Of course, all these heavy demands of taking care for multiples does make parents especially susceptible to stress, there are ways out, which help people to make the strains of their double duty reduced. There are some suggestions, which may help parents of multiples recognize and cope with all emotional, physical, environmental, financial pressures of raising twins, triplets, quadruplets, and taking care of them.
What does the very word “STRESS” mean? It is any physical, mental and / or emotional strain or tension, which is out body’s and mind’s way of letting us know about our coping mechanisms being overloaded. Any young mother does have enough energy and love to give to one baby, but splitting it among two, three, four or more babies becomes more than these women are able to cope with, and they may have the reaction, which will be expressed by anger or their strong wish to escape from the source of their stress – their babies.
Of no doubt, all mothers love their babies more than anything else in the world, but at times they may even hate them, too, and these emotions are conflicting, they contribute further to the stress, the women experience. Any young mother, especially, if she is raising her first baby, and practically has no experience of baby raising, may express some of her temporary thoughts, like “I have you”, or “I feel like throwing you away”, etc. However, she soon becomes really longing for release from the overwhelming demands of taking care for her baby, and she feels resentful that none of her efforts is appreciated. Thus, except being physically worn out, these women may also be emotionally drained from their feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, depression, self – pity, and other negative emotions.
Now, let us take young fathers into consideration. Though men usually do not express their emotions as openly as women do, they may also be suffering from stress. For the fathers of twins, triplets, etc it is not uncommon to feel neglected, even jealous, as all the attention is showered on the babies, and besides, they are pressured by extra financial demands. However, men have a way out for themselves, and they may be able to escape real stress by spending extra time at their workplace, which is impossible for women to do. Again, when a husband begins to spend at work more time that usually, it puts more demands on the wife, as she extremely needs her partner’s cooperation and help at home.
No matter what is your cause of response to stress, you as well as your partner do suffer from sinking energy and lowered self – esteem, and this makes your stress two times more difficult to fight with. However, as negative as all your reactions may seem, it is extremely important to realize that these reactions are normal responses to the stress of taking care for twins, triplets or other multiples. In addition, it is not less important to develop positive coping skills to make your double or triple loading lighter.
During the first weeks and even months after your babies’ arrival, the major reason for being physically exhausted among parents of twins, triplets or other multiples usually becomes practically complete lacking of sleep and exercise, and irregular meals. And even if you have enough time to rest, keeping to the around – the – clock cycle of feeding and diapering babies, doing all the laundry is difficult enough, especially in case when there are other children in the family, who are not yet able to help, and who need care themselves.
The best remedy for the physical stress, caused by your taking care of multiples, especially during the first year of their life, is finding help. You should never be afraid to ask your relatives, close friends, neighbors or regular baby – sitters for assistance. In case if you raise your babies alone, you may apply to your local community services, and keep in mind, that it is much easier for anyone to help you fulfill some specific task, like feeding or bathing your babies, or at least one of the multiples, going for a walk with them, letting you do some household chores; shopping, cleaning the kitchen, washing or preparing some meal, etc.
Another way out to have enough sleep and food is taking short naps, if sleeping enough in the night time is impossible for you; although taking short rests while your babies are sleeping during a day time does mean sacrificing the satisfaction of fulfilling something of the household, but from the other hand, your energy will be renewed. Or you may also have little snacks from time to time, and have more frequent meals, if you see, there is no time to prepare a full meal, and you will still be able to maintain good nutrition, snacking with cheese, raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain sandwiches, eggs, soup from time to time. However you are never to rely on coffee, cola, or any kind of junk food, which is high in sugar and fat. Remember you need to have enough of vitamins, minerals and other elements, and your diet is to be balanced, in order to keep yourself fit, to lessen your stress and provide a sufficient breastfeeding for your babies.
In order to reduce stress, you may do some physical exercises, though they may seem impossible, especially if you feel exhausted. Still, having regular physical activities, like walking, stretching, yoga, jogging, bicycling, etc will fulfill your body with energy. Meditating, you will reduce stress and increase your energy level. However, no matter what way of getting rid of stress you choose, it is to be something, you enjoy doing, and not something, which will like an obligatory task for you to fulfill. You should also let yourself have a “sacred” time to fulfill some of your favourite activities on a daily or weekly basis.