I can think of lots of frightening things I have done in my life. Ending relationships. Standing up for myself in the face of adversity. Saying final goodbyes way too soon. However, the scariest thing I have ever done in my life was watch the tracking devices become unlocked around my daughters' ankles as I signed their discharge papers from the hospital. This meant that they no longer belonged to the hospital. They were mine.
I remember crying and laughing hysterically at the same time. A lot of it was probably hormones, or the drugs wearing off, but I'm sure some of it was this overwhelming fear of "What do I do?" I didn't have a nurse at the push of a button anymore, or a doctor within 50 yards away. The decisions to make now belonged to me. Admittedly, I did have some diagnosed post-partum anxiety at my three week checkup which was treated. I remember asking Mike those first few days, "Please check on the girls to see if they are still breathing." because I couldn't bear the thought of me walking in and my worst fears had come true. I have the best husband and partner anyone could ask for. He could have easily said, "You're crazy. They're finally asleep." However, he would sleepily oblige his crazy, hormonal wife, peek in on the girls, and reassure me that they were breathing and sleeping, and we should sleep, too.
I had a lot of Mommy guilt those first few weeks. I blamed myself for having the girls too early, although there was nothing I could have done to stop labor. I blamed myself for Meredith being born so small. It was months after having the girls that I realized how ridiculous and belittling it was to do that to myself, but also how common it is for women of preemies to feel this way. I made a point to take lots of pictures those first few weeks, because honestly, I was afraid I would forget what it felt like. I was right. I don't remember much of it. I was exhausted, gross, paranoid, and a bottle making, baby rocking, diaper changing robot. There was no day or night. There was only awake and asleep. Time was measured in the three-hour on the dot increments where the girls would eat. We were adamant to keep them on the same schedule. Most of the time it worked, sometimes it didn't and we dealt.
I have an amazing team. My parents are wonderful. They help out in every single way and they interact with our girls daily. Their love for our girls is absolutely unconditional, and I know they will forever be there. Mike's parents are great, too. When the girls had RSV, I had come down with a 101 degree fever and bronchitis, Mike had to work, my parents had gotten sick as well, we called his parents (who live three states away) and they came straight down. The girls' daycare is great. They love those girls like they were their own, and that is a piece of mind that you can't get just anywhere.Finally, there's my husband. Give and take, give and take. Tons of tag team parenting and constant communication. He is really just a fantastic parent and husband.
As Debbie Downer as this post sounds, it's all in the spirit of keeping it real. I wouldn't trade any of the rough times for anything, because they have definitely helped me become a better parent. I LOVE my girls, and through all of the challenges of when they team up on you and have a need at the same time, or not knowing when to call the doctor, or if they will ever stop biting each other, there are moments that take my breath away. Holding hands in the back seat of the car. Twin speak and answering each other. Two gorgeous little smiles at the same time. First twin hug.
So, Mommas of the world, give yourself a break. Put the "mom-petition", the guilt, the what-ifs to the side. This parenting biz is not for wimps, and we are all in this together.
More from parenting