As part of our journeys into motherhood series (and just in time for Mother’s Day), we caught up with freelance editor and founder of Not Another Mummy Blog, Alison Perry. We’re big fans of her iTunes Kids & Family chart topping Not Another Mummy Podcast, where she’s chatted to guests including Emma Bunton, Katy Hill and Izzy Judd.
Together with her husband ‘Mr P’, Alison has an eight-year-old daughter and the couple has recently welcomed adorable twin girls. We love Alison’s colourful and fun style and she can often be found dressing her littlest ones in our organic baby knitwear. We talked to Alison about what pregnancy is like second time around, her IVF journey and what it’s like to be a mum of twins.
Read her story below…
Alison wears one of our cashmere charity knits raising money for Refugee Support
Hi Alison! Firstly a huge congratulations on the arrival of your twin daughters last year! They are gorgeous! How have the first few months with them been?
Thank you! The first few months have been hectic but totally wonderful. They’re genuinely two of the most delicious creatures I’ve ever come across so I feel so lucky to be able to hang out with them. Of course, there have been many difficult, sleep-deprived moments but on the whole, I’m loving it.
You also have an eight-year-old daughter. What has the transition into being a family of five been like for you all?
We knew it would be tricky – we’ve been a family of three for so long. But luckily, our eight-year-old is so thrilled to have two baby sisters, it outweighs any possible negatives. She’s very hands-on, giving them lots of cuddles and even helping to feed, bath and change them. It’s like having a mini mum with us, at times. We’ve been spending lots of time one-on-one with her too, going out for lunch or to the park or cinema, so that she doesn’t think everything is always about her little sisters now.
Very bravely, you shared your IVF journey on Not Another Mummy Blog. It must have a been a very difficult time, what was it like for you and Mr P?
It was a tough time, but we thankfully only had to go through the treatment twice, and for many people, they have to do it time and time again.
Were there any positive things that came from talking about it so openly?
I’ve had lots of messages from women who are having IVF treatment or about to have it, or facing some kind of fertility issue, and they tell me how much me talking about our treatment has helped them. I think sometimes just checking in with people who are experiencing something similar can make you feel less isolated in a situation.
It must have been so exciting when IVF worked! What was it like when you first found out?
Well at first, we thought it had failed. I was convinced, and felt so upset. But a friend who has been through IVF herself told me to take an early pregnancy test, and when I did, it was positive. I tried not to get my hopes up (as they advise you not to test early during IVF, because it can give you a false positive) but when I tested on the date the clinic told me to test, it was still positive! I couldn’t believe it.
How was your second pregnancy compared to your first one?
It felt very different. First time around, everything was new and weird. I did a lot of reading (books, magazines, forums!) about the birth and we were very organised in buying all the baby kit we needed, early on. Second time around, it felt more familiar (‘oh yes, I remember! This is what morning sickness feels like!’) but we left everything until the last minute – ordering kit, packing my hospital bag, everything!
I also had far more scans and appointments this time, because I was having twins, so I got to see them every couple of weeks which was nice.
And what has it been like having twins? Has having two babies been very different to when you had your eldest?
It’s amazing how quickly you get used to having two babies to look after! It’s a bit of a juggling act at times, and sometimes we get one off to sleep just as the other one wakes up. Thankfully, Mr P is a stay at home dad, and I’m going back to work very soon (I work from home so will still be around to feed the babies and help!) so there have been two of us to look after the babies. It’s also felt very different to first time around because I had post-natal depression back then, so in comparison, it’s felt like a dream.
We love your style! What do you look for when you buy clothes for the girls? Do you go for matching?
I tend to buy similar but different outfits, so same fabric but different style, or same style but different fabric! I love soft cotton clothing, easy to put on – zips and front fastenings are a God send – and we’ve mostly kept the babies in babygrows and rompers so far. My eight-year-old chooses her own clothing now and loves colourful leggings, sweatshirts and trainers.
And what are the best bits and worst bits about being a mum?
Best bits… just getting to hang out with these cool little people. Whether it’s sitting with the twins watching them grin and play with toys, or going out for a pizza with the eight-year-old, it’s a joy to spend time with them.
Worst bits… it can feel so blooming hard sometimes! With the babies, it’s the moments where they won’t stop crying and I want to cry too. With the eight-year-old, it’s trying to parent in a fair way, resolve any issues, encouraging her to be a nice person, convince her to do her homework – all that stuff!
And finally, what are your top five tips for new twin mamas?
- Try to get them onto the same routine – feed them at the same time, and if one wakes for a feed, wake up the other one!
- Remember you’ll need more help than mums with one baby so accept all offers of company, babysitters or a home cooked meal.
- Don’t feel pressure to get out to baby classes (it can be a big enough challenge with one baby!)
- You don’t need to buy two of everything – we have one baby gym which they take turns in, same for our Jumperoo. We’ll see whether this carries on when they’re toddlers and refuse to share…!
- Try not to compare them – they’re individuals who will develop at their own pace. One of mine rolled over for the first time in the same week that the other got her first tooth!