This year was one I will never forget. It was full of lessons of life, love, and selflessness. The year began while I was pregnant with twin girls and we were full of wonder at the thought of soon being parents. I have started this blog post over and over again. rewriting and erasing what I have wrote. I wanted to write something that would capture all the moments of growth and lessons of this year. Something for myself to read back on and appreciate just how far I have grown as an individual, wife and mother. I also wanted to relate to all the new or soon to be mothers out there. If you gave birth to a beautiful baby boy or girl, CONGRATULATIONS! You just experienced one of the most beautiful years of your life. I gave birth to two precious baby girls and cannot believe how much I have learned becoming their mother.
This year I learned that I could love someone I had never met.
I felt a tiny human, or two, dancing around inside me and I loved them both so much. I wanted to protect them, and so started my lessons of selflessness. Such as not TOO hot of baths or caffeine. I am a caffeine-aholic so putting these two humans lives above my own, that was a lesson I learned early on. In all honesty, I cannot believe how fast I let go of any and all things that were possibly threatening to my twins. I realized I had this will power I didn’t know was inside me! Little to no caffeine. No hot baths. No alcohol. No cold sandwiches. The list goes on and on! Thanks to this year, and my two baby girls, I learned that I could put someone else before myself. I was able to be important to someone. Responsible to someone. A job that most parents do not take lightly. It was an emotion, a love that I had never experienced before. Any of you mothers reading this understand. Your child comes before anything, before you even meet them! You would give your left arm to hold them in your right. I honestly did not know I was capable of such a love, but the moment I heard two perfect heartbeats, I was consumed by love for two perfect strangers.
This year I learned I was more maternal than I thought.
Two humans, that I grew at the same time, were placed in my arms! I had never been a mother before, I felt unprepared and uneducated for the job title. I have never been responsible for anyone but myself. I have killed way too many houseplants and goldfish and should have passed a test to be parent. But, there I was. Sobbing like a baby holding two brand new screaming infants and kind of freaking out. One thing reassured me though, I recognized these two babies right away. I knew I was their mom and they were mine forever. We somehow felt like old friends and I realized they were not strangers after all! While this was a nice reassurance, I was still scared to leave the hospital. While my husband was sleeping, and couldn’t be woke, I was able to call a nurse to pass me my babies because I was so sore, or help me latch better. I had women on call who would calm one baby while I was nursing the other, or feed one baby colostrum from a syringe while I nursed the other. It was round the clock feedings and changes. Like literally. But once we got home and I was able to be in my own environment, I was amazed at how comfortable it felt. I could scoop up one and then the other, get comfy on my giant breastfeeding pillow and cuddle both to sleep all by myself. Who was I? I felt like Supermom! Now putting two infants down when they were so tiny and fragile…? Not going to happen. I was sometimes stuck somewhere for 2 hours! I was running on little to no-sleep, was on pain killers, dealing with the pain of breastfeeding and incision pain. How was I even functioning?? Thanks to all those wonderful post-birth hormones I was able to stay up for hours on end and function when I felt like I shouldn’t be able to!
This year I learned I do not need a full night rest.
Like I mentioned before, to say I was sleep deprived would be an understatement. I think I stayed up for 48 hours straight at the hospital because I had the twins at 9:30 PM. I felt like I needed a full 24 hours of sleep to recover from major surgery and caring for two needy nurslings, but I also felt a weird surge of energy when I needed it most! This stage of sleep deprivation drug on for longer than I hoped, but I learned about the power of nap. When I got home from the hospital I immediately laid in bed and shut my eyes. An hour and a half later I head a baby cry from the living room where my husband and family were. I instantly jumped up feeling refreshed and new. Who knew a little bit of rest could do that to a person? I ran on small naps through out the day and night to keep me going for the next few months. I honestly look back with pure amazement at myself and how I even survived.
This year I learned how important rest is.
You may be questioning me right now because this lesson is opposite from the last, and I am questioning myself too. Don’t worry! As a new mom I am always questioning myself, and most of you are nodding in agreement. Also, as a new mom to twins I found myself tired and emotional. If I hadn’t had enough sleep, I was worse than a hungry, tired toddler! I did not know this about myself, and it was shocking to see the way little sleep made me act! I have always been easy to wake up. I normally start the morning out singing and smiling. Settling into my routine and planning the day. But, with newborn twins and little steam I found myself listening to babies cry while tears stung my own eyes. Laying in bed I would tell myself I was so exhausted. I did not want to wake again to nurse two crying infants and rock them back to sleep. I wanted someone to take care of me and swaddle me, rock me, feed me, burp me. Refer to the tired toddler metaphor. It is so embarrassingly spot on! I would sometimes start the day out crying and overwhelmed and I had no idea why. Was it postpartum depression? Maybe a little. Was it sleep-deprivation? Entirely! I learned on those days, I needed a nap. I would sleep when the twins did, or at least lay in bed if my mind wouldn’t shut off. The housework could wait and who needed a shower anyway, right?! With a little more sleep I found I was able to be a better mom. I wasn’t so emotional and overwhelmed, and could see past my temporary problems.
This year I learned everything is temporary.
My 8 month old twins wake up at 6:30 AM every morning! Do you want to know how I get myself out of bed?? I tell myself they will go down for a nap in a couple hours, and they do every time! Do you want to know how I survived cracked, sore nipples from breastfeeding twins every two hours?? I told myself it was temporary and things would soon get better and easier. Guess what? Things did get better and easier. Everything in life, sadly is temporary. The moment I had the twins, I missed feeling them from the inside. I missed being pregnant! When I decide we are done nursing, I will instantly miss that too. They want to be held and cuddled to sleep, while it is harder with two babies, I will do that! Because soon they will be too busy for snuggles. They will be too big to breastfeed. They won’t rely on their dad or me for help, and I will truly miss that. So all you mothers reading this, repeat this sentence ten times if necessary. “Everything is temporary.” It has saved me more times than I can count! It is one important lesson I am glad I learned and can accept. I try and apply it into my every day, multiple times a day. Lord knows I need reminders when I have two crying babies!
This year I learned being a wife is hard.
Taking on the role of mother was a scary thought. I tried to prepare myself in so many ways. I remember watching so many labor stories, reading about moms who have twins and what to expect. What I did not prepare for was my role as wife after a new title was thrown in the mix. I remember feeling so out of touch with my husband. Writing this now, seems odd because we are so happy and worked through this rough patch, but I remember thinking I missed him even though he was in the room. I wanted to just hug him and cry and tell him how much I loved him and needed him, but there felt like this great distance between us. I don’t know where it came from. Maybe just my focus being on my girls and not on him, but one day realized there was a problem and I didn’t know how to fix it. I felt so many new emotions trying to figure out why I was distant from my husband. He worked so hard for us and our family. That’s what I loved most about him but also what I hated most. I was drowning in diapers and tears from 3 girls (mine included) while I tried to learn how to best manage two babies. I found myself resentful that he didn’t know my struggles. That he wasn’t around to help more. One night I laid in bed and just starting crying next to him. He asked what was wrong and pulled me close. Suddenly the barrier I put up was gone. I missed him. I wanted to laugh with him and talk with him and play with him like we used to. I missed us and we both agreed things needed to change. Date nights now occur monthly. He does more with the twins and is home earlier a few nights a week. I can honestly say that we have grown stronger from our struggles.
This year I learned I am capable of so much.
At one time my body held three heads, three hearts, and six arms and legs! How?? I became large and uncomfortable and mentally I was done, but my body was stronger than I thought. I had twins that were born at almost 37 weeks. No NICU time and we came home a family of four. I learned to breastfeed two babies at the same time. Carry two babies at the same time. Hold two babies at the same time and carry more than an arm full. (Bumbo’s, two carseats, diaper bag, purse, etc.) I am a wide load and need warning noises for when I come through! I can be a nurse, a rocket ship, a mother, a wife, a daughter, noise maker, photographer, housemaid, chef, and rockstar all in one day. Mothers are strong. Even if you stay home all day, with no “real work” (I’ll punch someone who says that), you have a million job titles to uphold. You are strong. You are capable. I hope you all get to experience such a pride in yourselves over the jobs you are able to take on, and the beautiful children you raise. It isn’t prideful all the time. I still wipe butts all day, every day. Not much pride in that!
Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017
I say goodbye to this year with tears in my eyes. 2016 was a year that is so bittersweet to say goodbye to. The year I became a mother. A job title that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I learned so much and am so grateful to be the mother to two perfect girls made for me. I wish you all the best of luck in the New Year. May it be filled with lessons of love and life. Thanks for following along on my blog. I hope to share more posts soon!