Author: Sara Otero
My husband had only been away for 6 weeks when I found out I was pregnant. He was in the middle of his basic training in the Military and a very emotional video call was his way of finding out. The pregnancy was the easy bit, even though the majority of the time I was dealing with the scans and hospital visits without him. Fortunately, he was able to call regularly during his time away. There was a period of a few months where he was able to come home for weekends and he also managed to come to the week 20 scan.
Giving birth to twins
We prepared ourselves for the possibility he may not make it back for the birth however, my twin MCDA boys waited until he was home for the weekend before the scheduled induction. He was home after the birth for two weeks and then went back to his training in another state for a few weeks.
We moved from our apartment to a Defence house an hour away, with two month olds. It was a crazy and tiring blur, but we managed to get through the changes with lots of family support.
The early days with twins and a deployed husband
I knew early on that structure and routine would help me to deal with the lack of certainty in my husband’s schedule. I was suffering from Post Partum Pre-eclampsia and not feeling very well but going for daily walks and sleeping during the twins’ longer naptime helped me to make it through.
The two months after the New Year we spent as a family of four getting used to our new house and surroundings. My husband made sure I knew the basics if anything happened while he was gone, and I established a good relationship with a GP close by. This was an important event that I didn’t fully understand until much later.
The end of February, we watched from the wharf as my husband left with the Royal Australian Navy for an almost six month long deployment. The boys had just turned three months old.
My saving grace with twins and a deployed husband
At a check up for one of my sons who was recovering from a cold, a young mother with a baby was also waiting for an appointment. I took a chance and spoke to her and fortunately; she was part of a supportive mothers group in the area and offered for me to join. This was my turning point in how I managed without my husband around.
We met weekly as a big group and then we would meet at different places such as the park, beach and lots of coffee dates. We took advantage of free events like Rhyme Time at the local library, These women were going through the same stages I was with my boys and even though I was the only twin mother, I felt welcomed and heard.
The hardest parts were when my sons were sick at the same time. I reached out to family to ask them to come and stay, so that I had some help. Otherwise on our good weeks, I made sure I left the house at least once a day to keep my mental wellbeing in check.
Communication and bonding was important to us all
It was the most difficult but the most rewarding time being able to care for these boys. We started BLW (baby led weaning) and I made sure I recorded all the new foods they were eating. I sent my husband lots of photos and videos and he video called as much as he could. I built the strongest and most loving bond with my sons, a relationship that is still growing. When my husband came back, he knew what had been happening and our routines and tried to adapt to our life. They have been able to have quality time and have formed a beautiful bond too.
You are enough
Throughout that time when I had newborn twins and a deployed husband, I believed the thing that I knew I wanted to get out of it was a story I could share with my sons when they were older. I wanted to tell them that their Mother was strong and capable during difficult times and that if you trust in yourself, you can be successful in whatever life throws your way.
You are enough.