Author: Jess Hanrahan
Nobody tells you what it’s going to be like, having twins. Probably because not many people know. But even other multi mums will only tell you how amazing and special it is. Because it is. But nobody tells you about the depths of struggle that you are about to experience. And yes, the joy really does override it all. But you best be believing that the hard times are real AF too.
I became a solo twin mum when my twins were 5 weeks old.
I packed up my girls at 5 weeks old and fled with what little belongings I had the strength to gather up at 5 weeks post emergency C section slash nearly dying slash two weeks spent in hospital. They had no idea that Mummy shouldn’t be driving, or that Mummy was about to become a 30 year old solo twin mum, or that Mummy was, for the first time in her life, genuinely afraid. They also had no idea what a happy, harmonious home life looked like or felt like, so I held that in the fore of my mind while all the other “hards” battled it out for top spot in the back.
At first I went through this deep and profound mourning phase; for the person I was, the life I’d led, the career I’d chased, the relationship I’d lost. My whole identity shifted in the space of two days, and boy was it a rude awakening. Possibly the hardest part of all was to have these perfect little beings looking up at me with absolute adoration when I felt like they’d just won the lottery for world’s worst Mum.
Surviving the first year as a solo twin mum
Thank God for my parents in those early days! I honestly do not know how we survived that first year, but I’d risk the contents of my bank account to wager that it was my parents. Helping me with those evening feeds, taking the night shift once in a while, even just being the second pair of hands I never knew I’d need. In fact my whole family rallied around me like never before, and it finally dawned on me, the whole “it takes a village” mentality.
My new “normal”
Eventually the “hard” became the “normal” and my body and mind adjusted accordingly. It was normal to rock one baby in your arms and another in your feet. Normal to live off an hour or two sleep a day. It was normal to have a nibble here and there and not die. It was normal to have major anxiety about leaving the house, and only doing so when absolutely necessary. Also it was normal to know every single word (spoken and sung) to Rock of Ages because it was the only way to get both babies to sleep simultaneously. Normal to drive around mindlessly so that you appeared to have a “sleep schedule” under control. It was normal to attend meetings and mediation and visitation just like in the movies. It was normal to go to bed feeling absolutely overwhelmed not knowing how you were going to make it through another day, then smile when the sun came up. And it was normal to have every judgement under the sun thrown our way without a shred of understanding.
I’d need a whole new article to talk about “the sh*t people say to people with twins,” but suffice to say that everyone is an expert on parenting, parenting multiples, and solo parenting, whether or not they’ve actually experienced it themselves.
My silver lining
But in what seemed like endless hardship were some of the most spectacular moments of my life. Laying on the grass watching clouds roll by. Double the smiles, double the giggles, double the cuddles. Watching these amazing creatures do wonderful things like walking and clapping and counting. Experiencing the world for the first time all over again. And knowing it was all for me, just me. No, I might not have had someone to share the dirty work and hard nights with, but I also didn’t have to share the no-words-heart-exploding moments either, and I got them two fold.
Reflections from a solo twin mum, two years on.
Two years later and I still feel like a failure at times (it’s a Mum thing), but looking back I really do have to give myself, and all other solo parents, credit where it’s due. Twice the work load with half the man power is no easy feat.
You can’t have flowers without a little rain.
I guess the moral here is that there is hardship and triumph in every set of circumstances. You can’t have flowers without a little rain. And if you have to choose between being right and being kind, always choose being kind because you never know how sleep deprived or outnumbered another parent is.
You can read another story by a brave single twin mum HERE.