I put a call out about a month ago for guest posters. Misha from The Bling Buoy was quick to jump on board. Since then, I have been literally all over the place and only realised the other day that this post was still waiting in my Drafts. So thank you again to Misha for being so understanding.
When Misha first sent me this post I was totally inspired by her honesty, her integrity and genuine heart felt warmth to all the mothers out there who have twins. The Bling Buoy is a blog all about inspiring and helping you navigate the waters of life.
Be sure to check out Misha’s blog, comment here, comment there and share the love xxx
It’s amazing how many books you can read in one week when you are in shock and unable to move for fear of puking while simultaneously, and somewhat incongruously, chain munching weetbix straight from the box. And that was just with the pregnancy of my first baby. A “singleton”.
Back then, I was held hostage by the idea that if I did everything “right”, ate the perfect proportion of protein to carbs during my pregnancy, took my little girl to baby Mozart classes and held her just like this… not like that…. then she would follow the little developmental/sleep/behavioural schedule that was neatly laid out in chapter one of every highly respected baby book I owned. I could paint a life for my little girl that perfectly fit the image I had in my head if I only I followed the instruction manual. To the letter.
Fast forward to pregnancy #2. The “twin pregnancy”. And for those who have been through the same, it is a pregnancy fraught with potential complications and problems. The books told me that too.
Despite doing everything “right”, “twin 1” had problems from the outset. I was once told I would probably lose her. But then she survived. The Doctors told me they would take her off for testing soon after she was born. Everything was monitored closely. Early on in the pregnancy I gave her a name that literally translates to mean “life”, because on that issue I was not open to compromise. I kept my hand on the bump that I knew belonged to her on my belly… and compelled her to hang on.
After the twins were born though, it was her twin brother who had the problems. First with breathing, later with feeding, then with sleeping…. I remember being in the recovery room soon after their birth with both babies on my chest as the midwife tried to coax my son to breastfeed. We were so engrossed that without either of us realizing, his twin sister had latched herself onto my breast and started feeding.
I thought she was just living up to the moniker I had bestowed upon her. It turns out she would have embraced life regardless of the name I gave her… she lives by her own set of rules.
At 4 years old her twin brother is intense, extremely cautious and yet overflowing with energy. He is also funny, fiercely loyal to his family and his light shines brightly. Sometimes so brightly that we all need polarized sunshades…. but then we wouldn’t have him any other way.
Having twins has turned my life and the way I view it upside down. Not just the “busyness” and extreme parenting aspects of it, but the way it has altered my perspective on parenting.
My twins come from the same gene pool; had the same conditions in utero; had the same birthing experience; were provided with the same nutrition and equal counts of cuddles. Yet they could not be more different.
My curly, blond haired, green-eyed, lean-limbed girl is smart enough to know how to combine her gorgeous gift of the gab with her disarming smile to incite her weary watchers to indulge her every whim. My blond haired, blue-eyed, strong little boy is deeply thoughtful, a born worrier and prone to obsession. He is also very affectionate, kind and gives in to his headstrong sisters way too much. One twin (now!) falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow and stays that way till dawn. The other needs to fully process the day’s happenings before she falls into a feathery light sleep.
One of the best things I have learned through being a mother of multiples is that the books are not always right about how we need to do “x” if we want to achieve “y”. If I can have two children who are exposed to almost identical conditions since conception turn out so differently, then it simply cannot be true that everything about the way our children turn out is caused by the way they were parented. This is both liberating … and scary.
Our children are not a blank canvas upon whom we can adorn with the colours of our own hopes and dreams. We can only provide them with the finest paints and canvas…. good nutrition, love, boundaries, opportunites and education…. and watch them craft their own masterpiece.
Before I had twins I believed that the way my eldest daughter behaved, developed and grew was almost entirely caused by what I did… or didn’t do. The pressure was incredible. The guilt when things didn’t go by the book… overwhelming. And it’s this belief in the “blank canvas” concept that sometimes drives mothers to judge other mothers so harshly. They must have done something wrong if their child has turned out to be “like that”. Even worse than that though, it has caused mothers to turn on themselves. And now I can see how unnecessary a lot of that angst is.
So if you ask me what the best thing about being a mother of multiples is, I can tell you that besides the obvious, it has given me the gift of patience, empathy, understanding and compassion. Not only towards my children. But towards other mothers. All mothers. But mostly…. towards myself. Because as Henry Ward Beecher once said,
“Every artist dips his brush into his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
We can only provide them with the materials they need to paint their own masterpiece. I realise now that to go beyond this, to paint their magnum opus for them, is potentially just glorified graffiti.
What are your thoughts? Do you have twins? How much do you follow or not follow what the books say?
If you are interested in guest posting for the parenting files, drop me a line and let me know.