What’s It Like Having a Singleton After Twins?

As the mother of three boys (18-year-old fraternal twins and a 16-year-old singleton), I’m often approached by new moms of twins who inevitably ask the same questions. “Are they close?” or “When does it get easier?” Pretty standard stuff. But when these moms spot my youngest son—the singleton—they lean in close, eyes widening and ask, “What’s it like having a singleton after twins?”

Good question.

My youngest son is exactly two-and-a-half years younger than his fraternal twin brothers. If truth be told, he was a surprise as we were not actively trying to increase the size of our family at the time. All during my pregnancy, I worried about the impact of having three kids—boys, no less—all under the age of three. I thought it was hard enough and now another one? I even cried the day I went into labor knowing that when I returned home from the hospital, life as I had so carefully controlled and had scheduled down to the minute, would be no longer. We would have to start all over. How would I ever handle it?

And then my son was born, and I fell in love. Instantly. Completely. I cried again but this time with tears of joy. Suddenly every fear I had had about bringing another child into an already busy household vanished.

Was there a period of adjustment? Absolutely. Were there challenges? Of course. But having another baby was not nearly as terrifying as I had initially thought. So if you, too, are thinking of trying for another baby after having twins, go for it!  And here’s why.

My singleton pregnancy was easier than my twin pregnancy.

During my twin pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds. By my fifth month, I couldn’t sleep comfortably. A short walk to the car left me breathless. I developed PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), a condition characterized by annoying rash that sometimes affects pregnant women, especially those carrying twins. But with my singleton? I gained a mere 30 pounds. No panting and puffing when I walked. My feet didn’t swell; my back didn’t constantly ache. Sleeping was easier, too.

Nursing was easier.

The whole breast-feeding process fell into place from DAY ONE. I was calmer and more peaceful. After all, I had nursed my twins so now I was an experienced nursing mom!

Bonding was different…in a good way.

Yes, I bonded with my twins quickly. But there were two of them, and it was rare when either baby ever had my full, undivided attention. But since they were my first children, I had nothing to compare it too, so bonding with two at once was my “normal.” However, when my singleton was born, I had a huge “ah-ha” moment. “Oh, so this is what it’s like!” I thought. Bonding with my singleton felt different. It felt more intense, like falling in love. And if I’m honest, I liked it. I truly enjoyed the whole getting-to-know you process with him. I felt so lucky to have the chance to nurture just one baby at a time.

I didn’t worry as much.

I didn’t sweat every cough or sneeze because I had done it all before. It wasn’t my first rodeo, as they say.

Caring for a singleton after twins was a piece of cake.

Really. Easy. One diaper to change. One baby to nurse. Getting out the door for the day was a snap, especially with preschool twins who could run and fetch things like the diaper bag.

Sibling jealousy was low.

We’ve all heard stories about older siblings who sometimes use attention-getting behavior (bed wetting, reverting to baby-talk) once a younger sibling is brought into the household. After all, a first-born child is not used to sharing the spotlight with a newborn sibling. Yet when twins are the eldest, much of that behavior doesn’t exist. Why? Because the twins have each other. There has always been another sibling in the house so neither one was ever top-dog, or mom and dad’s sole focus.

When my singleton was born, the transition from a family of four to a family of five was much easier than I anticipated. When my twins came to visit me in the hospital, for instance, they seemed completely uninterested in both me and their new brother (they were more interested in all the monitoring gadgets in the room). I didn’t take it personally. Actually, I was relieved. When their younger sibling came home, they just went about their business, slowly integrating him into their day-to-day lives.

So were there any challenges to adding a singleton after our twins? Yes, but just a few.

My husband and I were outnumbered.

It was now three-against-two. Translation? More household chaos.

My singleton sometimes feels left out.

I’ve talked a lot about the plight of the singleton sibling to twins here on this blog. It can be tough for some single-born children in a family with twins as they sometimes feel left out—mom and dad have each other; the twins have each other. But who does the singleton have? Furthermore, if the twins are identical and/or closely bonded, the problem can be exasperated. Solution? You need to work hard at building strong relationship among all siblings, and focus on the family as a whole, not just the uniqueness of twins.

And by the way, if you’re worried that you’ll have another set of twins, relax. Although lightning can strike twice, the odds are pretty slim that you’ll conceive twins again.

So what do you think? Are you ready for another baby?

 

7 thoughts on “What’s It Like Having a Singleton After Twins?

  1. Kathy

    I have boy-girl (Drew and Sally) twins who are now 18, a singleton son (Timmy) that is 15 almost 16, 14 year old identical twin girls (Kaylee and Julia), and a singletons daughter (Abby) who is 5. It was hard on Timmy. He feels a lot of jealousy sometimes because everyone would always go for the twins or now Abby. I know he has struggled with being the twins sibling at school sometimes.

    I remember when he first started high school and marching band. He came home and was all upset because when someone asked who he was before he could speak up someone answered for him that he was the twins sibling.

    Now it has got better from when he was littler. we would go to the mall or something and I would have Julia and Kaylee on my chest, Tim in the stroller, and Drew and Sally running around. All the attention would be on the girls or Drew and Sally. I know it will never be easy on him. He is stuck in between

    1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof Post author

      Wow, he is stuck in the middle. He can’t even claim “the baby” spot as your daughter Abby has that. Not an easy place to be, I’m sure. You’ve got to spoil him a bit…maybe take him out to dinner. Just Mom, Dad, and Timmy!

  2. Kristen

    Thank you for your honesty about bonding with your singleton baby. I have 6 year old boy/girl twins and an 11 week old baby boy. I have been feeling guilty lately because I have such a connection with him that I didn’t feel as
    Strongly with my twins. It has just been such a different experience with just one baby and like you said I have often felt myself thinking “so this is what it’s like?!” This baby was also not expected at the time but it am grateful every second that this little guy came along and I have been able to experience the bonding experience with one child this time. Raising twins is a very special and unique experience and I would never trade it for the world, but I’m also grateful to have the experience of raising a singleton as well!

    1. Christina Baglivi Tinglof Post author

      Congratulations! How very special for you and your family! My three boys are tight; it’s a beautiful sight to see.

  3. Joanne Taminza

    Aww great posts you ladies!. I am a first time mom to identical twin girls who just turned 5 months! I always wondered how its gonna be like having a Singleton after my twin girls. I just knew its gonna be all easy for me in terms of pregnancy coz I carried a lot of weight with my twins and am just looking forward to a singleton pregnancy next time around. But yea there’s no doubt its gonna be challenging raising twins and singletons..good luck ladies.

  4. Billie

    Hello! Thanks for your honest post! I am pregnant with a one baby now behind my 5 year old twins and 10 year old single. I already know that I ate and drank my first baby…I guess now I feel guilty that I might be closer with this baby than the twins…does that make sence? I feel guilty knowing every little milestone will be bigger (I noticed through the grandparents that every little thing one child does is something to talk about, where with the twins it was more about their interactions as a pair). I personally felt that it all sort of slipped away with the twins…I can’t really remember a lot of individual things. I also feel guilty that I am dissapointed to not be having twins again. I know it’s awful. But I can’t help but take note right now how the twins are running around playing right now…not a care in the world about me or what I’m doing…then remember back to my oldest at the same age who I put into daycare a few hours just to give him other kids to play with cause he wanted my attention 1000 hours a day. Pregnant brain I guess, but I feel conflicted on every front…my oldest did tell me last night that he was relieved to not be having two again this time. From his perspective I guess it really would be overwhelming.

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