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New mama of twins—I see you

Welcome to the club.

New mama of twins—I see you

I dropped off my 3-year-old twins at daycare and my 6-year-old at school then ran into the supermarket to pick up a few things we forgot. I was rushing around when I noticed a mom looking exhausted as she slowly moved around the store, pushing a cart with two tiny babies in the infant seats. I caught her eye, smiled and said, "I've got twins, too." Her face lit up. She knows I get it.

There are some things that only parents of multiples will understand, and when we recognize another in the field, there passes between us a sense of solidarity. Just those four words—I've got twins, too—can spark a connection with otherwise perfect strangers.

So this is for you, tired new mom of multiples—welcome to the club.

I feel your loneliness.

Our experience is different from mothers of singletons, and this is often not recognized enough. The prenatal classes my husband and I took had little mention of multiple pregnancies. Often this made us feel like an afterthought or worse, like anomalies.

While other pregnant women were glowing and excited to meet their (one) baby, I was nervous and didn't want our (two) babies to arrive too soon. I didn't often talk about it because I didn't want to seem negative, so it was a stressful and lonely time.

When they arrived, we found handling two babies to be challenging. So many people told me how easy it must be to have newborn twins, because they need the same things at the same time, right? Wrong.

In the early days, I felt like I was breastfeeding all day and all night. As soon as I finished feeding or changing one baby, the other one would start crying or our toddler would need me. Having two or more babies can be incredibly isolating.

I know that even getting out of the house can feel impossible.

Parents of multiples need a lot of support, and not just when our babies are newborns. Tiny babies are super cute and many offers to help seemed to flood in during the early weeks. But our need for support extended long beyond this phase.

Sometimes, we needed practical help just maneuvering our stuff so that we could get out and about. Babies come with a lot of stuff, no matter how minimalist we try to be. Double (or triple, quadruple) all that stuff, and it becomes really difficult to leave the house.

The logistics of getting two babies into car seats and into the car can seem like a military operation. Then there are the accompanying accessories: double stroller, twin baby carrier, twice as many diapers and wipes, snack and drinks, etc. etc... some days I feel like just giving up and staying home.

We also need emotional help. We are exhausted and probably not getting much sleep, especially in the early weeks. We might not feel like trying to leave the house some days, but we don't want to become isolated. We need friends and family to check in on us often, and make sure we are getting physical and emotional support so we can not just survive—but thrive.

I understand why you feel so protective over your babies.

Maybe you have been through fertility treatments and you might feel guilty about not enjoying your longed-for little ones. Maybe your babies had a rough start, spending time in the NICU while you worried about them. Maybe you had a traumatic birth or feeding challenges. Like me, you may have had a tough pregnancy.

If you've had any of these challenges, you may feel worried or anxious and need reassurance. Once your babies arrive, it can be hard for others to understand your feelings. What they mostly see are happy and healthy babies—without the difficulties that came beforehand. To the outside world, your anxiety can be hard to understand. But other parents of multiples? We get it.

I hear the cliches you hear every day.

After almost four years of parenting twins, I still do not understand why, but strangers in the street cannot pass us by without commenting on our kids. Usually, these are complimentary comments we receive, but it can still be uncomfortable to be singled out.

Are they twins? Are they all yours? Were they natural? People have so many questions—and they're sometimes quite invasive. I once joked about getting a shirt made with answers to the most common questions I hear. Funny, yes! But it's also practical as it would save me valuable time when trying to get my oldest off to school!

I know that you just need someone to understand what you're going through.

For any new mom, the right support is key. For moms of multiples, this means connecting with parents who are going through the same experiences. If your area has them, multiples groups can be a lifesaver. A supportive partner, family, or network of friends are essential too.

Be honest with the people who love you. Tell them what you need, talk about how you're feeling, and help them to understand how they can help you.

Hearing from parents of older twins can also be really helpful. Knowing that they got through it will help you keep the faith that you will, too. Plus, other parents of multiples often have amazing tips!

I see that you will get to the other side of this.

I know it's tough right now, and some days you'll wonder how you will keep going. But I also know that one day soon you will go out to the store (alone!) and you'll catch the eye of a tired mom with two infants. And suddenly, you'll realize how far you have come, and you'll smile as you look back on this short but oh-so-intense time in your life with love and wonder.

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My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

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But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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