Every time when my wife and I found out that we’re pregnant, I thought about hundreds of different things. Things like: Are we gonna be alright? Am I ready for it? How will the older child respond to the news? How will life change? And so on. But to be quite honest, I never thought about the possibility, that actually two little babies could come into our life. I personally know very few families with twins and somehow it didn’t occur to me that twins could happen to us.
That’s why I find it very fascinating to shed more light on parents, and especially fathers, of twins. I’m glad to introduce you to Joe Rawlinson, who is a father of twins, an author and he also runs the website dadsguidetotwins.com (with awesome podcasts!).
So, sit back and enjoy reading Joe’s story:
Discovering Yourself as a Father of Twins
It was supposed to be just a normal visit to the doctor. We had found out that my wife was pregnant. This would be our third child.
As was protocol after a positive pregnancy test, my wife scheduled a visit with her doctor. I had gone with her before to these visits for each of our previous pregnancies.
This time is was Christmas Eve and we had two very active toddler boys. I offered to watch the boys while my wife went to her doctor visit.
I drove around in the van with our sons while my wife met with the doctor.
She called me when she was done to let me know the appointment went well. She shared the good news that they had actually done an ultrasound and saw healthy heartbeats.
I was excited that the visit went well but then paused and asked: “Did you say heartbeats? Plural?”
“Yes, we’re having twins!” was her immediate reply.
The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I was shocked. I was in disbelief. I couldn’t process this information. It was so unexpected that I couldn’t fathom it in the realm of possibilities.
I told her I was on my way and hung up the phone.
That night I had a hard time sleeping. My wife did too. The news of twins isn’t something that is conducive to a good night’s rest.
It took a while for the shock to wear off. The mental shock also lead to physical ailments like insomnia, and loss of appetite.
To help recover from the shock and actually do something about our pending twin arrival, my wife and I focused on what we could control.
We started making preparations around the home. We started recruiting others to come and help once the twins arrived.
Little by little we got ready. It is amazing how much comfort you can take in being prepared.
As an Eagle Scout I clearly remember the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. And so it was with us. We got as much ready as we could.
The twin pregnancy was more challenging than that of our two previous deliveries. My wife was on modified bed rest towards the later stages of the pregnancy. This required that we get creative with our daily schedules.
I adjusted my work schedule. We recruited a babysitter to come help with our two boys so Mom could rest.
Little did I know that the challenges of the end of the pregnancy were really practice for the work that was ahead of us.
Frankly, each of our boy’s infant months and required care were relatively easy on me as the Dad.
Yes, I helped the best I could during the day and night. However, since my wife was breastfeeding, my ability to help during the night was limited.
That pattern of parenting all changed with the birth of our identical twin girls. With twins, it is all hands on deck. No one rests. Everyone (at least all the adults) turn into sleep-deprived zombies.
As most twins do, our girls arrived early. 40 weeks is full term for a singleton baby but twins rarely go that far. At 36 weeks our baby girls arrived via a c-section.
We were blessed that our girls were born healthy and didn’t require any time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This meant that Mom and our babies came home from the hospital and we were off on our twin journey.
The first year with twins can only be compared to a foggy hazy blur. Sleep deprivation hung over us like a persistent cloudy day.
I took joy in the little moments with my girls. Often these were one on one during the nighttime feedings.
However, the physical and mental burden of caring for infant twins and still working a day job combined to wear me down.
Good friends of our told us that the first year was crazy. They told us it would be harder than we could imagine.
They were right.
Despite the intensity of the first several months, we made progress with each passing week with our twins.
They sleep for longer stretches during the night. We figured out their quirks. We learned what worked and abandoned what didn’t.
By the end of the first year, we were in a pretty good pattern.
Looking back on our experience, I realized that there just wasn’t a lot of good information out there for fathers of twins.
So I started to chronicle what I had learned on dadsguidetotwins.com and ultimately wrote a book, the “Dad’s Guide to Twins”, for dads to help them survive the twin pregnancy and prepare for their twins.
Our girls are 6 now and we have moved past the mere survival mode of infant twins. Now, we really have to do our best as parents. Instead of just worrying about feedings, diapers, and sleep, we really have to focus on raising good kids.
As our twins get older, the challenges are different. But there is still great joy in the journey of being a father of twins. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
About Joe Rawlinson:
Joe Rawlinson is the author of the “Dad’s Guide to Twins” and shares tips and tricks for having and raising twins via his dadsguidetotwins.com site and podcast. He also recently founded the Twin T-Shirt Company.