Friday, February 16, 2007

Lessons Learned

Dana: One piece of advice that I’ve taken to heart is ‘try to get out of the house everyday.’ People, especially new moms, are always amazed to see me out and about with my newborn twins, but I just can’t imagine staying at home with them all day (especially after my 6 week prenatal jail sentence/bed rest).

Yesterday, I went to a new moms group meeting. There were about 16 other new moms and their babies who were less than 12 weeks old. Of course, we were the only trio in attendance. Upon arrival, we were immediately met with several comments from the other new moms such as:

“I am in AWE of you!”

“How do you do it?”, and

“I thought one was bad enough!”

(um - excuse me - did that new mom just say her new sweet baby was ‘bad enough’?!!)

Now, let me be clear…my intentions of participating in a new moms group was to chat with moms who share common parenting concerns, discuss breastfeeding, infant care, sleep patterns, etc. I’m not sure why, but I have a strong desire to feel ‘at one’ with the other moms. This was not what happened.

I admit that sometimes I felt jealous of the other moms while they easily maneuvered their small strollers around the room and casually popped out one breast to feed their child while taking a sip of coffee with their other hand. But for the most part, the lack of solidarity I felt with them was due to the fact that it was just plain weird to have all the other moms treat me like some sort of super human.

Parenting infants is hard. Bottom line. If it weren’t, there wouldn’t be a need for a moms group. Since I have never parented one baby, I don’t know what it’s like. Therefore, it doesn’t seem much harder to parent two at the same time; it’s just different. What people don’t seem to understand is that when they feel that they are flattering me with praise with statements like, “how do you do it?” what I really hear them saying is, “your life must really suck, how do you even get out of bed each morning”.

This may seem sensitive and irrational, but all the unwanted attention at the meeting made me want to pack up my troops and run out in tears.

For example, as all the others were openly breastfeeding, I started to tandem breastfeed my babes too. After they were both latched on, I noticed I was the center of attention. Everyone in the room was staring at me, and some of members of the group inappropriately felt the need applaud! It was humiliating, but I learned valuable lessons.

I not only learned that well-intentioned praise can sting like an insult, I also learned that many of the moms with only one child tend to be more uptight about issues that I am forced to be more relaxed about. I listened as moms went crazy with their over-protective concerns about the smallest things, things that I had been laughing at as they happened to my boys.

Maybe this is the answer to the question of “how I do you do it?” As a new mom of twins, I’m forced to make the hard decisions about what’s important much earlier on. And I’d rather be too busy caring about the important stuff than worrying about what’s not.

Posted by Walker Lockhart @ 8:38 AM

Read or Post a Comment

first of all Congrats on the babies, they are just tooo cute.

Second, AMEN to what you have said. I would hate when people would tell me you have your hands full and I would reply, " yes I do, with two babies I love dearly and wouldn't change it for one minute."
Maybe like you I was sensitive to these comments. Maybe overly so becuase one of my babies was born with special needs. But I always told them like you, I have no idea how to parent just one child, god gave me two and one requires alot of care. That is all I know. I always felt like these are my children who I adore and love with all my heart, of course some days our hands are full, but you do what you have to for your children. I would get so bent out of shape when people would say, Ohh I don't think i could handle twins let alone one with problems. I would say well Thank god you are not there mother!LOL!! I am there mother and I don't really see how you could not handle it. You love your kids and you do what is best for them, yes it is tiring, but I don't really think taking care of them is all that hard.

Sorry I get all excited when these memories get brought up. LOL
Just wanted to let you know that i understand that feeling of when you walk in a room and everyone is staring at you and saying very inapporpriate things. I would remark back smartly to some, but most of the time I would just try to smile and remember that they are ingnorent of the situation and should have probably kept their mouths shut and maybe, should have instead offer to hold the door open for us or grabbed a diaper bag, or in our case a suction machine, diaper bag, medical bag or whatever neccisity us twin parents had to bring along.

Have a great weekend with your boys. Again Congrats, I am so happy for you, and I love reading your blog. Sooo Thank you for that.

Kim j

Posted by Anonymous Kim j @ Friday, February 16, 2007 10:45:00 AM #
 

Dana - I sent an email to your address prior to delivery. Let me know if you got it.

I completely know how this goes and for me, I joined a TWIN specific PEPS group http://www.pepsgroup.org/programs/twins.htm . All of us in this mom's group are twin moms and this weekly group meeting has been a lifesaver for me. For example, no one stares at you if you tandem feed! If they don't have a group starting soon, I would ask them to. Most of the women in my group were actually from the UW Multiples class that I took so we have now known each other for more than a year! So thats something else to see if any of the women from your class want to start a group together?

I hear ya!

Posted by Blogger Archana @ Friday, February 16, 2007 1:53:00 PM #
 

If I had a dollar for every time I hear, "better you than me"...or "man, I am sooo glad I don't have twins". It hurts, that's for sure. I feel like an oddity any time I am around a group of mom's either expecting only one baby or who have just one baby. If they only knew how lucky we are! I can't believe my twin boys are three weeks today!! Where did the time go?

Posted by Blogger Carrie & Brook @ Friday, February 16, 2007 7:57:00 PM #
 

Dana- I hope it makes you feel better that even as a mom of one beautiful being on this planet, I feel like a alien at Mom's groups, too. Being the only mom that is not "happily" married and under the age of 30, I stood out in the crowd, too.
Also, I still find myself laughing at the little things too. Keep laughing!!! Elliott licked the glass door at a deli two weeks ago. I laughed... A woman standing there with her kid actually grabbed her kid and walked him away from Elliott like he was a monster or something. It is still funny to me.
Tara

P.S. Your "super-human" powers have been apparent to me since 8th grade.

Posted by Blogger Tara @ Saturday, February 17, 2007 3:32:00 PM #
 

I've discovered that I'm just not a "mom's group" type of person. I was never a joiner pre-babies and I don't know why I thought my personality would change after I had them, but it certainly didn't. I, like you, don't thrill to hearing, "I thought I had it bad!" I cringe when people worry about stuff that I just ignore, feeling like I must be the worst mother on the planet.

Twins are great. I am so glad to have them. I wouldn't want it any other way, sleep deprivation, had work and all.

Posted by Blogger Stacie @ Monday, February 19, 2007 8:27:00 AM #
 

I'm the new mom of twins and your post rang so true for me. I've got four older children and this is old hat and a whole new world all at the same time. I went to the twins' first well visit this week and I was swarmed with women in the office. They couldn't believe I had six children, couldn't believe I breast fed both, couldn't believe that I could sling both at the same time, couldn't believe I had them at home WITHOUT DRUGS!!! (insert shock and awe music here)

Anyway, I've been having a hard time putting my finger on what exactly was making me feel so...put out. You put words to those vague feelings! Thank you!

Your boys are a month younger than my daughter Isabella. Isn't this age fun!?

Posted by Blogger CNH @ Saturday, June 21, 2008 8:04:00 PM #
 
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