As women, we know the importance of having a good support system when we are expecting and raising our children. But oftentimes, fathers are expected to provide, help their wives and children and do it all without really having time to get together with other dads and share their thoughts. I wrote up some questions that may be on the minds of fathers who just found out they are expecting twins, and asked my husband to give his input in hopes that some of their thoughts would be addressed.
What were some of your thoughts and feelings when you found out I was expecting twins?
I thought it was exciting! I thought about the possibility of having two young ones at the same time who would grow up together and be great friends.
How did you manage the two older children and your busy work and home schedule while I was on bed rest for 14 weeks?
I remember we tried to mix up our usual routine to accommodate for the fact that you were on strict bed rest; I would try to bathe the kids at night if needed. Attending church meetings was hard because for the first time in my life, I had two young children by myself at church for two months. Fortunately we had lots of good neighbors, friends and members of our church group who saved the day in that aspect, because I don't think I could have fulfilled all of my responsibilities without some help.
Do you think having extra responsibilities with my being on bed rest helped prepare you for juggling four young kids?
I think I did a lot more dishes and housework than I normally have to. So that was kind of hard just to find time to get everything done and still take care of you and the kids. But at the same time, I feel like where it was challenging then, I was able to get through it and it was evidence to me that I was ready for a new chapter of personal growth in my life.
How has having the twins contributed to your well-being and happiness?
It's neat to see that they both have a unique personality even though they have identical DNA from birth. I like to watch them play as buddies and I like to think that they will each have a friend forever. I've certainly been less selfless in the last 18 months; you have very little opportunity to spend time on your personal interests. And I like that it's pushed me to the next tier in terms of being willing to think outside myself and serve others.
So, would you say that having twins has been a good thing?
Absolutely. I think it's a calling in life to have twins. The learning curve is very steep, especially at first and it is so wonderful when family and friends will step in and help. There has been much need for me to exercise more patience but there has also been many days where I have noticed an increased level of joy in my life just because we have the twins. I have felt an increase of joy in our family with each child, but when we had the twins, it was double the increase.
What is fun about having twins?
I like to see people's reactions out in public when we have both of them in the stroller together dressed similarly. I remember when I had to go get their blood tested within the first week of their birth; I got a lot of stares when I first walked in the doors. People who don't even know us want to know about the twins, if they are similar or different in personality and people have an added interest. It is fun to see how interested people are in the twins when we are out and about.
How has having twins strengthened our relationship?
We are definitely more dependent on one another to help each other. It's virtually impossible to do everything on our own so we do it together. I think we can look back and think it was a real blessing that one birth created two individuals and it's been fun to watch them grow together with you. I'm grateful you are their mother.
What advice do you have for fathers who just found out their wives are expecting twins?
Enjoy your sleep while you can get it, because if it's anything like I've experienced, those days are going to be gone very soon. One of the things that helped me during those sleepless nights was I put a playlist on my iPod of songs that I enjoy and inspire me; so as I was up in the early mornings feeding the twins, I would listen to that playlist and the lack of sleep didn't seem to bother me as much.
Alicia is a mother to four children, including identical twin boys. She is also a former high school English teacher. She writes about family and home on her blog. She enjoys the funny things her children do and say and is the author of Motherhood or The Widening Gap Between Showers (available on Amazon).