Are you expecting twins – or more?
For an insight into life with multiples, we chatted with Inner West Mum of three, Melita Jazbec, who has girl/boy twins, now six years of age, and a singleton, 11 years. Melita is also the current president of the Inner West Multiple Births Association, a not-for-profit organisation that offers support and resources to families with multiples.
How was your pregnancy with the twins? Were there any complications?
I had a very good pregnancy, with no morning sickness, and I felt generally well. However, at around 26 weeks, I developed gestational diabetes. I was able to manage it with diet. Pregnancy complications are far more common with multiple births. I didn’t have gestational diabetes with my singleton, only with the twins.
How was the birth? Were there any complications?
It was great! I had a drug-free, vaginal birth. It was pretty short, less than two hours. I birthed standing up and was laid down on the bed only when they needed to monitor the second twin with an ultrasound. The twins were born five minutes apart. They were healthy weights: 3.3 kilograms and 3.1 kilograms. Straight after the birth we all stayed together.
What did you find were some of the challenging aspects of having newborn multiples?
Breastfeeding was challenging, despite having breastfed my older one successfully. One of the twins fed well, but the other one not so well, so I needed to be careful about my supply. I had help from a lactation consultant. She helped me devise a plan to tackle the problems and it totally worked as they both breastfed till they were three years of age.
Other than that, you’re constantly outnumbered! I found it difficult when I had to leave one baby to cry while I attended the other – I felt really guilty about that. Going out was tricky too, as it required so much careful planning. You needed to think about how you’d get two babies into the car on your own or how you’d manage with public transport, how you’d breastfeed in public, and so on.
What were the challenging aspects of those first few years?
The first few years are hard physical work. Your little ones depend on you for everything. And it is challenging to keep them safe as they become mobile. They tend to work as a team from an early age. You need to be on constant alert!
A lack of support has been the most difficult aspect for our family. With our family overseas, we are here doing it solo. We have some very kind friends. We knew that many people find twins overwhelming, so we tended not to ask our friends for help unless it was the last resort. Some friends have stuck with us, and some have parted.
For you, what are some of the joyful aspects of having twins?
The twins have brought us so much joy! It melts my heart watching them play together and care for each other and seeing the close bond that they have developed. Looking back, I wish I’d taken more photos. But I was always busy!
Image courtesy of Melita Jazbec
What advice do you have for couples expecting twins or more?
My advice: don’t be shy to ask for help, and never turn down any offers of help. I would recommend expectant parents join their local Multiple Births Club as it can provide a huge source of information and support. The antenatal information sessions, where parent share their experiences and advice, are particularly helpful. I would also recommend stocking your freezer with meals. It is such a relief not to have to cook after a day of looking after newborn twins. I also found a good pram and supportive breastfeeding pillow extremely useful. Enjoy the ride – it is going to be special!
What benefits has your involvement in the Inner West Multiple Births Association brought?
Where do I start? Initially I really appreciated talking to people who understood the realities of life with multiples and getting all the hints that we needed. I particularly enjoyed the playgroup, which was great for the kids as they realised that there are others out there who are like them. For me it was a safe environment for them to play and an opportunity for some downtime and adult conversation.
Over the years, our whole family has formed some wonderful friendships through this community. IWMBA has provided many social events for families with multiples. It even arranged a weekend away. My older child was also able to attend all the events and has made friends with other siblings of multiples, which is a unique experience as well.
The Inner West Multiple Births Association holds regular information sessions for parents expecting multiples. See their website for details. You can also follow the Inner West Multiple Births Association on Facebook here.
You might also enjoy:
Welcoming Baby Number Two
When is Enough, Enough?
When Two Becomes Three (or More)