I'm a proud mother of 4-year-old twins, Matthew and Noelle. My husband and I went through IVF treatment (In Vitro Fertilisation) to conceive in the beginning of 2007 and in July 2008 we became parents for the first time. The children are in primary school now, they grow up so fast!
Throughout my pregnancy and ever since the children were born, I have had so many people ask me if it's been hard to have twins rather than "just" one. But as I have no frame of reference, I can't really say... what I can say is this: Nothing has given me more pleasure in life than my children and I haven't found it to be hard at all. In fact, if my husband and I could have children naturally, I would happily have twins again... twice! Twins are not double the work, they are just double the joy.
So all I can offer in the form of tips and advice, is just that: Tips and advice... with my own twin pregnancy experiences in mind, and from my own experience with having twin babies, twin toddlers and twin primary school children. In this piece I'd like to share with you my general thoughts on twin pregnancy.
All pregnancies are different, of course, but generally twin pregnancies stand out from single pregnancies on a number of points.
1. First of all, you get bigger, faster. Ordinarily, at 4-5 months the belly of a mother pregnant with twins, is around the size of a the belly of a woman pregnant with one at 8-9 months. Those who have tried to be pregnant with one, know what hardship it is in the last month, but at that stage of a twin pregnancy, you have 3-4 months left and you will just get bigger and bigger and get more and more uncomfortable.
In the last month of my pregnancy, I was as big as a house and SO uncomfortable! And although I do remember what it was like, I look back at that time with big love goggles because now I know what came from it so now it just doesn't seem so important.
2. Secondly, when pregnant with twins, you are offered many more tests and examinations with midwives, doctors and obstetricians. You get multiple scans, you get a lot of information, (mainly about the things that can go wrong) and you will probably also be given the choice of a natural, vaginal birth versus caesarean section. Now, all this information and attention is both good and bad. It's good because you are well looked after, but it's also a cause for concern because you will begin to think about what can go wrong rather than just enjoying your pregnancy and the anticipation.
I was very nervous and looking back, I think I could have done with a little less information... but people are different and that's just me.
3. You need to sit down more! Sit down and relax, take good care of yourself. Twin pregnancy is not a disease and your life doesn't stop, but you are carrying two babies inside of you and that is a strain on your body from much earlier on than if you were carrying only one. You need to make sure your body can comfortably make it to the end of the pregnancy so before you start feeling the strain, begin to take good care of yourself. Twins are normally smaller than single babies, so every day inside the womb counts, and stress and unnecessary strain isn't worth the risk of early labor.
4. You need to gain more weight when you are pregnant with twins. 20 to 30 pounds is what you are advised to gain when pregnant with one child, 30 to 40 pounds when pregnant with twins.
Do listen to this bit of advice: Don't take eating for 3 too literally!! When I was pregnant I ate for 3 (grown men, not one woman and two babies) and it's so hard to lose all that weight after the pregnancy.
5. And finally there are the stories that you don't need to listen to! Every other person you meet will have a wild twin story and they'll be dying to tell you because, surely, you'll want to hear this. It will most likely be their neighbors cousin whose friend had twins and it was a horrible pregnancy and the birth was even worse and "You Poor Thing, having two kids at the same time, what horror"! Don't listen... these stories are not only untrue, they are also completely ridiculous and, frankly, people should have more sense than to worry a pregnant woman just because they have a story to tell.
So if you are pregnant with twins: Take good care of yourself and BE EXCITED... you are about to receive the most wonderful gift anyone could ever have!! Enjoy x
I've shared many of my personal twin stories and some great pieces of advice on free online magazine, The Twins Online.