parent opinion

'The world will always call them 'the twins'." What no one tells you about having twins.

Every week for the past two years, with no exception, some parent sees me playing with my twins in a public place and says something on the lines of, “I don’t know how you do it. Raising twins must be so difficult!”

Depending on how much coffee (or wine) I’ve had, I either respond with a fake smile and “it certainly isn’t easy”, or I tell them that besides the first few sleepless weeks, I reckon it’s actually a little bit easier to raise twins.

This leaves them flabbergasted. And unintentionally adds fuel to the jealousy fire they’ve been harbouring over twin parents for most of their parenting journey.

Bec Judd tells Mamamia what it’s like to give birth to twins. Post continues below.

Video by MMC

This got me thinking… if my experience of raising twins is the polar opposite to the average person’s perception, it’s probably worth laying this rumour to rest once and for all.

Here are the pros and cons of raising twins. Is it really harder than having just one child? You be the judge!

CON: Twice as pregnant

It’s quite obvious from the very beginning that the regular symptoms of pregnancy are going to be magnified when you’re carrying twins. You’ll get twice as big, have twice as many check-ups, and everyone around you will seem twice as worried about your health due to increased opportunities for complications. That can mean that, you guessed it, it’s twice as difficult to carry twins – both physically and emotionally.

P.S. people are twice as likely to tell you just how large you are, which is, well, annoying.

PRO: Shorter pregnancy

Not a huge fan of being pregnant? Well, a minor perk of carrying twins is that they often come out a bit quicker. Less than half of all twin pregnancies last beyond 37 weeks, with the average twin mum giving birth around 36 weeks. That said…

 

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CON: Premies

As most twins are born prematurely, there’s a very good chance that one or both of your babies will spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). About 20 per cent of twin babies will spend time there, with their average stay lasting nine to 25 days.

Besides the obvious concerns over the physical health of your newborns, you’ll need to cope with the inability to hold and care for your children right away.

PRO: Two names

Choosing a name for a human can be stressful but the power and pride are undeniable. One of the major perks of having twins is that you get to use both of your top two choices!

If you’re lucky enough to have boy-girl twins, you’ll also get a rare chance to do research for two genders at the exact same time!

CON: Recovery

The recovery following a twin pregnancy can take a lot longer than that of a singleton. Besides having gained more weight, twin pregnancies have a much higher chance of resulting in a c-section and mums have higher rates of postpartum depression.

If you’re having twins, you’ll need to make sure you have a support system in place before giving birth. Luckily…

PRO: More support

After the birth of multiples, people are twice as likely to lend a helping hand. Do yourself a favour and say “HELL YES” to any and all offers for cooked meals or overnight babysitters.

CON: Lack of sleep

Juggling the demands of two newborns babies is exhausting. While you attempt to get your twins onto the same schedule, you’ll often be forced to deal with babies sleeping at different times. This means your opportunities to catch up on sleep are much more limited in comparison to parents who have just one child.

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PRO: Twice as many gifts

Parents with multiple children know just how expensive each additional child can be. But unlike them, you’ll be hit with the second mouth to feed (and body to dress) at the exact same time. Lucky for you, everyone will understand that burden and they’ll gift you twice as many things.

If you have boy-girl twins, do yourself a favour and ask for gender-neutral clothes so that the twins can share!

 

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CON: Alone time

When you have just one child, it’s easier to hand them off to your (equally sleep-deprived) partner and dash out for some solo time. But parents of twins often feel bad about leaving their loved one with two very small children. So they ask for breaks twice as less.

If you’re the stay-at-home parent, you’ll find it difficult to get one-on-one time with each of your children. This will be a challenge if you’re looking to develop unique relationships and have separate experiences with each twin.

PRO: Getting over perfection

A major perk of having twins is that you’re forced to get over your perfectionism much faster. You’ll have less time to worry about doing it “right” because you’ll have twice as much to do in a short period of time.

CON: Mess

This one is obvious, right? Two babies means twice as many nappies to change. And two tiny humans means two-times the mess to clean up each day.

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Sean Szeps sits down with Mia Freedman on No Filter. They talk about raising twins, and how he met the love of his life. Post continues below.

PRO: Instant community

Having twins means you’re instantly welcomed into an elusive club. And let me tell you, these parents are spectacularly welcoming. You’ll instantly connect over a shared experience that most other parents will never understand.

CON: Shared milestones

One of the biggest complaints from adult twins is that they had to share everything their entire lives. As a parent, this becomes apparent right away. You’ll need to figure out how to balance two expectations for special occasions, all while considering your own finances and time.

My advice: sing happy birthday to them separately and try to avoid shared presents.

PRO: Instant best friend

This is a biggie. Parents of singletons often feel that they need to give their full attention to their child for the fear of them being bored or lonely. With twins, they have a built-in best friend to keep them distracted from day one. This means you’ll have more opportunities to sit back and check your Instagram while the babies play together.

CON: Taking turns

You’ll learn quickly that whatever you do or give to one child will have to happen for the other twin, too. It’s a stressful balance as a parent to deal with jealousy on a daily basis, ensuring both children get the same experience when it’s simply not always possible.

Your best bet is to buy two of everything. No, seriously.

PRO: Resiliency

Unlike singletons, twins learn to share and take turns at a very young age. This is an invaluable lesson that’s sure to pay off as your children enter daycare.

 

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CON: Individuality

The world will try to lump your children together under one “twins” roof for most of their lives. This is fine when they are babies, but at some point your children will discover individuality and will want to be known as separate people with distinct interests and personalities.

You’ll also have to cope with the social occasions when one child is invited and the other is not.

PRO: One and done

As silly as it may sound, it’s an undeniable advantage to getting two kids out of the way at the same time. Once you’ve pushed through birthing, teething and puberty experiences, you’re done for good. That is, unless you’re silly enough to do it all over again.

Raising twins may seem like “double trouble”, but for most of us who are lucky enough to experience it, it offers “double the joy”.

If you think I’ve missed any elements to raising twins, make sure to pop your experience in the comment section below.

Are you the parent of twins? What are you pros and cons? Tell us in a comment below.

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