Tuesday, December 27, 2011

National Geographic

Identical twins are on the cover of the December National Geographic and the subject of NPR's The Picture Show blog.

Looking at the photos is fascinating. I love to look at the subtle differences in their features. I try to decide if I would be able to tell them apart if I knew them in real life.

We spent Christmas with extended family, most of whom don't see the girls on a frequent enough basis to be able to tell them apart. I'm convinced that, as identical twins go, mine are on the easy-to-tell-apart end of the spectrum. Sometimes I wonder if all parents of identical twins feel that way. But then I hear stories of parents that require nail polish to distinguish their children apart.

I cannot imagine what that would be like. Telling them apart has always been easy. I recall the days in the NICU, Tristy under the bili lights, calming her with my palm over her wispy white-blonde hair. Jaeda lay in the neighboring isolette, with her signature dirty blonde mohawk atop her head.

Who's this guy?
2007 (8 months old)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right  (note the mohawk)
On Christmas eve, my husband's cousin (interesting fact: he is genetically his half brother because his mom is my husband's mom's identical twin) came for a visit. Its been a few years since he's seen my girls and they had just dried off from the bathtub and put on last years snowman pajamas (seen below in the 2010 Santa photo, which are now totally high-waters).

They obediently stood in front of Lenny as I took a sideways glance at them to introduce them each by name, as I try to do.

And wouldn't you know it, I introduced them wrong. Me. Their mother. *sigh* My only excuses are that they were wearing the same outfit, had wet hair and I was looking at them sideways instead of head-on. Ok, those are pretty good excuses, but I still felt horrible (and a little embarrassed).  Because I'm usually the one doing the correcting. "That's Jaeda" or "You mean Tristyn" when someone refers to them incorrectly.

Traumatized (I love that Santa is laughing)
2008 (Age 1 1/2)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right 
On the trip home, we had settled into the ridiculously cramped play room designated for kids on the ferry from Nanaimo (Vancouver Island) to Vancouver, which is a 2 hour journey. The woman sitting next to me (who was obviously miserable) had a rambunctious older boy (maybe 6) and a precocious (read: bratty) little girl about the same age as my girls.
Feeling a little shy
2009 (2 1/2)
Tristyn on the left, Jaeda on the right 
We had managed to ignore each other, as parents of young children tend to do whilst stuck on a ferry with strangers for 2 hours, until I heard her son ask if my girls were twins. My ears perked, of course, to hear her answer. She replied "I'm sure they are sisters, but I don't think they are twins". Stunned, I turned to her and asked if she was referring to my girls. "They're actually identical twins" I heard myself say, and I realized that I felt almost a little defensive. So, I want people to tell them apart, but I also want people to recognize them as identical twins? Hmm...

Over the moon! 
2010 (3 1/2)
Jaeda on the left, Tristyn on the right 
One relative, whom they don't see very often, admitted to me that he 'still can't tell them apart'. I told him the newest "trick", which has saved their pre-school teacher and their gymnastics instructors; Jaeda's bangs are wavy, like the letter "J". Tristyn's are stick straight, like a "T".
Do you see the bangs?
2011 (4 1/2)
Jaeda on the left, Tristyn on the right 
But to me, its quite silly to even need this mnemonic. Their faces are quite different, their hair, even their voices. I've written about it before of course.

identical twins
You see what I mean, don't you??
I understand that these subtleties are lost on most people. Take any two children of the same gender and age and ask people to tell them apart.

My girls are lucky to have twin boy cousins that are just 5 months younger. They are fraternal, and are very easy to distinguish by hair color, eye color and height! While the four of them took turns playing Angry Birds on my cell phone, I overheard Tristyn ask her cousin Gabriel, "Which one are you?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The picture on our Christmas card shows my hubby and me crouched on the balcony of the Old Faithful Inn (Yellowstone) with these long-limbed blondies on our knees. Their big feet hang from their bony legs and they both happen to have a spoonful of ice cream poised at their mouths. So many friends and family members have remarked at how big they have become.

Its true, the once teeny preemies have sprouted into oversized pre-schoolers, matching height of kids 2 or more years older than them, and towering over kids their own age.

They are hungry all the time, often telling me they are hungry shortly after we have finished a meal. The other day, I realized they had finagled two breakfasts and two lunches. There are times when, at dinner, they eat more than I do. Like tonight, when I could barely finish two tacos but they each devoured two over-stuffed, daddy-made tacos, and then asked what was for dessert.

Socks and shoes have become a topic of much angst and debate in our house. They both refuse to wear socks, citing that they are "too small" or that their feet hurt when they put their shoes on. And we are down to one pair of shoes each - from probably 20 available pairs in the shoe basket by the front door - that they will actually wear. The other day, in a war of wills between Jaeda and myself, I would not let her leave the house until socks and shoes were on. I won, but at the cost of my calm and composure. She dramatically complained, feigning inability to walk due to the discomfort. In my frustration, later that day, I impetuously purchased four used pairs of size 13 shoes from ebay, hoping to avoid a repeat of the earlier scene.

When bedtime rolls around, and they have been instructed to put on their pajamas, they will sometimes re-appear downstairs in just their underwear and ask if they can be "super-baby" (I have no idea where that came from), which basically means no pajamas, just undies. I occasionally acquiesce, too tired to argue, as I watch the Manute Bol-esque cuties skamper up the stairs to brush their teeth.

This rapid growth, of course, makes them clumsy. I can't count how many times I've heard the disquieting thump of Tristyn falling off her chair at the dinner table, followed by a frustrated howl from the floor. And I'm constantly being kicked in the face or kneed in the kidneys when we rough-house, tumbling around the living room floor. We sometimes call Jaeda "Long Limbs La-Jaeda" (a spin on "Long Limbs Lenora", the New Year's Eve working girl from Forrest Gump) because if there is something to knock over with her legs, she will knock it over, despite our warnings to be careful.

It goes along with the theme running through my head these last few months, that they are growing up all too fast, as children tend to do. I thought I had until the teenage years before this awkward stage??

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

World Prematurity Day

Tomorrow, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.

My identical twin girls were born at 34 weeks, 2 days. Three weeks prior to their "twin due date" and six weeks premature for a normal pregnancy. When I tell people this, almost always they will say, "Oh, that's not bad".

(insert sound of my blood boiling)

Not bad?? What is "not bad" about the terror that a new mother feels when her water breaks weeks or months early, knowing that her child's life hangs in the balance? When her newborn baby (or babies) are raced to intensive care moments after giving birth. What is "not bad" about three weeks - 21 fucking days - staring at my new babies through clear plastic instead of holding them in my arms?

Try to cuddle with a tiny baby with tangled cords tethering her to her isolet, knowing that you can't keep her warm enough because she cannot regulate her own body temperature.

Try to breastfeed a premature baby whose instinct to suck in order to stay alive hasn't kicked in yet.

When it comes to the NICU, one day is too long in the eyes of a mother (or father). I know mothers whose babies spent months in the NICU. While the angels disguised as NICU nurses take such good care of the babies (and the parents), it is not a fun place to be. Monitors beep incessantly. Fragile, skinny babies are protected behind clear plastic. Anxious family members pace the halls.

To be discharged from the hospital, preemies take a carseat test. Its heartbreaking to strap a too-small child into a carseat and watch the oxygen monitors hoping they can breathe while seated upright.


There are so many stories of babies born much much earlier than 34 weeks. I cannot imagine the heartbreak those parents must have endured. Surgeries, procedures and the uncertainty that your precious offspring will survive another day in the NICU. But, this isn't a competition. Every single mother-to-be hopes for a healthy, chubby baby to emerge from their womb.

So, go ahead. Try me. Tell me that 34 weeks is "not bad".

I'm stepping off my soapbox now. I know how lucky I am to have healthy daughters that began their lives with a combined weight under 8 pounds. Four a half years and 80 pounds later, they are thriving.

Want proof? The first picture was taken last December. The second one was a few weeks ago. Is it my imagination, or did they grow 8 inches?? 


Monday, November 14, 2011

Two Years Blogging

Oops, I missed my two-year blog-o-versity. Such has been the proclivity of Tao of Twins in the past year. My urge to write that bid me to keep notepads in my car, purse and on my bedside table has diminished.

Thoughts would gurgle out of my head like water boiling over on a hot stove. Words would seep from my fingertips onto the keyboard effortlessly. I would find myself deciphering my scribbly hieroglyphics on my trusty notepads because I couldn't write out a thought fast enough.

So what has changed? In life, we seek stability, attempting to find ground where our equilibrium doesn't feel threatened and the earth feels solid under our feet. Life is like climbing up a cliff out of the water of our mother's womb. When we start to feel safe, we crouch on our outcropping, waiting for that next wave or gust of wind to threaten our position, however precarious.

Perspective, too, plays a role. From my perch, I see others struggling where I once was, as well as places I never want to be.

I've been asking myself: where is my empathy, my knowledge, my energy best utilized? Having stumbled up the cliffs of postpartum depression, I know I can be a support to other women. And, in the same breath, I remind myself to simply enjoy my precious, sparkly, vibrant daughters and my loving, industrious, handsome hubby. What more could a woman want?

In short, I don't have much to complain about. How can I write about depression when I no longer feel depressed? The memories are fading, and while they will always be a part of my history, I'm ready to move on and take on new challenges. But at the same time, I don't want to rock the boat. I'm waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. The one that will inspire me to write again...

In the meantime, I'm really hoping for some snow. :-)

Playing in the snow with Grandma Starr, December 2008 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

I've had a version of this quote as my "tagline" (what is that anyway?) at the bottom of my email for a few years now, and I get so many comments on it. It really is true that everyone is fighting their own personal battle, and when you encounter a person, whether in a business or personal capacity, you don't ever really know what's going on behind their eyes.

Jogging through my neighborhood, I see people in their houses, or out with their kids and my mind wanders from my own little world into theirs. What's going on in peoples lives? What demons are they hiding?

As I round the corner into my own neighborhood, I'm familiar with the demons simply by proximity. In 10 years, you hear things. A skateboarding accident that caused irreparable brain damage must have changed the course of each and every family member. Domestic violence, drug abuse, divorce, foreclosure... Not to mention the secrets that remain locked behind closed doors, the ones you don't know about until the news truck is parked on your block.

When I'm driving and in my own little world inside my car, I look at other drivers and wonder if they are grieving a loved one, or daydreaming about having a baby. For all I know, they could be contemplating suicide or rushing to rendezvous with a love affair. Depressed or elated, overly-medicated or in need of it...

I'm reminded of my drive from my office in Bellevue to Providence hospital in Everett - probably a solid half an hour - on the day my dad had a heart attack. I was on auto pilot in every sense of the word. Not focused on driving in the least, only thinking of him. Shaking, mind reeling, and in no shape to be driving. No one could have guessed that behind my sunglasses were puffy eyes, and I could barely see the road through my tears.

Being depressed, and weaving down the path to attempt to put it behind me has taught me empathy that I never would have been able to grasp without having experienced it. Depression has taught me to treat everyone more gently. Appearances can be deceiving. It takes a lot of strength to appear normal when your insides are being eaten up by grief or anxiety or the black hole that is depression.

I know. I've been there.

That drive was 10 years ago. Last week, we celebrated my dad's 65th birthday at my house. He was surrounded by his grandchildren (pictured below) and my house and my heart was filled with love.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Please Don't Stop the Music

This morning on the way to daycare, which takes approximately 1 minute to drive, my girls requested Please Don't Stop The Music (by Rihanna). I happily obliged, relieved not to be listening to I'm A Little Teapot for the zillionth time.

Both Colin and I have the Disney Radio app on our phone so the girls can listen to their favorite songs, as if they were teenagers. They request songs by the repetitive lyrics, not the actual song title: "Mama, can we listen to 'break-break-your-heart"?

They remind me that before they were born, music was a great source of comfort for me, and somewhere along the way, I forgot.

When my perinatalogist insisted that I refrain from all activity at 16 weeks pregnant, the music stopped abruptly. From the soothing music in my massage therapy room to the carefully selected workout music on my iPod.

I used to drown out the thoughts wading through my head with techno music turned up full blast in my car.

Josh Groban was my savior whenever I felt nervous or anxious. My heartbeat would slow at the swish of the CD being sucked into my car stereo.

I would crank the bass in my cozy little SUV and let the thumping in my chest re-calibrate my emotions.

And what is more stress dissolving that screaming to a song at the top of your lungs?

But for almost 2 years, I deprived myself of music, listening only to the frightened voices in my head during pregnancy, the beeping of the NICU monitors after giving birth, the cries of my duplicate infants and the cacophony of twin toddlers.

Children bring with them so much noise that I couldn't bear to add to it. I preferred the silence - rather, I preferred to sleep, when I could stand no more. 

And, in the midst of postpartum depression, when I needed it the most, I neglected to see what I was missing, even though my babies were already discovering the joy in melody.

Our garage sale Baby Einstein CD soothed the girls to sleep at each naptime and bedtime. And in the frantic absence of that CD, I discovered John Mayer's Continuum lulled them to sleep in the car.

Now, I'm rediscovering music through 4 year old eyes. Jaeda and Tristyn love to dance - each with their own style; Tristyn with her Elaine Benes interpretive dance, and Jaeda with her spin-until-you're-dizzy ballerina dance.

Our house is one big dance party. The other night, my iPod plugged into one of those crappy little speakers that came free from Office Depot, the three of us danced up and down the hallway at the top of our stairs, taking turns creating dance moves.

Slowly, music has come back into my good graces. On a particularly anxious Saturday, I found myself calmed by Michael Jackson's rhythmic beats while I made dinner. Another day, I danced around the house to George Michael while the girls napped. And this past Sunday, I let Enya lull me to sleep when I couldn't fight off a late afternoon headache. 

And like a long lost love, When you rediscover something you once couldn't live without, you cherish it even more.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011


My mother-in-law gave the girls these little mechanical kittens that wiggle when you push their belly. Cutest things ever. J&T often refuse to go to bed without them. Jaeda's is Pumpkin (our late cat) or Baby Belle depending on her mood. Tristyn's is named Isabelle, but she often refers to her as "Baby Lightness"


I crave it.

So much of the past five years has felt heavy, a sensation similar to peddling a bike up hill with someone hanging on the back. You pull and struggle and eventually make it up the hill, but are left depleted.

You know that nagging feeling that you've forgotten something important? Yeah, that one. Imagine having that all day long, every day. And your brain is like an overheating laptop spinning its fan trying to figure it out.

The glimpses of light come randomly, where I can relax enough to feel a surge of giddiness for everyday things. During our family vacation in July at a campsite in Montana, I leaned back in my campchair and stared up at the big sky, wider than my periphy could scan and was able to breathe in the beauty.

That is how I know I'm feeling good. The heaviness lifts and life feels simply light. When I don't stress about minute details, or feel anxiety around every corner, no matter how banal. 

In the Utopian memory of my "past life"; that is, before children and postpartum depression, I felt light all the time, running gaily through the fields of my existence without a care in the world. But I know that isn't true. I have my journals to remind me. I would say the first time anxiety gripped me in its talons was in high school. I had qualified for some swimming tournament. I remember sneaking around the side of the building to peek into the moist air of the pool, knowing that I would not swim that day because I was scared to do something that I chose to do every day after school because I loved it, and yet, my anxiety disabled me. I watched the race from outside the brick walls, ashamed to face my coach, and stared at the empty starting block appointed for me.

Fittingly, the heaviness has faded as the physical weight I've had to bear has lessened. It was greatest when I had two babies, two carseats and a packed-full diaper bag to lug around. Although I would often find myself under the weight of two toddlers begging to be carried, I relished the relative freedom when the girls could walk on their own. Leaving the house felt lighter too, because I could grab some juice boxes, goldfish crackers and go.

Now? They can pull themselves up into my car, dress themselves and brush their own teeth...

But I'm still reaching for the lightness.

Naturally light 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


When I found out my pregnant belly contained twins, I first called my husband, Colin - he wasn't at the ultrasound, but he calmly accepted the news that we had jokingly suspected (his mom is an identical twin). Then I called my mom. We rejoiced and discussed, surprised and shocked at the same time.

In my car, alone with my thoughts on the drive home, I called Amy, whom I have known since high school. We each went our separate ways after graduation, but we have this kindred spirit, this connection, a sweet, endearing love for each other that never faded, no matter how long between visits. To this day, she is the only friend where we end each and every call or email with 'I love you'.

Though never really conveniently located to each other, we still made time. We took trips together - just the two of us - taking pleasure in the simple things in life. We planned days together doing various things we both enjoyed - a trip to the beach, renting movies or just hanging out. And when my boyfriend/fiance of six years abruptly left me mid-wedding planning, I returned home from Oregon to my parents house, and to the dependability and comfort of Amy, who stayed with me while I pieced my life back together. She let me cry and built me back up, and was just there for me.

12 years later, my dad and stepmom still jokingly refer to it as The Summer of Amy.


When I called her that dark November night after my first ultrasound, the truth came out in heaving sobs. I was terrified - I had been blessed with one baby, but hadn't planned on two. She listened to me and calmed me down, assuring me that I could do this - when I wasn't so sure.

She followed my pregnancy week by week, the only friend that kept track of my exact progression, sometimes remembering my gestation better than me. Emails filled with stats and resources filled our inboxes. We amused ourselves with the guestimated size of these little aliens growing in my belly. How big are the babies this week? According to babycenter.com, they are little tomatoes! 

I love this picture of her cradling Tristyn's sleeping head in the palms of her hands, me in the background in the daze of new twin mommyhood. 

After my girls were born, and I had adjusted to twin motherhood, we stayed weekends at her and her husband's house, attempting to maintain composure with toddler twins, but not always succeeding. Nevertheless, they were gracious hosts, accommodating my every request for the girls: It must be dark in the room where they sleep. They can't sleep in the same bed together. Hubby and I don't like to sleep in the same room as them. Do you have a CD player for their nighttime CD? Amy even dutifully baby proofed their house lest we have a curious toddler (or two) getting into something that was off limits. 

I was so excited for her to be a mom herself. I anxiously followed the trials and tribulations of their attempts to get pregnant, hoping that I could somehow affect the outcome by sending all my fertile thoughts. I marveled at her dedication, waking up at dawn to take her temperature, charting every last detail and researching their options.

Years passed.

I gave her space, assuming that the support from women in similar stages of life was preferred over me, complaining about two little monsters. She assured me that was not the case, so I nagged her for details and updates. And I felt her disappointment and frustration at each negative pregnancy test.  

Finally, this picture popped up on my cell phone. And it was from her.
In case you can't read it, it says simply "Pregnant" 
We speculated and fantasized - would it be twins? What would she do if there were three -- or more?? Her doctor told her she may have released five viable eggs - the possibilities were a bit daunting.

My daughters each gave their four year old predictions, which would change from time to time. Triplets! No, twins. Baby girls! No, one boy and one girl.

I awaited anxiously for each text, after doctors appointments, which I had set on my phone calendar. The reminder beep building anticipation with each notification.

Finally, after what felt like forever, the day of her first ultrasound arrived. Twins. Twins!! 2 perfect miracles right there in her belly - indelible proof right there on the U/S screen! Her very first pregnancy yielding not one, but two babies.

This was what I had been waiting for. A long time friend, one that I had shared everything with during my own pregnancy and postpartum, that I could lavish all my knowledge on. She needn't be bothered with wading through the cluttered labyrinth of the internet or buy expensive books written by twin moms - she had me! Still, I knew her experience would be her own, and very different from mine.

My weekly calculation of her pregnancy that sat on my nightstand
(37 weeks is "full term" for twins)
We planned, we texted, we talked, we emailed. She struggled through the first trimester with morning sickness and fatigue. I sent encouraging texts and emails. I sent her sweet pictures of baby twins that I had googled and just couldn't resist sharing. I went thrift shopping for early maternity clothes for her, remembering how early regular pants ceased to fit! I couldn't resist shopping  for newborn baby items - tiny shoes that never touch the ground and gender neutral newborn onesies. Our mutual friend, Jamie, and I fretted over when to have the baby shower, counting the weeks and looking at our calendars for a free weekend. Not to early, not too late. Not too close to Thanksgiving. What if she was on bedrest? 

On the morning of August 4th, I mailed her a box of maternity items that I had saved just in case. And in an ironic, poorly timed gesture, I pulled my birth story from the archives on my computer and emailed it to her a few hours before going to bed that night.

Then, as I plugged in my cell phone just before crawling into bed, came her text. Baby A's water broke. We are headed to birthing center to induce. My mind reeled, and stupid thoughts took over - why would they induce?? Oh my god, 14 weeks - wait, they can't survive outside - can they?? Were there new advances in neonatal technology that I didn't know about? Could they save Baby B? In shock, I texted her back. Why are they inducing? But I knew the answer, and she calmly provided it for me. Heart rates are in distress. Both babies are dying. My uncontrollable sobs awoke my husband from a deep sleep. I couldn't speak the words as he waited for me to find air between sobs. Amy is losing the babies.

Unable to console me, I left my husband alone in our bed and moved into the guest room where I could cry. I told Amy I loved her and that I would keep my phone next to me all night, just in case.

I didn't hear from her until the next morning. She had delivered both babies, perfectly formed yet tiny, followed by a D&C. My heart felt as though it was being crushed. My soul dissolved into tears until I felt wrung of all moisture in my body, then I would start all over again. I avoided the worried, curious stares of my children, but they followed me through the house asking questions, knowing that something wasn't right. I had to tell them: The babies in Amy's belly? They both died last night.

Children get knowledge of death in bits and pieces, never quite comprehending. They regurgitated the concept that our cat Pumpkin was "up in heaven", but also knew that daddy had buried her body in the ground. I would think they had grasped it, only to realize no, they hadn't, when one morning Jaeda asked me 'Mama, where's dead Pumpkin?'

They wanted to know why. But why had the babies died? I gave them one of those generic responses that moms of pre-schoolers learn, 'They were sick and couldn't get better'. But why did they get sick? I didn't know. Would they still be born? No, honey, they won't.

I've known Amy for more than half my life. All of my friends and family know Amy, or know of her. But they probably don't know the details of our history. The depth of my love for her. When she lost her babies - a boy and a girl - I lost them too.

My only comfort is knowing in my heart that she will one day be a mother.

She already is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Word

To my readers:

I've had friends and family express concern after I publish a post that is particularly distressing (I am very blessed).

But this blog isn't written in "real time", per se. I might start a thought and write about it, but it might sit in my draft folder for weeks or months before I can fully develop it into a post (sometimes I think of them as essays).

With that said, it has been a rough few months. Shitty weather, back to back viruses, a close friend moving 1,000 miles away and the devastating, heart wrenching loss of my dear friend's twin babies has made me an utter mess.

Also, as many of you know, I've recently changed up my medication. Changing meds isn't easy. There is a new set of side effects to accustom yourself to, and you have to shift from the comfort, albeit not an ideal one, that the last medication provided. In the past month, I've endured endless days of brain shocks - a relatively mild (in my case), but extremely distracting sensation in my head and neck akin to an electric shock.

There is also the uncertainty that my emotions are my own. I may feel a moment of elation, only to second guess it as false brain synapse. Then the urge to cry bubbles up, and I wonder, 'is this just normal female hormones?' Sometimes my emotions seem not to be driven by actual responses, but to some roulette wheel of random feelings.

I have recently started volunteering for Postpartum Support International of Washington, and I'm in contact with moms that are in the midst of their struggles with postpartum depression. This has brought up many memories for me. Memories of my own reluctance to acknowledge my depression, and to realize that motherhood is difficult, but shouldn't leave me a hollow person the rest of the time.

I truly hope that my experiences, then and now, guide me to be a valuable support to other women (and men!) that miss out on precious time enjoying their children because of depression.

Hopefully, you all know that through this all, Jaeda and Tristyn are the lights in my world, my stars, my beauties, and I am fighting this fight for them.

And, if you ever wonder what's going on in my life in real time, there is always my other, completely different blog.

Attempting to pose for my style blog

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My happiness depends on these goddamn pills.

When I feel a surge of excitement for anything -- from a freshly cleaned kitchen to an upcoming vacation, I give credit to that little white pill that I dare not forget before I leave in the morning. When I'm inspired to write, or sing in the car, or marvel at a sunset, those fucking pills get the credit.

Why can't my own brain chemicals provide me with zest for life like I used to have?

My high school girlfriends are planning a weekend at a beach cabin. Will I be the same carefree, silly girl they knew 20 years ago? I recall a memory from years ago, it must have been our senior year because we were having a late night (or early morning?) giggle fest at Denny's. I was making them laugh with my antics - did I stand on the table for some reason? I don't remember. But I do remember being a confident, fun young woman that didn't need anything to help me enjoy life. (I didn't even drink my first beer until I was in college.)

Will my precious, vibrant daughters slowly grow despondent, eventually succumb to depression and need a pharmaceutical crutch when they turn 33 - same as my mom and me?

Swallowing that first pill felt like failure to me, even though I knew I needed it. I knew that without it, I would continue to struggle with anger (towards my children) on a daily basis, and that I wouldn't be able to cherish the sweet lives blossoming in front of me.

I've told many friends that my reluctance to accept anti-depressants into my world was washed away with the fear that my daughters' earliest memories would be of an angry mother, instead of one that hugged and kissed them at every chance, that was forgiving over spilled milk (ok, not always) and that exhibited calm and strength during life's challenges - big or small.

I need to look at medication as a tool that helps me maneuver through the trials and tribulations of modern life.

But I can't help it.

Today it occurred to me that my husband and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this year - 5 years after getting pregnant. Was I different - more fun, witty, dynamic, interesting - during the first 5 years of our marriage?

I'm afraid to ask him.

Both of us were changed when we saw 2 tiny heads on the ultrasound screen. The introduction of 2 babies into our household challenged our mental state as well as our marriage. It makes me sad to realize that, in the time that he has known me, I have been depressed (or fighting depression) for almost half of it...

But with every hurdle we overcome in our lives, we learn and we grow. Just like a child remembers never to touch a hot stove after doing it the first time. As adults, our lessons are more complicated and often  more heart wrenching, but the results can also be more powerful.

 Happiness comes to them naturally...

(Mammoth Falls - Yellowstone)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Long before I knew firsthand the puppetry of psychotropic drugs, I knew of friends and clients that had leapfrogged from the prozac lilypad to zoloft moss and then landed with a splash on the waterlogged stump of wellbutrin.

All of us little froggies are trying to find the pad that suits us best, that doesn't sink under our weight or have any unwanted co-habitants.

My first drug was Lexapro, shiny and new (and expensive) with promises of bright, sunny days. And, except for the evening ripples that would rock my lilypad (also known as "brain shocks"), it delivered. That is, until the lilypad rent got too expensive, and I was forced to downgrade to a low-income lilypad in the form of generic Celexa, citalopram.

Time passed and I was still pretending to be living the high life on Lexapro, but it just wasn't the same. The water below my lilypad was always murky, and it felt as though the clouds never dispersed. My old depressed ways didn't return, but I felt like a zombie most days, unable to shake off the morning fuzziness. 

Nonetheless, the price was right (and my health insurance doesn't cover prescriptions), so I tried to make the best of it. Over the next year and a half, the pond scum started to accumulate, and I began to realize I needed to move. 

Here's a snippet from an email that I wrote to a close friend describing how I was feeling:  

I'm all over the place with my emotions the last few weeks. I'm tweaking my meds again (increasing them....) because I'm just not feeling motivated to do anything. The house is an absolute mess and I don't care. Its hard to find inspiration to blog on Tao of Twins anymore. My only joy is Jaeda and Tristyn. Lastnight I sat in their room after I put them to bed and told them about how Che' (my brother) and I used to do everything together when we were kids, and answered all their sweet, wide-eyed questions. I just wanted to crawl into bed with them and never leave, just hold them and kiss them forever.

I had replaced the emotional roller coaster of my initial postpartum depression with apathy.

Recently, I moved into in a middle-class Wellbutrin lilypad complex. I haven't met any of my froggie neighbors and have yet to find out if I fit in here. 

I worry that I won't ever find a lilypad that suits me. 

*Note - One day after I published this post, my family and I drove past this: 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Things Happen For A Reason

Life leads us in the direction we need to go. I've always believed that. I've let the universe lead me, listening for the whispered instruction, watching for the covert signs. As I hit 30, life was a comfortable routine. I was content in my career, enjoyed my domestic life in our cozy home and was comforted and loved in a solid marriage. We traveled, had dinner parties, attended events and enjoyed life without kids.

I had built up an airtight cocoon of friends without silly conflict or superficial drama.

But there was a gnawing sensation, an uncertain anticipation that there was more to come.

It was the calm before the storm.

I will never again underestimate the difficulty that comes from change, even the expected ones; puberty, marriage, moving, motherhood - those transitions in our lives that come easy for some, but are traumatizing for others, leaving an indelible mark on our souls.

In 2005, when my lower leg and ankle snapped in 3 places during a roller hockey game, I had never felt such pain. Nor had I ever confronted such fear before each of my 2 resulting surgeries. My frustration and helplessness during the 10 long weeks on crutches were foreign to me.

But I slowly started to see how each struggle led me to a new place. Each experience allowed me to grow in ways I otherwise wouldn't have been afforded.

During my pregnancy, restricted in activity and movement by my high risk label, I reached back into my psyche and pulled from my past experiences.

During the birth, I didn't fret about the pain because I knew I had survived pain before, and that my body would endure.

However, postpartum depression threw me for a loop. What strength to pull from?

I am nothing if not resourceful, always the person among friends to have a paperclip handy, a band aid in my purse, or an extra pair of sunglasses to lend.

Attempting to raise 2 infants through the fog of depression blurred my skills, but my instincts floated up occasionally, urging me to research methods, tricks and tips for raising twins online.

That is where I found Baby Squared and Jane Roper.

There was a similarity I couldn't quantify, a connectedness that had nothing to do with lifestyle - she's married to a musician and lives across the country in Boston. I'm a soggy Northwesterner through and through, married to a Canadian outdoorsman.

But through the weaving of her words, I found solace, comfort and companionship. The timing was impeccable - she began to open up to her readers about her history with depression at the same time I was confronting my PPD head on.

I had a recent conversation with a long time client, a soft spoken father of 6 that confirmed my belief that people come into your life for a reason; he found unexpected counsel with his dentist, of all people. While reclined in the plastic covered chair that doubled as a psychiatrist's couch, he realized they had experienced similar situations in life - and that connection is cathartic in many ways.

Looking back, I see that I was ignoring other subtle (and not-so-subtle) signs.

My adoration of books won out over my exhaustion and I found Brooke Shields' book Down Came The Rain and read it with interest. Although her experiences felt extreme to me, I still felt akin to the overall theme of her story.

My sister sent me this Goop.com article where Gweneth Paltrow briefly discusses her experience with postnatal depression.

I would skim the notices posted in the ladies room at doctor visits, feeling sympathetic for women that suffer from postpartum depression, but ignoring my own symptoms. I just didn't see myself in the image of the sad woman pushing a stroller. I attributed my fatigue and my anger to the simple fact that I had twins, and not "just" a singleton to care for.

Finally, my good friend and college roommate, a new mom and mental health professional stood before me and simply told me she thought I was depressed. Everything clicked into place as I realized that I wasn't me, the easygoing, fun-loving me that I knew before my pregnancy.

I thank her every chance I get.

While writing this essay, I came across this. Naturally.
(via Little Reminders of Love)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Need to be Needed

Tonight as I put the girls to bed, I was struck by a feeling that has become familiar to me, yet still feels foreign. And, as a mother, it feels as though I'm betraying the human race.

We all need to be needed, but often I find myself needing not to be needed; feeling resentful that I'm in such high demand.

I'm sure its partially residual from their infancy; the shock of going from one extreme to another: during my pregnancy constantly being reminded to take care of myself, don't walk too far, lay down as much as possible, sleep... to suddenly being in such demand that it seemed there wasn't one second where I wasn't needed in some capacity.

When I would breastfeed, one baby happily tucked against my body, the breast pump chugging milk from the other side, and often the other baby crying impatiently in her crib, it felt like some absurd parody of motherhood.

Nowadays, I will sometimes sneak past my sweet, innocent daughters while they are engrossed in their own four year old fantasy, lest they see me and instantly decide they need something from me.

It makes me feel selfish that I want to finish whatever I'm doing, regardless of how insignificant, without being interrupted to find a stuffed animal, referee a sibling brawl or relocate a spider outdoors.

I have this urge to be free from the repetitive obligations day in and day out.

I've alluded to this before.

Don't get me wrong - I have plenty of time away from my girls. They attend "play-school" four days a week, while I commute to the office. During those long days away from them, I miss their sweet faces, and will find myself simply craving their presence, staring longingly at their photos.

Like so many other motherly difficulties, it is hard to determine whether a feeling is caused by depression or the simple stress that comes with being a mom.

The feeling is usually fleeting, but often recurrent. After years of being told that I would "make a great mother", I finally believe it. Because even through the haze of postpartum depression and anxiety and my ongoing struggle with depression, my mom instinct is stronger than any other urge or impulse.

Besides, who could resist these little nuggets of joy?

Jaeda in pink, Tristyn in blue and their cousin Gia in purple. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I love the feel of an empty house - just me and the burbling fishtank. I can putter around aimlessly, letting mudane tasks lead me from room to room.

This past weekend my husband took the girls camping, leaving me by myself.

Saturday stretched out before me like a blank slate. The tidbits of time that I long for. Nay, that I ache for. The welcome respite from the relentless treadmill of 24/7 mom duty.

The timeline of the day isn't pre-planned or dictated by two pre-schoolers demanding my time, attention and patience.

Some might say 'just like before children'. No. Not at all the same. The spirits of two spunky four year olds resound in my mind. Their residual energy floats around each room, reminding me of their absence, and anticipated return. I step over their toys and clothes, like moments in time, discarded at each whim.

In the morning, upon first light, I instinctively listened for their chirping twin babble. I imagined noises of them playing in the hallway outside my bedroom, or bathing their dolls in their bathroom sink, only to wake and realize the house was gloriously silent.

As I lounge on the couch, I relish in the quiet - but it's not the same as when the girls are sleeping, or engaged quietly in an activity, because of the absence of the constant threat of interruption. I never know when I might be commandeered against my will to referee a fight, kiss a boo-boo or find a lost teddy bear. I'm always "on-call" in a sense.

But as any mom will admit, it didn't take long to feel that longing... their Elmo-esque voices, their wide-eyed wonder, their sweet innocence, and their utter pleasure in the simple things in life.

And, as good as it felt to be alone for two days, it felt far better to hug them when they returned home.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


If its possible to love a person you've never met, I love Rachel Turiel of 6512 and growing.

I love the pictures and antics of her children. I love that her and her husband live off the land in Durango, Colorado, and get road kill permits. That her children don't shy away from utilizing every ounce of an elk hunted by their mountain man father, Dan.

Rachel is a home maker of the most vocerifious kind, making salsa and soups and mayonnaise and yogurt. She defines the word mother, unabashedly admitting her fears and vulnerabilities, while creating the ideal backdrop of childhood for her two muses - that of intense love, acceptance, and education of the world around them. I love her writing, and that her words transport me to another place. Her thoughts resonate with me long after the words on the screen have disappeared back into the black hole of the internet.

Her posts pull me in like a warm body in a cold bed. The combination of words that appear before me on the screen are my vision of perfect writing - images and feelings recreated through words, with such perfect description and metaphors that I try not to devour a whole post in one sitting.

Maybe its my imagined similarity to my own childhood - a simpler time with parents unencumbered by the stresses of our time.

Or maybe it's the dichotomy to my own life. She contemplates homeschooling; I shudder at the thought. She manages to accomplish projects that I only dream about.

I love that she isn't tied down to the silly stream of conciousness that the rest of us "city-folk" endure.

Most of all, I love her openness. I love that she shares with her readers, with such emotion and clarity, the commonalities that bind us all together - the fear, vulnerability and thrill that is parenting and life. Her son, Col, came into the world a 25 week, 1 pound 12 ounce preemie, which is how I found her - her story of the 101 roller coaster days spent in the NICU with him made my tears flow and my heart ache for her. He is the most beautiful kind of miracle - the little boy that beat the odds to become a vibrant, lushly intelligent boy.

And then there is Rose. She appears to bring the industrious household into balance with her simple girlishness, who supervises gardening in her nightgown, wears tutus while helping her mother in the kitchen, and layers on mismatching clothes with the flair that only a 4 year old can pull off.

Each post is a feast for the eyes, with clear, candid snapshots of her family living life.

Go visit. You'll see what I mean. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I'm not a fan of extravagant birthday parties for anyone under the age of 30, much less those in the single digits. But for my husband and me, birthdays for our twin daughters represent gratitute, and a celebration of how far we've come.

On their first birthday, we had a small gathering to celebrate the accomplishment of the first year with twins, and to thank those that helped us through the tumultuous time. The first year with new life in our home, with all the changes that come with that; the struggles and triumphs, the heartbreak and the miracles.

It was fitting that my daughters' fourth birthday snowballed from a simple get together into a full blown Princess Party BBQ, with 30 attendees.

There were a few moments during the day when I  was overwhelmed with the sight of our guests, each helping in their own way, comfortable in our house, some meeting each other for the first time, but all connected by our love for them, and vice versa.

Each person represents a different branch of the tree that is our support system. Their involvement in our lives helps me in ways they probably don't even realize. Unaware of their unique contribution, they never cease to amaze me.

I watched as my future brother-in-law carefully guided Tristyn on her new bicycle, running beside her up and down the sidewalk, his hands ready to protect her at a moments' notice. I spied my sister-in-law washing chocolate cake covered hands from one of our miniature guests. During the candle blowing, I looked up from my post behind the girls to see a dozen cameras catching the moment, cherishing these little girls that they love.

My greatest hope is that my daughters will thrive and frolic in the leaves from the tree, long after the presents and toys have been discarded. 

Riding bikes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


The further away my dark postpartum depression becomes in the rear view mirror, the more I can see how far I've come.

I feel that desire for life, the passion for things I enjoy so much more often than 4 years ago.

Life had become a Sisyphean list of chores that I didn't want to do; dishes, laundry, picking up after two babies, all while trying to squash the formidable urge to close my eyes and just sleep. Its difficult to unravel the depression from the exhaustion of twins, but it is becoming easier in retrospect.

Nowadays, I want to throw on my tennis shoes and jog through my neighborhood, feeling the fresh air on my face, my iPod blaring music in my ears. I carve out time to sit at my craft desk and create, instead of looking at the messy desk and feeling overwhelmed by it. I want to lounge in the comfort of my bed, not to sleep, but to get lost in the weaving story of a good book. I get inspired to experiment with a new recipe and "play" in my cozy kitchen.

I sing in the car.

I smile at random thoughts that occur to me.

I relish a sunset, or a patch of freshly sprouted flowers. I notice the small things that were blurred by the haze of depression.

And most important to me, I feel surges of love for those around me, whereas I took them for granted before... When the dam finally broke, when the realization took hold that I was depressed, I called my best friend and, through heaving sobs, I told her I was sorry for "faking it" for so long. For pretending that I was fine, and for not letting her (or anyone) in on my innermost mental state.

I don't have to pretend anymore, and that is more freeing than anything.

If only it were as simple as a bandaid... 

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Woman Race

I'm not a competitive person by nature. I let go of that years ago when my big brother, Che', would always beat me at checkers...

But, does inner strength get muddled or misinterpreted as competition?

Early in my girls' lives, I needed to prove that I could raise twins - but it certainly wasn't for competitions' sake. Rather, it was for recognition, validation, and perhaps a little sympathy.

And pride.

Take breastfeeding for instance. Upon speaking to a good friend and new mother, I remarked that if I had to do it over again - breastfeed twins for 10 months - I wouldn't have.

But I know that's not entirely true - as I write it, deep in my mind, I felt that familiar pang of pride. Plus, I would miss that raised eyebrow or shocked look that I get when I tell people.

Recognition. We all crave it, don't we?

All those months of being chained, quite literally, to the breast pump were not for recognition. My daughters won't ever brag that their mother spent hours in that blue leather chair, balancing my laptop and sometimes a baby (or two), praying that I could fill both eight ounce bottles.

But I will know that I did it. I'll know that I squeezed every ounce of that magical liquid from my body, and that I sobbed when the girls were three months old when I realized I couldn't keep up with increasing demand, and was forced to supplement with formula. Today, that seems just plain silly, and I encourage new mothers not to give it a second thought - to do whatever will help you get through each day.

The other afternoon, while lounging in the bathtub with my daughters, the three of us attempting to get warm after an early spring gardening lesson, I told them the story of their birth. They will be four years old in 2 weeks, and they love to talk about babies. I told them they surprised us by wanting to come out early, on Easter morning 4 years ago. I described how small they were when they came out of my belly.  That their feet, now thrusting out of every new pair of shoes, were smaller than my thumb. How we had to put them in isolets to monitor them (they stopped me to explain each term they didn't understand), and that I wasn't allowed to hold them without permission from the nurses.

I told them we stayed in the hospital for 21 days before we brought them home and introduced them to Pumpkin, the cat. That they were too small to fit in regular car seats, and we had to buy special seats to accommodate their little bodies.

And that I still have the gavage tubes that were forced into their tiny nostrils, down into their stomach, so mommy's milk could nourish them.

They stared at me with wide eyed wonder.

If I was racing, it was for the health of the two perfect human beings that snuggle up in bed between my me and my husband on weekend mornings, nagging us incessantly for waffles.
Tired out from all that racing 

Monday, March 14, 2011


Depression is like weight gain. Its a slow progression that sneaks up on you and one day you wake up and your pants don't fit.

Losing it is slow, with milestones and stumbles along the way. Lots of stumbles.

And once your reach your goal, there always seems like there is more to lose. Can I be happier? Is this where I want to be? Is this normal?

It has occurred to me since my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, that depression is like diabetes - you learn to manage it, but it never really goes away entirely.

A quick Google search confirms this via Wikipedia: Major depressive disorder is also known as recurrent depressive disorder.

Or perhaps alcoholism is a better analogy, you're never truly cured, and to some degree, will always struggle. I will always be "depressed", in a way, because I will always know what its like, will always empathize with others, will recognize the signs.

Will always be susceptible to recurrence.

There have been days or weeks over the past four years where I wasn't sure what "normal" felt like, I couldn't grasp onto the rope I wanted to swing from, the feeling that felt natural and without intent.

To me, the ups and downs we all experience should be more related to external factors, as opposed to simply feeling anxious or helpless for no reason.

I have always believed that you can't control your emotions - that you can only control your actions. I still believe that (mostly) to be true, but that hasn't stopped me from trying to control my emotions. When the roller-coaster of depression starts its decent down the rails, I have told myself NOT to be anxious, not to be annoyed or angry - to be thankful and happy and.... only to hate myself for not having the power to do so.

When I write on this blog, or speak to people about my experience, I often use the word "struggled" (as in, 'I struggled with depression'); past tense.

I don't think there is a past tense when it comes to depression. Maybe only the dwindling sensation of the loop-de-loop after you step out of the roller-coaster car, but your body keeps the memory of it, ready to up-end your stomach at a moments' notice. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

All Nighter

I'm continually amazed at the parental tasks that are thrown at me so unexpectedly, threatening to drown me in muck, only to observe my instincts bubbling up from somewhere deep inside to throw me a life raft.

Friday evening, 10:30. I don't hear her coming down the stairs. She rounds the corner into the living room looking like a drowned rat, her hair oddly heavy on her head, as if she has had a bucket poured over her head. She leads into her explanation starting out calm, then hysterical, dramatically sobbing that she got sick in her bed... Within an instant, I scoop her up and carry her up the stairs to my bathroom. I don't yet realize that, not only is she covered in throw up, it is the reason her hair is matted and wet. I change her pajamas and notice there is more to be done, so I deposit her in the tub, turn on the shower and climb in, resigning myself to a late night shower... My husband has changed her bed, and I tuck her in, with a metal bowl positioned next to her pillow.

A few hour hours later, we are awoken by the same scenario; different child.

Rinse and repeat. Eight times.

Once in the night, I find myself in the familiar twin conundrum, wishing I could be in two places at once, when I'm rubbing Tristyn's back while attempting to ensure she makes the target of the bowl, as I hear Jaeda calling for me while her body heaves in response to her twin.

They are up at first light, chirping like amnesiac birds, while my husband and I sluggishly lumber into the daytime, traumatized by lack of sleep.

Each new report of throwing up rallies us into action, as we toss aside all other tasks or undertakings to come to the aid of a child.

It is, possibly, the thing I love best about being a mom. Being the caretaker, the hero, the comforter. Finding latent strength within myself. It's like I'm filling my own personal reservoir of pride and self-worth by the sacrifices I make for my children.

They are my everything, you know.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Double Life

The exhaustive debate rages on about working vs. stay at home moms. I can only speak from my own experience.

Working moms live a double life, constantly switching roles. Personally, I love having my "work hat" on half the time, conversing intelligently with clients and co-workers, and then enjoying the contrast of child-centric  activities (like playing Barbies on the living room floor).

In theory, it would allow me to appreciate each activity that much more. But finding the balance of it can be exhausting.

The roles blur and overlap on a regular basis; a sick child cuts into work time, or a work phone call requires my attention at the height of an involved child activity.

When I was in massage school, we discussed the importance of transitions. But that's a luxury that most moms don't have. For me, I'm lucky (yes, lucky) enough to have a commute that allows for "me" time, listening to books on tape, listening to music, chatting on the phone, or just thinking.

And, I have found there are certain similarities between work and kids that eluded me until recently. Both are more efficient on a schedule, but require flexibility to solve an unexpected situation. Prioritizing comes into play quite often. Problem solving... Conflict resolution... You get the idea.

If only I had figured that out when I had two infants. Or two toddlers, for that matter.

We all need balance in our lives. Seriousness and silliness. Snow and sun. Laughter and tears. It's how we are wired, the intricate web of inputs and outputs, AC and DC, USB and ethernet, that make us human.  

The final word in this debate is that most of us don't have a choice; and those of us that do opt for the lifestyle that works for our family.

Seeking their own type of balance

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Your Eyes

Imagine living life through someone else's eyes. Your identical twin to be exact. I am not one, so I can't imagine it, but I have the honor of observing my daughters do just that.

They are almost four and still cannot distinguish their own image in a photo. Common sense tells me this is perfectly normal - they are looking at each other all day long (and not in a mirror!) and are told so often that they look alike, its no wonder.

For the record, my husband and I almost never confuse them. (It does happen, like this past weekend in the middle of the night when Jaeda came downstairs crying because she couldn't find the bathroom - we were in a rented condo with friends - and my husband asked her in a moment of confusion, "Is this Jaeda or Tristyn?")

Do you remember this post, when I fretted that Tristyn's first cognizant memory would be her hernia surgery, and Jaeda's would be the forced separation?

Fast forward almost one year later. On the short drive from our house to daycare/pre-school, I hear them in the backseat recalling to each other every detail of that day, alternating turns until the unaccounted parts of the day had been filled in. They recall details that I cannot; the unfamiliar Elmo diaper from the hospital, the pink blanket that Tristyn threw up on from the after-effects of the anesthesia.

We are attempting to separate them more than just the occasional trip to the store (which usually ends in tears while one feels slighted or left behind), but it's another twin conundrum.

They need independence, yet crave constant togetherness.

My first realization of this was a (what I thought would be) simple walk to the mail box. They must have been 14 or 15 months old, so it was a small but significant stray from the normal surrounding of the house, the car or the stroller. I was relishing the freedom that would come with their newly formed bipedal skills, rather than having to lug them everywhere. But this was diminished as independent will took form - one wanted to go to the mail box, the other did not. I encouraged the former to accompany me while her sister stayed put. No. She wanted her sister to come with her. The latter wanted her sister to stay in the house. A classic impasse without a solution.

I often find myself standing over them unable to provide an acceptable suggestion.

Now that they are 3 1/2, and spend hours flittering around the house like ballerinas, I suggested ballet class. Jaeda held her hands over her head ballerina-style and enthusiastically agreed. Tristyn, on the other, adamantly said no, she did not want to take ballet class. A flash of opportunity took hold in my mind, and I offered other activities to her: ice skating? swim class? gymnastics? Yes! Gymnastics!

It was perfect. I would take Jaeda to ballet class and daddy would take Tristyn to gymnastics. All would be right in our world. Twindependence would prevail!

But, ballet requires those cute little pink or white ballet slippers, and while shoe shopping, Tristyn insisted she also wanted a pair because she too was going to take ballet.... *sigh*

As they get older, they do waiver occasionally in their desire for constant togetherness, but at the urging of the other, the thought usually dies before it can come to fruition.

In our house, the word "separate" has become a threat of punishment. It was unintended - sometimes they just need their own space, but when I suggest, they protest with vigor. Of the handful of times that I have followed through with it, hysteria has resulted, rather than my intended result of calm.

*Shrug* I can't blame them - it is all they have ever known...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Done My Time

As you would imagine, my friends that fall into the same age category and I are scattered at different stages in our lives, and different degrees of parenting; some remain our parent's children, not yet in the parenting world. At the other end of the spectrum are my friends with teenagers, who have paddled the murky waters of parenting for so long that they just nod in understanding at my struggles. Yet I see in their eyes that they are glad to have that "stage" far behind, and instead can only look forward towards their own reality.

I hate to sound callous, but for me, children younger than my own are merely reminders of how far I have come, and warning of how much I don't want to go back, despite a whiff of desire that seeps into my brain occasionally for my own little boy. If only he could appear as an eager, well-behaved pre-schooler. The thought of midnight feedings, breast engorgement, diapers, potty training...Hell, just the thought of giving birth again steeps my mind with fear and loathing.

I had drinks with an old high school friend that has an 8 month old. He's adorable and sweet and spunky, but listening to her just made me exhausted. Sleepless nights? Check. Incessant colds? Check. Concerns over pre-school vs. day care? Check. Check, Check, Check!

And while on a play date with my college roommate and her 2 1/2 year old daughter, I thought to myself, 'How did I manage with two two-year olds?' I guess the answer is that I just did, and that I'm sooo glad I don't have to do it all over again.

Last week at twin mom book club, one of our members - who has 2 year old twin girls - announced that she was pregnant.

With twins.

The whole room filled with twin moms roared with delight, and collectively sighed with relief that it wasn't us.  I joked with her that I was So Happy for her, but So Glad it wasn't me because "that is my own personal nightmare."

I've done my time.
"Kangeroo care" in the NICU
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