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.
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?