To the mom of multiples:
I see you. I see you struggling to meet the needs of both of your babies at the same time. I see you feeling isolated at home, longing for adult conversation. I see your sleep-deprived state, with messy hair and in need of a shower. I see you wishing you could drink your coffee hot and wondering if you will ever be able to eat another meal without constant interruption. I see you looking around your house, wondering how it became such a disaster and how you’ll ever get it back in order. I see you wondering what happened to your marriage. I see you feeling like you are falling short. I get it.
Twin momming is HARD and provides so many opportunities for us to feel inadequate. There is no doubt about it. It was shortly after I gave birth to my first set of twins that I got to experience just how hard it was. I remember being alone with my twins and my almost 3 year old daughter after my husband had gone back to work. One baby was crying to be fed while I was changing the other baby’s diaper, and my toddler was calling for help from the bathroom. I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed, and I started to cry, as I felt the pressure of being pulled in so many directions at once.
Now, many years later, with two more sets of twins added to that, I can’t tell you how many moments I have had feeling totally overwhelmed as I am very outnumbered. But what I have also realized is that those moments pass. And moments of calm come again. But in those hard moments where there are more demands than you can meet at once, I often tell my kids, “I am only one person!” Sometimes I step outside for a minute to just breathe. It is ok to take a break! If you caught a glimpse of our chaos in action, you would often hear me saying out loud, in complete sincerity, “Help me, Jesus!” There is no way I could do this without God’s help!
People often call me “Supermom” when they find out I have 3 sets of twins and a singleton. It always feels awkward for me to be called that, because I certainly do not feel like a Supermom. I feel like I am just getting by most days! I’m just a normal mom with unique circumstances. I don’t have my act together any better than the average mom. As I write this, my house is a complete mess, my dirty laundry is backed up, my clean laundry is waiting to be put away, dishes need to be done, along with a whole lot of other things that need to be done. It bothers me, but it is what it is for now, and I will deal with it all when I can. It is easy to put our own needs aside, but we cannot forget to take care of ourselves too. What good will we be if we don’t make sure to put our own oxygen masks on first? Don’t be afraid to ask for help at times or accept help when it is offered. We are human, after all, not machines.
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Do I ever feel like I am failing at this mom gig that God has blessed me with, and that I wanted more than anything? Absolutely. After listening to so many moms share their hearts, I am confident this feeling of failure is common and completely normal when faced with tasks that are bigger than us. What you need to know is that in spite of your shortcomings, you are enough. You were chosen to be the mother of your babies. You can do this. They need you, and you are enough. Did that sink in? YOU ARE ENOUGH, Mama. The thoughts we are thinking and the scripts we are reciting in our heads matter. We need to stop beating ourselves up. Just breathe. Put one foot in front of the other. Keep on keeping on.
This is a season we are in, and a tough one at that. I always tell people that we are trying to cherish AND survive the moments. It is possible to feel both blessed and stressed at the same time! I know because I do feel that way. I live in that state most of the time. I know it won’t always be this hard but, then on the other hand, they won’t always be this little either. I vacillate between wanting the future to be here sooner so they will be even just a little older and life will be easier, and simply embracing what IS. My precious children. In all the mess. In all the chaos. In all of our imperfections, in the here and now.
The sacrifices that moms make, the never-ending chores that we do, and most of all, the love that we give, is all invaluable. Nobody can replace you in the lives of your children, so chin up, Mama. You’ve got this!
About the author
Julie Erickson is TLC’s Austin associate and the proud mom to seven beautiful children, a singleton and three sets of twins! She and her husband Lance struggled with infertility for several years. They did several rounds of IVF, which resulted in 3 pregnancies all ending in early miscarriage. After that, they attended a family building conference through RESOLVE, where they won an IVF cycle in a raffle! All of their children were conceived in that cycle! Her story was recently told by People.com, Abcnews.com, two UK newspapers, as well as a leading women’s magazine in the UK. She and her family were also interviewed recently on Good Morning America and their local news, Kare 11. You can reach Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on our Austin services.