Sometimes, Everything Goes Just Fine

The articles blur together as I scroll through social media. (Reminder to self: just stop it already.) You know the ones I’m talking about:

“Preschool Changed My Kid…For the Worse”

“10 Reasons You Should Never Put Sunscreen on Your Child” and it’s companion, “10 Reasons You Should Bathe Your Child in Sunscreen”

“I Totally Regret _____ About My Parenting”

“Why Sleep Training (or not Sleep Training) Your Baby Makes You a Monster”

Okay, I’m paraphrasing here. But you get the picture. These articles are everywhere. They’re scary and overwhelmingly negative. When I see them, I cringe, roll my eyes, and (usually) avoid the clickbait.

But I wonder how this content gets out as I think of all the new moms out there, seeing this garbage as they scroll sleepily through their phones at 1:15 am. (And again at 3…and at 5:45…) Where’s all the positivity?

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One of my first solo outings with the twins was a moms’ event at my church. I rolled in with the double-stroller loaded down with two infant carseats holding my three-month-olds and hardly had time to wonder if I knew anyone else before another mom greeted me.

“Twins?” She asked, with a sweet smile. “Are they boys or girls?”

“One of each,” I told her.

“I have boy-girl twins, too!” she told me. “They’re three now.” We were quickly joined by another mom who had twin girls a month older than mine. We chatted all things twins: newborns, pregnancies, labor and delivery.  Despite the fact that a multiples pregnancy automatically puts you in the high-risk category, I was surprised to discover that each of our pregnancies and birth experiences had been fairly routine.

“This is crazy,” I remember saying, “I feel like all I was told throughout my pregnancy was how risky multiples are and here we all had pretty good experiences.”

“That’s because that’s all you hear!” the mom with three-year-old twins exclaimed, “Nobody talks about the normal stories. They only tell you the scary ones!”

Sometimes, Everything Goes Just Fine | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo by Jen Roh Photography}

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I’ve thought a lot about that conversation since then. Not only did I make a couple of friends right away (truth: nobody understands twins like another twin mom), but also what she’d said struck a chord.

When I learned I was expecting not one, but two babies, I searched high and low for any and all information about multiples. The results, even with the internet at my fingertips, were surprisingly few and overwhelmingly dismal. I ordered one highly recommended book that basically told me if I didn’t eat the authors’ very specific and highly specialized diet, my twins would be born premature and underweight and it would be all my fault. This same book also described bed rest for a multiples pregnancy as a “not if but when” concept.

While I’m not sure anyone exactly sails through a twin pregnancy – the overwhelming weight gain and resulting discomfort is enough to make anyone consider requesting bedrest – the idea that bedrest was inevitable and a certain diet was required was absurd.

I couldn’t finish that book. It was hard to read about a special diet when the only thing that sounded good for the first 14 weeks came from a drive-thru. I never went on bedrest, though as I entered the third trimester it sure sounded nice. I even went into labor, all on my own, my water breaking one day shy of 37 weeks.

Sometimes, even with twins, everything goes just fine.

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The horror stories continued as I began breastfeeding: cracked and bleeding nipples, mastitis, clogged ducts, babies who wouldn’t latch. I read over and over again that I certainly wouldn’t make enough milk for two babies and should resign myself to supplementing with formula from the start.

Except, my nipples never cracked or bled. My son and daughter latched on like champs from the beginning. The experience of a clogged duct only happened twice. I nursed those two babies exclusively for the first six months of their lives, and continued on for another seven after that. I discovered a couple unopened cans of formula when they were 15 months old, stashed under the kitchen sink “just in case”.

To this day, I’ve had nurses say “wow” in disbelief when they discover I breastfed my twins until they were 13 months old. Maybe even they only hear the bad stories – not the successful ones.

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I don’t say any of this to brag – though I’m sure a few of you want to throw something at me for never experiencing the horror of bleeding nipples. (#sorrynotsorry) I have friends who are truly unable to breastfeed for legitimate medical reasons. I know others who have been on bedrest during their pregnancies, through no fault of their own. You can do everything everyone tells you and still end up with an emergency C-section, bottles full of the formula you swore you would never use, a baby who never, not once, sleeps through the night in their first year.

We’ve all heard those stories, heartbreaking as some of them are. But what if we started talking about the positive ones, too?

What if I’d been told about the mom who was pregnant with triplets but never went on bedrest, who carried them successfully until they were ready to be born? What if I heard about the mom who breastfed her twins past their first birthday and more? If books were written that told me to eat whatever I darn well pleased, since something is better than nothing when it seems like all food makes you gag? What if I’d been told that everything would be just fine?

Maybe we should start sharing our positive stories with new and expecting moms instead of the terrifying ones. I’ll start:

I carried twins for 37 weeks. While their birth is a story for another day, they were each born healthy and strong and spent mere hours in the NICU.

I breastfed those babies for 13 straight months, and never once struggled with nursing or my milk supply.

Two years and two days after giving birth to those twins, I gave birth to another baby boy via C-section. That C-section was redemptive to me and one of the best choices I made as a mother.

I had three kids under three for an entire year and we all survived.

My youngest began sleeping through the night at two months old, and has done so ever since. (I KNOW. My twins didn’t sleep through the night until they were 15 months old. I thought everyone else was lying when they said this, too!)

My twins have had a wonderful experience with the preschool program through our school district. They can’t wait to begin kindergarten in the fall.

I want to share these because I don’t think we celebrate the wins we receive (or those positive parenting surprises!) nearly enough. I wish I had heard stories about moms who successfully birthed multiples and breastfed them before having my own.

So tell me – what are your parenting success stories? Tell me the things that make you proud, the things you did that everyone else said you couldn’t possibly do. The things you wish you’d known when you were pregnant; scrolling around the clickbait on the Internet while wondering if even having a baby was a good idea. Tell us something good today: it could give another mom hope.

Shannon Williams
Shannon is a former interior designer turned stay-at-home mom. She and her husband have always been overachievers, so they kicked off this whole parenthood thing with not one, but two babies (yup, twins). A third followed exactly two years and two days later. A complete bibliophile, Shannon also finds it impossible to say no to iced coffee, pedicures, or a good beer. You can find her scribbling her thoughts on motherhood and life at shannonscribbles.net and see her day-in-the-life chaos over on Instagram.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes! Thank you for sharing this! The stories definitely make me scared of a multiples pregnancy, but now I’m not!

    I was sure breastfeeding was going to be a challenge. My milk came in right away, my supply was more than enough, and she latched immediately. I was actually told by three different people (nurse, doula, and LC) NOT to tell anyone. That it would make others feel bad. I was also told not to tell anyone that I birthed an almost 10lb baby and never even considered the epidural. I was so sure my birth wasn’t going to go the way I wanted because of all the horror stories and no good ones, that it wasn’t until it was over that I realized that it was perfect. I am on a mission to tell pregnant women that having the birth you want can happen. It’s not your fault if you don’t, but so many just don’t even think it’s possible.

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