At our first ultrasound, we never thought we’d hear the doctor say that we were expecting twins. Once we had some time to wrap our heads around this incredible and unexpected news, it was time to start thinking about how we were going to plan for their arrival.
In the beginning I was bound and determined to work right up until the day the twins came. However, my OBGYN recommended I go on maternity leave at 32 weeks. By then I was already pretty enormous, but I convinced her that I was ok to work a liiiiiittle longer. I was teaching third grade at the time, spending the day on my feet and with a commute of just under an hour either way. As my pregnancy progressed she insisted I stop working at 35 weeks, and I was so uncomfortable that I took her advice without hesitation.
Then, at 37 ½ weeks, the girls came! They were beautiful and delicate and oh so much work! I wanted to spend every minute looking at their sweet faces and holding their tiny bodies.
RELATED: This post explains how we financially prepared for twins.
I got what I wanted, and then some. That first week home from the hospital was rough, to say the least. Twins require a LOT of holding. They also cry a lot, have to be fed ‘round the clock, and between the two of them they keep you up all night. After weeks of literally sleepless nights I began to panic. How was I going to keep this up AND work a full-time job? Work started at 7:15. Factoring in the time it took to drop off the girls at daycare and my older son at school, we would all have to be out the door before 6 a.m. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that the on-campus before-school care for my oldest wasn’t even open until 6:30 and the only childcare I was able to find for the twins was 25 minutes away.
All my worries tore me apart on the inside. What was I to do about my oldest child? When was I going to spend time with my children? How was I going to be a good teacher when I wasn’t getting more than a few hours of sleep a night?
As unreasonable as it sounds, I truly felt like I was destroying all possibilities of happiness for my little family. As if any unpleasantness in the home was ultimately my fault. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was rapidly plunging into post-partum depression.
I was really hoping that I would be entitled to twice as long a paid maternity leave since I had given birth to twice the usual number of babies. Unfortunately, whether you give birth to one child or quadruplets, you are only allowed 6 weeks of paid disability leave for a vaginal delivery (even with insurance). But only 6 weeks after having twins, there is no way I was functioning at full capacity. I was a wreck, and I looked it.
I went to see my doctor, hoping that he could help me figure things out. I told him about how I was having difficulty concentrating, how I was forgetting things like the lyrics to the ABCs, and how I was losing control of my emotions. He must have recognized the symptoms of PPD, because he gave me a note for an extra week off of work and referred me to a therapist.
Because of post-partum recovery and the ensuing depression, I ended up taking a full 3 months off of work. Looking back, I really needed that time to mentally recuperate and adjust to the chaos that having twins threw my life into. In all, my maternity leave went from when I was 35 weeks pregnant to 12 weeks post-partum. When I finally went back to work, I was in a good place mentally. I could find things to laugh about, my relationship with my husband had improved, and I was enjoying my little girls more every day. Of course, it helped that a major leap of faith got me into a job that was much closer to home.
I hope this post doesn’t sound like the downer it reads in my head. Things are rough that first few months as a parent of twins, but you will survive. And even in the midst of those hard times you will find that your babies bring you so much joy.