Twin fathers need help too

But in most families the father's time and energy are divided between home and work. Add to the sudden tightening of finances that two, three, or more new babies bring, the fact that most employed mothers need a-long maternity leave (which is often unpaid), and you can imagine the kinds of financial pressures dads might feel. To further increase the burden, the high cost of childcare for twins often makes the mother's return to work economically impractical. So the father is often caught in a double bind: feeling that he needs to be fully involved at home and, at the same time, that he needs to work more to make money to support the family.

There are few societal supports for new parents: Paternity leave is rare, if it exists at all, and maternity leave is usually unpaid. People in general and employers in particular do not tend to be sympathetic to the needs of fathers or of multiple birth families. Both parents are under extreme stress for the first months: The mother spends all day and evening caring for the babies; the father works at his job all day and helps with the babies in the evening, and neither parent gets much sleep. Says one well-rested father of five-year-olds, "l could fall asleep anywhere during the first three months--unfortunately even at work, standing up in a meeting!"

Even experienced fathers with other singleton children undergo twinshock. Adjustment co multiples may be especially stressful for this group, because they have been parents before and are stunned by how much harder it is with twins, especially during the infant stage. The need for the couple to be co-parents is acute in the first months with newborn multiples, the father may find himself deluged with much more responsibility for infant care, household chores, care of siblings, and finances than he had with his singleton(s).

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