Wednesday, 22 August 2012

How to support a twin mum

Here is a guest post from Rebecca at Here come the girls. She blogs about life with her three girls, and especially her two year old twin terrors. Here is the advice she would give to friends or family of a multiple mum.

I was really lucky and have had lots of support from my friends and family when I found out I was expecting twins. It can be a bit of a mine field really. Everyone is expecting one child, but to find there is going to be more than one is a complete shock to everyone. People don't always know how to react, especially if they aren't familiar with twins.

1. When you find out someone you care about is expecting twins be careful expressing your own reaction. Wait to find out how they are feeling. It is such a shock. You might be overwhelmingly delighted but the expectant parents are probably just feeling bewildered and out of their depth. Equally don't tell them how hard twins are, or ask how they are going to possibly cope, they will be worrying themselves. 
I was amazed by how many comments I received which were negative about having twins. By negative I mean - how many people said "Oh god, how will you possibly cope" or "Oh no, poor you, I'd hate to have twins." Congratulate warmly and then offer help. Lots and lots of help.

2. When buying presents, check what they need, money is going to be tight, so every present needs to be useful as well as beautiful. Check the parents' views of twin clothing. People tend to have strong views on whether they want to dress their twins in matching, coordinated or completely different clothes. Also be careful giving hand me downs, sometimes it's harder to find co-ordinated outfits if that's what they want.
It may not sound fancy but probably the best present we had was lots and lots of nappies. You can make them look very fancy with bows and ribbons, but they are the most expensive outlay twin parents will have.

3. Everyone will want to visit the new babies so be careful not to overwhelm the new family in the first few weeks. Let them lead the way. Also be patient if they don't get back to you with messages or phone calls. I found this the hardest in the early days. I was so happy to get the attention but when I did get a few moments to myself I couldn't hold a train of thought. I had a few conversations where I was so drunk with tiredness I made no sense whatsoever!

4. Help as much as possible. Offer something tangible like taking the babies for a walk in the pram rather than just a general offer of help. If the family has older children don't just offer to take them out. I wanted my daughter to stay close to us so she didn't feel pushed out, yet everyone offered to look after her. Instead I would have liked someone to take the babies for a few hours so I could spend time with her, or do some jobs.

All the books say help by doing household tasks. That's brilliant in theory but not many people would want someone looking under their sofa, so check, but do ask because any help would be appreciated. The easiest way to help is to offer to pick things up from the shop before you visit, it's really tricky popping to the shop with two or more babies so this will always be welcome. You can do a big internet shop but it's tricky if you've just run out of milk. 

5. Don't compare having twins to anything else. It isn't like having one baby. It isn't like having two babies eighteen months apart. These things have their own unique challenges. It's the same if I met someone with triplets, or quads. I wouldn't say - oh yes having twins is just as hard. It isn't. Ask them what it's like and what is hard. They will delight in telling you about the unique joys of raising twins. 

Finally tell them repeatedly they look amazing, they are doing a brilliant job and you are so proud of them. Even if they greet you at the front door in a tatty dressing gown, with unwashed hair, baby sick on their shoulder, three day old make-up smeared down their face, a pile of unwashed laundry in every corner and dirty plates on every surface. Tell them they are amazing - even if their twins are nearly five and on their way to school. Honestly twin mums need all the praise they can get - dear Lord - they are they just had two babies at once - two babies I tell you! They deserve a medal. 

You can follow Rebecca on twitter @1978rebecca
or find her on her facebook page


  1. Thanks for guest posting - about time too! Fantastic advice - agree with every single one. :)

  2. Really good advice. My brother had twins last year and if I lived closer to them, I would definitely have found this useful. Because you are right. If you don't have twins, you just don't know what it's like. Also.... the gene is VERY much in our family...I fear for my potential second pregnancy. If I need to, I will forward this onto everyone i know :-))

    1. It is very useful advice. You should go and check out Rebecca's blog for more nuggets of twin wisdom - you never know when you're going to need it!


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