“…Therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.” ∼ Isaiah 61:7b ∼
“I don’t know how you handle twins…”
“Bless your heart…”
“I bet you’re exhausted!”
And my favorite: “You have your hands full!”
These are the comments I hear every day…at the doctor’s office, at Walmart, at the gas station, at the grocery store. I know these folks mean well…they are just making a little fun conversation. I bet some of them think back fondly to when their own children were little, or maybe they simply think about how thankful they are that their children came one by one. Whatever the case, it’s funny how so many people can be so right and so wrong at the same time.
When we first found out I was pregnant with twins, I just cackled. My belly was shaking so much that my doctor had to ask me to quit giggling so he could quickly finish the ultrasound and make it to a delivery. I was shocked, but I really didn’t think too much past the excitement of telling our families and friends that there were going to be two babies.
I was an idiot.
I made big plans…because I’m a planner. We attended all the birthing classes, I bought all the books, I read all the discussion boards, and I talked to all of my mom friends. I knew how I wanted the birth to go, I knew how I wanted breastfeeding to go, and I knew how I wanted the first year of my babies’ lives to go.
I was an idiot.
I bought all the things: the patterned sheets, the cozy swaddle blankets, the educational toys, the matching outfits, the “necessary” furniture, the cutesy décor, the feminine nursing gowns. Whatever I didn’t get at the baby showers, I frantically ordered through Amazon to make sure our babies had everything they needed to develop into prodigies, to sleep through the night, to nurse like champions, blah, blah, blah.
I was an idiot.
Looking back, my idiot status had a lot more to do with the fact that I was a first time mom than it did with me having twins, but those two things combined really shook me for a while. I struggled with a healing c-section, horrible swelling, and high blood pressure. Neither of my babies nursed well, and they woke to feed every hour and a half around the clock. I developed a hormonal, fiery, itchy rash that took weeks to heal. And I suffered from a bad case of the baby blues. I secretly asked myself, “What have we done?” and then felt guilty for even asking that. I was sort of a mess. Ask my mama and my husband. I was constantly crying over every obstacle, secretly feeling like I was already failing at motherhood before I had even really gotten started.
That first month was intense, and I wasn’t ready. When I look back, I am so incredibly thankful for all the help we received from our parents during that time. Our moms shared the load at night during those first weeks, and I cringe to think about what it would have been like without them. But in spite of it all, I still wasn’t emotionally or mentally prepared. I just don’t think anyone can adequately prepare for something as monumental as motherhood.
I always said that I finally learned how to teach by teaching. College and all my book learning didn’t do it for me. Motherhood, I think, is similar. It’s genuine on the job training, and the funny thing is, once you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, the kids grow a little or hit a sleep regression or develop a new habit. The job constantly changes, and you are left to just back up and punt.
Being a mom to our two is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve only dipped my toes in the water. Sometimes, ten p.m. will roll around, and I literally do not know how I made it through the day. I don’t know how we handle two babies. They ARE double the trouble. I DO need a blessing. I AM exhausted. My hands ARE full.
But even though those things are true in one way, they aren’t at all true in another. I AM making it through the days. In fact, we’ve almost made it through six months…six difficult but glorious months. We are handling our double portion; these babies are double the joy and double the love and double the laughs and double the fun. I am beyond blessed. I am happy. And my heart is full to the very brim.