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Whether you’re expecting your first babies or are adding twins to your brood, becoming a mama of multiples is an initiation unlike any other.
Being pregnant with twins is a surreal experience — from that first moment you find out there’s two heartbeats, to feeling both of them kick at the same time, to finally locking eyes with your newborns. As your belly grows and you start to really envision what life will be like with two new babies, it’s humbling to accept how many unknowns lie ahead.
Will your twins grow to full term?
Will you go into spontaneous labor or be induced?
Will you give birth vaginally, by Cesarean, or both?
When faced with questions that are impossible to answer now, it’s important to focus on things you can control.
Doing your research is definitely one of those steps. Becoming educated on pregnancy, birth, and postpartum processes is an essential element to making informed choices about the care you and your babies receive.
However, it’s just as important to slow down. To close the book, stop pinning nursery ideas, and breathe.
Think of your pregnancy and early life with your twins as a mountain to climb. There will be steep ascents, but there will also be lovely strolls. There might be moments of bad weather, but you’ll definitely get spectacular views, too.
Before reaching the summit, it helps to become familiar with the terrain, to pack light, and to nourish yourself with good food. But it also helps to enjoy the journey — take photographs, smell the flowers, soak in the stars.
Carrying twins is no small feat, and huge physical and emotional challenges are par for the course. It’s not always easy or realistic to enjoy each moment of twin pregnancy.
Just remember, give yourself some slack. No guilt trips allowed for Netflix binges. You are totally allowed to check out sometimes.
But consider setting an intention to come back to mindfulness during your pregnancy. It may feel like you’ll be waddling until the end of time, but I promise, you will not be pregnant forever. Once you finally get to meet your babies, you will be so grateful for all the ways you soaked up your amazing pregnancy.
Regularly grounding yourself in the present moment will lead you to feeling more calm, centered, and joyful, even in the midst of a challenging pregnancy.
What is Mindfulness?
Psychology Today defines mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present.” Practicing mindfulness now, during pregnancy, is one concrete way to help make your transition to motherhood easier. In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness training during pregnancy may reduce a mother’s risk of perinatal mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
All mothers carry some degree of fear of the unknown during pregnancy. For mothers of twins and higher order multiples, the stakes are even higher. It is so easy to get swept into the endless sea of ‘what-ifs’.
Staying grounded in the present moment — without judgement — helps keep fear from creeping in and taking over. Notice your thoughts and feelings. Acknowledge that while they move through you, they do not define who you are.
It can feel overwhelming to realize just how little time we spend being mindful, and where to begin. Likewise, it can feel like a losing battle when we are so accustomed letting our thoughts sit in the driver’s seat.
Keep trying! Mindfulness gets easier with practice, and the benefits will ripple out into every area of your life. Staying present, calm, and focused during pregnancy allows us to notice the amazing changes in our bodies, despite the discomfort that comes with the package. Lowered stress levels, improved sleep quality, and decreased physical pain are just a few of the many positive side effects of regular mindfulness.
The best part? You don’t have to dedicate hours to silent meditation in the lotus position. Mindfulness can be worked into your daily routine with a few simple steps. Keep reading for six ideas about how to start practicing mindfulness during your twin pregnancy today.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Twin pregnancy is no joke. In order to grow two healthy babies, our bodies work mind-boggling miracles.
Blood supply doubles to nourish two babes. You’ll grow either two new organs, or one super-placenta. All of your ligaments soften so that your organs can find room for these two new little people.
From an outsider’s perspective, it’s easy to see this as a remarkable feat. But when you’re in the midst it yourself, sometimes the discomfort and worry that comes along with pregnancy makes it feel impossible to enjoy the experience.
One sure-fire way to combat this is to start a gratitude journal. Every day, pick a few things you are grateful for and jot them down.
Maybe you’re battling intense morning sickness, but managed to keep some crackers down today. Maybe you’re bummed you can’t run anymore, but you still fit in 30 minutes of stretching. Maybe your ultrasound revealed some potentially worrying information, but the receptionist smiled warmly at you when you made your next appointment.
Today, 2.5 years after giving birth to my twin girls I pulled out my pregnancy journal and opened up to an entry that read, “I know I should feel grateful for a lot of things, but I feel like shit and at least I’m trying.”
And you know what? Admitting that took a huge weight off my chest. I felt so much better, knowing that even on a really hard day, I was still putting in the work to improve my mindset.
Try starting a gratitude journal, and comment below to let us know what you’re grateful for!
Listen to Guided Meditations
It’s hard to stay relaxed when you’re growing two babies. While many women get to experience a smooth twin pregnancy, facing the many unknowns that lay ahead is stressful. Plus, our bodies have twice as much work to do to, and often less time, than a singleton pregnancy.
It’s a lot to handle!
Even when we know the many benefits of relaxation during pregnancy, it can be frustrating to find how difficult it is to turn off the mental chatter.
Guided meditations are a wonderful tool to combat this. Having a calm, gentle voice to guide you into a relaxed state helps tremendously.
When I was pregnant with my girls, I was a nervous wreck. After two back-to-back miscarriages, I found myself battling anxious thoughts day in and out.
I’m so glad I stumbled across Circle + Bloom, a company that creates guided meditations specifically for women’s health issues. I listened to their Healthy Pregnancy + Delivery Program over and over throughout my twin pregnancy, and it cut my stress levels in half.
Many times while I was listening, I would zone out enough to fall asleep, which was a godsend when dealing with intense prenatal insomnia.
You can try one of their free guided meditations here to see if you like their style!
Our relationships with food are so unique and constantly fluctuating throughout pregnancy. We can be ravenous one day, then turn our noses up at every meal the next. As your belly grows, your stomach becomes more and more compressed, making eating enough to nourish yourself and two babies a challenge.
Whether you’re in a good groove of enjoying healthy meals or you’re totally unable to keep anything down, remember that every bite is a new opportunity to savor, slow down, and practice gratitude. Try pausing before you wolf down your lunch and taking a moment to be thankful for the nourishment you’re about the receive.
Why else is mindful eating so important? It’s really easy to cause ourselves discomfort while eating, especially during pregnancy. Slowing down at mealtime promotes healthy digestion, prevents pain from overeating, and can ward off heartburn that often lasts for hours after just one rushed meal.
Mindful eating also reminds us to try to only choose foods that nourish our bodies and souls. Remember not to be too hard on yourself when you slip up and devour that candy bar, but instead to take a moment to feel grateful for the opportunity to savor something delicious.
Embrace Pee Breaks (Yes, Really)
The struggle is so. very. real. With two babies growing in every direction, our bladders take quite the hit. Having to pee 1,000 times throughout the day and night can really feel like a chore.
But instead of grumpily shuffling to the restroom, consider using this (frequent!) activity as a reminder to slow down and connect with your babies.
When you’re forced to slip out of that board meeting for the third time, use it as an excuse to take a few deep breaths and ground yourself. When you’re up again at 3am, peek out the window and soak in the quiet of the night. Let your squished bladder serve as your complimentary, free mindfulness timer. Score!
Another reason to develop the habit of quieting your mind during pee breaks is that it’s usually the first thing we do when we get up in the morning. Feeling grounded, grateful, and present first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day to follow.
While you are most encouraged to develop a nourishing morning routine beyond your mini-meditative trip to the loo, it’s a fantastic way to start your day off with the right frame of mind.
Even if you feel huge and gross and not yourself, you’ll miss that giant belly before you know it. Take so many pictures, mama!
Victoria, mom of twin girls from southern British Columbia, offers this helpful perspective: “Take lots of belly pictures, and do not forget to take a picture from your POV of your belly. Take one every week as you get closer to the end. Take one after your water breaks and you’re en route to the hospital. I miss my belly so much! A year later, I still put a hand protectively over it. I spent so long looking down at it and seeing it move when the babies would kick, and I have only one photo from my POV of it.”
In the same vein, remember to grab your phone and take a video when your two little nuggets are dancing up a storm in your belly! I wish I had caught more of these moments. The few short clips I do have are so precious to me. It’s incredible how quickly the visceral feeling of being pregnant fades, and those videos bring it all back in the sweetest way.
How is photography a mindfulness practice? The key is to document regularly and without judgement. Use this snapshot of time to hone in on exactly what’s going on for you in the present moment.
It’s understandable to want to shy away from the days when you’re not feeling your best: the early days when your baby bump is 100% bloat, the first morning you notice stretch marks appearing, or the moment you realize you can no longer see your feet. But try to observe and document this incredible experience with an open mind, trusting that you’re exactly where you need to be and that these pictures are serving to commemorate that.
Skip the Waiting Room Magazines
When you’re pregnant with twins, you quickly become a regular at your OB’s office. As you wait to be seen by your doctor, those glossy perfect-mom-and-baby covers are so tempting, but take my word for it: your time is much better spent otherwise.
Instead of lusting for that overpriced diaper bag or freaking yourself out with another article about colic, try tuning into your babies. You can have a little mental conversation with them right there in the waiting room. Close your eyes, notice how you feel in your body — excited? anxious? bored? uncomfortable? — just notice how you’re feeling, without judgement.
To help make these waiting room visits more peaceful, have any questions or concerns for your doctor written down beforehand. I know that for me, too many times I let my thoughts race and ended up feeling stressed out before my prenatal visits.
Would my doctor say anything about how much weight I’d gained? Would my blood pressure be okay this week? Should I bring up my developing birth plan at the beginning or the end of our visit?
The times where I walked into my OB appointment feeling confident and relaxed depended totally on if I put any care into my mindset. Walking into your prenatal visits feeling grounded and present will help you feel empowered as you work with your care provider to ensure wellbeing for you and your duo.
Whether you’re new to mindfulness or you’ve tried time and again to get into a routine with it before, start today.
It isn’t about adding another task to your to-do list. Mindfulness is about pressing pause, breathing deep, and being present for the things that already do make up your day to day moments.
As you go about your daily routines, two amazing little beings are growing in your belly and getting ready to meet you soon — how incredible is that? Setting an intention to mindfully approach this time sets a solid foundation for a strong mental state that will carry you into twin motherhood.
When do you de-stress? Try out some of these suggestions and comment below with what works for you!