My introduction to motherhood was hard hitting. Not only had I became a mother overnight, but I had two beautiful little squishy newborns to take care of from day one. I was a ‘first time mum’ and a ‘second time mum’ all at once.
With two babies only a few minutes old, Paddy and I reassured each other that we could do this, and blissfully unaware were we, in the bravado of being first (and second) time parents, what the year to follow would hold for us…
[Nappies, laundry, expressing, breast feeding, postnatal bleeding, bottles, formula, infacol, bibs, feeding frenzies, tiredness, laughter, tears, dark days, ‘wow moments’, pain, fear, happiness, disbelief, unfamiliar, overwhelmed, overjoyed, truly lucky…]
The first few months were ‘standard’. We had two babies who ate, slept, pooped, stretched for a few moments, made a few strange noises, then went back to sleep and it all repeated itself again. EASY!
Oh no, we spoke too soon, in came the silent reflux, the days and nights of holding Bonnie and Isla upright while they squirmed and winced in pain from their little tummies. And when Paddy went to work in the morning, I paced the house with both of them upright, with their little backs against my chest, the only position that offered them comfort, but absolutely throttled my back. But I am a mother, these are my children, and this is what I do…
In the moments of calm, I got to admire my little lovelies. Paddy and I would watch them lay on the floor beside one another, both sets of little chicken legs in the air, little hands reaching out for each other, more times than we can count have we turned to each other and said “We made them!”.
As the girls got a little older, things did get harder before they became ‘easier’. Bonnie was very considerate and dropped her three nightly feeds to two nightly feeds, but Isla, being the smaller of the girls, still needed those three feeds. And of course, they did not require these feeds at the same time as each other. For a few months, I was up on the hour every hour feeding babies, I’m only glad (and actually quite proud) that I never did feed the same baby twice. A few months of sleepless nights is an eternity to any poor sod. But thank goodness for Netflix and hot ribena in the wee hours of the morning.
As the girls grew, so did I. I had my initial struggles (I often still do), I was trying to keep a perfectly tidy house, have the dinner ready for Paddy coming home from work, on the surface I thought that if it looked as though I was coping well with the menial household chores, that it would be assumed that I was coping well with my girls. The moment I realigned my expectations, was the moment I began to feel, strangely, more in control. What did it matter if the house was a tip? I had two happy and thriving little beauties, their happy little faces portray that, yeah, in fact, I am a good wee mummy! Putting ourselves and our babies on top of the priority list, and not the dust on top of the television, is much more important.
Although, in desperate times, light a few candles and kick everything below the sofa, this will fool anyone who decides to step through from the outside world into the threshold of the new version of your, what was once calm, household.
After the six month mark, things started to feel as though they were falling into place. Bonnie and Isla could sit up, play with their toys, interact with me, and more importantly, each other. The ‘benefits’ of twins were beginning to prevail.
I would not say that life with twins gets any easier, what I would say is that things definitely become a lot more manageable. And fun, things become really fun. I have laughed hard with my girls, as though I was an honorary triplet and not their mother (turning ‘Nelly the Elephant’ into a rap song, or speaking in the voice of the cookie monster usually does the trick).
Yes, after this whole year, I still have tough days, and things will never be truly perfect, my sink is filled with dirty dishes (the dishwasher is clean and that takes the task of emptying it), I have two tiny terrorists that have massacred their breakfast of cereal and dried fruit (thank goodness for dogs) all over the kitchen floor, and who knows what the next year will bring with Bonnie and Isla…
…But I can’t bloody wait!