You actually don't need two of everything.
"I'm pretty sure those are two babies" said the ultrasound tech when I went in for my first appointment after finding out I was pregnant. My jaw dropped, I froze, I played out all the reasons why I didn't want twins, all while my husband giggled in excitement. We had joked since my first pregnancy about twins (his brother has identical boys) on how it would never happen to us. And here we were, with a wand up against my uterus confirming, what I thought then was, my biggest nightmare.
Slowly I accepted the reality. I was carrying two babies, in fact, two identical girls, and I made my mission to make my pregnancy with them as healthy and long as I possibly could (understanding that some things would be out of my control). Carrying multiple babies immediately makes a pregnancy 'higher risk', so I waved goodbye to all my birth plans and embraced the new reality. As the girls grew, and so did my belly (and boobs and feet and finger nails and honestly every single part of my body), so did my love for them. But so did my fears.
You see, I had had a really rough fourth trimester with my first baby and the idea of going through that again, but this time with two babies, really paralyzed me. I got caught in a lot of self doubt based on things others will tell me. And I started to believe things that turned out to be absolute lies.
So, for any other mom out there finding out they are pregnant with twins, here are the lies I believed (and which turned out to be wrong).
You won't be able to tell them apart.
Everyone and their mother asked us what our plan was to tell them apart. Our initial idea was to pierce their ears and have them wear different earings, but for a multitude of factors (COVID, but also wanting them to be able to choose whether they even want piercings) we ended not getting their ears pierced. So, we kept their hospital bands when we got home, even though they were scratchy and not easy to dress them with. We had to cut those fast as they were growing by the minute, so we bought nailpolish to paint one of their toe nails blue, and the other's pink. What we were failing to aknowledge is that we already knew how to tell them apart. We knew who slept better and who ate better. We knew who liked to cuddle and who liked to be outside. We were just convinced by everyone else that we were not going to know who was who. Once the nailpolish came off weeks after being settled at home, we never painted them again. Yes, they are identical, but so very different at the same time.
You need two of everything.
This is 100% marketing. Yes, you do need two separate bassinets or cribs, you will use two high chairs and most certainly need two car seats. Everything else? Up to you. We do not have the same toy twice, and very few of their outfits have been purchased x2. They will entertain themselves with whatever you give them and in doing so, their personalities and interests will start to shine. So don't feel like you need to make a huge investment up front, especially if you already have baby items from previous children.
You won't ever sleep again.
The newborn days are a haze, whether you have one baby or 10, whether you breastfeed, pump or formula feed, regardless of the type of birth you had. That said, we put our babies on the same schedule so we could optimize sleep. And I use the term 'schedule' very loosely here because babies know no schedule, but what we did was basically if one baby woke up, we woke up the other (yes, breaking the "never wake a sleeping baby", whoever said that most certaintly didn't have twins). That way, they would both be ready to go down around the same time. This was especially beneficial during the middle of the night feeds, because we could tag team with my husband and have two fed, burped, changed babies under 30 mins. The very few times we let them do whatever they wanted in terms of sleep, we regretted it hard. Now that they are 10-months-old they are on the same schedule, allowing us adults to get a restful night sleep but also some 'us' time.
Your house will forever be a mess.
Kids are messy, yes. But that doesn't mean that your house needs to be taken over by them. As Clea from The Home Edit said to me in an interview "my children live in my house" and honestly, she's so right. My husband and I make a point of cleaning up after everyone goes to bed (because babies can't put things in baskets yet) so we can have adult time without stuffies around us. But also, we have purged a lot of toys that they are not interested in and just gather dust and create clutter. We also have taught our toddler to put things back after he is done playing with them, something his Montessori teachers told us to do, and it works!
You will never leave the house again.
Yes, leaving the house now requires a lot more planning than before, but honestly not that much more. Especially now that they eat solids and their naps are down to two. In fact, when we go hiking we just bring a fanny pack with diapers and call it a day. You just need to find your flow. You'll learn what things to pack ahead of time (like diapers and fun distractions) and which to grab before you leave (snacks or milk). We make it a point to do something fun every weekend and we keep getting better and better at it.
You can't do this without outside help.
This might be my biggest learning. I was convinced that doing twins + a toddler was impossible because everyone told me so. The amount of "you can't do this on your own" that I heard made me feel like I was about to fail as a mother. We hired a postpartum doula and a night doula for support, all of which we had to cancel thanks to COVID. So we were ultimately left do to this whole parenting three under 3 by ourselves, in isolation. Yes, it was hard. But you know what? It's totally doable. In fact, I would do it all over again without help if I had to. It empowered me as a mom, it strengthen the bond with my husband and more importantly with my children, and I got to see them grow every single day of their lives.