The most critical time in the early months with multiples is when the father realizes he must become an equal co-parent; if he isn't able to accept this challenge, he often bows out of the family picture emotionally or physically (although there are cases in which the father is the one abandoned). Unfortunately, in so doing he overlooks the fact that his partner may also be overwhelmed; but doesn't have the choice of "running" from the situation (Double Feature, 8:1).
A typical scenario is this: New babies arrive, both parents feel overwhelmed, father responds by working longer hours and/or neglecting mother and babies, and feels guilty about it. This initial guilt reaction can set the stage for either the father's further involvement with, or disassociation from, his family as a coparent. "I felt like I was going crazy," says George, a father of undiagnosed twins, who experienced severe twinshock. "I would come home from work every night to find the house a mess and my wife in tears, and have two screaming babies thrust into my arms. I started working later and later, and tried to stay out of the house on weekends."
While this kind of situation is a temporary stage for most families that experience it, the father who can't find a way to cope effectively with his stress runs the risk of losing an opportunity for connecting with his children, as father, and his partner, as co-parent.
Twinline continues to encourage and welcome fathers of multiples to use all our services and to let us know about their experiences.