When your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins

family dont want to help with twins

Author: Anonymous

They say it takes a village.  But what do you do when your family don’t seem to be interested in helping with your twins.

If there’s one piece of advice you’ll hear a thousand times as a parent-to-be, it’s this: accept all offers of help!  Even more so when you’re expecting multiples.  And it’s good advice. The ability to ask for help, and accept help when it’s offered, is a major life skill.  Babies are a 24/7 job, and it makes perfect sense to get as much help as you can.

“Do you have family nearby?”

In amongst all the usual questions people ask when they find out you’re pregnant with twins, one question I was asked a lot was “do you have family nearby?”

The answer was yes – most of my immediate family, and my husband’s family, live locally.  But it’s so hard to explain to a work acquaintance, or ultrasound tech, that having family nearby didn’t mean we were expecting any help with our babies.  Because when we had our eldest child, we discovered our families really weren’t interested in helping out. All that great advice about asking for, and accepting help, didn’t do us a lick of good. We tried! We really did. But the help just wasn’t there.

When your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins

When your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins

I won’t go into our wacky family dynamics, other than to say we don’t come from horrible, dysfunctional, “bad” families.

So it was a painful surprise to discover our families were largely absent when we had kids. No doting grandmas just itching to snuggle a baby, no grandpas making bad jokes, no gaggle of aunts showering us with gifts. 

They all seemed really excited about the news we were having twins.  More excited than me, I was terrified right up to delivery!  But that excitement hasn’t turned into practical support. My own mother didn’t even meet our twins until they were 11 weeks old, simply because she couldn’t be bothered to visit before then.

It really hurt. I’ve made my peace with it now, but I can’t gloss over the fact that I was bitterly disappointed and upset in the beginning. The people who were too busy and caught up in their own lives, I could kind of understand. But I felt so heartbroken too. It came with questions – don’t they care about me? Aren’t my kids important?  Painful, impossible questions.

family aren’t interested in helping with your twins or triplets

For the sake of my sanity, I quickly learned not to get my hopes up

Other wounds came from the people who could ‘talk the talk’ about wanting to help and support us, but never showed up.  I mean that literally too! There’s one family member who will say “I’ll come over on Friday, think about what you’d like me to do – washing, cleaning, whatever.” Then on the day there will be a text mid-afternoon saying “oh I won’t make it after all.” This person has never actually turned up once!  For the sake of my sanity I quickly learned not to get my hopes up that this time might be different.  Realising you can’t depend on your family is tough, and there’s a particular sadness to the knowledge that you simply can’t believe someone when they say those things.

I was really terrified when I found out we were having twins. How was I going to cope??? My first baby was HARD! And now I was going to have two? With no help?

I had post natal depression the first time round, and I was very scared to go through that again, which felt inevitable in the face of twins.  So, I sought out a psychologist early in my pregnancy. She was a nice enough woman, but she clearly couldn’t understand how it was possible that we didn’t have family support to rely on. It was a disheartening and unhelpful experience.

I encountered this attitude from others too. It’s something that many people just can’t understand because their own families are so different.

So what do you actually do when family don’t want to help out with new babies?

Here are some ideas if your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins that have helped us:

1. Deal with the hurt.

It was hard to come to terms with the lack of interest and help, and it took a long time for me to process and deal with the hurt, disappointment and resentment I felt. I had one unhelpful experience with a psychologist, but found other professionals who were much more understanding.

2. Don’t feel like you have to keep asking for help.

This runs counter to all the usual advice, but it’s actually okay NOT to ask for help in order to save yourself the heartache of another rejection or let down.

great neighbours when you have twins

3. When your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins, be open to other sources of help.

We were pleasantly surprised to be offered babysitting (for our eldest) from one neighbour, had meals dropped off by another neighbour, and had a very clucky work friend absolutely begging to come and feed, cuddle, and help care for our babies. Having our eldest in kindy when the twins were born also meant we had a network of school families who would offer to help out with our eldest, leaving hubby and I more freedom to focus on the babies.  I never imagined any of those people would be a source of help when I was pregnant with the twins, but they turned out to be lovely.

4. Pay, if you can.

I’d dearly love a full time nanny, but that’s not a possibility for us!  But we worked out early on that we could afford a fortnightly cleaner, and for a gym with a creche. We pay for a babysitter for the odd night out. We also looked for a local au pair with to come help out for a few hours during the week.

Outsourcing help with twins

When your family aren’t interested in helping with your twins

Always remember: it’s not your fault. You and your babies are amazing. If the rest of your family aren’t interested in being involved, they’re missing out!


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