Hello, I had Twins in Nov. of 2009. My son was 22 months when they were born. He is very protective of them. I had thought he would not cope well. I breastfeed him till I was 5 months pregnant with the Girls. He did just fine. The only advice that I would really give is make sure you give him some time with just you and him. Even if it is just to read a book together at bed time. The first 3 months with Twins.... WOW I really don't want to do that again! I promise it gets easier as they get older :)
I have 10 month old twin boys, and I had a 5 year old when they were born (she is now 6). At first she was very jealous of having to share me w/ her brothers... but she eventually grew out of that stage. I was a little concerned at first b/c she would say things like she was going to find a new family, she was moving to China (don't know where that came from!)... really she just wanted more attention and was saying these things b/c of that. So, I do everything I can to make sure we have time together and I include her in daily tasks w/ the twins (like diaper changing). I would start explaining to your toddler now that there are two babies in your tummy that he is going to be a "big" brother to, let him feel the babies move, let him come to the sono app's so he can see for himself that there are 2 babies, let him help set up their new room and fold or hang their new clothes. When they arrive, let him help by bringing you diapers, picking out their outfits, helping you make a bottle... I still do stuff like this, like letting my daughter feed them their yogurt and she still to this day helps me pick out their outfits (only by her choice, I don't ever want her to feel obligated to do any of these things)... it makes her feel like she is included and that puts the biggest smile on her face! OH, this is another big one- when you do start going out w/ your twins you are going to get all sorts of compliments and questions all about the twins, when this happens I usually point out "yes, and they have a wonderful and very helpful big sister too!" as I pull my daughter next to me and squeeze her tight. Anyway, even if your son does have problems coping w/ the arrival of twins, it's completely normal and he will surely grow out of it... afterall it's not easy going from a family of 3 to 5 literally overnight, it's a lot for them to take in so it's expected that they will have some resistance adapting to the change.
I had twins when our first was 19 months old. That was a year ago and I already feel as if the hardest part is behind us. So, don't despair, it is doable and it even gets fun - there is nothing like watching a tiny toddler "teaching" the babies, taking care of them, and all three gigling together or having "conversations" of funny sounds. Hang on, you'll get to that too.
Now about the nitty-gritty:
* As others said, use every chance to bond with your toddler now. It's obviously hard while on bed rest. But I guess the key is to let him know that Mommy must rest now and not pretend to be your old self while playing with him. Just come up with new games - for example, he can "read" to you, or perhaps you can sing together (substitute his name in silly songs - he'll think that's fun), even watch videos together ("Your baby can read" and "The Letter factory" of Leapfrog worked very well for us).
* Make some personal time for him after the babies arrive. For example, in our house I bath the toddler (alone, no babies near by), then Dad reads her good night stories and tucks her in bed.
* Find somebody to baby sit for a few hours a week after delivery - and use those hours to SLEEP to retain your sanity. We didn't have family in town and I had not lined up any helpers at the beginning, so by month 4, I almost died of sleep-deprivation. Then I hired somebody but I couldn't get myself to sleep while hearing a baby cry even when the babysitter was there. Eventually, my husband rescued me by taking half of the night shift (one baby). Don't repeat my mistakes - get help and talk to your husband about night duty in advance.
* Breastfeeding - I breastfed our first kid for a year. I was sure I'd breastfeed the twins. I kind of worried the toddler might want to revert to breastfeeding when she saw the babies do it. But she didn't - she was curious but didn't ask to nurse. By the way, nursing the twins didn't work out for us, perhaps because I didn't have enough help at the begining until we all learn how to position ourselves, etc. It actually takes a lot of time for a helper to stand next to you and give you the babies as many times as needed to have them securely latched on. I ended up pumping for 5 months - that added significantly to my sleep deprivation, as it was hard to find time to pump. I did it mainly while babies slept - not sure that was wise. I think breastfeeding is possible if you have help; if you don't, break out the formula and don't feel overly guilty - the main thing babies need is a healthy Mom.
* Our toddler accepted the babies very well - I think I have her daycare to thank for that. I suspect they talked with great enthusiasm to her about how she was going to be big sister and they let her "help" in the baby room. So, she quickly found her new family role - helping with the babies (I don't ask her - I simply accept with gratitude whatever "help" she offers). The toddler is fine because she feels useful. That is an amazing transformation given that she was pretty much a baby herself when the twins were born.
Good luck! Don't worry, you can allow yourself to be excited - and perhaps your son will get excited, too.
I am a single mom pregnant with twins ( 1 boy&1 girl)who already has a 13 month old at home. I love parenting ,but for me being pregnant is sheer misery! I also feel guilty because I becoming less able to play,pick up, and bath my child! I will have to divide my time up and feel that my 1st born won't get as much attention as she will need or is used to.I struggle with depression as it is and wasn't thrilled about being pregnant and I am almost 24 weeks and have yet to become excited. I am so mad with myself for becoming pregnant so soon in the 1st place!
I have considered adoption of one of the kids because the father is not in the picture. I also was laid off after my daughter was born and have only recently found part time work. So for me I am worried about the financial aspect mostly, but also there being enough of me to go around! My London is extra clingy even now more so since I am pregnant again and doesn't like sharing me:-(
Do you have any help or support from family? I must say that will be a HUGE help, and don't ever turn down any extra help you may get now or in the future. Have you looked into benefits you can receive through the county? This could be a huge help too.
I understand what you are going through, and I'm so sorry you are doing this on your own, but it will only make you a stronger person in the end. I have some ideas that could help...
First of all, there is an organization called the NOMOTC (National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club)... and many counties, cities, and states accross the United States have created local groups who are members of the NOMOTC for moms of multiples to join. Here are two you might be interested in:
There is usually about a $25/year fee you pay for dues to become a member, but you can generally do a free trial before you decide to join, just contact/email the president or person in charge of setting this all up. Anyway, it was a huge help for me- my local group had meetings, support, advice, "moms" night out, family nights, babysitting swapping, playdates, and even the week or 2 after birth/delivery they all come together and provide family meals delivered right to your door to help out. If you explain your situation and reach out, you are going to receive an overwhelming amount of help and support, trust me... as a mother of twins, I know the struggles and how any and all help is needed. I am literally waiting to 'pay it forward' myself to a family with twins or multiples so I can pass on all of the stuff my babies have outgrown (I literally have a shed full of swings, jumpies, walkers, carseats, huge amounts of clothes, etc. (you name it!), and it will only keep growing until I meet a family in need that I can help out just as others did the same for me. Anyway, I am sure there are others in your local area who are looking and willing to do the same.
Also, I just so happened to stumble upon this one night when I was feeling overwhelmed with the stress during the 'newborn stage' and really just needed someone who has been in my shoes to tell me it will be okay and give me some advice and support, and just a shoulder to cry on... this website was created by a mother of twins, of course they are grown now... but she has been through it all and can offer a great amount of support and advice. You can contact her directly via email and it is kept confidential b/t you and her. She really helped me out in a time of need and responded to my email within the day...
Anyway, please don't feel so alone. I completely understand the worry of the financial aspect, but the truth is when are we ever 100% financially prepared for children... you just make do with what you have and get through it one way or another. I know financial support was my biggest fear, but we get through it one day at a time. Just know you have support out here, you just gotta reach out sometimes. I am here if you need anything at all, please feel free to message me :)
I think Shannon made some very good points. And she is right that there are many people out there who would be happy to "pay it forward" and help you. Parents of multiples are particularly likely to do so since they understand the tremendous challenge and share a special bond. Hey, I am one of them, so here is a personal pledge - I'd like to offer you a year-long supply of diapers for the twins. If you send me a private message with your shipping address, and later on, keep me updated on the twins' weight, I can set up a diaper subscription for you through Amazon Mom (where I buy diapers for my 3 kids).
I think you need to make your situation known to more people. One way is through this forum. Perhaps you could ask the moderators to move your post to the main level, or simply make a new one - I fear it is a little obscure here as a reply to another post.
Another suggestion: Contact a local chapter of the La Leche League to see if they can pair you with a helper, so you could try breast-feeding the twins simultaneously. The learning curve is steep even for experienced nursers but if you succeed, the savings and the benefits are significant.
And Sam, please, please seek treatment for your depression. Ask you doctor for resources - (s)he should be able to help. Please. Now. You need to take care of yourself to be able to care of others. It's like with the oxygen mask on an airplane...
As for feeling angry with yourself for the unintended pregnancy - it is understandable but let it go. It is a waste of mental energy. What happened, happened. Period. People make mistakes and learn from them. Such is life.
You needn't feel too guilty toward your toddler either. Yes, he will be deprived of some attention, but he will still have enough to do well (just assure him of your love regularly - it doesn't take much time to hug him or kiss him). It will take some readjustment on his part. But he won't remember it too long, and in the end, he is gaining through his siblings. Because of their close age, they'll be great buddies before too long and great support for each other through life.
Lastly, on the adoption idea. That is obviously a very personal decision and nobody should tell you what to do. But if I may voice an opinion, don't separate the twins. That will not save you enough time and energy to be worth it. I can elaborate on the time vs. number of babies equation separately if you want me to...
I am sorry that you have to go through such a stressful and challenging experience. But as hard as it is, you can do it somehow - one day at a time, and by tapping your network for help. It truly takes a village to raise a child. Once you are through the first few months with the babies, it gets easier, I promise. The toddler will adjust, too. And a few short years down the road, you'll have 3 little helpers who enjoy each other and love you with all their hearts, regardless of how well or not you think you managed during their babyhood.
Best of luck!