Guest written by Heather Karpinsky
My twin boys (Grant & Gavin) were born two warriors, arriving at just 31 weeks. My birth story was not the one I had imagined.
I think most parents of premature babies feel a little alone and struggle with a lot of different emotions when dealing with a different arrival for their babies than expected. I know I did. It was so hard to see my boys and not be able to hold them. It broke my heart. I instantly loved them with all my heart, but I also felt scared and guilty. I wished during those first couple of days that I had someone to talk to who understood my feelings.
My wonderful family, friends, husband, and the Internet (LOL) really helped me through the first year of parenting twins. I always enjoyed searching for tips and suggestions online during my new schedule/free time (3 a.m., 5 a.m., etc.), and I wanted to share two of my favorite pieces of advice, plus a couple things I learned along the way.
“Don’t let other people’s advice worry/bother you. Most people had only one baby at a time. It’s much different with two! Never feel like a bad parent because you aren’t doing what parents of singletons are (whatever it may be).”
I love that advice from Babble.com because it came to me on a day I needed to hear it. As a new mom to twins, even simple outings seemed impossible. Over time I learned that it is hard for parents of singletons to truly understand. Their advice is based on their experiences, and the intricacies of having two are not accounted for, but I learned over the next two years I would be able to do all those outings and more!
“There’s no right way to do it. The best advice only works half the time. And Mom, it’s not your fault.”
I love this advice as well from Laura (SunnyDayFamily.com) because it is the truth! I always searched online hoping to find and solve all my struggles (getting both my boys to sleep through the night or getting them to eat vegetables). It became frustrating when the recommended solutions didn’t work, and I always felt guilty. But over time I learned you can’t rush things. It will happen eventually.
If your twins are in the NICU, ask the nurses if they can organize a meet-up for all the parents, or join an online support group. Making friends with other mothers who had their babies in the NICU really helped me keep my head up during that time.
Also, before your twins graduate and leave the NICU, ask the NICU nurses for their email addresses. I can’t tell you how many times I emailed our NICU nurse during the first three months at home. Advice is a great thing to have, and having an expert who also knows your children is priceless.
Best wishes for health and happiness with your twins!
Heather Stoeckel Karpinsky is the founder of Baby A & Baby B LLC and the inventor of the Twin Feeding Set. Heather lives with her family in Louisiana. She is the coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Twins, Triplets, and More.