I think as parents of twins we definitely experience heightened anxiety. I think as much as we prepare while we are pregnant the reality of bringing home two tiny babies can suddenly hit us and the worry kicks in. However after speaking to many twin mums this seems totally normal so there is my first tip, I promise it’s not just you.
Here are 5 reasons mums of multiples experience high anxiety levels and my tips to try and help:
- Being around one crying baby is tough but add another to the mix and it can make any sane mum feel stressed. Especially the days we are on our own, when they both cry and need attention the mum guilt kicks in, the worry, stress and anxiety levels reach a new high. And suddenly getting them fed, changed, dressed and out the door feels like too much. My advice, lower your expectation’s, this sounds odd but the truth is as new mums we set ourselves unrealistic expectations, we want to feel like we can do everything and have everything under control but honestly as long as we make it to the end of the day and in one piece that’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect and we don’t have to get it all done. Skipping a shower doesn’t mean we are failing.
- Going out with twins, this raise’s anxiety for 2 reasons, one is the attention from people wanting to take a look and ask questions, which is lovely, however you know that if you stop moving or they get to close you will again end up with two awake possibly crying babies. And then sometimes that happens anyway and the anxiety that can bring is huge. But I do believe a walk is important so try to get out for well-timed walks, if it causes you stress try and time your walks around feeds. It can be stressful but even a short walk somewhere quiet can help. Listen to a good podcast or some music as I found that really helped calm me too, and when people see headphones they may not pounce on you..haha.
- Now I am a firm believer that children will do things in their own time, and even though I think I am very rationale about this not comparing them at times is hard… I think this is very natural for twin parents. When one does something months and months before the other you can’t help but let the anxiety and worry creep in, googling, asking others, only for them to suddenly catch up and you wish you hadn’t spent hours worrying. This is normal I promise, and I can tell you my twins have done most things at different stages as have many of our twin friends. But if you are worried do talk to someone like your Health Visitor or an expert – Google is unlikely to be your friend!
- Don’t beat yourself up for not doing everything and staying in. Now with Covid I know for many of you it’s like the opposite I expect you are desperate to get out. But I often felt abit lonely, like my friends with singletons were doing so much more and I was ‘stuck’ at home, most likely wallowing in my own fears and crying babies! But again looking back, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to do every class and although it can be isolating always remember it’s just a phase. I’ll be honest even now there are things and places that worry me that I wouldn’t be happy taking them alone too, but I think we also have to make peace with that and know most twin mums feel the same. Plan lots of play dates at yours and friends’ houses and ask your friends without children if they will come along and support you.
- You have anxiety when leaving them with other people? Sometimes this is purely because you know how hard it is and you worry and feel bad for how they will cope? Mostly likely they didn’t have twins so will they be ok? My tip is to first let people help in an environment the twins are familiar with, so maybe have people watch them for an hour at your house. I think you have to trust them, most likely they will be fine, and remember it’s just for a few hours or a night and most people will be able to cope, and then they get to rest… so don’t feel bad for them!
The final thing I will say is never be afraid to do what you need to do, feed them on times that suit you, set a routine that works for you. What I mean by this is how I learnt to cope with my feeding anxiety was to feed them with a 30 min difference . This meant I could concentrate on Ollie and his reflux and then Toby (who hated milk and drank hardly any!). I realised they were different types of feeders and needed different things from me I just couldn’t do when feeding them at the same time. It sounds silly but I felt like I couldn’t do that as everyone had said ‘make sure you feed them at the same time’ ‘ It will save you time’ etc etc and I felt like I had to follow this advice. But here’s the truth, you don’t, you can feed them when and how works best for you. I did this for about 3 month and then at 6 months put them back to the same routine and all was fine!
Twin mum anxiety can be high and is very real… but you are not in this alone : )