Two (or more): What it’s like to be a multiple-pregnancy mom

Motherhood is a journey often filled with surprises, challenges, and, of course, a lot of love. Yet, for some mothers, the journey begins with an unexpected twist — the arrival of not just one but two, three, or even more bundles of joy all at once. 

Multiple births, whether twins, triplets, or beyond, bring a unique set of joys and trials for new parents, and it’s often a journey that, unless you’ve lived it yourself, is hard to imagine. 

From the physical challenges of carrying multiple babies to the practical, emotional, and economic side of parenthood — and the abundance of happy moments in between —  it can be an exciting yet equally overwhelming time. 

With that in mind, who better to describe what it’s like to be a mother to multiples than the moms themselves? 

To better understand that experience, we are bringing you stories from two multiple-birth moms and the lessons they learned along the way. 

Meet Claire Todd, mom to fraternal twins 

Claire Todd, multiple-pregnancy mom

“When I found out I was having the kids, it was a totally dramatic day,” Todd said, thinking back to that fateful trip to the doctor. 

After experiencing two previous miscarriages, some unexpected bleeding had Todd and her husband fearing the worst. 

“I was so upset,” she said. “I just kept thinking, ‘Here we go again.’”

Todd’s doctor sent her for an ultrasound, and that’s when everything changed. 

“We could clearly see the two kidney-bean-shaped images on the screen,” she said. “My husband was sitting on a stool, and I remember thinking he was going to fall off!” 

What Todd inevitably learned that day was bleeding is actually pretty common when pregnant with multiples — something she still wishes was more widely known ––  and that her babies were both healthy. 

That’s when the reality of the situation started to set in, she said. 

At 35 years old, she had begun to think that maybe kids weren’t in the cards for her, but with this exciting and still shocking news in hand, she and her husband kicked into project-planning mode. 

As self-admitted spreadsheet people, Todd said they both began looking up as much info as they could and trying to anticipate how to manage two new additions to the family. 

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“You can’t really plan a baby that way,” she said with a laugh. “But it does make you feel better if you’re a planner to feel like you’re doing those things.”

After finding out they were, in fact, having fraternal twins — a boy and a girl — Todd said their network of family and friends became like a lifeline. They shared their parenting lessons and pre-loved baby necessities. They helped Todd and her husband organize everything by growth stage. 

“I was actually kind of upset with myself … when all of these friends were having babies, I didn’t completely understand,” she said. “We’re often there buying the cute little outfit or whatever, but what they really needed was for me to fill their freezer up, take the baby for walks, do laundry or stuff like that. 

“It just made me realize I could have been so much more supportive, but you don’t know that until you’re in it yourself.” 

While the babies were born just under three weeks premature — another common occurrence for multiples –– Todd was sent home soon after with her new family in tow. 

Claire Todd, multiple-pregnancy mom's twins

Looking back on that first year as a mom, she admits it was difficult. In fact, sometimes, it felt almost impossible.

“There were many days when all I wanted to do was go back to work and not deal with this,” said Todd. “But that’s normal. I felt so much pressure to be good at being a mom, to breastfeed exclusively, and I would sit there and ask myself, ‘Why am I not good at this?’”

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Like many new moms, Todd said she was constantly concerned about feeding — bottle feeding one twin but exclusively breastfeeding the other who was refusing to take a bottle. Her kitchen quickly became a never-ending sterilization and pumping station, and since the kids were both premature, she was always worried if they were eating enough or growing fast enough. 

“If I were to do it again, I think I would really try to trust the babies a bit more,” she said, alluding to the famous wives’ tale that babies are much more resilient than we think.

Claire Todd, multiple-pregnancy mom's twins

Taking another page from the classics, Todd also said the biggest lesson she would pass along to other expectant multiple-moms is that it truly takes a village. 

Connecting with other moms in the community and getting out of the house — even on days when she really didn’t want to — was critical to combatting the often isolating feelings that can come with being a new mom to multiples. 

“I met other women who were in the same stage as me because you need people to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been there,’” she said. “You just have to get out of the four walls of your house.” 

However, despite the chaos that can come with being a multiples mom, Todd said she wouldn’t want it any other way. 

She still remembers the early mornings when she would lie awake and could hear them babbling away to each other from their cribs, like they were in their own world, having their own conversation. Or how her daughter was so in tune with her son that she knew when he needed something, bringing him toys or reading him stories. 

And that continues today — they are often each other’s loudest cheerleader on the sidelines at races or skiing competitions.

Claire Todd, multiple-pregnancy mom's twins

“When you want a baby for such a long time, and then suddenly you’re having this abundance of riches … I couldn’t help but feel so lucky,” she said. “And honestly, to this day, I still feel so lucky because I have these amazing kids who are such close friends. It’s the privilege of my life to have been able to watch them grow and see their relationship develop. I know it’s something that will endure even after I’m gone.”

As Todd’s kids prepare to go to university, she faces a new challenge: rediscovering her identity. 

Like it is for many parents, kids often become priority number one in life — especially when you have multiples. And when that happens, moms especially can put parts of themselves or their relationships on the back burner. 

“Honestly, I have lost a lot of that sense of self,” she said, adding that while she’ll always be a mom first and foremost, rediscovering new passions and entering this new era of her life is exciting and scary. 

“I’m going to be thinking a lot about that next year. But I’ve watched my friends recreate themselves successfully, so we’ll see what happens. I’m unsure what will happen next, but that’s also part of the fun.”

Meet Nathalee Leblanc, mom to triplets

Similar to Todd’s story, Nathalee Leblanc initially struggled to grow her family, but after success with IUI fertility treatment, which brought about her eldest son, she and her husband decided to try one more time.

“We were so fortunate and had a great experience, so we went back to the fertility clinic,” she said. 

With her mom being a fraternal twin and knowing that fertility treatment often puts you in a higher bracket for multiples, Leblanc said it was something that was weighing on her mind. 

“I would have to say multiples was quite scary for me because it is a risk that you take going through treatment,” she said. However, she and her husband began mentally preparing themselves after their second fertility treatment successfully took, and the doctor told Leblanc that her hormone levels were relatively high — indicating the possibility of multiple babies. 

When she woke up one morning with spotting — much like Todd’s experience — Leblanc said she was afraid something was wrong and immediately called the clinic. After they performed the ultrasound, they told her there were Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C. 

“My mouth dropped, and I didn’t know what to think at that point,” she said. “I was chock full of emotions.” 

That day was unfortunately tainted by a doctor at the clinic who painted a grim picture of what Leblanc’s pregnancy would look like — indicating that it was high risk and extremely dangerous and discussed the possibility of terminating one of the pregnancies. 

“That completely took away that happy experience from me because she just basically made me worried,” she said. “Women are coming to you as a last resort because they’re so desperate for children. The last thing they want to do is talk about a procedure to terminate pregnancy.

“I hope she never did that to somebody else.” 

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Pushing past her negative experience, Leblanc shared the news with her husband and family, who had similar shocked reactions to the idea that she was, in fact, carrying three babies but thrilled for her soon-to-be growing family. 

While she wasn’t new to motherhood, Leblanc said she tapped into as many resources as possible for mothers of multiples, both through the hospital and her friends and network. 

“I was trying to wrap my head around so many things and how it would be different this time,” she said. “Multiple babies are usually premature, so there would be a period of traveling back and forth to the NICU to see them … do we need a bigger car … how can I take all of the kids out at once?” 

As expected, the babies were born prematurely by C-section, which Leblanc says was a bit of a blessing in disguise. The babies were sent home at different times, which gave her the time to rest and recover and bond with them and her oldest son gradually. 

Leblanc also stressed that new moms shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help because it undoubtedly takes a village to raise a baby — or three. 

“It was really the support and the community that helped me through this process,” she said. “As women and moms, we always feel guilty when we take time for ourselves or ask for help, and that probably won’t ever go away. But take those moments and those opportunities because exhaustion and burnout will creep up on you.”

She added that one thing to keep in mind when you become multiple parents is your relationship with your partner. There is often a lot of added pressure and stress that comes with bringing home multiple new babies, and you can pretty easily lose sight of your relationship in that. 

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“You have to be prepared that there may be tension, but having open communication and patience with each other will go a long way,” she said. “And don’t forget about little date nights, even if it is at home! Do the things you enjoyed doing before the kids to ensure you’re still connecting.” 

Today, Leblanc, her husband, her daughter, and her three boys live in a small community, which she says has strengthened their bond even further. 

“​​They don’t have much time where they actually separate from one another,” she joked. “But the bond is strong, and there’s nothing greater to see than when one steps up and wants to protect the other.”

She’s also enjoyed seeing how their personalities, likes, and dislikes differ. While they are young, she said it’s easier to manage because they often are in the same activities. Leblanc suspects she and her husband will have to “divide and conquer” a bit more as they get older, but they are up for the challenge. 

“Some days, you still just feel defeated,” she said. “But when I put them to bed, and we have our little storytime together, they kiss me goodnight … I think those are the moments that I always hang on to. It solidifies the reason why I really wanted to be a mom.”