Twin pregnancy

how to nap for moms

How did I survive this past year with baby twins, a preschooler and a kindergartener?


(And the people who watched my children while I took said naps. Thank you Mayra and Mom!!)

“But I can’t nap,” you say.

I’m here to tell you that you can learn how to nap, even if naps have never worked for you.

How to be a power napper

1) Get the kids in a safe place.

Ideally this means into the hands of a babysitter, teenage neighbor, playdate, or if all else fails, an iPad.

When I was pregnant with my twins and still had two preschoolers at home, we had “quiet time” every day after lunch. My boys were so thrilled to be in their room alone with Netflix on the iPad, they never once came out to wake me up or get into trouble. I also have a very responsible older son I could trust to tell me if anything went awry.

But if you are concerned about snoozing with kids in the house, bring the youngest one into your room to watch a movie (while the oldest gets the iPad by himself in his room). You might even get your little one to wear headphones next to you while you sleep in peace.

2) Set the stage.

So ideally you are all alone in your room now. Your beloved room! Create a perfect napping environment by:

  • Making it cold and dark
  • Silencing all ringers.
  • Firing up your white noise machine
  • Popping in some earplugs (if your kids are with a babysitter)
  • Setting your alarm if you must
  • Blocking out all remaining light with a comfy eye mask.

My love of the eye mask emerged when I realized it’s a signal to my brain to shut off. Something about the weight over my eyes helps tell my mind it’s time to be quiet. I’m completely addicted to it now. This kind is my fave.

3) Let it go.

This is the part where you can start to stress that you’re not going to be able to sleep. Or you’ll start thinking about all the things you need to do. Or feeling guilty that you are spending money on a babysitter to sleep.

Everything can wait. And you have never spent your money more wisely. You are buying your health, and you are giving your children a much happier mother. This nap is going to help you make it through bedtime with a smile on your face. 

This is where you want to practice the breathing exercises you learned in yoga. If you need extra help shutting off your brain, try a relaxation app. (The one I’ve used doesn’t seem to be available anymore. I’ll update this if I find another one to recommend.)

4) Decide how long you want to sleep.

Sometimes I tell myself “I can sleep for one full hour” and I’ll magically wake up exactly an hour later.

Lately I can even nap for 20-30 minutes and get enough energy to get through the rest of the day reasonably well. If you are the type of person who feels groggy and hungover after you nap, first down a glass of water before you fall asleep, and then aim for a shorter nap.

Check out this infographic: How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits.

5) Do not do anything else but breathing deeply and not thinking.

And hopefully the next thing you know, you’ll be waking up ready to move mountains.

But as I tell my non-napping friends, even if you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes of lying in the dark not talking to anyone and breathing deeply, you’re going to feel better.


Last year was one of the hardest years of my life. But it came with so many gifts.

My twin pregnancy was the biggest physical challenge of my life.

The unexpected gift: As it turns out, my body is stronger than I ever imagined. So much stronger than my mind.

I carried my twins to 36 weeks gestation. They weighed six pounds each. And both of them came home from the hospital with us five days after they were born.

Bonus: My mom felt so bad for me she spent months at our house last year. This woman has three children and two step-children. Nothing phases her.

not afraid

I spent all of 2013 either pregnant with twins or with newborn twins.

Which meant my brain was worthless.

My short term memory? Obliterated.

I couldn’t even remember my newborn son’s name in the hospital when the nurses asked me. On multiple occasions.

atlas not his name

The unexpected gift: It forced me to release the goals I set up for my business and ignore the dirty kitchen floor while I spent most afternoons unconscious in my bed.

Note to pregnant twin moms: I promise you it’s easier to have newborns than it is to be pregnant with twins. You are experiencing the worst right this minute. It will get better. Especially after the first four weeks, which are so brutal you won’t remember them anyway.

I feel like my preschoolers were cheated out of a whole year with me.

The unexpected gift: Even though I spent every afternoon in bed, they probably saw a lot more of me than they did when I was working. And just like when I was a working mom, when I showed up for dinnertime, bath time and bedtime, I was all there. Even if I couldn’t get my belly to fit on my son’s bottom bunk for storytime.

Also, I think they’re handling it all okay.

happy boys

We were crazy stressed in the financial arena.

Providing for a family of six, plus our beloved 22-year-old au pair, is no small responsibility for my husband. When we go food shopping, we buy four loaves of bread at at time. Every trip to the grocery runs at least $300, even when we’re trying to be careful.

A trip to the pediatrician to get the twins’ ears checked for infections runs $70. We have one child in preschool, which costs more than my first year at Florida State. Even buying socks for all these kids is expensive!

The unexpected gift: We are blown away by the kindness of our friends and neighbors. We are constantly on the receiving end of bags of clothing and toys, even for our older kids. And even better is the feeling of passing these gifts on to other families when we our children no longer need them.

Another unexpected gift is that I’m dipping my toe back into work this year. Which means I get to hang out here.

EATagency hq

I’m sure I could go on, but I’m ready to MOVE ON.

Here’s to 2014. Let’s do it.

1-4 weeks postpartum

As you slowly make your way back to yourself after the outrageous challenge that is a twin pregnancy, the early fourth trimester is all about firsts.

The first time you:

hold both babies at once

Hold both babies at once.

e with footprints

See your husband as the father of four.

boys with babies collage

Arrive home with your new babies.

the first month

Start back at the beginning.

nana with teo

Realize that your mother may love them just as much as you do.

first time alone with all four

Are left in charge of your new number of children, and the panic you feel.

todays plan

Finally submit to the only to-do list you should be following.

friends in bed

Invite friends over to hang out in your bedroom, and feel totally normal about that.

first time out

Venture out with your new family.

busting out thelma and louise style

Get behind the wheel, all by yourself.

breastfeeding in dressing room 2

Breastfeed your babies in a dressing room.

ian judah june

Witness the love.

b and e

Have two minutes alone to sit with your spouse, even if it’s while taking out the trash.


Accept that there is not enough water on the world to quench your breastfeeding mama thirst.

babies at the pool

Experience, for the handful of times in your life, what love at first sight feels like. Times two.

What were your firsts?

Stay tuned for The fourth trimester part 2, where the theme is S l o w l y.

Note: I originally drafted this post on May 1, 2013. I was 35.5 weeks pregnant. Five days later, I gave birth to my boy/girl twins.

beached whale pm

This is the part of the pregnancy I feared and dreaded the most. This is the part I Googled when I first found out I was pregnant with twins, horrified by the belly’s ability to stretch both outward and down. The back discomfort I expected to have. The abyss of my dark bedroom.

But that’s the funny thing about letting your fears run ahead of yourself.

Sometimes the reality is not as bad as you expected. How much time did I waste, how much anxiety did I ride out in anticipation of what is now my now?

Here’s what I never expected about the late third trimester of my twin pregnancy:

All the ailments aren’t half as bad when you know the end is so close.

Or maybe it’s:

The ailments are so bad that I no longer expect anything from myself. This means I can finally accept a friend’s offer to stop by, and sit with her on the front porch for two hours just talking and sipping lemony water. And then go back to bed.

I am blessed to have people helping me — our au pair and my mother who is here to stay for 2 months — and I am accepting that help. Doing  laundry, picking up objects from the floor, and grocery shopping are among the things I can no longer do (at least without great discomfort). and I’m crazy lucky to have an amazing support system at home.

Don’t get me wrong–it’s not pretty

My ribs have a permanent jack knife stuck in them, which from the ultrasounds appears to be my daughter’s foot.

Getting from my bedroom to the kitchen downstairs is an extreme sport. Heck, rolling over in bed is an extreme sport.

My walk resembles Frankenstein, with Darth Vader’s breath.

My feet are stumps burdened with carrying a weight far too heavy.

I am hungry, always.

I spend most of my waking hours obsessing about when I’ll go into labor.

(And feeling guilty about not spending time with my boys.)

I poll everyone who comes around, peering into their eyes to look for signs of someone who knows.

baby birthday guesses

Every time I get up to go to the bathroom (1,000 times a day), I’m convinced my water will break. I mean, with all this weight, how could it not?

My favorite past time has become reading other people’s labor stories searching for hints of my own.
My Google search history is crammed with versions of the search, “earliest signs of labor.”

I’ve tried convincing my ob that the babies would be better off living outside me at this point. But they just check my blood pressure, say everything looks good, and send me on my way.

I’ve made no less than four trips to Labor & Delivery only to be sent home.

Except for that one night last week when Ian and I got to spend the night in a deluxe suite. I kept thinking we should really whoop it up.

Unfortunately I was connected to monitors the entire time and didn’t get more than 15 minutes of sleep. Trying to get to the bathroom (all 500 times) with all those cables was a ridiculous production as my (sweet) husband snored away on the pull out bed/chair.

Normally this gift of time would be a dream come true.

But even watching a movie seems too taxing on my brain.

So I sit and start into space and try to spend time with my boys and wait. And wait. And wait.

spending time with my boys

(He’s ready for this whole debacle to be over, too.)