Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the experiences from mothers in our Denver Natural Mom community about expanding their families. Thank you, Mia for your honesty!
When my husband and I decided we wanted to try for baby #2, we took two different approaches. His was more along the lines of, “it will happen when it happens, there’s no rush”, whereas my mentality was “let me buy all the ovulation kits and obsess about my cycle every minute of every day”. In hindsight, I wish I would have relaxed. There really was no rush, and had I known how overwhelming and difficult our situation was about to become, I definitely would have put less pressure on myself. But that’s not what happened.
To make a long story short, I became pregnant in April 2015 and learned the next month that we would we welcoming baby #2 AND baby #3. Suddenly, all the excitement I felt disappeared and fear took its place. It took a lot of time for that news to digest, and eventually I did get excited again. People to this day tell me, “oh you’re so lucky, I always wanted twins!” Yes, I am incredibly blessed, but the fantasy versus the reality of multiples are very different. I didn’t really understand that reality until after they were born, because just like having your first baby, nothing can prepare you for it.
I worried incessantly about how my toddler, Harper, would adjust to having two newborns in the house. After all, she was used to being the center of attention and doing a variety of activities when I was home with her. How would she handle not only divided attention and the need to entertain herself at times, but also being much more housebound? I showered her with as much attention as I could before the babies arrived, but toward the end, I was exhausted and it became very difficult and even painful to walk. And then it hit me. She wasn’t going to be my only child anymore. I had spent all this time worrying about how she would adjust, but what about how I would adjust to loving three children instead of my one and only? Even though I knew I would love these new babies just as much as I loved their sister, I was heartbroken. I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss it being just the two of us. I knew that everything was going to change, and it was a very bittersweet feeling.
Once the babies arrived, it was hard. I mean HARD. I will be the first to admit that motherhood has been my greatest challenge yet, although incredibly rewarding. Having twins is one thing. Having twins in addition to other children is another. In my case, there were two of us and three of them…we were outnumbered. It is impossible to meet everyone’s needs all the time. Thankfully, we have family nearby who were absolutely essential to our survival those first several months. Harper stayed the night at my moms house on many different occasions, which allowed her to not only get out of the house, but also get some individualized attention that she so desperately wanted and deserved. I’ll admit, having one less child was a bit of a break for me as well. Because Harper was not yet two when the twins were born, we didn’t feel there was a way we could prepare her mentally or emotionally for this life changing event. We did get her baby dolls, and she enjoyed pushing them in her toy stroller and putting on their diapers. However, adjusting to real babies in the house was very different. The first several months are a blur, and I think we were all in survival mode. It was rough at first, but today is a different story. Harper enjoys playing, hugging, cuddling, and kissing her sisters. She knows what to expect from them and understands that their needs may be more urgent than hers (I need a bottle NOW), although not less important.
One thing we made sure of is that at the end of the day, Harper got either one of us or both of us to put her to bed. That has become a sacred time where we can connect with just her to read stories, sing songs, and be silly. No matter how crazy the day was, how tired we all are, or how needy her sisters were, that is her time. I know that Harper won’t ever remember what it was like to not have siblings, but I will, so it’s my time too.
Photo Credit: Ashlee Burke Photography
Mia Gorrell is a lifestyle photographer that specializes in newborns, children, and families. She uses natural light whenever possible to capture real, unscripted moments. To learn more about Mia’s work, visit her Facebook page here.