There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe this morning about the decision around separating or keeping your twins together in school. I’d already been thinking about this issue, due to the interesting post about it this week—and then, there was an article about the same issue on the front page of the Globe this morning.
Those of you who felt like you were carrying baby elephants inside of you, check out this article: Twins Weigh 23 Pounds, 1 Ounce at birth. I don’t know if that’s a case of undiagnosed gestational diabetes or what, but HOLY CATS, man. I’m so glad that wasn’t MY uterus about to bust at the seams! (I did enough damage to my own having twins twice in seventeen months!)
A mom friend of mine sent me a link to an article in Boston Magazine about, in part, the above-average number of twins in Massachusetts. According to the article, MA has 34% above the national average. In large part, this is due to the fact that MA requires health insurance companies to cover fertility treatments, including IVF. Fair enough, this is certainly something I’ve noticed in my exposure to the world of twins here in MA. For me, it’s great, because here in Metro Boston, there’s a crap-ton of other twin moms to hang out with. My twin club alone is, I believe, over 200 members. And that’s only a small portion of the state.
Anyways, back to the article. It basically questioned whether or not all of these twins were, in fact, a good thing. Worth noting that the author is, herself, a twin mom. Some notable quotes:
“I adore my boys and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But I would no more wish multiples on a couple than I would bubonic plague.”
“…Hall’s team concluded that if all multiple pregnancies resulting from assisted reproduction techniques had been singletons instead, the hospital would have saved over $3 million per year.”
“…the psychological burden of raising more than one infant at the same developmental stage put mothers at risk of exhaustion and depression.”
“As twins move out of their first year, with luck, parents can stop worrying about whether or not their babies will survive, and concentrate on new challenges.”
“Lest you be tempted to think you’re not affected by all this (all you gloating parents of singletons!), think again. Massachusetts’ astronomical twin birth rate means our state is now home to untold thousands of kids who were born prematurely—kids who could still be suffering from developmental delays that have the potential to overburden our medical and special education systems, and quite possibly require either cuts to other programs or tax increases to help pay for their care. As long as moms here keep having twins at current levels, the resource pinch will only get worse.”
Wow. Susie Sunshine. Makes me feel so warm and fuzzy. The rest of the article is full of tales of preemies, NICU stays, double baby meltdowns, and conspiratorial siblings at bedtime. And not in an urban legend / crazy anecdote / “you’ll never believe what happened to me at the store!” kind of way. No, more in a “wow, having twins is awful” kind of way. The last paragraph has a little shout-out to the MOT club (not mine, but same idea), but the rest of the article is like a greatest hits album and worst-case-scenario of all of the roughest parts of having twins.
To be fair, many of the things she wrote about were not un-true. It’s a riskier pregnancy, it’s really hard to parent two at a time, it’s twice as expensive, etc. Yes. Fine. And there’s a little bit of her “bubonic plague” remark that resonates a little bit, especially when I see people posting on twin pregnancy bulletin boards asking the other moms “how” they became pregnant with multiples, because they’ve “always wanted twins.” It does get a little bit under my skin that people think having twins is this sort of cute, romantic fantasy. It is risky, and it is fricking hard. I disagree with her assertion that it’s because of all the twins that it’s hard to find a spot in daycare or preschool, but fine.
Man, though… if I ever complain that much, reach through your monitor and smack me. Would my life be easier with one baby at a time? Sure, probably. But there’s a lot of fun, great things about being a twin mom, too. The way my kids laugh at each other, the way they can often play somewhat independently without needing my constant intervention, the way they tried to grab each other’s yogurt-covered hands at dinner tonight and cracked each other up. And the fact that being twice as busy has also made me more confident and less high-strung as a mother. There’s lots of great things about being a twin mom. And sure, we all have our war stories, of the time our kids embarrassed us in a store or kept waking each other up at naptime. But I usually try to tell those stories with a laugh and a shrug and a “you’ll never believe what happened at the grocery store today.” Not doom and gloom and “woe is me, my life is so rough.”
But still, every time I go back and re-read this article, I am more and more annoyed with it. As M said, when we were talking about it, “exactly what is the point, and who is the target audience?” I mean, I could sort of get it if it was purely “wow, we have a lot of twins here, and that has some financial / healthcare / etc. implications.” But then you throw in everything and the kitchen sink about the bad stuff. Bed rest, NICU, reflux, colic, developmental delays… Was her point simply to discourage people who are doing IVF from implanting two embryos? Because, I hate to break it to her, you don’t always have much of a choice when it comes to having twins. Sometimes it just happens. And knowing friends who did go through all of the IVF crap… hearing their stories, I think I probably would have gone for the two-embryo implant, too. Not for some romantic dream of having an adorable set of twins, but probably to increase my chances for a successful pregnancy, as well as the possibility of being able to have my two kids and not go through it all again. I get that, and I’m certainly not going to crap on someone for making that choice. I’d do it, too.
I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts on this for several days, now, and can’t quite get all the way there. Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is the overall negative tone. It reminds me of the strangers who see my double stroller and do the “better you than me” thing, or even worse, just look at us with pity in their eyes. Pity? Don’t pity me! I rather like my life and my kids, thankyouverymuch! And so, after reading this article, and having all the negative and none of the positive put out there for everyone to read by a fellow twin mom… I almost feel betrayed. Not you. You, of all people, should know the great parts. You, of all people, should understand that I wouldn’t want it any other way. Maybe she’s just not a glass-half-full kind of person, maybe she doesn’t have enough social support. I know how life can get away from you and feel overwhelming, and how you can rather miss the days when you could decide at 6:30 to just pop out to a restaurant for dinner. But there’s something about that kind of tone being published in a big magazine… I almost feel like the Massachusetts twin mom community has been thrown under an MBTA bus.
Great article on CNN.com here – not sure if it’s been mentioned already, but I thought it was worth a look!
In addition to the “How do you do it?” and “You must have your hands full!” I am now daily getting asked “Do you watch that show with the people with the twins and sextuplets?”
My answer, “Absolutely!”
I, along with a lot of other people, am totally charmed by the TLC/Discovery Health program “Jon and Kate Plus 8.” In our area (Pittsburgh), Jon and Kate airs on Monday evenings. And you better believe that I will be plunked down on my couch with a bowl of popcorn and about 5 loads of laundry to fold, every Monday night.
In case you haven’t watched this fascinating reality show, Jon and Kate Gosselin met and married and conceived their twin girls, Mady and Cara, via IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and ovulation induction medication (ie Clomid). And as the story is told, they decided to try for “just one more,” and ended up with 6! Kate was originally pregnant with 7, but one sac failed to mature.
Last year, the tag line was “We have two 6 year olds, and six 2 year olds.” The older girls, are fraternal twins Cara and Mady. The sextuplets are split, three girls, three boys. They are Hannah, Leah, Alexis, Joel, Collin and Aaden. The kids are now seven and three.
The Gosselins live in central Pennsylvania, and Kate quit her job as a nurse to stays at home with her houseful of children. Recent episodes have been about their travels as a family (Disney, Utah, the Pittsburgh Zoo) and a day dedicated to each of the kids individually. The episodes dedicated to the kids, were calm and enjoyable to watch. The trip episodes were loud, chaotic and constantly interspersed with a child crying or Jon and Kate snapping at each other. With 8 kids, I can only imagine the stress level they must be under at all times. Another quote from the show: “While the stress of raising multiples doesn’t always bring out the best in us, we’re a family, and this is our life.”
Can I get an Amen?! For sure, the stress of raising multiples does not always bring out the best in me! And although I am not an angry person, I can only imagine how I would be portrayed if cameras were in my home day in and day out!
My fascination with this family runs deep…I don’t think I have missed an episode yet! For $13.95, you can purchase a copy of their book, Multiple Blessings:Surviving to Thriving With Twins and Sextuplets.
And now I leave you with “Tips For a Smooth Household” by Kate Gosselin, the multiples expert herself, taken from the Discovery Health Channel website.
Tip #1 Organize
As a mother of sextuplets and twins, one of the best methods for keeping a family organized is lists! No one has the memory of an elephant! Keep a constant running list of “To Dos” and then cross things off as they are completed! My to-do lists consists of meals for the week, which loads of laundry need to be done, and which parts of the house needs attention. Lists will keep you and your family organized.
Tip #2 Shop on a Budget
Shopping for a family of 10 means planning ahead and staying on a budget. The good news is that you can have healthy, home cooked delicious (even organic!) meals for a large family. Look for sales! Watch the sale papers and take advantage of store promotions, coupons and rainchecks. Keep a constant running list of things that are on sale and that you need at the store from week to week. This will avoid buying things that you don’t need. It’s also good to stock up on items that you use a lot of and that are on sale!
Tip #3 Prepare for Outings
Plan ahead! If outings are well thought out in advance, it will allow for a better time for all! Always take plenty of drinks, snacks, clothing and supplies. Make a mental plan of how the day will unfold and then adjust it as necessary!
Tip #4 Count Your Blessings
On days that your role as mom seems mundane and pointless and repetitive(we all have those), remember to count your blessings! Take a moment, see all that is positive in your life and the life of your children and it will give you that boost that you need!
Tip #5 Promote Safety
Talk about different scenarios and what is safe and acceptable and what is not safe and what they should not do in different situations! Remind them to come to YOU as a parent if they hear something that they don’t understand, think that is bad or don’t know what it means. You want to position yourself as their resource person to keep conversation lines open. This needs to start at a very young age.
Tip #6 Provide Order
A schedule will help everyone in the family. It removes the guesswork and a lot of frustration. It allows the things that need to get done to get done because life becomes somewhat predictable.
Tip #7 Reward Your Children
Reward them for their helpfulness and kindness—if only with your words, this will mean a lot to them. They want your approval!
Tip #8 Make Housework a Family Affair
Especially in a large family, involving all of the kids in the housework, chores, cooking, cleaning etc. This helps to provide family unity, and a sense of belonging. It also teaches kids to develop a strong work ethic. And encourage Dad to get involved—in our situation, much of what a successful mom is able to accomplish, is due to a very present and helpful dad!
Additional information on “Jon and Kate Plus 8″ can be found at:
(First, please note this letter is from LauraC and does not necessarily represent the views of the other authors of How Do You Do It?)
I have to admit – I don’t get it. I don’t get anything from your People magazine interview with your newborn twins.
When I completely ignore the photos, I connect with the words in your interview. You talk about loss of sleep, how much you love your babies, and bonding with your husband over shared 3AM feedings. You don’t focus on your career or having your body back – you focus on your babies. When I read your words, I feel like we could be friends. Like you could take over Mia Hamm’s spot as my celebrity twin mom BFF.
But the pictures? The pictures, woman!!! Do you expect us to take you seriously?
I understand People is a magazine where common folk are supposed to yearn to live the life of celebrities. But I do not want your life. I do not want to wear a ridiculously expensive do-rag and gaze lovingly at my peacefully sleeping twins. I do not want to dress in high heels, dress my husband in pink, and run down our driveway while pushing ridonkulously expensive matching carriages. I do not want to have to babyproof that ornate nursery.
These over the top pictures make me think you are hiding something. Maybe having twins kicked your butt a little more than you thought it would. And you know what? That’s ok. It’s ok to say that being a new mom is hard and crazy and exhausting and overwhelming, even when you have two baby nurses and all the money and resources in the world. But by acting like everything is perfect, you’re not fooling any mother no matter how perfect you look in every photo.
supermom to Nate and Alex
Anyone following the NCAA Men’s tournament? Anyone watch the Stanford vs. Marquette game? They couldn’t stop talking about the Lopez twins (no, not Lopez as in J.Lo). Robin and Brook Lopez are sophomores at Stanford. They are apparently stars of the team, and it was Brook’s incredible shot from a step behind the backboard that gave Stanford the last-minute 82-81 overtime win. Oh, and did I mention that they’re both seven feet tall? Holy crap. My kids aren’t even walking yet, and they take over the house. I can’t imagine two 7-foot-tall teenagers in the house.
As usual, the commentators couldn’t stop talking about the “Lopez twins,” as if they were a single unit. Sports commentators are not immune from the twin fascination thing. Admittedly, there they are… both extremely tall, both athletically gifted in the same sport, both at Stanford. But still, I can imagine that teeny part of me, if I was their mom, being simultaneously extremely proud of my sons, and cringing just a little bit every time they were referred to as a single unit instead of two individuals.
Yes, I’m probably over-doing it here. I mean, you can’t blame people. And they aren’t incorrect, these two guys and my kids and the other kids of moms on this site are, in fact, twins. It’s the truth. And here these two are, playing the same sport together, both talented and dominating. Yet every time the ESPN guy kept referring to the “Lopez twins doing this,” or the “Lopez twins doing that,” a small part of me was annoyed. He doesn’t talk about other players two at a time. Or if he does, both of their names are said “Jones and Smith run up the court,” etc. I think I just worry sometimes that the individual accomplishments of my children will get slightly dulled because they’re always talked about together.
Then again, I think the likelihood of
both either of my kids playing Division-I sports is, shall we say, slim. So I guess I won’t have to worry too much about the ESPN guys not giving them enough individual credit…
(photo credit: AP/Kevork Djansezian, via ESPN.com)
shameless quick plug: Don’t forget to submit a question for this week’s Ask The Moms segment! Post it in the comments here, or through our Features page.~
Anywho, last week brought us the news that Jennifer Lopez gave birth to her boy/girl twins. Congrats, J. Lo, and a hearty welcome to the secret society of twin moms. I hope that your fame doesn’t prevent you from connecting with others around you, as I have found networking with fellow twin moms has made a big difference in my life. Hey, feel free to visit our blog, even!
I was struck, though, by the short announcement carried by all of the news outlets. Time, date, weights, genders. Parents are thrilled. End of story. Clearly, the interview was not conducted by a mother of twins. While we certainly like to hear the stats that were reported, the questioning would have taken a more detailed turn if we had been in charge. It’s not even a fame thing, we give this same interview to any new twin mom.
How many weeks were you? First thing we want to know, and a stat that any twin mom will immediately relate to you. Anything before about 34 weeks is pretty preemie. The 35-36 range gets a nod for being solidly average. 37 and over and you start to enter the realm of impressive, and you’ll get immediate sympathy as we know how uncomfortable you must have been. As for J.Lo, I’m assuming at least 35+ weeks, as the weights on her kids (5lb7oz and 6lb) were very respectable.
Any NICU time? Another factoid we’re all ready with. We know what it means if you say they were there “for 37 days, but were just feeders and growers.” If you managed to avoid the NICU altogether, more power to you.
If someone is feeling bold, we might ask whether or not you had a c-section. Practice varies so much between different hospitals and doctors. Is one baby breech? Discordant size? Only one head-down but you went for the vaginal, anyways? Did you get the dreaded combo platter (baby A vaginal, baby B emergency c-section)? The moms of How Do You Do It? speculate J.Lo had a vaginal birth, given the reported 12-minute separation in times of birth – way more time than your standard c-section, but probably not so long that she had one vaginally and then a c-section. The time of day (just after midnight) also suggests it was not a scheduled c-section. That’s our guess, anyways.
Then, we’ll ask you about your pregnancy…
Did you have to go on bedrest? It’s not the news anyone wants to get. “Restricted activity.” Sometimes they just tell you to put your feet up, sometimes you’re only allowed to get up for the bathroom, and the really lucky ones get hospital bedrest and learn about things like steroid shots and terbutaline. Good times.
Any other complications? Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, any other of those rotten side effects of pregnancy. We sure hope you avoided them, but we know that sometimes you don’t. Especially with the extra strain that double babies put on your body.
When did you find out it was twins? Some of us have an early ultrasound for any number of reasons, and pretty much knew all along. Some bounce along happily all the way to 20+ weeks, and then get a big surprise at the anatomy ultrasound.
If you have identicals, we might even ask if they were mo/mo, mo/di, or di/di twins. We not only know what the abbreviations stand for, but we know that each step along the spectrum means a whole different level of risk. But we solemnly swear that we will never ask J.Lo or any other mom of boy/girl twins whether or not they’re identical. Argh.
So, fellow moms of multiples, what other questions are on your standard twin-mom interview sheet? Note that these are the questions other twin moms ask. We’ll deal with the crazy questions other people ask some other time.
And, for the record, I went to 36 weeks exactly, c-section (baby B breech and discordant size, born 45 seconds apart), a week in the NICU just for transitioning. No bedrest, but pregnancy-induced hypertension and a lot of associated swelling/water retention. And we found out at an ultrasound around 6 weeks.
While on bed rest for over three months, I picked up a nasty habit – gorging myself on television. The internet, terbutaline, and my husband Jon were my constant companions but TiVo was my best friend. TiVo gave me something to look forward to besides doctor’s visits and ultrasounds. TiVo was always there for me to help me find a way to laugh or cry. I thought things would change when the boys came along, but then Jon and I watched countless hours of TV while feeding babies. When the boys finally started sleeping through the night, we were so exhausted the only thing we could do was veg in front of the TV.
Being a child of the 80s and a newly confirmed couch potato, you can imagine my delight when I heard American Gladiators (AG) was coming back. I ALWAYS wanted to be on AG, but this time around, I’m a twin mom with a full-time job and a husband who travels for work. I have a million reasons why I’m not back in shape yet, and about a bazillion reasons why being on AG is out of my reach.
I’m going to assume you did not watch the season finale. Monica, A TWIN MOM, won the whole shebang. She is going to be a Gladiator next season. During the season finale, she said, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have twins.” Did you notice how she qualified her statement? She tried to think of the only thing harder than AG and it was TWINS. Maybe it’s because I’m in the trenches of twin toddlerhood (or one might say terrible twos times two), but if a twin mom says something is harder than having twins, that something has to be insanely hard.
Seeing a twin mom win AG opened my eyes. Having young twins, I often think, “I can’t do XYZ because ______.” Instead of thinking about what I can’t do, Monica has made me think about what I CAN do. She made me realize if I can be a mom to twin toddlers, there’s very little I can’t do if I set my mind to it. I already do so much – being a twin mom takes patience, dedication, energy, physical stamina, creativity, and perseverance – that I’m ready to see what else I can accomplish.
I have no more excuses for being a couch potato. TiVo was my best friend when I needed him, but it’s time to for us to part ways. After so much time giving to my boys, I need to reclaim some of that time to focus on gaining some of me back. I may not end up on American Gladiators, but at least I won’t be sitting around watching other twin moms accomplishing their dreams.