You've received the surprise of your life. "You're having twins!" (or more!) Suddenly your pregnancy is filled with double delight, and probably a double dose of anxiety also. You've just discovered you're expecting multiples, and life as you know it will never be the same.
Your mind is whirring with questions. How did this happen? What if I deliver early? How will I tell them apart? Do we need another crib, carseat, or a bigger house? How will we ever afford college times two? Argh!
Take a deep breath. It's time to consult with the experts -- parents of multiples who have been through this same situation and lived to tell the tale. Talking to other families will reassure your fears and convince you that life with multiples is actually fun! While your body prepares your babies for birth, advice from other mothers and fathers will help you prepare your heart and your home.
With multiple birth on the rise, chances are you know someone with twins or triplets. Get in touch with them and share your exciting news. They'll be thrilled that you've been doubly blessed, and more than likely will be happy to provide some advice. But if you don't know anyone offhand, here are other ways to connect with parents and establish a support network:
- Clubs for families with multiples are found in nearly every city. Your obstetrician's office or hospital may have contact information for a local club. Or, consult a national organization like the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (NOMOTC) in the United States or Multiple Births Canada (formerly known as POMBA). For links to clubs throughout the world, consult our guide to Finding Support.
- If you'd prefer to confer from the comfort of your keyboard, seek out online communities for parents of multiples. Here on this site, you'll find a vibrant and welcoming group of parents posting in our message board forum and congregating in our chat room. Don't be shy; jump right in with any questions or concerns. You're sure to receive a supportive response.
Several excellent books are available, many written by parents of multiples. Everything Twins, Triplets and More is a good one to start with. It's the book I would have wanted to read when I found out I was having twins -- and it's the one that I wrote! There are plenty of other books on the market as well. Find advice and information from celebrity moms like Jane Seymour or breastfeeding advocate Karen Kerkhoff Gromada. You'll also find personal stories from parents in Twins Magazine, available on newstands or by subscription. The more you know about the marvels of multiples, the more prepared you'll be for the challenges you'll encounter along the way.
You probably have lots of questions about having twins. How will I know who's who? Can I breastfeed twins? Will I have to go on bedrest? Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about twin/multiple pregnancy here: Twin Pregnancy FAQ. If your question is not addressed in the FAQ, please ask me using the submission form. I am constantly updating the FAQ and want to make sure that it addresses the needs and concerns of expectant parents of multiples.
Finally, a multiple pregnancy can be subject to more severe medical complications than a single pregnancy, and you may be alarmed to find yourself categorized as high risk. While there is reason for caution, there's no cause for panic.
As you talk to fellow parents of multiples, ask them about their experience. You might hear a few frightening stories of preterm labor and extended hospitalization, but you'll also be reassured that many mothers deliver healthy full-term babies without any problems at all. The majority of multiple pregnancies do have a happy ending; even worst case scenarios can be remedied by the miracles of modern medicine.
Good luck! Your journey is just beginning. There will be moments of fear, frustration and fatigue, but also much joy, amazement and love. Welcome to the wonderful world of multiples.