This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
To think that people who don’t have twins or multiples really don’t get it(231 Posts)
My twins are 9 weeks old and going through an extremely fussy phase. I know it’s a phase and they’ll grow out of it but it is draining- they grumble most of the day and I feel like I’m firefighting. I’m recovering from a very traumatic period of time- the last few months it seems that life has thrown everything at us and I’m so exhausted with no nearby family support. It’s physically and emotionally very difficult. A lot of my well meaning friends (who I am very lucky to have) have been telling me their tips from when their kids were small eg. ‘Put them in a sling all day’ or ‘pick them up before they get too ratty’ or ‘just embrace the cuddles’ or ‘nap when they do’ etc. I smile and thank them politely but this is nigh on impossible with two babies who both have different needs and are getting heavy. I’ll happily cuddle both of them but they can’t both be picked up easily and one always seems to get ratty when the other is down and they set each other off. It frustrates me that friends are saying they know what I’m going through when they really don’t. I know they are just trying to help but it makes me
resent having two and feel a lot of mum guilt for my babies who didn’t ask to be in this situation. Aibu?
OP big hats off to you, I have twins in my family so have a fear of having them. No idea how on earth you would cope with 2 babies. A whole different world to having 1. Just want to say try not to beat yourself up, you're doing all you can!
As a parent of singles, let me assure you, we have no idea what it is like to have twins or triplets. It’s obviously a totally different ball game that I can’t even imagine. So although your friends are trying to be kind or helpful, the fact is, they are totally clueless and you are not being unreasonable to be irritated.
I guess just know that they are not speaking from experience but they are caring and trying to be helpful.
I don’t think you should feel badly for your children though. You’re obviously an extremely tuned in mother and doing the best you can and that is definitely enough.
Yes it’s frustrating but at least you see it’s well meaning... I had lovely NCT friends but also joined a local twins club, and the mums there totally got it... is anything available with COVID? Virtual meetings or Internet forums? At twins club there was one lady with triplets... made us all realise how easy we had it
You are probably right. However I didn't have a multiple birth and I'm very grateful for that - even the thought of having two at once is too much for me, never mind the reality - and my two were pretty close together.
But I know a woman who was desperate to have twins - they run in her family.
But my understanding is that it gets much easier, so just keep taking one day at a time. It sounds like you are doing a great job, so please try to set the mum guilt aside. You are doing everything you can to make sure they both have everything they need, I'm sure!
But do they necessarily need to get it? They don’t have twins etc so how can they get it? They sound well meaning, surely it would be worse if they ignored you.
Congrats on your babies
Your friends are just trying to be nice. Maybe they have problems that they feel you don’t get. I’m sure everyone recognised twins / triplets are a handful- what do you actually want your friends to say?
Wait until someone who has children close together tells you that it's actually harder than twins!
It is hard, really hard and it is for ages until you can trust that they aren't going to do anything dangerous. But seeing them have a beautiful relationship is worth every hardship.
Does your local multiple birth club have any online options? Some support from people who have been in your shoes would be valuable. It certainly saved me!
They don't. In fact, best decision I ever made was to ignore all 'advice' from people who weren't in the same situation as me (True of raising multiples, ASD children, SEN etc.) Just let it drift in and out of your ears. Try and meet some other mums of twins. They will give less advice. They'll just 'know.'
The exhaustion and lack of support you describe is concerning though. I had the same and ended up with undiagnosed PND for four years brought on by sleep deprivation and the needs of an undiagnosed SEN baby.
You will function better on a few unbroken nights sleep a week and if there is any way on earth you can get these - taking turns with your partner if you have one to sleep with them on alternate nights so the other one gets a full night's sleep. I wish we had done this.
If people offer to help, give them a job. I didn't do that either and regret it. If they can do your shopping, fold your laundry, mop your floor so at least the house doesn't descend into madness, you will feel a bit better.
On the bright side - it gets SO much easier. It was my turn to feel smug when all my mum friends had their second children and had to juggle newborn and toddler - a challenge twin mums don't face unless they have more children. They were worn out by the different demands of the different age groups while my two were and still are happy to do the same thing at the same time, making family life so easy and enjoyable from the age of about 13 months. The first year is hardest. Just muddle through.
You are doing brilliantly! Even if you don't think you are.
My DT's are now nearly 9 and the first year of their life is a bit of a blur because it was so non stop. I still feel bitter when i see people post pictures saying they could could snuggle their baby all day. I'd have loved to have done that but there was never really time as there was another baby to cuddle, feed, change, wind, settle etc.
Now that they are older, once a month I take each of them out to do something just the two of us, normally swimming or lunch and shopping so they both get some one on one time. (pre covid of course, now we do nails or bake, play a game etc).
You will always feel guilty about something. It's just the nature of being a mother. But they will be fine even if they have to wait for a cuddle or a bottle or anything else. I think being a twin has taught my two patience that quite frankly I don't really have.
Once they get a bit older they also have a built in friend. It's been so lovely to see them thrive together and find common ground even with vastly different interests. Though since lockdown and them being around each other more (they are in different classes at school) they have become more "twin" like and have starting saying the same thing at the same time which is a bit odd as they never normally did that.
Are there any twin clubs near you? There was one when I had mine but they closed shortly afterwards (along with the sure start centre that was my only trip out each week, cheers budget cuts!).
I also have a FB group with some twin mums (all our kids are the same age) which is helpful for ranting in. They are from all over the world so there is normally someone around to reply when it's 4am our time.
So you are not being unreasonable! Hugs x
Its hard, very hard at that age. I had an older son as well, so not only had the guilt that I couldn't always comfort both twins at once, but also found it hard to give their brother the attention he was used to before they were born. The relentlessness does ease (mine are 6 now), and during the lockdowns, although they miss being in school, they are lucky enough to be at home with each other, where as their older brother is desperately unhappy without his friends (online is not the same)
As a parent of singles, let me assure you, we have no idea what it is like to have twins or triplets.
Totally agree with this!
Have you looked at Twins Trust (used to be TAMBA)? Lots of people in the same boat. (Also lots of discounts for members)
People won't get it; and, somehow, having twins brings out all the inane comments "are they identical? Can you tell them apart? We're they natural?"
Just FYI you can get twin slings, just means you have 2 screaming babies attached to you (like everything else it's twice the price.)
Hope you get some sleep.
"Sleep when the baby sleeps"
"Just cuddle them"
Only thing that saved my sanity in those early weeks was a Weego baby carrier. You can use it with newborn twins (I think the lower weight limit is about 5 pounds). But you still have the pain of one needing a nappy change while the other is sleeping and tall this sort of stuff.
It is good fun though when your friends/fellow playgroup mums have the second kid and the look in their eyes changes from pity to respect
God I remember the shit things people said to me when I was struggling with my twin babies- "I dont believe in hiring help. I was raised by nannies and dont think it's right." (Said to me by a woman with no children when i told her i had to hire a "mothers help" type woman to come and help me during the day with my colicky babies!). Another woman from my NCT (singles) looked at me all sad faced and said "we really think you should be joining us for our weekly coffee and cake." - i mean, me, alone with 2 screaming babies in a cafe, no thanks.
The best thing I did was join a local twin parent group a playgroup. There are usually local ones on FB. There you will see that you are not alone!
I think you should try find a twin club as you are right people dont know what its like unless they have been through it. Its the same with SEN people mean well but its just a different experience and its nice to have people who just know.
However i would say (as a mum of singles) people say all sorts of stupid stuff to us too. I mean 'sleep when they nap' probably works if you have a child that naps!
This is also very MN, but can you afford some sort of mothers help for a couple of mornings or contact Home Start?
I think you are marginally unreasonable in that that's how every single parent feels about unsolicited advice twins or no. But if you don't have twins you havnt a clue. My friend has twins and she's a bloody rockstar. I recently read a book where the heroine was hoping for twins as it would be more practical; one maternity leave, instant family. Oh how I laughed. (I don't have twins- just logic would tell you if one is hard two must be nigh on impossible)
Oh you poor thing sending enormous hugs. I found this unbelievably irritating when mine were tiny. A few friends had single babies at the same time I had my twins and complained about how hard it was to cope with a toddler and a newborn. I wanted to scream at them “TRY DOING IT WITH TWO BABIES!” I didn’t but just ignored their messages to be honest. I had to take a step back from these friends as I was hugely resentful about anyone who was “finding it hard with one baby” when I felt like they had no idea what hard was. I’m generally feeling a lot better now but still think these friends are inconsiderate and clueless. People are just so wrapped up in themselves they don’t think about other people.
You’re in the absolute thick of it at the moment - I found the newborn stage the worst. The lack of sleep and relentlessness of two babies is just brutal. I know it doesn’t feel like it at the moment but I promise it gets better. Twins are unbelievably hard work and unless you have them there’s no way people can understand.
I also really recommend joining up to your local twins club. Talking to people with twins and some at the same stage saved my sanity
I have two singles, close in age, and I barely survived the baby years when they arrived one at a time. So I have absolutely no idea how parents of twins cope. I have enormous respect for parents of multiples. Your friends probably do mean well, but as with a lot of parenting advice, you just need to let the useless bits wash over you and accept their well meaning attempts for what they are.
Of course they don't 'get it'. But neither does a parent of NT children 'gets' what parents with children with additional needs go through. Neither does a parent with a child with mild additional needs 'gets' what someone with a children with extreme additional needs go through. Neither does the parents of 'natural' children gets what a parent with adopted children goes through. Neither does a parent of a single child gets what a parent with a number of children goes through. And vice versa. None of us gets what others are going through in truth. Especially when their objective situation is quite different from ours.
But we don't need to get it to afford well meaning advice. Well meaning advice should be requested or welcomed by the other side. Otherwise people are just being annoying.
Parents of two singletons occasionally get a day that's as intense as having twins, but are really not in the position of knowing that level as just the normal.
One phrase which stuck in my mind was from a parent of older twins when asked what it was like: the first 3 years were very hard work and looking back a bit of a blur. But after that it was great fun.
Hang on in there
I have a 9 week old and I’m bloody exhausted. You are doing double the work , I can’t imagine how hard it must be. You’ll get irritating advice regardless of how many babies you have though. I’m sure it’s well meaning and they are just trying to think of something helpful to say.
Just smile and nod. Mine are 4 now but I remember how fucking hard those first weeks were. You're doing a great job! Are you part of a local tamba or multiples group on Facebook? Mines great for support and they also have a selling page where twin parents pass down baby/toddler bits really cheaply to help other multiple parents out!
Of course they don't get it. But it sounds like they're trying to be helpful. Just nod and smile like you have been.
I don't have twins and can only imagine how hard it must be. My one was enough to deal with at the time. I've got a second on the way and the reality of how hard things will be is certainly setting in.
You've cone this far already and there will be light at the end of the tunnel. One (small) perk of multiples is that, when they get to the age of playing, they will have eachother. My DS is 2.5 and constantly craves attention. It's quite draining and I do wish he already had a sibling.
People are just so wrapped up in themselves they don’t think about other people
But that includes you, as you’ve totally dismissed your friends who say having a newborn and a toddler has its own difficulties. Acknowledging other people’s struggles doesn’t have to make yours any less difficult.
Please login first.