because once our kids were sitting up and crawling, they would “play” with each other. Our singleton parent friends found that they could really only ever leave their kids alone for 15 to 20 minutes, whereas we routinely got away with leaving them to play for up to 45 minutes at a time.
- The Bad
Your plan has just been derailed. You had a concept (even though it was probably wildly inaccurate) of what was going to happen, and now it is about 1.6 times more inconvenient than you were planning. Screw you very much “miracle of birth”.
Oh yeah, and how the hell am I going to afford this? That is another concern, but don’t worry, there is a whole other post in the making for how to plan for the money that this will cost. Even though there are some pretty good money saving strategies, it is still going to cost more.
In summary: If you chose to end your former life by having kids, then you may as well have twins because it is slightly more efficient than pumping them out one at a time. What are your thoughts?