How family and friends can help
In the hospital
It was nice when loved ones came to hold the babies but didn’t need to have a long conversation. I was able to sit, rest and watch them hold my girls without exerting emotional energy. As an introvert, a lot of conversations drain me, and because I was already exhausted by the experience of childbirth, maintaining conversation was even more difficult than normal. However, some mothers may need to socialize because doing so fuels their energy. It really depends on the personality and emotional needs of the mother.
Bringing babies home
When my husband had to go back to work after the birth of our twins, I was too scared to even take a shower in case something happened to them. I wanted to be able to hear every cry and noise. I experienced a lot of anxiety initially. Parenting newborn twins is frightening at first, especially if you’re a first-time parent. When my dad and stepmother came to visit me one day, they took care of the babies while I showered, got dressed and sat alone on my bed for a few minutes so I could mentally reset. This small act meant the world to me (and no doubt, to them).
I have a hard time accepting help, especially when it comes to caring for my twins, but when my mother came to visit after they were born, she cleaned out and organized my pantry. That was wonderful. Another loved one who stayed with us swept the floors while I attended to some work and the babies were napping. It was one less thing I had to stress about, even though a part of me felt guilty that it wasn’t already done before our houseguest’s arrival.
Dropping off meals for parents of newborns is helpful. With my husband at work, I wouldn’t even think about what the adults were going to eat; same for when I had family visiting. So, those friends and neighbors who dropped off food, said a quick hello and then left were the best. My brain was all over the place and too fatigued for chitchat. Plus, with the chaos of newborn twins and working from home, when I had a spare minute, I preferred quiet time by myself more than catching up with friends. Personally, it just wasn’t the right time for it.
Getting out and about
Once I finally ventured out of the house to have lunch with friends (with babies in tow, of course), it was such a luxury to eat with two hands while they held and played with the babies. With my anxiety, it helped to see that the babies were safe and cared for, and I was able to enjoy my time without the usual stress that came with figuring out how to care for twin newborns in public by myself.
Every parent of multiples has different needs and methods, but these are what have worked for us. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey when and as you can. It’s tough, but when you find what works for your family, the magic, beauty and wonder of parenting multiples become even more apparent.