Planning for multiples: four tips to help you get ready
To say that having a baby is a complete change of life is a gross understatement. But having two or more at once? Bring in a team of support.
Meghan Patel lives in Greenville and is the mother of twin 3-year-old girls. Her experiences led her to volunteer with the Upstate Mothers of Multiples Club and serve as the organization’s new member liaison.
Patel is open about her struggles with infertility. She found UMOMC when she was about five months pregnant, which she said was a great help.
“It’s nice to get to know the community before you’re in the weeds,” she said. “But it’s helpful anytime you join.”
For families who are expecting multiples, Patel offers some tips for getting ready and surviving the early weeks at home.
1. Plan for both a physical and a mental outlet. Patel said the physical side means understanding that you and your partner will need more hands on deck.
“You have to outnumber them once in a while,” she said.
Whether the extra help comes from family, friends, neighbors or some hired support, plan ahead for who can pitch in when the assistance is needed – and know that it will be needed.
2. Dads need support, too. Patel said no new parents really know what to expect, but when the household size increases by more than one member at a time, it brings a special set of challenges for mom and dad.
“Being a multiples parent is so much different on a dad, especially a first time dad,” she said. “It’s that new mom and dad experience that is such a gamechanger when you have multiples.”
3. Get a mental and emotional support system ready. Patel recommends joining a support or counseling group or an organization like UMOMC.
“Even in the Moms of Multiples group, we set up a meal train and just sit and let you take a shower,” she said.
The group’s $40 annual dues cover costs for family parties and events, as well as access to a private online chat page, which Patel said is both helpful and respectful. It is a place where parents feel open to asking for support.
“That’s a place where we are very intimate and very safe,” Patel said. “That’s probably the most important emotional help we can give.”
4. As much as possible, try to think beyond the pregnancy. Patel said just getting and staying pregnant was her goal for so long and she did not focus on the reality of what happens after birth.
“I got so wrapped up in trying to stay pregnant that I didn’t mentally plan for two babies at once,” she said. “I should have been spending my mental energy on having these two babies and what that would look like.”
Patel compares pregnancy and having children to being engaged and then being married. The engagement is only the beginning and it is goes by quickly.
“Now you’ve won – you’re pregnant,” she said. “It’s such a short little blip compared to what you’re really preparing for.”
Learn more about Upstate Mothers of Multiples Club at http://upstatemomclub.com.