Let's Talk About Multiples: Interview with Amy
Firstly, thank you for letting us get to know your wonderful family. Tell us more about your children!
Jacob and Vivianne are now 14 years old! And, they have a younger brother who is 6 years old. We moved to Singapore from the USA when Jacob and Vivianne were 2 years old, so they have spent most of their lives here in Singapore and they have learned to speak Chinese fluently!
How did you feel when you first found out you were expecting twins?
I was thrilled when I found out I was having twins! It was very exciting! My husband was happy too but I think he may have been a little more overwhelmed at the idea of 2 babies since they were our first.
Did you have any concerns?
A little because I had had a miscarriage before this pregnancy. When I became pregnant this time, early on I was given an ultrasound to make sure everything was OK and that's when the doctor discovered I was having twins. We were advised to wait until I was 20 weeks before sharing our good news with everyone. As you can imagine, that was difficult! However, at 20 weeks we had a big party and revealed the big news to all of our friends, it was so much fun! Everyone was so happy for us!
How do you feel now that the twins are much older? What challenges do you have now?
Sometimes I think it was easier when they were smaller! The challenge we had when they were younger was keeping everything "equal"! But now, I wish we hadn't done that because as they have gotten older it's become so hard to always keep track of every thing equally! The real lesson is that things are not always equal in life, right!? The good news is that as children get older they understand this more and we are finally getting past that phase now, phew!
Most parents only have to deal with one newborn, but as parents of twins, the initial weeks and months must have been challenging.
You can say that again! We decided that when one woke up to eat... they were both going to eat, and I nursed exclusively for the first few months until it was just more than I could handle. First time mom nursing two babies all the time... talk about a challenge! My lactation consultant gave me lots of ways to manage feedings which saved my sanity. It was so much better after that! Honestly, having twin babies is so wonderful!
Another tip... SLEEP WHEN THEY SLEEP! Have your friends come over and don't worry about what the house looks like just let your friends come over and if they offer help, take them up on it! This phase will pass after a few months if you try to schedule their sleep and feedings, it will be best for them and for you!
What do you think helped you get through the newborn months and thereafter, the difficult toddler years?
Well, like I said above, managing sleep and feedings was very important! In the toddler years, it was difficult to keep them together all the time... each wanted to go in a different directions! Toddler proof your house early, even before they are born!
Another tip is to buy baby accessories at secondhand websites - having to buy two of MOST things is just outrageous, especially here in Singapore. And the babies out grow things so quickly... Swap, share, buy secondhand!
As parents of multiples, what questions do you get asked by strangers?
When they were babies and even toddlers I was always asked, "Are they identical?" I'd say, "They are boy / girl twins." and they would, "So, are they identical?" I would just laugh. Even now, we are still asked, "who was first?" Apparently in some cultures luck is associated with boy / girl twins who are born in the girl /boy order. In our case the boy was first. I'm so glad I don't believe in luck!
What aspects of raising twins do you wish more people understood?
Jacob and Vivianne are very different not just because they are boy / girl twins but in every way. My heart goes out to those folks with identical twins or even same sex twins because the challenge is NOT referring to them as one! They are Jacob and Vivianne, not "them" or "they" or "the twins"! When the children are small it doesn't seem like such a big deal but as they get older, it can cause a bit of internal conflict and infighting in different situations. I'm sure there are lots of twins that don't mind this combined identity but in my experience, it can cause a lot of conflict between them the older they get. They are individuals, and it is good to honor and respect that.
How do you juggle work / managing a household and yet having to be present and give attention to all of your children at the same time?
That's a good question! I must admit that I am blessed in so many ways! First of all, I was able to stay at home with Jacob and Vivianne for all of their primary years. Only recently have I gone back to work. I started back part-time and just a few months ago went full-time. I am also blessed to be in Singapore where we have always had wonderful live-in helpers who can help with the household chores which frees me up to give more attention to what matters more... my children!
Last but not least, what encouragement would you give to an expecting or new parent of multiples?
Congratulations! Having twins is so much fun! As soon as possible try to find out if there is a "Mother's of Multiples" support group in your area. This was a life saver for me. The wisdom of those who have gone before you is priceless! Say YES to everyone who offers to help you in any way! Sleep when the babies sleep, schedule them as early as possible and take lots of photos! At about a 8 months to a year they will realize that they have a built-in playmate and it will be awesome!
Thank you for your time, Amy!