The loneliness of being a twin mum

the loneliness of being a twin mum

Motherhood. It can be a lonely gig for any mother. The loneliness of being a twin mum has caught me by surprise. I’m surrounded by the people I love the most, yet I’m lonely. There can be days on end when the only adult I speak to is my husband. In 7 years of parenting I’ve never felt this isolated.

Perhaps that isolation comes from life with two babies. There are things that are manageable with one baby but a struggle with two. Like taking the older big boys to the theatre or movies. I can’t balance and keep quite two squirming babies on my lap for the length of a show. Swimming lessons with one baby are straightforward, but I can’t work out the logistics of one parent and two babies in the pool. I’ve flown with one baby. One adult flying with baby twins isn’t possible. Each baby needs an adult lap. Sure, each of these things isn’t a huge drama. But they compound to make me feel hemmed in to my house.

Once the twins and I went out for brunch. It started well. Both were asleep in the pram. Then one woke. So I feed her. While feeding her, the other woke. I finished feeding one, put her in the pram and tried to feed the other. The first twin started screaming in the pram. I fished her out and held her while the other fed. Neither would happily go back in the pram. Eating a meal one handed is pretty standard for parents. But I was alone and holding two babies. I did my best to shovel in a few mouthfuls of food. It was too hard. I left my barely touched meal and went home. Biting back the tears. Feeling frustrated that my plan for a quite brunch hadn’t worked. In the days of one baby that situation would’ve been simple. Feed baby, hold baby, eat. Go home full.

Double trouble

Strangers tell me that twins are ‘double trouble’. The thing is, there’s some truth in it. With two babies there’s an increased risk of things going wrong. Leaving the house is hard with one baby. With two, some days it feels impossible. Your chance of a nappy explosion or screaming baby in the car or supermarket double. Tandem breastfeeding is a juggle. Even though I’ve mastered the art, I’m not comfortable getting both my boobs out in public. Browsing the shops with a double pram isn’t a simple task, often the pram doesn’t fit between the racks. I’ve also discovered that the doors to many parents rooms aren’t wide enough for the pram. I literally have to dismantle the pram to get inside. All these things leave me wondering if leaving the house is worth the bother.

A twin tribe?

Part of my feelings of loneliness is a lack of a twin ‘tribe’. I’ve got amazing mum friends. I know they try to comprehend life with twins. But you really only understand the juggle of burping one baby while breastfeeding the other when you’ve done it. Or feel the depth of mum guilt associated with ‘choosing’ which baby’s needs to meet first. Before having twins I couldn’t imagine the marathon involved with getting two babies to sleep at the same time. And the maddening frustration of getting one to sleep just as the other wakes.

I love and adore my girls. And being the mum of twins may be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. But that doesn’t change that it’s hard work. The new challenges twins present have thrown my ‘can do’ attitude. I’m learning to accept that somethings as a mum of young twins just aren’t achievable. There are parts of life, as a twin mum, that I have to sit out. I’m sure it won’t be forever but for now it’s left me feeling lonely. The loneliness of being a twin mum was not something I anticipated.

Have you ever felt a sense of loneliness or isolation as a mother?

Linking up with Kylie for #IBOT

43 thoughts on “The loneliness of being a twin mum

  1. I think there are lots of mums who will appreciate your openess and honesty. I had never contemplated how you BF and burp the other baby at the same time. My sister had twins as her 4th and 5th babies and mums of multiples are supermums in my mind. Can you find a group for multiple parents nearby?
    I have felt lonely as a mum living interstate and having a child with a disability – I think there are seasons of loneliness in each motherhood journey. I hope yours is short.

  2. I think parenting has its lonely moments for us all, but as a Mum to twins I can imagine this must be even more challenging. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to get out of the house at times, or even to have the quiet time to talk to someone on the phone. My thoughts are with you and my fingers crossed this time is only short lived. x

  3. Do you accept hugs from strangers? Because I just want to give you one! I know how you feel to a degree. I’m feeling terribly lonely right now but for different reasons. And it’s awful. I know that you know it will get better, but I just have to remind you of that. In the mean time, try to find joy in the little things that bring some light into your life each day. A cup of tea in the morning sunshine. A walk around the block. A TV show that makes you laugh. Laughter helps A LOT. Hang in there Clare. You are doing a great job. x

  4. Hats off to you and all twin mummies. You are my super heroes. I have no idea how you do it. “There are parts of life, as a twin mum, that I have to sit out. I’m sure it won’t be forever but for now it’s left me feeling lonely…” I really was in this piece with you, great story telling and big hugs to you.

  5. I literally can’t imagine. Also, what idiot designed parents rooms doors that you can’t get a twin pram into?! How bizarre. Do you know of Elle Roberts who runs the Artful Biz Conference? She has young twins too – you should look her up on IG and try to find a twin parent to talk to.

  6. When I was a teenager and when I still wanted kids, I thought how much easier it would be to have twins because I could pop them both out at once as it were. But as your post shows it clearly involves a lot of juggling (but not of babies.) I wanted to give you a big hug after I read this, because you are doing such a bang up job, not just of raising these gorgeous twins but three other children too. Is there a multiple birth group in your hood? Even if you can’t meet in person, it might be therapeutic to have someone to talk to who is in the same boat. In the meantime, go gently, be kind to yourself and make sure you find a little “Claire Time” even if it’s just 5 minutes. Big hugs for you x

  7. Oh wow, that does sound tough. I’m sending your blog to one of my friends, she was a single parent with twins. To this day I still have absolutely no idea how she did it. Keep your chin up, the days will no doubt get easier.

    1. Any chance I could get in touch with your friend? I am a single mother to 1 year old twins. We have a twins group locally but I hardly know anyone doing it as a single mom.

      1. Are you in Australia Anne? I have noticed there are other single mums to twins in the ‘Mum’s of Multiples’ Facebook group.

  8. As a mum to 8 week old twins I can truly relate to this article! I went everywhere with my singleton and have certainly tried to go everywhere with the twins but as you said sometimes it just doesnt work and you have to be prepares to just give up and go home!! People think I’m crazy for breastfeeding the twins bit I just love it!!

    1. I’m so pleased my post resonated with you Rachel. There’s certainly more logistics to worry about with twins! As for breastfeeding, so many people told me I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed mine. But I have and we’re still going at the 7 month mark! Well done you, not crazy at all xx

  9. Oh this is so true! I have twin boys and an older daughter and the early days with the twins were completely like this. I’d try and get out of the house everyday when my eldest was at school but it could be so exhausting and the chances of something going wrong so high. I sometimes felt like a bit of a circus act at baby groups double feeding, winding, nappy changing. I used to envy the mums with one baby who got to chat and drink coffee! Sending you massive hugs! I found a local private twin facebook group an absolute lifesaver as I got to talk to lots of people who totally “got it” and got lots of practical advice and support. My twin boys have just started school so we are in a very different place right now.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. It’s so reassuring when people ‘get it’! I feel like a freak show when I am out and about with my five kids, we attract so much attention. I too sometimes envy mums with one baby and how comparatively simple things seem for them!

  10. On a practical level, is tandem babywearing an option? There are double carriers like the twingo, or you can combine and double wrap, use two ring slings, a sling and an ergo etc. even wearing one might help you have some free hands.
    It must be super isolating. Feel free to shout out via pm if you just feel like a chat. Xx

  11. Oh dear me, I so want to have words come from me which will help you but I think that this situation of loneliness in motherhood is a fact. I found that out with ONE child and went back to teaching as a result once I could and she was in fantastic care with a local family next to the school where I taught. I think you are most likely also being TOUGH on yourself and I say that in the kindest way because from what I see of your IG postings you are out there doing and being all you can to enrich your boys’ lives and nurture the girls in the many ways you do. If you can see the temporary nature of this situation.. the girls will be out of your lap soon and racing around, that might help but for now, yes it sucks and I get that. I was and am still socially isolated and lonely because there is NO-ONE yet I have come across where I live now that I can make a connection with socially. Hence my life is on-line. The thing with me is that as a teacher all my life we tended to have friends from our school life and when that went as I retired, there was little connection. Last week I had a lovely time though when two of my friends from back then decided to drive up and see me for lunch and it was like we had never been away. I hope that you can see that not only have you disconnected from your work life that you also disconnected from your Sydney life…and all of these changes on top of birthing the twinnies has an effect. I hope dear Claire that you are buoyed by some of the comments here and on FB and you know you are loved and not alone as far as we are concerned. Denyse xxx

  12. You know, I think part of the reason why I had such a big struggle last year was because I had spent 2015 at Tafe and after 3 years at home with no-one but babies and toddlers to talk to it was amazing to be back among the land of the “living” and have adult conversations with people who enjoyed something I loved. So when that all finished and I went back to being a SAHM the isolation of that life really hit me hard (not to mention the fact that it was the first time in 5 years that I had slowed down and therefore had a lot more time to think and all the things I hadn’t processed from the previous few years suddenly had to be dealt with!). It can be really tough being at home on your own with the kids day in and day out, but throw two babies at once in to the mix and it’s a recipe for loneliness. Sending you massive hugs, my friend xxx
    #teamIBOT

  13. I get you… I am a mother of twins and some days feel as if my mind is made of ‘moosh’. We unfortunately only have one car so I cannot even attempt to leave the house. I’ve never had one baby, but I can imagine trying to juggle attention between three kids is challenging, never mind just trying to see to the twins needs. I agree when you say even though friends are around it is lonely as they do not fully understand how some days keeping yourself together is a challenge in itself. Never mind having to tend to household duties. But… it gets better 🙂 I’m not sure I read how old your two are but it gets easier as they get older. Try and find a twin mom support group, or start your own? – chat about challenges and give advice etc. You can do this Twom (twin mom) 🙂

    1. Thanks Taz, it is hard for some people to understand that it’s possible to feel alone even in a group of people! My twins are 7 months and I have three older sons. Daily life is a juggle. I do have some great support online and I am positive some of those women will become my friends ‘in real life’!

  14. I Love the way you layed out your article. As a mum of 5 including twin girls, I coudnt agree more! People look at me and feel sorry for me as I have twins and then they see my five angels and they are totally shocked. My husband and I are so happy yet there are days its hectic.

    I experience the loneliness you speak about in your article as my husband works shifts and I am a bit of distance from my friends and family but God gives me that strength to push through!

    I would love to hook up with twin moms and just share our experiences and just to know we are not alone helps.

    All the best
    Tasneem

    1. Thanks Tasneem! Five kids certainly attracts attention. We live in different states from our family too and that does add to the sense of isolation. I have meet some great women who are twin mums and I am hopeful that in time we will become friends ‘in real life’.

  15. I’m a single mum to twins and In my opinion I just got on with it because you dont really have much choice. I’m not for one minute saying it’s easy because it certainly has been hard work. And yes it’s very lonely raising twins as people forget that things like swimming you need two people and baby classes you don’t get to go to as who helps you when you got to get up and dance with them or move parts of there body when singing row row row your boat.. it just doesn’t happen. And then there’s trying to get on buses well that’s just a nitemare along with having to hunt down a double trolley for you to be able to go shopping. But despite some of the hassle it can create I wouldn’t change it for one minute as you get double the love, cuddles and kisses and if your lucky enough you get to witness every milestone twice. Hazel x

    1. Hazel, I absolutely hear everything you are saying about baby classes and shopping! I admire all single mums and especially those with twins. You’re right about double the love and it is special to witness those ‘firsts’ twice.

  16. I have 18month twin girls and I adore being a twin mum….but I understand every word of your story! It’s tough and at times impossible and you do just have to go home and put the kettle on! My two are my first so I didn’t have other children to split my time between and I was and am still exhausted so you really are a supermum!! It does get easier I promise! Xxx

    1. I’m pleased that my post resonated with you. Being a twin mum is wonderful but exhausting too! Many people tell me it does get easier, which is very reassuring.

  17. I can totally relate to this strange loneliness in company of toddlers. Where i live we are about 6 moms of twins who have supported eachother and met for walks and playdates throughout the first 1,5 years now. And it is totally different than meeting moms of singletons! We step in and take care of all the kids if needed, while I feel like moms of singletons have just sat there and watched you struggle. Like a scary stressful freak show is how i’ve felt sometimes haha! One baby one lap is normal to them so i think it might be difficult to foresee the next step of events that you might need preparation for. I am so thankful for my twinmom friends! Seek out your local facebook network!

    1. I’ve felt like a ‘stressful freak show’ too! What a perfect way to describe it. I’ve got some great Facebook groups, and I’m positive that I’ll make ‘in real life’ friends with some of the women from those groups.

  18. I totally understand what you are talking about! I had a girl before having the twins and I know the difference… With my first daughter we could go everywhere! Shops, restaurants, museums, activities, name it, we had done it! With the twins I felt isolated because small tasks were impossible when they were little. I was trying to do things and it wouldn’t work. I had mum friends at the time and I tried to join them a couple of times but I was returning home exchausted and defeated. They were trying to help but they couldn’t realise the practicalities of being a twin mum, let alone a breastfeeding mum. I started reading blogs and posts from other twin mums and that kept me going because I knew I wasn’t alone! I enrolled in the local twin club and joined Facebook groups! Best decision ever! I wasn’t alone any more, fellow mums knew what I was going through! Thanks for posting it. My twins are two now and things have improved so much that we are out and about every single day! There is light in the end of the tunnel…

    1. Yes to absolutely all of that! I wonder if perhaps having the older three boys makes the sense of isolation greater. Both because have to coordinate them to get out of the house too and because I know all the fun things that are possible with one baby. I have joined some great online groups and have my fingers crossed that in time those relationships will develop into real friendships.

  19. I promise you it does get better!! My girls are almost 2 and I can vividly remember feeling the frustration you describe. Like you, I’m very much a “can do” person and found it really difficult to lower my expectations, but it actually helped me to see the small victories I won each day! Basic tasks truly become monumental ones when you throw twins into the mix!!
    While other twin mummies are wonderful to have close by, I actually found that relying on sympathetic singleton parents helped more, as they usually had a free hand to help out and were always willing to come over to mine or do whatever was easiest for me. I’ve been very lucky!
    I hope your loneliness passes and your days become easier soon Xxx

    1. Thank you for your reassuring words Alexandra. While it sounds silly, I do expect a lot from myself and sometimes it’s hard to not be doing the things I did do before twins. But as you say, lowering expectations does have some positives! Your point about friends with singletons makes perfect sense to me.

  20. As a friend of a Mum of twins and only one myself with one on the way I can only imagine how hard it is with twins. Twin mums are amazing having one baby / toddler is hard enough! Rest assured you would be doing an amazing job as all mums are especially those of twins!

  21. Oh Claire I can feel your exhaustion and isolation. I hear every single word you have said. Only a twin mum can truly understand that isolation with twins. I can’t remember where you live but I can probably put you in touch with some Multiple Birth groups around and then you can maybe get out and meet a few other mums with twins. I don’t think I really left the house until the girls were three except to another twin mum’s house where she completely understood and she was set up for twins so I didn’t have to cart two portacots over etc.

    Please drop me a message so I can put you in touch with some ppl.

    Sending you all the twin love xoxo

  22. My twins turn 2 on Monday and I agree with you 100%! If it wasn’t for my local Moms of Multiples group and my Moms Club I’d be in a completely different emotional state. I’ve always been somewhat of an introvert, and I deal with anxiety, so getting out of the house in a positive state, with two toddlers, is why I’m a huge supporter mental health support, I.E. anti-anxiety and anti-depressants. Going to play dates at other people’s houses is a struggle. They rarely stay in the same area, so instead of sitting and chatting with other Moms (while they keep an eye on their one child) I’m running from room to room making sure my toddler tornados aren’t breaking priceless heirlooms. And let’s not forget putting shoes and jackets on 2 toddlers who don’t want to leave the fun new toys!
    It may be isolating, but having twins has taught me to find and hold onto my priorities. I really don’t care if I’m a complete hot mess when I leave the house. And guess what, the double tantrums because I gave them goldfish and not animal crackers, or she wanted pink socks like her sister not the purple that’s clean, or she wanted to push the toy stroller her sister has… well, work it out ladies. I feel like I’ve become immune to other kids crying and tantrums, because it’s what I deal with the majority of my day! Pick your battles, get a good anxiety prescription, and reach out to other twin Moms. Being a parent is hard, being a parent to twins is next level super hero!

    1. Oh Sara, I feel that you’ve given me a glimpse into my future. Twin tantrums are going to be SO MUCh FUN! While each parent has their own challenges I think you are right when you say being a parent to twins is next level!

  23. Thank you for posting this Claire! So much of what you say resonates with me – I’m mum to 19 month old twin boys and have felt really lonely too. We moved to a new area just before they were born with no family or friends nearby. I found taking them out so difficult in the early days but it does get easier and now we get out every day. The boys entertain each other too which is lovely and takes a bit of pressure off. Take care x

    1. Thank you for your kind comment Emily. While I would not want any mother to feel alone, it does give me comfort that my post has resonated with you and others.

  24. I absolutely ‘get this’. I became a twin mum back in dec 2010, 2 months after moving from cheshire to wiltshire and boy was it hard. Hubby is military so i often felt like a single parent. It often took 2 hrs to get out of the house and by that time we’d missed ‘baby sensory’ or mum and baby coffee mornings. We were very lucky in the fact we were in hospital for a month after they were born and this really helped getting them into a routine – especially feeding times (we were able to stagger them). My ‘breakthru’ came when I decided enough was enough and i needed some adult company. I became a body shop at home rep as this gave me some confidence back, independence and also gave daddy some time with his children. I no longer work for them but i honestly dont know where I’d be had i not done something for me. I can hand on heart say that altho we will be celebrating their 7th birthday soon, things are still hard. Yes certain things got easier, finding that routine, cuddling both as u will find other options (bouncy chairs were a life saver). But the things you found hard to start with are now simple and other things become hard (weaning, terrible 2s, teething, wanting their own independence at different stages) but………and this is massive, you will get thru it and come out stronger on the other side. Try inviting single child mums to yours for a while so u dont have to struggle to leave the house, or arrange a ‘date’ with them later in the day as i found most things were 9.30am!!!!! (Not a chance in hell) and finally, book a babysitter and go out with hubby and talk to him about how u feel. Lots of love xxxxxxxx

    1. Thanks Ellie, it is reassuring to know that I am not alone in feeling alone. I think you are right about things that are hard now will become easer and there will be fresh challenges. I doubt parenting ever really becomes ‘easy’ and certainly not with twins!

  25. That’s it! When we are there next, you and I are going out for lunch and I will HAPPILY hold your children while you eat at leisure! My guy and your guys can play in the acorn park, while you have a rest and I cuddle those cuties.
    Motherhood is super lonely, even though as you say, you are with the people you love most. Big hugs Claire, I know that every time I see your pictures AND see a new blog post, I think “my god, she’s a supermum!” xx

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