When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I urgently googled everything about twin pregnancies. I started writing on this website. I joined our local moms of multiples group. When people told me I needed to talk to so-and-so who is a mom of twins, I took every phone number or email address. Stories of sleepless nights were swapped over (a quick) coffee in during maternity leave with local twin mommas, and my first night “out” was to a meet n’ greet for my MoM group when my babies were 7 weeks old. When I was stressed, I turned to this blog, other twin websites, or emailed other parents of twins. I gritted my teeth when parents of kids who are 16 months apart say it’s “just like having twins.” While nearly all of my friends are moms, I rarely reached out to them, thinking they won’t “get” it, or I wouldn’t feel the same connection as I would with someone who has lived this experience.
However, I’ve noticed recently, that I’ve not had the interest to attend the new moms’ coffees, and while I’ve reflected on dozens of different topics on which to write a blog post, they’re related less and less to a solely twin mom experience. When did this happen? All the sudden, it seems I see myself just as a “mom,” with the “twin” qualifier no longer being the first and foremost descriptor of my experience. All the things that made new motherhood harder with two babies (feeding two at one time, having two babies wake up in the middle of the nights instead of one, not being able to manage getting two babies out of the house on my own) still apply. I still felt that having two is truly the challenge of a lifetime that you can only understand if you’ve been through it. (I also still don’t think that having two kids 16 months apart is the same thing as having twins!) But, it seemed less important to me to try to explain it to others. Could it be that I’m becoming more confident, knowing that I’m doing all I can and trying my hardest, regardless of how hard others think it is? Or is it that, now that my babies are smiling, interacting with each other, communicating with us, I’m experiencing double the reward, as well? Is it that, I’ve found my support (some mothers of multiples and some not) and that feels sufficient? I can’t quite put my finger on it.
A similar phenomenon I’ve noticed, is that, while others used to turn to me pretty frequently with their struggles, friends of mine with young babies are not venting to me about their experience. Rather, they’ll start to, and quickly cut themselves off saying, “I feel bad complaining to you,” or, “No matter how tired I am, I’m sure you’re more tired.” Let’s be honest, they may be right. But, are we not all struggling with the same thing here? Whether we’re moms of quads or singletons, five kids or only children, aren’t we all, essentially, wanting to feel like others validate our struggles, understand what we’re going through, and celebrate the joys of parenthood along with us?
Identity is something I’ve thought much about, both in forming my own, and how I hope to help guide my kids in this process. How important is the “multiple” part in your identity of being a mom of multiples? Is it sometimes more predominant than the “mom” part, or is it just an adjective?