You don’t need to be a kaypoh to be curious about living with twins ― after all, they are rare. SmartParents expert and consultant ob-gyn at Gleneagles Hospital, Dr Christopher Chong states that twins account for 10 or 0.1 per cent of every 1,000 births. The odds of naturally conceiving twins are even lower ― just 1 in every 7,000 to 10,000 births!
Twins come in two types mainly — monozygotic or dizygotic. Monozygotic — or identical — twins are conceived from one egg and one sperm which splits to form two embryos. The foetuses will share the same genetic makeup. Dizygotic twins — fraternal twins — on the other hand, are the result of two eggs being fertilised by two different sperm. The babies may be of the same or different gender.
Blogger Geraldine Guo, who is mum to 2-year-old twins Jordan and Jonas, and Jaden, 5, says, “I wished someone had told me I’d have ‘celebrity’ status when I go out with the twins. I never expected to draw that much attention when we’re in public.”
Gynae are most likely to deliver twins by Caesarean. Dr Chong notes that delivery these babies naturally is only possible when both foetuses are positioned head down ― even then, there’s still a 6 per cent chance that he may have to deliver the second baby via C-section after the first.
“I felt incredibly blessed yet on the other hand, uncertain about the dynamics of having twins as a new parent.”
Your babies may also face risks being born prematurely, developing jaundice, and have low birthweight. Still, these sobering issues do not lessen the delight that mums-to-feel when they learn that they are having twins!
For blogger Amber Yong, mum to 18-month-old twins Leia and Lauren, finding out that she was expecting twins was a huge surprise as neither she nor her husband have twins in their family. “I felt incredibly blessed, yet on the other hand, uncertain about the dynamics of having twins as a new parent.” Still, Yong wishes she hadn’t read that much parenting advice on raising twins. “There [is] too much negativity and it gave me unnecessary stress!”
Read on to find out what Yong and Guo have learnt about raising their precious pairs…
1. They are likely to be born prematurely.
Dr Chong says that new mothers expecting twins are more likely to experience premature labour than other mothers. And that is also why a multiple pregnancy is usually considered a high-risk one. Conditions associated with a multiple pregnancy, such as high blood pressure — which causes preeclampsia — also increases the chance of premature birth.
2. Identical twins are really rare
Dr Chong says that the odds of mums-to-be delivering identical twins is about 3½ for every 1,000 births. This figure is on top of one’s chances of conceiving twins naturally.
3. They may be twins, but they have very distinct personalities
Jordan and Jonas’s teachers told Guo, right after her boys’ first day of school that they are as different as “day and night”. Guo agrees, adding, “One loves to sleep, the other won’t shut his eyes till he’s very, very tired. One is a perfectionist and he wants to do everything by himself, the other has an easy-going character. One loves cars, not the other.”
Both Leia and Lauren also have completely different temperaments. Leia is reserved and observant, while Lauren is more bubbly and outgoing. However, Yong notes that they do share similar music and food preferences and their synchronised sleeping positions never fail to amaze her!
“Their buddy is always around ― they’ve known each other since they can remember and that is really comforting.”
4. Identical or not, parents do get confused between who’s who
Initially, Yong and her hubby had trouble telling Leia and Lauren — who are both identical — apart, especially since both of similar size. Yong shares, “We had to tie tags on their ankles to differentiate them for the first few days after birth.” The couple gradually learnt to spot subtle differences in the twin’s features and of course, their birthmarks help, too.
Although Jordan and Jonas are fraternal twins — meaning they don’t look alike — Guo admits that when she’s feeling a little sleep deprived, she’ll have to take a closer look just to be sure.
5. They’ll be best friends ― as well as frenemies ― forever
Your twins won’t just be the best of friends, they’ll end up egging each other on throughout their lives, too. Guo says that because her twins offer each other direct competition, she has noticed that their social skills develop much faster. She adds, “Their buddy is always around ― they’ve known each other since they can remember and that is really comforting.”
Yong’s daughters also share a special and natural bond, “As they motivate each other, they also learn to be more sociable and tend to hit their developmental milestones at the same time.”
6. Having a plan will help you cope
Yong used to think that having twins would mean double the parenting efforts but having and sticking to a consistent feeding and sleep routine has taken much of the stress out of parenting for her. “With that in place, we can also continue what we enjoy doing together — travelling!”
Amber Yong is mother to Leia and Lauren, both 18 months. She also owns an online children’s wear store, leia+lauren. Geraldine Guo, mother of Jaden, 5 and twins Jordan and Jonas, both 2, blogs at Mommy Chuck.
Photos courtesy of Amber Yong, Geraldine Guo and @leialauren’s Instagram account.
Main photo: iStock
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