I used to read a lot of “As a mother or father of triplets, what would you tell other first-time parents of triplets” articles in the Internet when I was preparing for the arrival of my trips. At that moment I was in sheer agony. I wanted the girls OUT. I couldn’t take it anymore. All the advice made no sense to me. It went along the same lines: “Breathe you will get through it!”; “Every every moment as much as you can, it will disappear in a blink of an eye!” and “Don’t compare yourself to other parents.” Now that I am on the other side of the fence, a lot of their comments made a whole lot more sense.
Everything they said would happen, indeed happened.
There were moments of group crying. I cried when the triplets cried, because I felt so powerless, lost, outnumbered. Two times, I let them cry till their cries got hoarse. I kept thinking, I never asked for this. This is too much. I am clearly incapable. What am I thinking I can do this?
And there were the moments where I totally lost it. When I know I lost it, I just put the kids down and call my husband ASAP before I do something stupid.
I also found out early on, googling for information when in doubt was futile and googling pictures of triplets were uhm unpleasant (mostly showing the negative side effects of triplet pregnancies). Most forums are also catered to parents of singletons or twins. I wanted specific answers with regard to triplets and it was hard to come by.
I took whatever help that was extended to me and I always asked people to gift me diapers. Anyone who offered to buy me food, diapers, do my chores, I wouldn’t say no. But I don’t like offers of help that went let me know if you need help. The burden then fell on me to ask for help and I’d rather not because I just didn’t know how to ask, “Hey can you come over and mop my floor for me?”
They also said don’t listen to advice from parents of singletons and in my case, I never needed to. Everyone was just so awed by our pregnancy, they didn’t think it was their place to give advice to me. Besides, I was a second-time parent so they knew I knew the jig. I, however, did not take too kindly to confinement advice. I am just not one to follow rules, especially when I am not Chinese. But to be fair I did not follow my own culture’s confinement either, which required me to wear that slimming belt thing after a postnatal massage. After my postnatal massage lady left the house after each session, I would go to the toilet and remove the belt; and at the next session she would remark about how the belt needs to be tighter because she was not seeing any visible difference to my tummy. I am not the kind of person interested in slimming, or flattening my tummy, or any of that sort, I am happy with my body (granted I could hit a more healthy range of BMI). I am not too pleased that celebrities endorse postnatal slimming – this should absolutely be the last thing on a mother’s mind amid the chaos of learning to breastfeed, sleeplessness and fatigue. Besides, those stretchmarks are battlescars. I don’t like my post C-section belly but I can live with it. It did an amazing thing: it carried three babies to term.
I was also less harsh on myself with regard to breastfeeding. I went in with the plan that I will do it for as long as it was manageable. The first three months, they received a lot of breastmilk but I was doing poorly physically and mentally. I had a breakdown one night and I told myself this is it, its not manageable anymore, I can’t do it. And I just stopped just like that even though I had milk to give. I pumped out whatever was left but the supply declined naturally.
And the best advice I got out of these articles was the sleep advice. Getting all three babies into the same diapering-feeding-sleeping routine. It worked like magic for us, starting from Day 2. Sleep has been the easiest part for us (though these days when they can crawl its challenging again). I remember the first day they slept through the night when they were nearly 3 months old, I celebrated in Facebook with my fellow friends and it invited 36 likes. With sleep came the return of normalcy and disappearance of insanity.
And they always like to end these articles with “Remember you are so blessed.” I have a hard time still about feeling blessed about having triplets. I feel like I’ve been dealt a curveball and I am still figuring it out. But I am very blessed for each baby, who by now have their own personality and quirk, and I can’t imagine a life without them.
I still read these advice columns because I still have such a long journey ahead of me and next up is toddlerhood! I am thrilled that this is the first time I am encountering the toddler years without being heavily and painfully pregnant.