My name is Rebecca Jackson. I am 36 and I live in a very small town in the middle of England. Before my mama years, I lived in London and I was a performer. I’ve done TV presenting on shopping channels and tours as a singer. I’ve now got a singing and acting Academy. We’ve got over 100 pupils. So I’m a busy working mom.
I’ve got four children and a stepdaughter. When I met my husband, I was 23, his little girl was five. I was a step parent six years before I had my first son. Step parenting is a whole other level. It’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Actually, I’d say in some ways, it’s harder than parenting.
Georgia, my stepdaughter is now 18. When she was 11, we welcomed our first little boy, Walter, into the world. Walter was delivered vaginally, it was a very, very quick labour. Straight from the moment he was born, I always remember everyone saying you get this rush of love. I didn’t really get any of that. I just found that transition to motherhood really, really difficult. And emotionally, I just don’t think anyone really speaks about it.
Two years later, we fell pregnant with our second child. In both of these pregnancies, I didn’t find out what I was having. And I’ve always dreamt of having a daughter. That was in the back of my mind that I really wanted a girl. I ended up having a little boy again, Jett! He was healthy and it was so lovely to see the two boys play together. So Walter was two years when Jett came along. And mentally I was better this time around. I got my placenta encapsulated, actually. So that really helped. I found the second time around easier.
I went back to work at six weeks with both of my children. When you’ve got your own business, and you’re building it up, you are needed. I used to feel like I parented better when I was a working parent anyway. So I still looked after them all day, and then I’d go to work, three or four evenings a week.
Then lock down came and I started to obsess over the thought, I’ve always wanted a daughter. I thought about my life when I got older, and that if I didn’t have a daughter, I would be sad to not have that mother daughter relationship. I persuaded my husband “Come on, let’s try for this third, please!” He’s older than me, 44, but he was happy for us to try for one more. We were trying for two years and nothing. I went for some Reiki healing. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. Anyway, long story short, I got pregnant!
A week later I started to feel absolutely horrendous like I’ve never felt before. I couldn’t get off the sofa. I was shaking, shivering from head to toe. I decided to book an early scan. When I walked into the scan jokingly I said, “I’ve been feeling so rough my brother in law has been joking that I’m having twins.”There’s no twins in either side of the family. As I laid down on the bed the sonographer said, “Oh, there’s no way It will be twins. It’s just a wives tale that it makes you feel rough.” When we looked at the screen there were two sacks there!!!! I screamed and I cried. I’ve never felt anxiety like it and fear!!! it was just crazy.
Throughout the pregnancy, I had lots of complications, very serious ones. I had a high risk pregnancy and it put everything in life into perspective. I was worried my whole pregnancy, about everything and everyone. It was the most stressful nine months of my life.
On the 25th of July, Rocky and Roman came into the world. I carried them to 37 weeks. They were six pound eight and six pounds. They were two healthy boys. I didn’t get the girl. But I am grateful everyday that they are both healthy. I have appreciated everything so much more this time around because of everything I went through in the pregnancy. I’m very lucky!!
What’s the most magical thing about having twins?
I think the most magical thing about having twins is the miracle of it all. When they were born, they were put next to each other in the cot. Even now at night time they sleep next to each other because that’s what is recommended for twins. They always have to be touching each other. Rocky will always have to be touching Roman or vice versa. They calm each other down.
The whole thing is just magical. To just naturally have conceived twins. To have grown two babies at the same time. Just wow! Like sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll just catch myself and I’ll be like, “Oh my God! I’ve got twins!” I think every girl dreams of having twins, don’t they? I mean, the reality is not easy, but everyone dreams of it! Everywhere you go, everyone stops to say what a miracle it is and how precious it is. So I’m reminded every day how lucky I am.
What’s some great advice for women expecting twins? Feeding, sleeping etc?
I think the best advice is, everything seems hard until you’re actually doing it. I suffered massively from anxiety, and I’ve never suffered from anxiety before. Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was so scared.
I also think people only tell you the negatives a lot of the time with twins. You’ll hear the horror stories of babies that were born really early, that were split up into different hospitals. And a lot of the time women expecting twins deliver full term and it’s all fine.
Also when I was out and about in the street, I said, “Oh, I’m expecting twins!” And People replied, “Oh, you’re in for a nightmare.” “Oh! you’ll have your hands full.” Even now people say “Rather you than me.” It doesn’t offend me. But, people make it out to be so negative. It’s not so I don’t listen.
Don’t pressure yourself to breastfeed. If you don’t want to breastfeed, don’t breastfeed.
But the best bit of advice, which actually worked for me, is get your babies in sync from the minute they’re born. Every three hours, we fed them together at the same time. If one of them was asleep, we’d wake them. That whole never wake a sleeping baby wives tale. I would say never wake a sleeping baby unless it’s twins. Ha!
Mine now wake up for a bottle at the same time, feed at the same time and go down at the same time. And that’s because from the moment they were born, I just said to my husband, “Every three hours, let’s just feed them.” Obviously that is easier if you’re not breastfeeding.
You mentioned how hard being a step parent was? What are the challenges and What has helped you get through tough times as a step parent?
I think the hardest part of being a step parent is, that as a parent we make mistakes daily. Whether they’re practical mistakes or we might say something we don’t mean. But as a step parent, it’s almost like, you’re not allowed to make a mistake. Any mistake you make is magnified.
What’s also difficult is actually the role of a stepmom. And that’s more difficult than the role of a stepdad because it’s down to society who have made us think of the wicked stepmother. I just think there’s a stigma, surrounded by being a stepmom. It’s also difficult for a girl to be able to appreciate that role of a step mom, without feeling guilty on their own mom.
I think it’s hard to step back with parenting decisions that I don’t agree with. It’s hard to say “In my house, we do this!” because you can’t completely overrule.
When my own children came along, I was mindful of putting Georgia first. I’m proud of my relationship with my stepdaughter, because it’s a relationship that we both worked at together. It has helped me knowing that it’s a relationship to be proud of. I’ve always held on to the fact that one day she will grow up, she will have children of her own and maybe even stepchildren. I think then she’ll look back and appreciate, the role of me and her dad in her life.
How do you think your journey in motherhood has changed you?
Wow, that is the million dollar question. I remember when Walter was born, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking who are you? Where have you gone? Come out! You’re in there somewhere. And I don’t care what anyone says you lose a massive part of yourself when you become a mom.
Obviously, you gain all these other amazing parts that you didn’t know existed. But you lose so much of yourself. I don’t really know who I am, without being a mom. If that makes sense. I think it’s changed me massively. It’s really opened my eyes. It’s made me a deeper thinker. I know what emotions are now and what mothers go through.
I feel empowered by being a mom of four boys. And obviously step mom to Georgia. It’s like holding up a mirror and seeing every single flaw in you appear. That’s how I would describe it. Things about you that you didn’t even know. It has changed my life for the better. There isn’t anything better in life than being a mom and watching your child become who they are. It’s literally the best experience in the world. And it’s made me realise even more what I want out of life and why I want it.
What products could… REBECCA JACKSON not parent without?
I couldn’t do without my Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine, which makes bottles in two minutes and I’ve got one upstairs and one downstairs. The main thing I couldn’t do without was my twin feeding pillow because in the middle of the night It’s the only way to feed them.