My girls are one year old today. K and H have changed so much in the past year and it has been absolutely amazing watching them turn from tiny, tiny babies under five pounds each to vivacious one year olds who seem to be all over the place doing all sorts of new things. Things have changed so quickly. This past year has been filled with hope, happiness, love, and if I am being completely honest... fear. I've learned so much in the past year and I am continuing to learn all the time.
- You can't plan for what will go wrong, you can't plan for what will go right: Twin pregnancy, especially identical twin pregnancy, is fraught with potential complications. I already knew my girls would be born early but when I went into a labor a week before I planned for them to be born, I absolutely freaked out. I was worried about how much help they would need and how much time we'd have to spend in the NICU but these girls came out doing amazingly. Neither one needed any NICU time.
- Give yourself grace: Here's the truth: there's no one way to raise a kid (as much as I would have loved an owner's manual for K and H). You go with your gut and leave the noise behind. Everyone is going to have opinions. People thought we were crazy for having a fairly strict schedule from day one but particularly with twins, you have to or you will go crazy. Not everything you do will work at all. Not everything you do will work every single time. You will know your kids the best and you have to be confident in that. When things don't work, give yourself grace and try again.
- You don't know everything and that's okay: This is a follow on to the lesson above. I'm the kind of person that follows directions to a T. I'm rigid and I tread carefully if I am not sure what I'm doing. In parenthood, you have to make decisions quickly. There's not time to read a million books (Boo!) or Google everything (and actually Google will probably mostly just scare you so leave it alone - step away from the keyboard)! There were so many moments over the past year where I had a WTF moment where I wasn't sure what I should do. It is okay to ask for help! It took me a long time to get to that point where I'd ask for help and sometimes I still have difficulty doing that but I'm working on it. It's healthier that way!
- Build a Network: I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people but being a parent has brought so many more fabulous people into my life in addition to giving me a new appreciation for the relationships that I already had. I've met people by sitting on my front porch with the girls - one of them has a daughter who is three and has become one of my go-to people when it comes to what I should be expecting my girls to do next. The girls have a whole cadre of amazing teachers at daycare that have showed me just how much you can do to start raising even the smallest minds and bodies to great heights. Being a parent of multiples almost automatically enters you into a world of support. I have met so many people through my Parents of Multiples group who are so supportive and so helpful when it comes to asking advice and they are a whole lot of fun to hang around with.
It's also given me a great appreciation for so many of the relationships that I already had. There are few things that have brought me as much joy as seeing my husband, my partner, the man that I fell in love with be a parent to my girls. It melts my heart to see him hold and interact with our daughters. Our relationship has so many new dimensions now. I've always been close to my parents but I've felt that's been raised to a whole 'nother level in the past year. Becoming a parent myself gives me such a greater appreciation for my childhood and how my parents raised me. I’ve also always been close to my sisters but they have been my saviors so much through the past year. They’re always on hand to help and to love my girls. I also so appreciate all of the relationships that I have with my friends, regardless of if they have children or not. Not everything has to be bottles and diapers. It’s good to have that reminder when you’re in the trenches!
- You're stronger than you know: I was daunted by the prospect of having twins. The pregnancy was rough but I go through it. The sleepless nights were rough but you get through it. I wondered how I was going to do everything that you do with a baby (a lot by itself) with two babies but you figure it out. In a world where I can be quite hard on myself, I’ve been able to do all of these things that I never could have thought that I would be able to do. It’s given me a new appreciation and new confidence that I never had before and I will be forever grateful for that.
My mom once told me over this year to imagine how amazing each of us would be if we learned and changed as much as a baby does in its first year of life. It would be so incredibly fantastic! This past year has been a whirlwind and will continue to be for a while yet, I imagine. I am so excited to see what the future brings for my girls! This is the best ride!
Oh What a Difference....
A Year Makes....