My twin daughters, Eve and Lily, are 14 months old. I spent the first 12 months of their lives in a state of euphoria. Don’t get get me wrong – I’m a Single Mother of Twins – it was hard, but I felt and continue to feel that for every “part” hard it was at least three parts amazing and awe-inspiring. Toddlerhood has been tougher. I remain in awe and in love, but I also find myself feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and scared that I suddenly won’t be able to handle the next challenge.
As I look deep inside myself at this past year and forward to the years to come, what I feel more than anything is… lucky. Pure, found a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, LUCKY.
I did not ask for twins. Ok, more to the point, I did not want twins. I knew there was a chance but I didn’t think it would happen to ME. When my doctor transferred two embryos I thought – is that enough? I was 38 and my chances of a single pregnancy with two embryos seemed so slim. So when she told me I was pregnant with twins I was shocked. I spent all 37.5 weeks of my pregnancy petrified. I imagined a life filled with constant struggle, chaos and exhaustion.
I knew I would love my children but those children were ONE entity in my mind. The variable that I couldn’t imagine was how much I’d love EACH of my children. I couldn’t picture two separate people and the unique love I would one day feel for each of them. I can’t imagine my life being this full without the contribution of each of these special individuals and their unique personalities. When people ask me, and they often do, “are their personalities different?” I realize that they don’t get it. I understand though, neither did I! I’m expected to sum it up with something like ” yes, Lily’s outgoing and Eve is more shy.” But that won’t do. They are two completely different people – each with infinite attributes that combined make up their unique, beautiful and complex personalities – which, yes, are different. And I am lucky enough to know, love and care for them BOTH! I was given the gift of twins. A gift I didn’t realize I wanted or needed but was lucky to receive nonetheless.
Having a child as a single mother is challenging, and having the support of family and friends is crucial. In this respect I again feel I’ve lucked out. I have an incredible family without whom I would be lost. They are my constants. My girls have brought us even closer through our shared love and care for them. What I did not expect was that as a mother of twins I would be given access to the tremendous community of parents of multiples. When I bump into another parent or parents of twins we delight at connecting with another member of our community. There’s a prevailing sense that we are all routing for each other. You’d be hard pressed to find a town or city without a multiples club. Never before have I felt more a part of a community or felt less alone in my often scary journey. Especially as a single mother by choice, I’m so very lucky that being a mother of twins put me in a position to have access to so much shared knowledge, support and community.
Additionally, because so many twins are the result of fertility treatments, groups of families with twins tend to be made up of many different kinds of families – older parents, gay and lesbian parents, single mothers and fathers, children who are the product of sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, etc. The friends I’ve made and the community I am building for my children is one that is made up of so many wonderfully varied types of families. My hope is that these relationships will help strengthen their confidence and ease about their own differences. It has absolutely done so for me.
So yes, while the unknowns of toddlerhood and beyond scare me and sometimes keep me awake at night, I know that I won’t be alone in my journey. I’ll be with my wonderful girls, Eve and Lily, and the tremendous community that being their mother – a mother of twins – has made me a part of. I’m damn lucky.