Emily Neal : Young and Single Mum of Twins

Become a parent is one of the most amazing transitions that occurs in life. There are challenges, there are rewards and there are so many unknowns. Becoming a mother at 19 and to twins brings a whole other dimension. 

I had the pleasure of talking to a fellow mother of twins and getting a little insight to what her life looks like as a Millennial Mama to her twin girls. Emily is a young mother who until recently was a single mother to identical twin girls, Harper and Willow. She fell pregnant at 19 years old and the girls are now 2 1/2. Life as a single mother had been a roller coaster of a journey, but a wonderful one. Harper and Willow have given Emily so much love and joy in life. Before having her twins, she worked as a makeup artist for a big makeup company. She didn’t return to work until the girls were almost two and is now working at another big makeup company. Emily believes that is it important to love and enjoy what you do for work. Now that she is working a couple of shifts during a week, her family look after the girls outside the one day that they attend daycare. Emily emphasises her appreciation for her family (parents, sister and extended family) and friends’ support over the last two and a half years and feels privileged to have such wonderful people in her life.

Emily had a beautiful message to share to other parents, “Remember, no matter what the day brings, you are blessed. Hug your little ones tight, soak up the moment. They will never be as young again as they are right now. Us mamas need to stick together”.

What was your reaction to finding out you were pregnant with twins?

I was 7 weeks along when I found out I was expecting twins, my doctor had already mentioned it as a possibility before my first ultrasound as I was extremely sick. When the sonographer said ‘It’s twins’, I was so shocked, however I was still excited 🙂

Did you make any changes in your lifestyle to help cope with your pregnancy?

I needed to rest a lot more, I couldn’t work due to complications and severe morning sickness. Once I could stomach food I hate super healthy.

Did you have any complications during your pregnancy or delivery? If so, can you share your experience?

I lost a lot of weight at the beginning of my pregnancy due to the morning (all day everyday) sickness. I really didn’t have any sort of appetite until well after 16 weeks, also around this time is when I first started experiencing braxton hicks contractions. At around 23 weeks I was hospitalised after some blood test results came back, there were complications with my blood. My iron levels were extremely low. I ended up have two blood transfusions and an iron infusion. I then had to see a haemotologist once a month for the rest of my pregnancy, which meant a lot of blood tests until the end. I had back pain from the early weeks that only escalated throughout and by the end it was so hard to walk- The pregnancy was tough. My delivery was amazing with no complications, much nicer then pregnancy, that’s for sure 🙂

Were your twins born Premature? Did they stay in NICU or Special Care? How did you handle the Prematurity and NICU journey?

I was induced and had a vaginal delivery at 37 weeks with my twins- I had gone into early labour two weeks prior. Twin 1 (Harper) Was rushed into special care quickly after birth where she only stayed for a few hours! Other then that, they both stayed with me for our 6 days in hospital 🙂

How do you handle the pressure of being a single mum?

Times can get tough however being a single mum is super rewarding. I feel extremely lucky, I have the most amazing support system and family. I think its important for all mums to make time for themselves- Even if it is just watching a TV show at night.

What has been your biggest accomplishment since becoming a mum/in the past 12 months?

About 9 months ago I went back to work and I love my job. I feel like juggling work life and home life is a huge accomplishment and am so excited that I am able to do that.

What is the best advice for new parents of multiples?

Keep them on the same schedule (trust me, this piece of advice will save your sanity)

Describe your twins’ personality.

Cheeky, both of them!
Willow is my moody one, her mood can change at the drop of a hat. Harpers mood is a lot more stable and predictable. They are both very girly and tutus are their favourite things to wear. They both a super funny, loving, caring and gently.

What are some tips/tricks you would share with a new (or pregnant) mum of twins?

When one twin wakes, wake the other! Bouncers will save your life in the first year. A twin feeding pillow is a MUST need whether breast or bottle feeding. Stock up on nappies

Life is busy having twins. Are there any days when you get overwhelmed with the mummy guilt and feel that you don’t do justice to your twin mum role? If so, how do you overcome this?

Absolutely! Its hard to remember that you are doing the best you can day in, day out. It’s important to remember that, even on the bad or tough days. Taking time out for yourself at the end of a bad day to pull yourself together and remind yourself how well you are doing, can help put things back into perspective.

Do you have any tips for breastfeeding twins? Did you feed the girls formula? What routine did you follow to feed your babies during the first year?

Research and gain knowledge before your twins arrive (something I wish I did). Purchase a double breast pump. When my twins arrived, the hospital gave formula to help them gain weight before we left, as well as me establishing breastfeeding. I exclusively pumped for 6 weeks as one twin was struggling latching, after that I saw a lactation consultant to help me, this is something I wish I had done earlier and highly recommend. I mix fed (mostly breast) for 5 months until my milk dried up due to stress. I remember being so upset.

The first two weeks they were on a three hour feeding schedule, they then moved to four hourly. At around two months old I introduced a dreamfeed between 10 & 11pm. They started sleeping long periods and were sleeping through around this time.

How did you handle their sleeping pattern?

The sleeping was super tough at the start, however it didn’t take long to get them in an amazing sleep pattern. In that first year they were sleeping 13+ hours a night except for teething. I believe dream feeds helped me achieve this, plus the company of each other. Twins have their perks haha.

What was the toughest challenge that you have faced so far during their toddlerhood and how did you handle it?

I feel like toddlerhood in general is tough, absolutely the toughest age I have faced so far. The attitude I struggle with. I think patience helps to handle them at this age.

What is the one thing that you admire from their twin bond?

I still cant believe how strong a twin bond is. It really is something incredible. They are the best of friends, they know everything about each other. They know when something is wrong with the other without even speaking and can communicate it straight away.

What are the unique challenges that you encounter in your society as a twin mum and how do u deal with them?

I find a lot of people like to comment, I often hear things along the lines of ‘You have your hands full’ or ‘Double trouble’. This can get frustrating as I don’t view my children in this way. I am also a young mum and can get comments like ‘ you look too young to be a mum, let alone to twins!’. My age doesn’t determine my ability as a parent. My children are 100% loved and were 100% wanted. I usually blow off these comments with a reply along the lives of ‘ Double the love’ Or ‘I am so lucky to have such good and beautiful children’ etc 🙂 

How do you describe your life with Harper and Willow?

Life with my girls is crazy, busy but absolutely amazing. I am so proud of the polite little girls they are growing into. These two have sooo much energy and can be hard to keep up at times, but I certainly wouldn’t change a thing.

Tell me a little bit more about your girls or share something funny they’ve done recently:

Harper and Willow have figured out how to gang up on Mummy. They stick together and also stick up for each other. Its super cute but makes it interesting if one is in trouble. They have super funny little personalities and are always making up songs and dancing around the house.

Personal Info

IG: @twinmumlife

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