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  1. #1
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    Default How to help a friend?

    A dear friend of mine just had beautiful and healthy twins. Her mom has been with her for a month and my friend is really stressed. She is really worried about what will happen when both kids are crying. I'm her only friend with a kid but I don't know anything about multiples. I can only tell her to be kind to herself and cut herself a slack. I feel so inept saying anything since I can't say "I know how you feel" because obviously, twins are totally different and I can't even imagine how she feels. Any advice on what is the "right" thing to say in this situation.
    Mommy to my little bear cubs DD1 and DD2- 4/2010 and 4/2012

  2. #2
    Melaine is online now Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Just say what you just said, that you don't know how it will be, but that you are sure she can handle it. Just keep telling her she can do it. Because she will have to. Her feelings are totally natural (and correct, raising twins can be hellish). It's ok for them to cry sometimes. Honestly, she's lucky to have had her mom but it might have robbed her of her confidence. We brought the girls home on a Saturday and I had them all day every day by myself (while DH was at work) from Monday forward. Surviving parenting twins is definitely my biggest accomplishment, it was unbelievably difficult.

    You can refer her here for further venting/comfort.

  3. #3
    twowhat? is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melaine View Post
    Just say what you just said, that you don't know how it will be, but that you are sure she can handle it. Just keep telling her she can do it. Because she will have to. Her feelings are totally natural (and correct, raising twins can be hellish). It's ok for them to cry sometimes. Honestly, she's lucky to have had her mom but it might have robbed her of her confidence. We brought the girls home on a Saturday and I had them all day every day by myself (while DH was at work) from Monday forward. Surviving parenting twins is definitely my biggest accomplishment, it was unbelievably difficult.

    You can refer her here for further venting/comfort.
    Yup, this. This is the mantra that must be repeated when you have multiples. "I can do it because I have to." She will quickly get used to the crying (because she has to). And definitely refer her here or suggest a multiples support group. I didn't have any friends with twins when mine were born and honestly a lot of my single-child-at-a-time friends would try to give "helpful" advice that ended up being hurtful because they just don't apply in the same way with twins. I often ended up feeling inadequate, as if I should be able to not let a baby cry like my friends with singletons were able to do. And then even resentful for the "easy" life that they had, being able to love and focus on one baby at a time. The best thing my friends could say to me at that time (and even now) was/is something along the lines of "I don't know how you do it but they look GREAT. You amaze me." and "I know it can't be easy but you make it look easy." Those were always big pick-me-ups My favorite from a friend's mom (a retired pediatrician): "Wow, they are FAT. Great job!" Let her vent and just acknowledge how she is feeling. It's OK to say you don't understand what she's going through but you believe her when she says how rotten it is

    eta: another thing that helped was to validate what I was feeling: "that has to be so incredibly hard, I can't even imagine", say things about how well the babies looked "I've never seen such beautiful skin, you must be taking really good care of them!", comment on holding or feeding, etc two babies "I would totally drop one if I had to pick up two at a time!" and lastly...to BRING A DINNER. I am still grateful for those who brought by meals. They were SUCH a huge help!!!

    And ITA about surviving twins being a huge accomplishment. I really wish I could put that on my resume. Something very interesting - we had to take Strengths Finders tests at work. I took one before I got pregnant. I quit my job after having the twins and 1.5 years later returned to the same job. I had to take another Strengths Finders test and it is VERY interesting that one of my top 5 strengths the second time around was "Adaptability". "Adaptability" wasn't even in my top five the first time. I think it says a lot, because most everyone who takes the test more than once reports similar outcomes. Multiples force you to become a whiz at adapting, and adapt she will!!
    Last edited by twowhat?; 11-29-2011 at 12:49 AM.

  4. #4
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    "Surviving parenting twins is definitely my biggest accomplishment, it was unbelievably difficult".


    I agree with this as well. IT should be on our resume' as it is more than a full time job. I also agree with Melanie that having her mom there might have robbed her of some of her confidence. I am a huge advocate of parents, friends, etc not being there initially to allow you to get confident with your baby or babies. I see too often parents falling completely apart once the help leaves and people tend to have an even harder time after some time has gone by getting things together. In my opinion you figure out your kids, yourself and your spouse when you are on your own. The time has gone by now with your friend so she IS going to have a tough adjustment and refigure things for herself but this will be a good thing in the end. Trust me. I have 5 kids including twins and I have survived. It is never easy. IF this is your friends first children, than she also has to deal with new mother syndrome and it is a double whammy. But she will make it, we with multiple children all have.

    I loved going my moms of multiples group here. Sometimes we get so bottled up at home with the babies that we can see straight. For me joining a moms group and getting out and talking with other moms in the same situation was a lifesaver. I quickly realized that if they could do it, so could I. Sometimes it was the only time I was out of the house completely by myself and that is priceless. IT can be hard to believe you can leave your children but it is good for them and for you.

    She will be fine. There will be a lot of adjustment and that is just how it is. Let her complain and tell it like it is. Remind her that there are so many others out there going through a multiples birth-recovery- and getting them settled at home and they all make it. Not always glamorously but we all do it. For me I needed sometimes to remember that I couldn't have it all, such as a clean house and me looking decent most days. Some days it was days without a shower, the same clothes on and my house looked like a bomb went off but my kids were healthy, clean and fed!

    It is also alright for the babies to cry. this notion of going in there every time one of them needs something will eventually fly out the window. it is impossible to be there for both kids every single minute of the day. Let her adjust and then maybe offer to sit with them for a little while so she can take care of herself. That is really the hardest part. Taking care of ourselves and if she is bf'ing she will really need to take care of herself.

    Best wishes and she IS going to make it and she will be super proud of herself and gain confidence in herself doing it on her own. As my neighbor said to me "God, doesn't give you more than you can handle." Then she said, "hmm, he only blessed me with one child and you with 5. He obviously doesn't think I can handle very much!"

    B

    DS 03, 06, twins 09 and new baby 7/11 and survivor or a pre-tween, an artist, 2.5 yr old twins and their drama and a surprise new baby.
    Last edited by glbb35; 11-29-2011 at 01:20 PM. Reason: forgot to edit before posting. typing with a baby on the lap is hard!

  5. #5
    elektra's Avatar
    elektra is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by twowhat? View Post
    Yup, this. This is the mantra that must be repeated when you have multiples. "I can do it because I have to." She will quickly get used to the crying (because she has to). And definitely refer her here or suggest a multiples support group. I didn't have any friends with twins when mine were born and honestly a lot of my single-child-at-a-time friends would try to give "helpful" advice that ended up being hurtful because they just don't apply in the same way with twins. I often ended up feeling inadequate, as if I should be able to not let a baby cry like my friends with singletons were able to do. And then even resentful for the "easy" life that they had, being able to love and focus on one baby at a time. The best thing my friends could say to me at that time (and even now) was/is something along the lines of "I don't know how you do it but they look GREAT. You amaze me." and "I know it can't be easy but you make it look easy." Those were always big pick-me-ups My favorite from a friend's mom (a retired pediatrician): "Wow, they are FAT. Great job!" Let her vent and just acknowledge how she is feeling. It's OK to say you don't understand what she's going through but you believe her when she says how rotten it is

    eta: another thing that helped was to validate what I was feeling: "that has to be so incredibly hard, I can't even imagine", say things about how well the babies looked "I've never seen such beautiful skin, you must be taking really good care of them!", comment on holding or feeding, etc two babies "I would totally drop one if I had to pick up two at a time!" and lastly...to BRING A DINNER. I am still grateful for those who brought by meals. They were SUCH a huge help!!!

    And ITA about surviving twins being a huge accomplishment. I really wish I could put that on my resume. Something very interesting - we had to take Strengths Finders tests at work. I took one before I got pregnant. I quit my job after having the twins and 1.5 years later returned to the same job. I had to take another Strengths Finders test and it is VERY interesting that one of my top 5 strengths the second time around was "Adaptability". "Adaptability" wasn't even in my top five the first time. I think it says a lot, because most everyone who takes the test more than once reports similar outcomes. Multiples force you to become a whiz at adapting, and adapt she will!!
    I opened this thread before I realized it was in the Multiples forum but I'm glad I did because after reading this post, I realized I needed to give a shout out to my friend with twins. I used some of your compliments twowhat. I have a friend who had at one point said she never wanted kids, and was just not someone who I would describe as "motherly". But she just posted some pics on FB last night and she looks great and so do her girls. I feel like if she can do it, anyone can!
    And I don't have twins either but I had a 2 yo when DS was born who needed a lot of attention and sometimes I had to let little DS cry, as I imagine a twin would have to cry as the mom attended the other twin.
    DD - 9
    DS - 7

  6. #6
    fivi2 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Sometimes they cry. There is nothing she can do to fix that - just do triage - is anyone actually hurt, in danger, or having an actual crisis? Then that baby gets her attention first. (even if that one got it first last time - there is no way to keep things "even"). Once that baby is settled to some extent, then turn to the next baby's needs. If she tries to see to both at the same time, then neither one will be happy or get what they need.

    We kept a chart for feeding and diapers. I think I got into a debate here once, and some people seem very against them... Ours wasn't to tell us when to do something, it was to remember when we last did something. So if someone was crying, I could say - oops she must be hungry - it has been a while since she ate (or she didn't eat as much/nurse as long last time). I was in a total fog the first few months and didn't remember anything unless it was written down. It was a valuable tool for me. (but, I did not look at it as a schedule to tell me when the next feeding/changing/sleeping time was. It was a record because I would not remember who had eaten what when)

    The twins will adjust. They will not expect every cry to be answered immediately. It will be fine. Tell her to do what she can and cut herself some slack on the rest. dh can pick up meals on the way home from work. The house can be a mess. Swings/bouncers/etc are not evil. Do not focus on trying to give each twin the exact same thing. They will have different needs, and that is okay. It doesn't mean she doesn't love them equally, and they will.not.remember. that their diaper was changed second every time!

    I wish I could tell you more, but those first 6 months are a black hole in my memory! I remember almost nothing except lack of sleep and a lot of pumping!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melaine View Post
    Just say what you just said, that you don't know how it will be, but that you are sure she can handle it. Just keep telling her she can do it. Because she will have to. Her feelings are totally natural (and correct, raising twins can be hellish). It's ok for them to cry sometimes. Honestly, she's lucky to have had her mom but it might have robbed her of her confidence. We brought the girls home on a Saturday and I had them all day every day by myself (while DH was at work) from Monday forward. Surviving parenting twins is definitely my biggest accomplishment, it was unbelievably difficult.

    You can refer her here for further venting/comfort.
    Completely agree. I had close to zero experience with kids, especially babies. She can do it, just keep giving her support, and tell her you know it's hard. Keep an eye out for PPD though.
    Mommy to my wonderful, HEALTHY twin girls
    6/08 - Preemies no more!

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