1. You don’t have to go broke.
If you figure out what you need vs. what you want, you’ll be in a great place. Example: You fell in love with North West’s insanely beautiful crib, and you decide that you must have it. See, that’s a want; you need a crib, but you don’t have to spend more than a $100 ($150 max) on one. Shopping smart is going to be your friend when expecting twins—and you should shop around for the things you really want. Don’t always assume you can find it cheaper online. Buying from mom-and-pop shops is the key to purchasing big-ticket items like strollers, cribs, and furniture. Strollers are great to shop local since they can be returned (without the box!) to a human in a store if there’s an issue. For cribs and furniture, many stores will do free delivery and set-up, which sure beats spending 264 hours putting that IKEA crib together.
2. You are going to need some help, but not necessarily as much as you think.
Some folks think the amount of help you need is very cookie-cutter: Have your babies, get a baby nurse for 3-6 weeks (depending on paternity leave), and then hire a full-time nanny just as you go back to work. Well, surprise! It’s not that simple. Not everyone can afford the $250+ per night for a baby nurse, and not everyone gets a nanny. How much help you need will depend on how you feel and on your finances. Prepare for a few extra hands on deck for the first six weeks if you have a C-section. After that, you may be able to swing it with just a mother’s helper/part-time nanny. If you have family nearby, or family willing to fly in, you may not even need to pay a nickel for help, which would be a win-win. You get free help and your family gets to spend time with the twins while they still have that new baby smell. Have a discussion with your spouse about how much you can afford, what your schedules would be like, and how you envision your first few weeks of parenthood before you jump the gun and start searching for nurses or sitters.
3. You don’t have to move.
When we first found out there were two heartbeats, my husband uttered: “We have to move!” Living in a 650-square-ft apartment in Little Italy would be enough to make anyone want to flee if you were about to double your family size overnight, but take the big picture into consideration. The convenience of our city outweighs a lot. Sure, rent is higher, but in the ‘burbs you will need a car (or even two). Then you need to take into account your commute. How many commuting hours are you adding to your day and therefore your babysitting budget? An extra closet or a master bath would be nice. Sign me up for a finished basement where I could store every memento from my life, but I’ll pass on all of it for a city that never sleeps and for the three-and-a-half minutes it takes me to buy milk and toilet paper (or an emergency cupcake).
4. Take control.
When you find out you have double buns in the oven, many families relinquish all control to their doctor. I want to encourage any expecting parent to speak to his/her doctor and express their wishes on the type of birth you would like. I joke all the time that I wish the twins were born rocking to AC/DC or getting a little Led out, and apparently I could have easily had that. Who knew? I didn’t! Think about topics like delayed cord blood clamping, family centered C-sections, cord-cutting, music, people in your delivery room, lighting, etc. Some requests can easily be accommodated, but you’ll never know until you ask. I want you to have the best birthing experience possible, and I don’t want the fact that there are two in there to make that not happen for you.
“Twins? How are you going to do it?” “Better you then me!” “Geez, two babies? Why would you want that?” These are truthfully all things that I heard when I was expecting, and when they were little in a stroller right in front of me. That’s not insulting at all, right? I can’t stand those people. I’m not going to say: “They are just jealous” or anything like that, I’m just going to warn you that people seem to lose their filter when they see twins. You have to remember that there is still a sideshow aspect of having twinnies. They are amazing. You are amazing. Not many can pull off double buns in the oven! We are the overachievers of the parenting world. We are the amazing creatures that parents of singletons look at with awe (and sometimes confusion) but we rock! Parents of twins (or more) are amazing, resilient, inspiring creatures. We are truly so lucky to have two to kiss, two to hold, two to love, and two to love each other, all at the same time.
Natalie Diaz is the founder of Twiniversity—the world’s leading support network for multiple birth families–she offers a selection of online classes and resources for parents of multiples all over the country. She is also the author of What To Do When You’re Having Two: The Twins Survival Guide from Pregnancy Through the First Year.
To learn more about Natalie and Twiniversity, visit twiniversity.com!