The year that was... a reflection on the last 365 days...
Where do I start? Looking back over the last 365 days leaves me feeling extremely sentimental, exhausted and grateful. A combination of adjectives that wouldn’t usually be seen in a sentence together.
I am sentimental because the girls are our last babies, the last ‘firsts’ and the first year has already flown past, which leaves me clinging to their tiny hands and embracing every snuggle.
Exhausted because twins are hard, four kids is hard, running a business on top of that is just crazy.
Grateful because God has blessed me with four healthy, beautiful children. Everyday, I pinch myself. Whenever I have a testing day I look at their faces and realise just how lucky I am.
Over these 365 days, I have learnt ‘things’, twin things, life things- a lot of ‘things’.
But most of all, I learnt to trust my mum instinct and not care what others think.
From the moment I announced to the world that I was pregnant with twins, I was judged. I wanted to change my own pregnancy journey from the experiences I had with my first two pregnancies, to my twin pregnancy.
I was judged on the size of my stomach, the exercises I did, what I ate, even how much weight I put on. I knew that being somewhat in the public eye, I would receive differing opinions.
But never in my wildest dreams would I be told by complete strangers that they hoped my children were born deformed to ‘teach me a lesson’ or that I didn’t deserve children.
(By doing what all medical professionals recommended- living a healthy, active lifestyle- go figure!)
My gorgeous girls were both breach, meaning a c-section was the method of delivery. Again, judged harshly by the pro vaginal birthing squad. (Even when I myself am pro vagina birth where possible- actually scrap that, I am ‘pro the health of the baby and mama’)
During my pregnancy, I was slammed for my ‘tiny’ twin stomach- I still had my tight abdominal lines stomach right up until the day I had them. After giving birth and showing the world that I in fact had 10 POUNDS of babies inside me, I expected their opinions to shift and embrace that a healthy pregnancy IS the way to go. I was proud of my journey. I listened to my body and had listened to my instincts, yet again I was judged.
When I revealed that due to my numerous reconstructive breast surgeries and my nerves connecting to my nipples don’t work, meaning I couldn’t breastfed and that our choice was to use donor breastmilk- I was judged.
Many parents told us that a strict routine was the only way to ‘survive’ having twins, however our lifestyle didn’t allow for the exact same nap times daily. We run a business, we work full time, add in school run and the extra activities of the boys- a routine is my idea of a hindering limitation. Do I judge other mums who follow a routine? Not at all.
Where am I getting with this?
This year in particular has taught me that regardless of the choices you make as a mum, every decision you make will in fact, be judged. Even if you’re not in the public eye- strangers, family and friends.
From whether you decide to use cloth nappies, dummies, bottle feed, co-sleep, whatever it is, you will be judged.
It is how YOU take that judgment on board. Ignore anything that doesn’t sit right with YOU.
What I have learnt is to listen, smile and only take on board what works for you.
So, to all of those mummas out there, doing the best job they can, the best way they know how- GOOD ON YOU!
I have learnt that twins are more common than you realise, or perhaps it is just that once you have twins, everyone knows someone who has twins. Either way, when you see a twin mum in the shops, smile and walk on- we aren’t circus objects. Whilst we love a good chin wag as much as the next woman, a 10 minute trip to the shops is now a 2 hour mission of ‘Yes, they’re identical. Yes, we can tell them apart. Yes, they have different personalities.’ Then going onto explain that identical twins are in fact by chance not hereditary like fraternal twins.
Next time you walk past a multiple mum in the shops, give them a high five, tell them how lucky they are because I can assure you that today alone a few of the phrases they would have heard are:
“Double Trouble” “Twins? Your life is over” “You have your hands full!” “Oh, twins? Better you than me!” “You poor thing!”
The best thing I ever heard was, “Wow, you’re SO lucky, identical twin girls, that is the best blessing you could get!” –which is exactly how I have always felt. LUCKY.
The worst thing I have heard? “If I fell pregnant with twins I would have an abortion or fall down the stairs.” Still coming to terms with this statement.
In a world where many women are struggling to conceive one baby, twins are a freaking blessing.
Yes, they’re hard. One baby is hard- what do people expect that TWO babies at once would be like? Everything is doubled, the washing, the crying, the feeding, the nappies, the expenses.
Everything times two. The giggles, the laughter, the playing, the endless entertainment, the ‘mama’ bond. It is amazing.
Two for the price of one. HA!
Nothing about twins is two for one. Nappies, clothes, food, even child care with twins means TWICE the amount (in excess of $220 a day. Even with the 50% rebate that our government offers, that works out to $110+ A DAY!). For our family we felt better with an in home carer that we trust. She has our girls two days a week, with the other 4 working days juggled between Nath and myself at work.
If you know an expecting multiple mum, my advice is simple. Help.
The first few months are a sleep-deprived struggle, so home cooked meals, an extra pair of hands to help feed, taking the babies for a walk so that mum can have a forced nap. Help.
I found that offers came from everywhere, however were often an afterthought, ‘let me know if you need anything’ rather than ‘I will be there at 9’.
The question, ‘How do you do it?’ is often raised. The truth? I don’t know, nothing to do but to get it done. We leave home at 7:30am daily and I don’t sit down until I get into bed around 10pm at night. Our life is full on, but I love it. I am one of those people who get bored if I am not working on 5 new projects. I love to be busy. I have also loved kids since I was little. If we lived in a world where we could afford 10 kids- we would. I have been a mum since I was 18, so being a mum is in a sense, who I am. I also find that my boys who are now at 8 and 9, are incredibly well behaved. We have fun together and I enjoy spending my time with them.
Over this past year, we are yet to spend a night apart from our twins. Something that we would find a real struggle, it doesn’t feel right for us, so have been there for every morning wake up and every goodnight kiss.
As this chapter of our twins being newborns comes to a close, I encourage each and every one of you to practise less judgement, more support and a ‘twin salute’ whenever you see a mama out on her own getting it done with her tribe in tow.
#mumsrule #whoruntheworld #yourmama