It’s strange how closely the early days of the pandemic mirrored the early days of twin parenthood for me. The uncertainty. The fear. The isolation. Surely most rookie parents struggle similarly, but for parents of multiples, the concerns are, well, multiplied.
Firstly there’s the novelty factor. I don’t mean that in an “I’m the cute one” novelty onesies kind of way – though there are certainly plenty of those to be found. I mean that having twins is unusual. Thus making it unlikely that twin parents have a personal relationship with anyone else who has had twins. I certainly didn’t.
That means even if parents of multiples are lucky enough to find themselves with a strong support system, amidst individuals with loads of child-rearing experience, that collective wisdom doesn’t necessarily translate. Tandem feeding, contradictory sleep drives, strollers that allow for two infant car seats — there are many questions that can only be answered by those who’ve been there.
I remember my visiting mother looking over as I went about my tandem feeding routine and saying, “I could never do what you’re doing.” I was floored. This was a woman who raised four kids – and did an amazing job if I do say so myself. But even she was amazed by the idea of two babies at once.
"There are so many questions that can only be answered by those who've been there."
Secondly, there’s the math of it all. “Two for the price of one, huh?” That’s the go-to refrain of every stranger a twin mom encounters in the grocery store. We give a polite chuckle and continue moving down the aisles, filling our carts with two times the amount of wipes, two times the onesies, two times the snack pouches – with nary a BOGO to be found. It’s really “two for the price of two,” and it’s expensive.
What else can twin parents expect twice of? Nightly wake ups. There were many nights that felt as though I simply swapped one crying baby for another until sunrise. Then there’s twice as many dirty diapers, pediatrician appointments that are twice as long, anxiety over meeting developmental milestones twice over.
Oh there’s joy to be found too. Lots of it. But parenting twin newborns is hard, and, like the pandemic, the difficulty was compounded by not knowing how long the hardest part would last.
That’s one of the reasons finding the San Diego Parents of Twins Club was so helpful for me. I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel because there were twin parents already on the other side, guiding me through. I will never forget arriving at the park for my first club meeting and seeing a sea of double strollers. “We’ve found our people,” I remember excitedly whispering to my husband.
My twins are toddlers now. They turned two in January. And while I find toddlerhood much preferable to infancy (give me tantrums over purple crying anyway!), the Covid-19 lockdowns – and the similarities to those early days – have reminded me of some of the blessings of both challenging times: we are all able to be home together as a family, we have new perspective on what really matters, and we trust in the resilience of one another and of humankind.
During my (albeit short) parenting journey thus far, I have come to recognize the value of organizations who just “get it.” Organizations like the San Diego Parents of Twins Club, or like BümoBrain – whose commitments to education, inclusivity and empathy are invaluable in helping parents and children thrive in any circumstance.