Twinning is winning: What life is like for parents of multiples
What is life like for those parents who welcome not one, but two bundles of joy – at the same time? Kate Farr learns more about the life-changing magic of multiples.
Sarah Ward, mum to two-and-a-half-year-old Alice and Ben, first discovered that the family would be welcoming twins at just seven weeks pregnant. “To see those two little hearts beating for the first time was indescribable,” she says. “I burst into tears!”
For Amanda Cheung, mum of six-month-old sons Mason and Grayson, the journey to becoming a mother of two was quite a rollercoaster ride. After experiencing some bleeding at nine weeks pregnant, she was rushed to the emergency room. Six hours later, after numerous tests and a 40-minute ultrasound, her husband was brought in. “The sonographer proceeded to show us heartbeats on both the left and right sides,” Amanda says. “We’d gone from thinking we had one baby, to potentially none, and finally to two!”
A two-for-one special
When it came to preparing for their new arrivals, both Sarah and Amanda chose to be pragmatic about their nesting, with neither mum opting to buy two of everything. “I did buy some gender-specific clothes, but otherwise the twins shared bottles, blankets and so on,” says Sarah.
“Two cribs and a double stroller are essential purchases,” says Amanda. “But my best buy was a book – Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins by Dr Mark Weissbluth.”
The women’s experiences varied greatly when it came to ensuring that they had sufficient support. While Amanda’s recently retired dad was able to move in for a couple of months to help out, Sarah, whose family lives in the UK, relied solely on her husband and helper.
“I’ve met a few other mums of twins, which helps a lot when you need a sympathetic ear or some advice,” Sarah says. “I’d definitely recommend joining a few of the mum- orientated DB Facebook pages, as well as the Hong Kong Mothers of Multiples Facebook page.”
Both Sarah and Amanda admit that it can be challenging for busy twin parents to stay mindful of their relationship with each other. Aude Mahoudeau-Campoyer, practitioner of psychotherapy, sophrologist and hypnotherapist at DB-based Brief Therapy HK, backs this up, saying: “A couple go from being two individuals taking care of each other to the same individuals taking care of two young babies. They have no time for each other, never mind time for themselves.”
Aude encourages twin parents to accept that they can’t be fully present for each other, knowing that this is only a phase. “It is important, however, to find some time to share your feelings, fears and concerns,” she says. “This is one of the most exciting adventures of your life, so team up and accept the challenge.”