Author: Tiffany Visser
If you are anything like me, when I was younger and I thought about having kids the picture was beautiful – I would stay at home with my babies making cookies and playing with playdough while my husband went off to work. He would then come home to a perfectly cooked meal and be able to spend his time cuddling our new buddle of joy and enjoying a cold beer. I know right even the movie makers couldn’t paint a more perfect situation.
Cue surprise twin pregnancy!
As many of you know receiving the news that you have more than 1 growing in there is the type of news that can change the entire course of your life in a matter of seconds. Those changes include but are not limited to:
- A new found appreciation for the meaning of tiredness
- Possible fear/anxiety around a possible high risk pregnancy/birth
- The realization that it is possible to love something unconditionally without actually physically touching it
- A new found love for your partner (depending on the day, multi pregnancy hormones are HECTIC)
- A new car/mode of transport
- A change in direction for your career
For me it was this last point that I didn’t realise I would struggle so much with. I was a young 23 year old who was studying her degree and had big dreams of one day becoming the marketing manager for an organisation that I had worked with for over 4 years (yes I was a baby when I started there). Work and study was something that defined who I was at that time of my life and I was finally feeling like I had found my feet and a direction of where I wanted to go. Whilst I had big dreams of one day being that perfect stay at home mum I still had plenty of time to become the successful business woman I had always wanted to be and learn how to cook before we started our family.
Then came October 2, 2015.
Finding out I was pregnant with twins
For the last 4 weeks I had been feeling like complete rubbish – no energy, vomiting and just generally feeling flat. We had our suspicions that we were pregnant (I guess 9 positive pregnancy tests and 2 blood tests should have been a good indicator) however I was still convinced something wasn’t right. I mean I was the most organised person I knew, only a month earlier I was explaining to a friend how I didn’t know how a ‘surprise pregnancy happened’ but here I was sitting in QDI waiting to see the first glimpse of our ‘surprise’
Being the planner that I am I was convinced it would be fine – I would work right up until 38 weeks, shoot a baby out, be home for 18 weeks then go back to work and study and baby will just fit into our routine – that’s how all working mums do it right??
5 minutes into that scan I very quickly realised that plan was possibly not going to go as I had hoped because… there were 2 hearts beats (I say two because I think my heart actually stopped beating for a while there while I processed the information).
Working when pregnant with twins and multiples
Working up until 38 weeks was possibly not realistic as according to all my google searching very few twin pregnancies make it that far and from 24 weeks I quickly realised my 1-2km walk from the train each day felt like I was running a marathon so I called it quits at 32 weeks with a scheduled 12 months off.
I had a very uneventful pregnancy and I made sure my boys were evicted at 36+4 – this mumma was well and truly over it and felt as though I couldn’t go another day being pregnant. One week in hospital and then we were home, this is when I realised that I still hadn’t learnt how to cook and the thought of leaving my little babies was almost too much to handle even thinking about.
Returning to work after twins or multiples
We live on the north side of Brisbane and my commute to work every day was over an hour meaning with travel time my boys would have been at daycare for at least 10 hours a day from about 9 months old which whilst it works for some families I sadly couldn’t handle this on top of post-natal depression and anxiety – something had to change. Returning to work after twins was going to be a whole different ball game to what I had anticipated.
The day came that I had to resign for the job that had been a massive part of my life and personal development, it was full of emotion however I just had to keep reminding myself that I was making these changes for the wellness of my family. The previous chapter of my life had ended and my number one priority was now my family. I was lucky that I had a very understanding boss who accepted the change in my life was a very good reason to need to find something new closer to home. I was lucky enough to receive a great opportunity working part time – which can be a struggle to find – very quickly and haven’t looked back since.
Tips for returning to work after twins and multiples
There are still days where I am consumed with the mum guilt and question if what I am doing is the right thing however I know I am actually a better mum after I have gone to work and experienced being the ‘old me’ that I was before the boys arrived. After just shy of three years of being a working mum I thought it may be helpful to share some of the hints and tips that I have used to get through those moments of guilt/mad rush that is getting out the door each day.
- If possible find a daycare that provides food and nappies – its all about saving time where possible when returning to work after twins or multiples.
- Visit the daycare multiple times before you start there, at the end of the day these people are most likely the first people you have trusted with your babies so you have the right to get to know them
- Discuss with daycare the possibility of having someone help you get the kids from the car
- Discuss the need for some flexibility with your employer, these first year of daycare is tough! You may have every bug and germ that has ever touched earth walk through your door x 2 so days off are most likely going to be needed.
- Find a drive through coffee shop
- Get really good at packing bags the night before
- Do a load of washing every day – it seems like overkill but you will thank me when you don’t have to spend the whole weekend with your washing machine.
- Speak to a professional – leaving your babies for the first time is hard, where possible get help dealing with those emotions
- Plan fun activities such as park dates or playgroups on your days off
- Get a house cleaner and outsource any tasks you can afford
- Enjoy the time you are at work, I often think of it as a little mini holiday and it makes me appreciate the time I am with the boys so much more
- Hello Fresh is a great alternative to learning how to cook!
- Make sure you have time for yourself and your partner – regular date nights are a must
- Turn the emails off at a set time each day – if your anything like me the temptation of being able to check emails every 5 minutes is too much sometimes
- If breast feeding – get a very good quality pump, if you need to take a pumping break you want it to be as quick as possible to get all your work done.