The Twins Destroyed My Body (No, Not Like That)

My ever-present wrist brace helps me hold this heavy flower (the first flower my kid ever gave me!)

My ever-present wrist brace helps me hold this heavy flower (the first flower my kid ever gave me!)

Everyone talks about the pain of childbirth, but what about the pain of child-rearing?

You think I’m going to talk about stretch marks? Wrong. The twins destroyed my body in a whole different way than I expected: they are breaking me. At just over a year and a half old, they weigh 32 and 34 pounds each, and apparently that’s too much.

I don’t really carry them anymore. I taught them to go up and down stairs on their own as soon as possible. I don’t even pick them up when they’re crying- I just sit down on the floor and let them come to me. (That’s a trick I learned during bedrest with a toddler!) But, when you have two fat children under the age of two, there is still a lot of lifting and hauling. Every day, there is hauling in and out high chairs (2 twins x 2 times per meal x 3 meals = like a thousand times), hauling in and out of cribs for naps and wake-ups and bedtimes, heaving them into carseats if we go anywhere (I long ago calculated that one trip to anywhere means four buckle/unbuckles per child: in at home, out at destination, in to go home, out to come inside), and heaving them off their brothers during tantrums over the empty Tylenol bottle.

Oh, and let’s not forget the heaving them onto the changing table for every diaper. Yes, yes, I know that I could change them on the floor or the couch. Yes, yes, I know that most of you don’t use changing tables. I don’t want to hear it. I have changed approximately three trillion diapers by now, and I know what works for me, and it’s the changing table. I am just not good enough to keep a poopy diaper away from the dog or the other twin if I change someone on the floor, okay? Also, I’m tall, and I don’t want to bend over more than I have to. Also, maybe I just suck at changing poops, because I can make a mess and I prefer to keep that e.coli contained to one area that I can disinfect. OKAY?

Anyway, as you see, the children are heavy and ridiculously large for their age and still need to be lifted many times per day. Also, as you can see from any of my photos, I am not large for my age. I have zero muscle tone. Well, not zero, but I think it would take some major steroids to make me even look like I have any muscle definition. With my first son, everyone said, “Don’t worry; you’ll get stronger.” Ha! Now I reply, “I don’t get stronger; I just get sorer.”

I hurt everywhere, all the time.

Do you other moms hurt this much? If so, how can anyone look at a young mother with her arms full of a baby or a toddler and not rub her neck? This kid thing HURTS. Everyone talks about the pain of childbirth, but what about the pain of child-rearing?

My neck hurts. My back hurts. My wrist hurts. My head hurts. My hips hurt. Let’s just say that everything from my hips to my skull hurts all the time. Tell me I’m not alone in this, or else I’m going to have to see a doctor.

I primarily lift babies on my left side, so my left shoulder and back are all bulked up – at least compared to my right side. I probably look like I have a disorder. My left shoulder sits so much higher than my right, and I spend all of yoga class trying to get it down again (that is, when I’m not staring at the dude in front of me who is wearing my same skin-tight women’s workout capris, but with his shirt tucked into them).

My left wrist started to give out when the babies were about three months old, so I received cortisone injections several times. Now the doctor won’t let me do any more, so my choices are surgery or hold on until we can turn the cribs into toddler beds and the high chairs into regular chairs.

Even my muscles in my throat hurt! I feel like I’ve been looking down for 4 1/2 years straight, and now I have foreshortened the muscles in front of my throat. I am always stretching my head backward to help. Is that weird? Has anyone else experienced this? Almost five years of gazing into their eyes while nursing and bottle-feeding, and then looking down at their short little toddler bodies from my great height …. seems to have put me in a permanent downward-facing position.

My neck is all kinked up. I have had migraines my entire life, but they are worse lately with all the muscle strain. I do yoga and I stretch out on a foam roller every night and I try to take care of myself, but there is really nothing more to do until I get these kids more independent.

What the heck, kids? My husband said I feed you too much, because you just poop too much and weigh too much, at least compared to the pooping frequency and weight percentiles of your little friends at the playgroup. I guess it’s my fault you’re so heavy. It has nothing to do with the fact that your father weighed almost ten pounds at birth, right? (My twins were seven and a half pounds each at birth, at 38 weeks gestation. I shudder to think how big they would have been at 40 weeks as a singleton. However, bedrest and tator tots helped them get to be that big. On purpose.)

I’m lucky: my husband has magic hands. He can find every knot and every tender spot. He can just touch my neck with his fingertips and I might start to cry with relief. He takes over most evenings and most weekends, doing all the heavy lifting to let me recover before the next round.

From now on, the only gift I will give a new mother will be a massage therapist to visit her house every day for three years, or for as long as her child needs to be lifted, whichever comes first. Just kidding. That’s what I’m giving myself. When I win the lottery.

 

***

I understand that there are other ways to maneuver children. I worked at a Montessori school for a while, so I know that an ideal situation would be to have everything at the child’s level. No lifting/hauling/heaving would be needed. In the Montessori method, crib mattresses are on the floor from birth and children’s tables and chairs take the place of high chairs. Their feet should be on the floor when eating and they shouldn’t be restrained behind buckles or bars. I saw this method in action, and I can attest that it works in a Montessori environment. I can also attest that my house is not a Montessori house, and that one of my twins is a hurricane. I chose the buckles and bars and all of that as a way to keep my sanity in the short term, so I have myopically chosen to sacrifice my body for my sanity.

 

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14 thoughts on “The Twins Destroyed My Body (No, Not Like That)

  1. I’m not in the pain you are in, but I will attest that a six year old and two year old twins have also killed my body. Being pregnant again (OOPS!), I am now more aware than ever that I am going to have to stop lifting the twins as often as I do. Thankfully mine aren’t as large as yours, for I would surely die. They were 5 and a half and six pounds since birth and have been petite since birth. They also started climbing/falling out of their cribs six months ago, so we converted them to toddler beds then. More running for me, but less lifting and less falling and risk of death for them. I wish you luck and lots more back rubs!

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    • Oh, man, thanks for helping me not feel so alone! I will be in your position soon, as I’m sure they are about to climb/fall out of their cribs any minute. Heaven help me. I also wish YOU luck and lots of backrubs!!

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  2. Just wait until they are breaking you by just plain beating you up – in “play”, of course. I think one of them crushed the brow bone of my right eye. It’s always sore now, and my eyebrow hair grows out at all weird angles (!) since THAT particular “accident.” And I had to have my front teeth capped. They were all chipped from having tiny heads boinking off of them so many times. Don’t even get me STARTED on my (worn out!) hands and (oft stood upon!) feet! Ah, motherhood with young children – one of the few times in life it’s “normal” to be covered in bruises you have no recollection of obtaining. It’s even worse than dating! During first date with my husband I clambered back into the canoe – yes, we went whitewater paddling for a first date (that’s normal, right?) – so many times that my tummy and legs were black and blue all over for weeks afterwards. I remember I had a physical a few days after this event and my doc said “Whoa! What happened to you?” and I answered “I think I’m in love!” LOL. Anyway, am I being tangential? Point is, should have expected offspring of me and that man (!) of mine would leave me battered.

    And – zoinks – I think you just inspired my next post! 😀

    You, my dear, need a medical plan that gives you coverage for chiro or at least a regular massage appointment. You deserve this. Don’t let them “break” you – it won’t be any fun dancing at their weddings if you have to push a walker ahead of you as you go!

    Ever thought of soliciting your Facebook friends to see who maybe “knows somebody who knows somebody” doing massage therapy out of their home? (I found out one of my daughter’s friends has a mom who’s an MT!) Maybe someone will cut you a good deal, a lot of folks who do that are self-employed. Anyway, can’t hurt to check if there’s someone in your cirlces already… Just a thought.

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  3. I agree with butterflymumma. A chiropractor is a must. I couldn’t survive without mine! I can sympathize with having a large and heavy baby then toddler. That was my son, big and heavy. My ankles hurt in the morning when I got up. I would go into his room in the morning and think to myself, I have to pick him up out of his crib and then carry him down the stairs. Of course my back and neck hurt alot as well. I would not go anywhere without a stroller. I also don’t understand how we can be lifting this weight all day long and not look like a body builder but instead be whipped! Well I somehow made it past all that and I can still stand up straight and walk unassisted. Sounds like you are doing everything you can to help yourself. Let me know if you find a massage therapist. Don’t forget to get a chiropractor!

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  4. I use a chiropractor as well. My baby and I both get adjusted every other week and it is amazing how much better you feel when you continuously try to keep the natural curvature of your spine. Look for a chiropractor that does x-rays first so he/she knows exactly what they are dealing with for you personally and than will work with you on a corrective plan to restore your spinal curvature. I’d recommend mine, but you’d need to move to Southern Utah.

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  5. I had to wear a wrist brace off and on around the 1 year mark with my twin girls (who are very close in age to your boys). The twisting, etc. would strain it regularly. I was cracking up at your post because I have often felt the same way about how being pregnant with twins was easier on my body then raising them. (AND, I nearly died from PP hemorrhage too! BAD, BAD stuff.)

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  6. Pingback: I Hit “Advanced Maternal Age” at Midnight | Okayest Mom

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