I went out to dinner on Friday night, with some amazing women I have met through my local Multiple Birth Association (it’s a club for families with multiples – ie twins, triplets and quads). These women all have twins only a few months older than Harry and Joan, and they have been an incredibly gorgeous support for me, during what many twin mums have called “the hardest year of your life”.
The first six months were in fact some of the hardest times I have ever experienced. Breastfeeding was hard work, hurt and took up most of my day. It hadn’t been that way with my first baby – so I felt frustrated and guilty.
The twins were both so little that they didn’t have enough energy to exclusively breastfeed, and Harry would always fall asleep quite quickly – so I also spent HOURS a day expressing milk so we could give them bottle tops-ups. This hurt A LOT and made me pretty resentful towards the twins and my partner. Yes, I’ll admit, did sometimes think I should make him pump so he can relate to the pain!
Sleep was something you caught in 45 min spurts, day or night and my brain just felt fuzzy all the time.
I couldn’t even drink coffee because Harry’s sensitive and tiny body with react like a hopped-up pill popper and he would be buzzing for 24 hours or more.
I did manage to pull the Artful Business Conference together and deliver the most incredible weekend; all when the twins were only 2 and half months old. This was a tremendous high! But it also sent me into an equally deep low when it was over and I was back to dirty nappies and endless hours of bouncing babies and pumping milk.
I love being a mum and I think I do a decent job of it. But as I have posted about before – that’s not enough. My kids are not my WHY for my business or my life.
I am very open on social media, particularly in my groups, about how I struggle to juggle both business and life. Mostly because life seems to demand more of me, and as a result my business suffers. I’d love to devote more time to my business; but with two babies in the house, I take what I can get. I often feel that the ‘life stuff’ is out of my control and that adds to the frustrations.
My mental health and my energy have both improved since we got some help around the house, in the form of a nanny a few days a week. This allows me dedicated hours to work and this is blissful for me. I love my job. I love being mentally challenged. I love being creative.
Getting back to business and getting outside help, as dose talking with other twin mums. It’s allowed me find some sanity among the craziness.
But my heart is still heavy and it’s because my body is not my own.
Clothes that fit when I was five months pregnant don’t fit me now, (7 months postpartum). I know I’m not large by many people’s standards and I don’t mean for a second to make it sound like I think anyone my size – or bigger than me – is anything other than beautiful. This isn’t about society, or feeling beautiful – it’s simple about how I feel about myself and the changes that have happened over the last 12-18 months.
I do feel fat. I feel uncomfortable. But it’s not just about the weight, it’s because everything is different. My boobs look and feel different. My stomach is not just chubby, it’s changed, maybe forever. I have a massive c-section scar. The list goes on and when my post baby body was a size 8-10, 14 feels huge!
For me, a lot of the post-baby-blues that come with being a new mum stems from the struggle to feel like myself and to recognise the person in the mirror looking back at me.
Add to that, the isolation of feeling like I can’t talk about it with anyone without soundly like a twat who thinks all mums should be a rocking size 10, 6 months after birth. I don’t think that at all.
Pile on top the jealousy I feel for women who come out and say “I’m proud of my post-baby battle scars, my extra wobbles and my stretch marks remind me of how incredible I am as a women and a mother”. I wish I felt even a glimpse of that. I don’t. I morn the body I had back in early 2016.
I’m working on it by starting to eat better, getting back to more regular exercise (especially now that we are starting to get better sleep); I am also doing some inner work so that I can love myself more despite the changes – because on a logical level, I know my body is amazing and has had an incredibly tough year.
Breastfeeding has gotten much easier (but it did take until after 6 months to do so) and the bubs are growing and doing all the wonderful things they should be doing for their age.
This post was important for me to write. It’s been writing itself in my mind for a week or so now, because I needed to say these things out loud. If you feel some comfort knowing that you are not alone in the crazy mix-up of emotions you feel after having babies, then I’m so glad!
I was scared to post it because I know so many women who wish they were mums and aren’t. I didn’t want to offend them or make them feel sad. I was scared to post it because I know many women who are bigger than me and I didn’t want them to feel worse, or that I was for even a second judging them. I can promise you I am not, because I am far too busy over here judging myself! I was scared to post this because I worried it would look like I fishing for compliments, wanting someone to tell me I look great. I’m not – this post is about me, for me and if it helps you I’m thrilled/
Despite feeling scared and vulnerable, I wrote this. because not writing was adding to the build-up of pressure. Because I want to talk about how hard it is being a new mum; and not just because you’re tired, and you suddenly have a person (or two!) to keep alive, but because our bodies change so much, we sometimes don’t even know who we are anymore.
Being a mum is an incredible gift and I am honestly grateful for it every day.
But it is also incredible hard and I think it needs to be ok to say so.
What do you find the hardest about being a mum?