Coping with twin babies 

Diana and Paul have twin babies. They describe their experience of managing the first weeks and months with the boys, from feeding to lack of sleep. They also describe the different challenges they faced both as parents and as a couple. Diana, for example, had postnatal depression while Paul felt it hard at first to find his role as a father and to support his wife. Find out how they pulled through and now enjoy being the parents of twins.

Twins: myth or fact?

Transcript of Coping with twin babies

I think I was in shock when I found out.

It wasn't necessarily a bad thing but the reality was quite intense.

I was really pleased when we heard.

It was amazing, really.

I think it was about six years we were trying for a baby.

By the time the boys were born, my stomach was out there.

And I couldn't really move.

It was quite extraordinary.

I did find the first few weeks amazingly tough going.

Every three hours you're feeding.

It is relentless because I had an hour-and-a-half in between feeds

to sort of eat, to maybe have a shower, sleep.

Probably took about five weeks or six weeks to trust your own instinct.

I really felt out of my depth, especially with two.

I think for a dad, as well, with twins

there isn't a chance to kind of stand there with your arms folded

letting the woman do everything.

You're in there together.

I had post natal depression.

So that kicked in really early.

I was really quite sick.

I found it difficult to cope with the boys.

I wasn't sleeping. I lost my appetite.

I was really hyper anxious all the time.

So Paul, I know, found that really hard to cope with

because he was struggling just to manage with the boys.

When somebody has PND, as well,

it kind of makes everything a bit more fraught and tense in the relationship.

I think that became a bit more isolating, as well.

Because your partner suddenly disappears and you think they mightn't come back.

The personality has changed and gone. That's a very scary thing.

Luckily, Diana had a really good GP

and she picked up on the post natal depression really early.

There's such a big build up to having babies.

Everyone is so delighted. "Look, aren't they lovely?"

You're thinking, "This isn't so lovely at all."

"I'm tired, I don't know what to do."

I think everyone will sympathise to a certain extent.

It's just when it gets so extreme that you actually lose some kind of control

it's really important to get help.

There's the Tamba helpline.

It's always there for people if they want to call in and are struggling.

Being on your own looking after them,

it used to terrify me being here on my own with them.

I thought everything is going to go wrong.

But now it's easier to swap between both of us

and not feel we both have to be there all the time with both of them.

We're making more of an effort to take them out separately

just to give them a little bit of time

when they don't have to compete for anyone's attention.

There are a lot of things pulling you in different directions.

You never get it all right.

But you just try and do the best you can.

We also try and find some time together

and do get babysitters every now and then.

It sounds like a luxury or thing you could do without,

but, actually, I've found it's important.

I'm so grateful for any help I can get.

I strongly advise anyone who has twins to get any help, any support.

Whether it's friends or family,

whether you find someone you like to look after the kids for a while.

It gives me some time out and some head space.

I think that's absolutely crucial.

It is the toughest thing, sleep deprivation.

When you're tired, you're ratty, you're pissed off.

That's when you row or you get at each other.

And the smallest things can irritate you.

I think that's when it can take a toll on your relationship.

You're not always as nice or generous to each other as you could be.

I try and make sure I get a certain amount of sleep

because it changes everything.

As long as I get that amount of sleep,

it might be hard work but I can cope with it.

It's finding the balance between what they need and what works for you.

I don't think there's any points for being a martyr

or for doing something that doesn't feel right for you.

I think whatever way works, go with it.

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