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When I was told I was having twins, I announced it to our family and had to convince all of them that "no, this wasn't a joke."After that, I began learning as much as I could. I didn't have anyone in my inner circle who had multiples, so I felt pretty alone and I was hungry for information. I spent almost my entire pregnancy researching everything multiples.
I based all of my knowledge off articles, books, Facebook groups, online community groups and the random emails I received from friends of family members. Because every multiples pregnancy, birth and life experience is wildly different from each other, I never really felt like I was able to properly prepare myself like I had with my two previous children. I was in unknown territory.
Although many pieces of information were helpful, even encouraging, many were bleak and, at times, extremely negative. One email from a twin mom still stands out to me to this day. Although I'm sure she was trying to prepare me, her email described twin pregnancy and life with twins as hell on earth. This, although true for her, wasn't helpful for me.
But once my two little girls arrived, I was able to form my own opinions about what life with twins was like., There were a few things I wish I had been warned about ahead of time.
Here are five of them:
1. Their heads might be misshapen when they are born. When baby A (Mia) was pulled out via c-section, everyone gushed over how cute she was. But when baby B (Everly) was pulled out, my husband and I were a little shocked. Her head was so squished. I was really concerned but the doctors reassured me that she was okay and that her head was squished because of the position she was in. Within hours her head rounded out.
It wasn’t until after my twins were born, that I learned that it's common for multiples to have misshapen heads, otherwise known as Plagiocephaly. This is due to the limited space twins have in the womb. Most of the time a baby’s flat spots round out within the first 6 months. If not, there are specialized helmets that can help. You can find out more about Plagiocephaly here. I would have loved to have been better prepared for this before the birth of my twins.
2. People might pick their "favourite" twin. Soon after my twins were born and we had finished our skin-to-skin time, family and friends started to flow in to meet my girls. Almost immediately I noticed many gravitating to one twin, or another. Some even stated that they had found their favourite. It was a bit like watching someone pick their puppy out of a litter.
Although I was tempted to be offended, I reminded myself that because each twin looked so different, they might remind family members of my husband, or me and bring back nostalgic memories. I got over it. In the end, these special bonds, especially to different grandparents, have helped us in the long run. That twin happily goes with that family member, giving us the extra hand that we need.
3. Your life is NOT over. I can't tell you how many people warned me before my twins were born that my life was over. Although I guess they were trying to help with their comments, they made me angry. It also lit a fire in me.
Since having my twins, my life is very, very different. I can go as far as to say that my old life is over. But that is by choice. Since having my twins I have never, in my life, lived more. During my twin pregnancy I had so much taken away while I lay there and grew babies. I was pushed harder and further than I ever thought was possible. Now I don't let anything hold me back. Sometimes living through something so difficult can be just what you need to wake up. You can read more about my life after twins here.
4. There is a long term ripple effect. Now, over three years after having my twins, we are still experiencing the "twin ripple effect." So many people warned me about the first year, or two, that life with twins would be a blur. But I'm well past that point and I'm still feeling it.
Our world was turned completely upside-down with my twins-pregnancy and early twin life that we had to move into survival mode. Although I can say we've now survived survival mode, I still have to be patient with myself when I get overwhelmed with the mess in our basement, or how few playdates I set up for my kids. I still feel like I'm picking up the pieces and that's okay.
5. Twins are fun! Okay, okay, maybe I did hear this one once, or twice from grandparents of twins while I was pregnant. But I never really believed them. I thought they were looking through rose-colored glasses. But honestly, they are really, really fun! I had so many doomsday comments from people when I was pregnant with my twins that I became jaded. But watching twins interact and watching two people the exact same age develop in their own way is truly exciting and endlessly entertaining.
To read more about my twin pregnancy and life after twins including tips and honest stories, head to my personal blog, Nesting Story. You can also follow my family's journey on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
This post was originally published in October, 2016
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.