Thursday, June 25, 2009

What on Earth are Irish Twins?

I first came across this term a few years ago reading one of the many baby care books around. Little did I know I would come to know very well just what that term means!

Basically Irish Twins are not twins at all, but siblings born within 12 months of each other. The exact date of the term origin is not known, but it was originally a derogatory term, referring to the stereotypical fertility of Irish Catholic families, who traditionally do not use birth control, and therefore tended to have children in very quick succession.

The term is not generally used in polite society due to its origins, but as is the case with many terms with derogatory origins, some people use it without thinking about the implications of the deeper meaning.

There are both very strong advantages and very strong disadvantages to having Irish Twins (all of which I am writing about here from personal experience). When I fell pregnant straight away after having my first son my GP laughed and said “well you are going to be very busy for a while!”. Boy, little did I know!

Some of the benefits include:
• Irish twins often end up being very close and affectionate with each other, since the space between them is so small, and it intensifies the sibling bond. They end up being fantastic playmates (or partners in crime is a better term I think). After the first year or so it really is like having real twins.
• You get all the “baby stuff” such as bottles and nappies over and done with in a few years.
• They learn together with a lot of things.
• There is NO sibling jealousy. This was one of the greatest benefits I thought. When the second baby is born, you don’t have to try and explain why there is a new baby taking up all of Mummy’s time.
• Its fun explaining to people how close they are!!

However there are downsides to this situation and they are:
• Having babies in quick succession does put a HUGE strain on your body. You don’t have a chance to get back into shape, and you body and hormones are already run down. You need to take lots of vitamins and iron, eat well and take really good care of yourself.
• It is really hard taking care of a new baby when you are pregnant again, especially if you suffer from any pregnancy complaints like morning sickness.
• It is a huge juggle taking care of a newborn and a (still) baby of 12 months or under. You basically have 2 babies completely dependent on you who both have completely different needs and sleep patterns.
• It really doesn’t get easy until your children are aged 2 and 3.
• You go through a LOT of nappies for a year or 2!
• You do need a lot of help and support – take it if it is offered!
• As with all mothering you get REALLY tired at times.

So in hindsight now, if I had known how hard it would be I would never have had two babies one straight after the other, but now down the track with two sons who are the best of friends I would not change one single little thing.

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Just wanted to say I stumbled across your post and it gave me a sense of hope for some reason. I have a daughter who will be 10 months old in a few days and I'm 38 weeks pregnant with another daughter.

Life is going to be busy!