Good Morning Mamas!
Last week I had the great privilege to speak at the Austin Mothers of Multiples Meeting. Mothers of Multiples Meetings can be found nationwide throughout the United States and these non-profit organizations-comprised of mothers of multiples-provide support to families who have twins, triplets or higher order multiple births. At this particular meeting, in addition to me sharing about bedrest and how mothers of multiples are supported while on bed rest, there was a twin panel; a panel of adult twins who shared their twin experiences and shared what parents of twins could expect as their children grew up. The panelist shared everything from how they liked or disliked being dressed alike to how they have an inexplicable bond with one another.
I found the panel fascinating. There was one set of male/female twins, one set of female twins, one set of male twins and a male identical twin who had a rare form of cancer that caused him to lose several of his limbs. His identical twin brother was not affected by the same disease. These twins generously shared what it’s like to be a twin and some things that parents of twins can look forward to (and not worry about) as their twins grow up.
Twins always share an unspoken (and inexplicable) bond. All the twin sets shared that they are connected to their twin in a way that they are connected to no one else on the planet. Each grouping said that they often know what the other is thinking, can sense when the other is upset or not feeling well (even if they are far apart as the sole identical twin said. His twin is back “home” in Australia!) and that they always feel best understood by their twin.
Built in Playmate/Confidant. The twins said that one of the best things about being a twin was that when they were little, they always had someone to play with. As adults, they always have someone with whom they can share their secrets or concerns that truly understands them.
Twins don’t always like the same things, but often do. Interestingly, the male/female twins were both dental students at the University of Texas and were currently sharing an apartment. They said that when they were younger, they had different interests in school and were not at all competitive about grades or friends. The male twins were both undergraduate students at the University of Texas and while not living together or studying the same major, they were in a couple of classes together and did live close enough that they were in a study group together. The female twins said they were very competitive all the way through high school and purposely chose to go to different undergraduate schools. The interesting thing about them is that once they got out of undergraduate school, one twin got married and had children here in Austin. When her twin later moved to Austin and then got married, they had 3 children born within days of each other. The twin who married first actually has 5 children and her first and last children she had solo while her 3 middle children are each born within days of a cousin-one of the other twin’s children!
Twins don’t always like being dressed alike. The panel was pretty unanimous in that they didn’t like being dressed alike-even if it was with the same outfit in a different color. The male twins shared how they would use being dressed alike to pull pranks on people-even their mama! The girl twins shared how as they moved through middle and high school they changed their hair and sought out other ways to distinguish themselves. They all, while realizing their similarities, sought to be individuals and preferred to be treated that way.
Most twins felt their parents loved them and treated them equally. With the exception of the male/female twin set, the twins felt that their parents treated them equally and as individuals, not favoring one or the other of them. With the male/female set, they admitted that he felt closer to his father and she to her mother, but they both felt that each parent loved them both and they both have great relationships with both parents.
Dating wasn’t an issue. The twins all said that dating wasn’t an issue and there was not an incident of both of them liking the same person. As the female twin set noted, and the other twins agreed, they tended to date (and in the case of the female twins marry) people who had the complimentary attributes of their twin.
Twin parents shouldn’t worry about…”emotional damage” they may cause from getting their twins confused. The parents seemed overly concerned that their twins may feel slighted but the twins on the panel assured them that they never felt slighted or that they weren’t individuals. They said it comes with the territory that they will be confused with their twin (even by their parents), even if they are not identical.
Are you expecting twins or higher order multiples? Has this panel review been helpful? Please share your comments or concerns below.
Do you have twins, triplets or higher order multiples? What has your experience been like? What is it like raising twins? Please share your experience with other mamas in the comments section below.
Are you a twin? Do you agree or disagree with what the twin panel had to say? Please add your voice to the discussion below.
Mamas, Sometimes life is simply devastating!
I was going through messages in e-mail and on Facebook and I came across a post from “Former” Mama on Bedrest Lynsey. She posted that she had been on bed rest for 14 weeks with twins and delivered her boys via c-section in mid August. She thought she was done and all was well. When her baby boys were just a week old, they were both diagnosed with neuroblastomas, a malignant form of cancer that develops around the sympathetic nerves (nerves controlling things like breathing, heart rate, etc…) and primarily affects infants and young children under age 5. What a blow! Here this mama was thinking she was home free, all is well, ythe babies are here and bed rest is over! Then, WHAMO! A sucker punch to the heart from out of nowhere.
When I read this message, my heart just sank. Scenarios like this just seem too cruel to be real. I find myself often asking the Divine Powers That Be, “How can you be so cruel? Why must it be so devastating?”
The Almighty most certainly doesn’t answer to me and doesn’t have to justify him or herself, but I still have to ask. And more pressing I wonder, “What can I possibly do or say to make this mama feeling even a teeny, tiny bit better?”
Life is sometimes completely unfair. You have young teenagers getting pregnant at the drop of a hat while loving, mature, couples who have the means and desire to raise a family are unable to conceive. You have women who struggle to maintain their pregnancies and carry a baby to term suffer repeated miscarriages. You have women who must endure weeks on bed rest to bring their children into this world. Then you have mamas like Lynsey who have done everything they could possibly do, finally give birth only to learn that they may not have their babies for very long. Why???
Well, I’ve not received any sort of heavenly answer to these questions, no heavenly guidance as to what I should do.
So I’m winging it-again! Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond was “conceived” to be a support for mamas who have high risk pregnancies, who are prescribed bed rest during their pregnancies and for mamas who struggle in the immediate post partum. Initially conceived with the intention of being a local support organization, it has grown and has embraced mamas from all over the United States, Canada, the Carribean, the UK, Belgium, Germany, The Middle East, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. Obviously, I cannot get to every mama in every country, but because of the wonders of the world wide web (the internet) we mamas can come together and share ideas, tips and information for navigating this thing call “child bearing”.
One of the things that we do best is support mamas in need. So mamas, please share your words of encouragement and comfort to Lynsey. She, her partner and her boys have a long way to go and a tough battle to wage. We may not be able to stop in and give her in person support, but we can post to her here and give her words of encouragement. Love on her, mamas! Let her know that she and her family are not waging this battle alone.
Indeed this life can be devastating. Indeed this life can be cruel. But it is my firm belief that no matter what happens, it is our human obligation to love and support one another. I think that we are all aware of the fact that this could have been any one of us. For those of us who have lost children-either during pregnancy, during delivery or in the immediate post partum and beyond-we know this difficulty all too intimately. I am asking you to join me in supporting Lynsey and her family as the boys continue chemotherapy. Mamas, Keep Lynsey in your thoughts and prayers and Let’s pray these boys well!
A little more than 6 years ago, Jenya Cassidy thought that she was finished having children. So imagine her surprise when she learned that she was not only pregnant, but pregnant with twins! Jenya’s surprise turned to shock when she learned that her twins had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), a rare disorder of identical twins in which they share the same placenta. Advised to abort the pregnancy, Jenya believed any odds that her babies could live were good odds, so she did her own research, assembled her own “dream team” and with their help fashioned a course of action that resulted in 2 little girls at 33 1/2 weeks.