Q&A: Advice for those expecting twins and Do I want another set?

from Rebecca:
Do you have any good advice for someone with a 2-year-old and expecting twins soon?
#1: Don't listen too much to any advice about twins. Individual variation is a huge part of what you'll experience as a mother to twins. Some have colicky infants and barely hang on for the first year and then tell everyone else, "The first year is the hardest." I heard that so many times that when I found the first year hard, but manageable, I congratulated myself and thought I was home free. It didn't take long for the the REALLY tough years to humble me -- my mellow, fun, active babies turned into fighting, hitting, tantrum-throwing, strong-willed, stubborn-to-the-extreme two and three year olds. Those years, I almost never left them with anyone else because they were so hard to handle. But some mothers find the twos and threes to be fine. Your children's personality will play a large part in this. If I'd had Eliza and Michael as twins instead of Sarah and Allison, those years would have been a breeze. Another part of it is the type and gender of twins you have. Because mine are identical, they were easier to handle as infants. Their nap schedules and feeding times could be coordinated very easily. But because they were the same gender, when they started playing with toys, there were constant battles because they always wanted the same toys. Boy-girl twins often avoid that because their interests are different.

No matter what, you'll find yourself surprised a lot, in both good and bad ways, as you raise your twins. Good luck!

#2: Don't let yourself become an elitist. Sometimes those with twins think they have life so different from every other parent. There are some very unique things about raising twins and it is a special, miraculous thing to watch two children grow up together, but allow yourself to learn from all mothers. Don't assume that you must have it harder than any other mother just because you have twins or that no one can understand you unless they've had twins. You will feel an instant bond with other twins moms, but you'll also find that you may have more in common with other moms.

#3: Find a way to record your family history that works for you and do it. One of the best things that happened to me when the twins were born was that my in-laws moved to the other side of the world for the next three years. It would have been nice if they were closer, but having them far away started me in the habit of writing weekly emails, with pictures attached. Almost every Sunday since then, I sit down, pick out the best photos from the week, and then write a summary of what's happened, what the kids are up to, and any events or thoughts I want to remember. Life with lots of little ones comes at you fast -- there is so little time left for the extras and you'll find yourself mourning the loss of some of the things you used to have time for. You will always treasure whatever you can write down about this unique period in your life. Make it a priority. It doesn't have to be an email. It can be a blog or a journal. Just write.

From the Depews:
After your first set of twins it must have crossed your mind when you were thinking about more children that you could have more multiples. If you had a choice would you want another set of multiples or is one set of twins more than any sane person needs? :)

I always said during that first magical, manageable year, that I'd love another set. When I was going through their tougher, toddler, tantrum years, I'd say I'd love another set, but only when THIS set is old enough to help out and realize what they put me through. My cousin asked me at a family reunion last month if I had two sets of twins and I said, for the first time ever, "Don't wish that on me!" but I'm pretty sure I didn't mean it.

I'd really like to have all my children born before my oldest daughter leaves for college. If that means another set of twins so I can get them all here a little faster, I'd be thrilled. There is something so magical about watching twins. They have a unique relationship and I'd love to be able to see that develop all over again in a new way. So yes, I'd love another set of twins.

Realistically, though, I'm not likely to have twins again. Fraternal twins run in families. The odds of a couple who spontaneously conceives fraternal twins of having twins again is one in four, because a woman who drops two eggs in a cycle is likely to do so again. Current research suggests that there is no genetic component to identical twins, though I do know of a few families with more than one set. It is considered a random occurrence that occurs at the same rate across populations -- about one pregnancy in two hundred and fifty, and my chances of having twins again are no higher because I've had one set.


Melanie said…
Love your twins and remember in the hard times what a miracle they are. Make sure you take time for you. If people are willing to help you with the twins...LET THEM!! Try to laugh at the small things and have your husband help! Most important... Your experience will be yours and try to enjoy it and smile always!

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