I'm eight weeks postpartum now, with enough distance from my twin pregnancy to see things a little bit more clearly. If I could, I'd love to be able to communicate with my recently pregnant self and give her a little advice based on what I know now. Here's what I'd tell her...
You're absolutely right to make manic lists and do everything on them. When the babies come home from the hospital, just try to handle even the most basic task and see how hard it's become. Your epic list-making serves you well here, but there are even a couple more things you'll want to do. First off, make sure the changing station is fully set up, because it's the first thing you'll need when you walk in the door. Second, read all the manuals for the things you'll want to use in the first three months. Because when the babies are several weeks old, and you want to use the Ergos with the infant inserts, you will tearfully lament how hard it is to figure them out. You will scratch your head while you unfurl folded manuals with comic exaggeration, and you will watch YouTube videos with a layer of emotionality that makes it terribly hard to focus. (You will also watch your husband trying so intently to figure it out, and marvel once again how awesome he is, and how devoted.)
Don't register every single ache and pain as something bad. Remember how, before pregnancy, you occasionally had aches and pains? Yes, sometimes you have little ones in pregnancy too—but those don't all indicate something terrible. Try to differentiate. If you stub your toe and it hurts, there is probably not a problem with the babies. Relax.
A couple of bean sprouts won't kill you. I know you're starving and your bibimbap at the Korean lunch place came with bean sprouts, even though you'd specifically said you couldn't eat them during pregnancy. But you don't need to be so intense in your mission to pick out every last one. And similarly, avoid the gorgonzola, sure—but you can probably ease up on the hard cheese that's been cooked anyway on your babymoon in France, Italy, and Spain. (Also, don't bother asking the Parisian waiter if the cheese is pasteurized: He'll look at you like you're crazy/evil.) You're right to be cautious and smart about what you put in your mouth in pregnancy, of course, but obsessive behavior isn't necessary or even useful.
Have more zip-up swaddles on hand. In general, you have more than enough of everything—but you do need more of these. Because you will come home and feel the weight of the world is on you to try to figure out how to swaddle the real way with a blanket. And you will never figure that out, BTW.
Cosmetically, you're worried about the wrong things. You are very bummed out about those stretch marks that popped up in the last couple of weeks, and you're also spending a lot of time on Instagram searching for #csectionscar images because you think those are the biggest cosmetic issues you will have postpartum. You're wrong. In fact, you'll have to figure out how to heal your diastasis recti (a condition not uncommon after twin pregnancy in particular), and a bunch of extra weight you imagined would melt off like magic with a few weeks of breastfeeding. You're hilariously wrong about what to worry about, so how about... just don't? There will be plenty of time* to be the proactive sleeve-roller-upper you are, and work on improving the things you want to improve after the babies come—you just don't know what those things are yet.
*OK, maybe you won't actually have plenty of time per se, but you can make it happen.
You need a bigger car.It's really cute that you think your small hatchback will magically expand, creating the volume you will need to fit the double stroller, two car seats, and your 6-foot-1-inch husband—or even two out of the three of those things. But it will not. Get the SUV and be done with it.
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What do you wish you could go back and tell your pregnant self?
Photo: Courtesy of Alesandra Dubin