What did you do today? (And other stories from a twin mum).
Every Friday morning I smear on some lipstick to detract from my tired eyes, bundle my protesting 4-month old twins into their buggy and walk over to a café1.5 miles away to sit, bleary eyed, with other twin mums. The café has been chosen by us, not for its artisan coffee or its Instagrammable avocado on toast, but because it has room for half a dozen double buggies and the staff are kind and overlook the empty formula cartons, discarded baby socks and showers of crumbs we leave in our wake. With any luck the babies stay asleep as I ingest enough caffeine (with both hands! What a novelty!) to make me go cross-eyed. The conversations mainly revolve around feeding, sleeping and associated issues, subjects I could never have imagined would be so endlessly riveting pre-motherhood. Reflux and its treatment
is the current hot topic du jour, although occasionally we’ll touch on news from the ‘outside’ world (we all, for example, agree that Trump is a Bad Idea, although this is far as we get in terms of dissection), trade views on the box sets we’re watching in dribs and drabs between naps or late at night when our babies are finally asleep (*hollow laugh*), and bitch about how easy our NCT singleton friends have it.
We are a floating population of around eight mothers – attendance will vary depending on how babies slept the night before/whether there’s a pre-departure double pooh/vomit explosion. We will discuss whichever child is causing us the most angst this week. Currently for me it is Max, my eldest (by 2 minutes – twin mum humour!), who has taken to waking at 4am every day. Conversations regularly taper off into midair as one, or horrors, both of our babies start crying, or tiredness causes a momentary mental checkout. One thing I discovered fairly early and love about twin mums though is their tolerance and willingness to help – they know what it’s like trying to feed two screaming babies simultaneously whilst answering a text and eating your breakfast in between. No one minds if you trail off mid sentence and someone will always offer to pick up one of your babies if the other one is fussing. Another reason I love twins club is that I get to really appreciate the beauty of twins - when they’re someone else’s. Sometimes, like today, I will leave and cry in the Waitrose car park, trembling from coffee overload and releasing all the guilt and fear and worry that’s accumulated during the week – guilt that despite undergoing IVF for these longed for babies, sometimes I just feel fed up and not grateful enough, fear that I am not doing a good enough job, worry about my husband and the effect twins will have on our relationship in the long term. On other days, however, I will leave feeling uplifted and blessed, part of an elite community of multiple mamas, and the positive energy will carry me through the rest of the day – or until witching hour, anyway.
How to possibly express the gamut of emotions you run through on any given day as a new mother, or list the mundane yet time consuming tasks you run through as a matter of course, from double nappy changes to double feeds? My husband will come home that evening and invariably ask me, “What did you do today?” All I can do is shrug and reply: “Went for coffee”.
Eating For Three, project manager, Londoner, crumpet addict and mother to twin boys.