When I was pregnant with my twins, it felt like I was constantly getting approached by well-meaning strangers, eager to share their advice for my impending motherhood. For the most part, it was all snuggly baby stories and "cherish every moment" kind of talk, but there were definitely those who went all doom-and-gloom on me, who just felt compelled to let me know that I was in for it, that the next three (or eighteen!) years were going to be hell, that having twins is a nightmare.
"Uhhhh, thanks?" I would say, although in my head I kept reminding myself that, like most things in life, the challenges of new motherhood might come down to perception. I decided to stay positive because what else were my choices? And I made a pact with myself that, when I was a new Mom, I would be sure to be encouraging to expectant parents rather than burst their bubble. So far, so good ...
Just yesterday I was in Costco with the twins when ... okay, wait, I know that you're thinking, "Why would you bring a double stroller into Costco on the weekend, crazy pants?" My answer: because it's my happy place and I want to share that joy with my children. Anyway, so while we were there, a couple came up to us and told me they were expecting twins in September. I did a little dance of joy for them and then started right in on how wonderful it is to be the parents of twins. Granted, maybe the sample-eating euphoria was going to my head, but I found myself saying things like, "If the twins are your first, you really don't know any better, so it's really not so hard." And then, "The newborn stage passes quickly and then it gets so much easier." Followed by, "If you get them on the same schedule, it will be a breeze." And finally, "The twin babies I know seem to be the most chill, I think because they know they have to share Mommy's attention."
After running down the products they had to buy, again reiterating the importance of a schedule from the start, and I think doing another happy dance, I gave these strangers my email address and encouraged them to contact me with any questions over the next seven months. As my hubby and I walked away, he started laughing at my "yippee, twinsies!" enthusiasm. I mean, wasn't I just complaining that morning about how exhausted I was with their tandem crankiness?
But, these expectant parents don't need to know that! They're already stressed and scared and planning ahead, enough that they're asking a stranger about her double stroller when they're only 10 weeks along. No, no, when approached by a pregnant woman, total, unwavering honesty just isn't what she needs to hear. Let someone else be the bearer of bad news. You, you should tell her all the good stuff she has to look forward to! Be her beacon of sunshine! Tell her it's going to be okay! Keep her feeling positive!
When I was about eight months pregnant, my husband came home from work and shared with me how a co-worker with twins was going on and on about how hellish the first couple of years are. She said, no joke, "Your life is going to suck until they're about three." I immediately decided this woman must just be a sad sack to begin with because, hello, who shares that? It's like telling someone your horrible labor story, but worse since she was clearly talking about 26,280 hours of hell. So, instead of taking it to heart, I reached out to a friend with older twins of her own, who had been totally Princess Positive about my pregnancy and my upcoming life with two babies. She eased my fears and told me exactly what I needed to hear: that life with twins is special and unique and, nah, not that hard. She concurred that this other woman was clearly just a sad sack and that my twin Mommy experience was going to be just as magical as hers.
So, sure, I definitely had some post-baby blues, I felt overwhelmed and tired and unable to cope. But, the last seven months have also been un-freakin-believably awesome and amazing and heart-filling and life-changing in every joyful way. When it's hard, it's hard, but it gets easier and you figure it out and every day it gets better. That's the truth that new Moms really need to hear, and that's what I'm going to tell them.
What positive advice did you get while you were pregnant? Did people's happy stories make a difference?
Image via JessicaLindsay04/Flickr