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Archive for the ‘Twins in the news’ Category

I learned yesterday (via twitter! because I don’t spend enough time on the internet!) that NOMOTC has declared April 2009 the first ever National Multiple Birth Awareness Month. With multiple birth rates rising, I think this is a positive step. Before I got pregnant with multiples, I thought things like:

* Great! One pregnancy, two babies!
* They’ll be best friends!
* Is secret twin language real? And why does no one ever talk about secret triplet language?
* You’re already breastfeeding one, just pop the other on.

Here’s what I didn’t know about the above:

* Yes it will be one pregnancy but it will be a high-risk pregnancy: higher miscarriage rates, higher mortality rates, higher maternal mortality rates, 50% prematurity rate for twins, higher incidence of post-partum depression, higher incidence of divorce… on and on.
* The fighting starts early!
* You will wish you had a dollar for every time someone asked you about twin language.
* Breastfeeding rates for multiples are very low.

What are you going to do to celebrate National Multiple Birth Awareness Month?

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For all those mothers of multiples (with extra help!) out there, or those that didn’t have help, but are interested anyway, this NPR segment aired Monday. It is on multiples and how they are changing our lives—and I’m pretty sure she’s not talking about the specifics of MY life but the bigger EVERYONE’s. I found it disturbing on a number of levels, but perhaps that’s simply because I’m one of “those moms”, as she discusses, who would rather have had two babies at once than tried to do IVF again? My own personal feelings aside, I’m curious as to what others think of this? There are certainly some interesting ethical dilemmas which are highlighted, but I do think she misses out the positives of twins or more.

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=2-23-2009

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The views expressed below are strictly my own, not necessarily those of the collective “How Do You Do It?” mommies.

I’ve said it before but, I get a little annoyed when I read about celebrities having twins. It seems like there are new famous twins expected every day. Just this week alone we’ve heard that Rebecca Romjin and Lisa Marie Presley are going to be doubly blessed.

Don’t these people have enough? Fame, fortune, incredible good looks. Now they’re gaining entrance into this special group that makes me feel special in my otherwise ordinary world – they are going to become parents of multiples. And, really, I feel like they are not putting in the dues that the rest of us are with their army of nannies, personal trainers, housekeepers, chefs, drivers, etc., etc.

But when I first heard the news about the famous Brangelina twins, I was especially annoyed. Seriously, I have to share my special club with these two? Isn’t it enough for them to be the World’s Best Looking Family? I did my best to boycott all news of the pregnancy and eventual birth. Although, when you’re talking about the world’s most famous couple, it’s hard to avoid all the news unless you live under a rock.

Finally, curiousity got the best of me and I clicked onto People.com to view the world’s first photo of the twins. Then, I caught a glimpse of Hello!’s first photo and I was instantly shamed for all of my earlier feelings. This is a beautiful family. A family with seemingly hands-on parents. A family who has chosen to adopt beautiful children AND who has been blessed with a gift of amazing fertility. A family who has taken the world’s fascination with them and turned it into a charitable opportunity. A family who looks…exhausted!

Yes – thank you! After seeing the spread of J. Lo and Marc Anthony with their frill and pink outfits skipping down their driveway, I was moved to see Brad and Angelina looking like perhaps they were not well-rested. Are those bags under your eyes? Welcome to the club!

I’ve read recently that while Brad is planning a red carpet appearance in Venice, Angelina is not slated to appear. She is opting (I assume) to stay home and recover and tend to her growing brood. Finally, I feel like I can relate to her. Well, red carpet events aside that is.

So, I take back what I’ve said and thought about Brangelina. I now feel a connection with them I didn’t think possible. I wish them and their ever-growing family all the best. Parenting twins is a special gift – I’m happy they are part of our club.

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Continuing our discussion of separating twins or keeping them together in grade school, there was an article in the New York Times a few days ago about twins applying to or going to the same college. I can’t say that I have even considered this issue–and, with kids who are just 15 months, why would I have?—but it’s an interesting read. Looking back, I knew two sets of twins in college, both identical. In one set, both twins attended college with me, roomed together, had the same major and moved on to the same medical school. In the other set, one went to college with us and the other went to Dartmouth. They later lived together for a few years after college, but now are simply living in the same city. Interesting things to think about…..

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There was an interesting article in the Boston Globe this morning about the decision around separating or keeping your twins together in school. I’d already been thinking about this issue, due to the interesting post about it this week—and then, there was an article about the same issue on the front page of the Globe this morning. 

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/07/26/together_until_they_are_ready/

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Those of you who felt like you were carrying baby elephants inside of you, check out this article: Twins Weigh 23 Pounds, 1 Ounce at birth. I don’t know if that’s a case of undiagnosed gestational diabetes or what, but HOLY CATS, man. I’m so glad that wasn’t MY uterus about to bust at the seams! (I did enough damage to my own having twins twice in seventeen months!)

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A mom friend of mine sent me a link to an article in Boston Magazine about, in part, the above-average number of twins in Massachusetts. According to the article, MA has 34% above the national average. In large part, this is due to the fact that MA requires health insurance companies to cover fertility treatments, including IVF. Fair enough, this is certainly something I’ve noticed in my exposure to the world of twins here in MA. For me, it’s great, because here in Metro Boston, there’s a crap-ton of other twin moms to hang out with. My twin club alone is, I believe, over 200 members. And that’s only a small portion of the state.

Anyways, back to the article. It basically questioned whether or not all of these twins were, in fact, a good thing. Worth noting that the author is, herself, a twin mom. Some notable quotes:

“I adore my boys and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But I would no more wish multiples on a couple than I would bubonic plague.”

“…Hall’s team concluded that if all multiple pregnancies resulting from assisted reproduction techniques had been singletons instead, the hospital would have saved over $3 million per year.”

“…the psychological burden of raising more than one infant at the same developmental stage put mothers at risk of exhaustion and depression.”

“As twins move out of their first year, with luck, parents can stop worrying about whether or not their babies will survive, and concentrate on new challenges.”

“Lest you be tempted to think you’re not affected by all this (all you gloating parents of singletons!), think again. Massachusetts’ astronomical twin birth rate means our state is now home to untold thousands of kids who were born prematurely—kids who could still be suffering from developmental delays that have the potential to overburden our medical and special education systems, and quite possibly require either cuts to other programs or tax increases to help pay for their care. As long as moms here keep having twins at current levels, the resource pinch will only get worse.”

Wow. Susie Sunshine. Makes me feel so warm and fuzzy. The rest of the article is full of tales of preemies, NICU stays, double baby meltdowns, and conspiratorial siblings at bedtime. And not in an urban legend / crazy anecdote / “you’ll never believe what happened to me at the store!” kind of way. No, more in a “wow, having twins is awful” kind of way. The last paragraph has a little shout-out to the MOT club (not mine, but same idea), but the rest of the article is like a greatest hits album and worst-case-scenario of all of the roughest parts of having twins.

To be fair, many of the things she wrote about were not un-true. It’s a riskier pregnancy, it’s really hard to parent two at a time, it’s twice as expensive, etc. Yes. Fine. And there’s a little bit of her “bubonic plague” remark that resonates a little bit, especially when I see people posting on twin pregnancy bulletin boards asking the other moms “how” they became pregnant with multiples, because they’ve “always wanted twins.” It does get a little bit under my skin that people think having twins is this sort of cute, romantic fantasy. It is risky, and it is fricking hard. I disagree with her assertion that it’s because of all the twins that it’s hard to find a spot in daycare or preschool, but fine.

Man, though… if I ever complain that much, reach through your monitor and smack me. Would my life be easier with one baby at a time? Sure, probably. But there’s a lot of fun, great things about being a twin mom, too. The way my kids laugh at each other, the way they can often play somewhat independently without needing my constant intervention, the way they tried to grab each other’s yogurt-covered hands at dinner tonight and cracked each other up. And the fact that being twice as busy has also made me more confident and less high-strung as a mother. There’s lots of great things about being a twin mom. And sure, we all have our war stories, of the time our kids embarrassed us in a store or kept waking each other up at naptime. But I usually try to tell those stories with a laugh and a shrug and a “you’ll never believe what happened at the grocery store today.”  Not doom and gloom and “woe is me, my life is so rough.”

But still, every time I go back and re-read this article, I am more and more annoyed with it. As M said, when we were talking about it, “exactly what is the point, and who is the target audience?” I mean, I could sort of get it if it was purely “wow, we have a lot of twins here, and that has some financial / healthcare / etc. implications.” But then you throw in everything and the kitchen sink about the bad stuff. Bed rest, NICU, reflux, colic, developmental delays… Was her point simply to discourage people who are doing IVF from implanting two embryos? Because, I hate to break it to her, you don’t always have much of a choice when it comes to having twins. Sometimes it just happens. And knowing friends who did go through all of the IVF crap… hearing their stories, I think I probably would have gone for the two-embryo implant, too. Not for some romantic dream of having an adorable set of twins, but probably to increase my chances for a successful pregnancy, as well as the possibility of being able to have my two kids and not go through it all again.  I get that, and I’m certainly not going to crap on someone for making that choice. I’d do it, too.

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts on this for several days, now, and can’t quite get all the way there.  Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is the overall negative tone.  It reminds me of the strangers who see my double stroller and do the “better you than me” thing, or even worse, just look at us with pity in their eyes.  Pity?  Don’t pity me! I rather like my life and my kids, thankyouverymuch! And so, after reading this article, and having all the negative and none of the positive put out there for everyone to read by a fellow twin mom… I almost feel betrayed.  Not you.  You, of all people, should know the great parts.  You, of all people, should understand that I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Maybe she’s just not a glass-half-full kind of person, maybe she doesn’t have enough social support. I know how life can get away from you and feel overwhelming, and how you can rather miss the days when you could decide at 6:30 to just pop out to a restaurant for dinner. But there’s something about that kind of tone being published in a big magazine… I almost feel like the Massachusetts twin mom community has been thrown under an MBTA bus.

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