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The Other Mother

So right after I posted that manifesto on defining womanhood and Josh moved the stroller back to the basement storage room, a woman wrote that she saw my posting on the listserv and wanted to know if she could buy it.  I froze not knowing what to do.  The woman was pregnant with twins, due in August.  Josh’s thought was that if I didn’t give it to her, it would one day end up in a landfill because we couldn’t keep something this large forever — and even if we did, whoever had to deal with our stuff afterwards would likely dump it.  Whereas giving it to her would mean that another woman gets to use it and have that moment of pushing her twins in it.

But it felt (irrationally) like someone else got my moment.

Through a lot of thought and going back-and-forth and taking it out of the box and pretending to push it in the basement, I told her to come last night.  She showed up with her husband and the two of them were lovely.  They were so excited to be pregnant with twins, and that helped a bit, because it felt like we were looking at a version of ourselves from eight years ago, albeit African-American and wearing the sort of coat that my mother would love me to own and wear since she thinks I underdress in the winter.

Eight years ago, like her, I was about seven weeks pregnant; giddy from seeing their heartbeats.  Her due date is just a few weeks off from what should have been my due date.  A little under eight years ago, I was going to the house of another twin mother and she was giving me her baby carrier.  A little over seven years ago, I put out a hysterical message on the very same listserv, and a fellow twin mother came to my house a few hours later and showed me how to do a double feed, handing me her feeding pillows to keep.

All along the way, other twin mothers have given me their items and their advice, and I have tried to do the same.  There is a camaraderie that exists amongst parents of multiples that I don’t see in the general parenting community that feels similar to the one I see in the parenting after infertility community.  The shared experience becomes more important, more bonding sometimes, than parenting itself.

I didn’t tell her what the stroller meant to me, and I waited until the door was shut before I started crying.  And then I crawled into bed with the ChickieNob and told her why I was sad.  She let me stroke her hair, and asked me questions about multiples, and I told her all the things I loved about having twins.  I love that I have two hands, and when they walk on either side of me, we are completely symmetrical.  I love double shnuzzles.  I love when they sit against each other; when they plop down unconsciously almost in the other one’s lap.  I love when they hug each other goodnight and then run to their respective rooms so they can talk on their walkie talkies some more.  I love when I see them in school together, when they read together on the sofa, when the Wolvog stands behind the ChickieNob explaining how to do something on the computer.  I love when they do their math homework together.  I love that they are each other’s best friend, that their twosome is separate from me, their own entity.  I love when they get excited to be with other twins.

And I even miss when they run in two different directions.  When they would take a toy out of the other one’s mouth and start chewing on it as well.  When they would hide together in the kitchen cabinet.  When both wanted to be fed or held or changed at the same time.

As much as I love building Lego robots and having deep conversations about friendship, going to museums or reading books with actual plotlines, I miss that babyhood.  I miss the smells and the warm bodies and the need.  They were not as much fun to be around when they were babies.  I was mostly talking to myself.  I sometimes felt very lonely even though there were two people in the room.  And now I never feel lonely; I always have someone willing to try one of my half-baked ideas.  But I can’t help but miss that other time too; to wish that instead of life being linear, it would move more in a W-shape, looping back through each stage of life so you could experience it again.


1 serenity { 01.26.12 at 10:44 am }

You captured so beautifully, in your last paragraph, what I’m mourning right now.


2 Lollipopgoldstein { 01.26.12 at 10:48 am }

In crying last night, I was even going on about how much I loved poopie diapers, which we all know wasn’t true in the moment. But that’s how hardcore that mourning is, that you even miss the shit in retrospect.

3 Kate { 01.26.12 at 10:54 am }


4 Curly Sue { 01.26.12 at 11:00 am }

This post has really helped me understand the extra layer of emotions my sister is going through now that her only child is growing up and she lost her triplets to a miscarriage.

5 Ana { 01.26.12 at 11:16 am }

That last line. Made me cry. I’m still in the midst of poopy diapers and breastpumps and up all the ever loving night. But it’s just a blip. I know one day I will miss it. If only we COULD go back!

6 Chickenpig { 01.26.12 at 11:32 am }

I missed it even when I was in the middle of it. Even now, with my boys being six I miss them being this age. I look at older boys and I want to freeze them right where they are…for just a little longer.

I can’t give all the baby stuff away just yet. I’m still hoping…maybe just one more time. I was soooo close it kills me.

7 Meim { 01.26.12 at 11:37 am }

Melissa, there are so many times that I read your posts and then can’t find the words to comment. I completely relate to this post. Even though I am starting over with a small infant, I still mourn my 9-year-old’s babyhood so much. Especially now that I have a reminder of what it was like. Did that make sense?

Beautifully written post.

8 a { 01.26.12 at 11:39 am }


9 Katie { 01.26.12 at 11:45 am }

This made me cry. Absolutely beautiful. I don’t know what else to say.

10 Megan {{Millions of Miles}} { 01.26.12 at 12:12 pm }

Such a beautiful post, Melissa. The words “felt like someone else got my moment” were so gut wrenching. Thank you for always sharing your heart.

11 Becky { 01.26.12 at 12:19 pm }

Parenting in many ways is such a “the grass is always greener” kind of thing.

12 Michele { 01.26.12 at 1:57 pm }

Yeah… totally…. Taking a deep breath of nostalgia right now…

13 Eve { 01.26.12 at 2:07 pm }

I hope that you find some peace in not having to face the concreteness of that large stroller facing you from the basement. Honestly, what I thought about the most (and this is my OWN thing) is how foolish for a couple so early in pregnancy to be preparing as if both babies would be really coming home. The haunting memory of my twin stroller experience is that I found one on Craigslist two days before my son died…and how I had to email that nice lady up and tell her we wouldn’t be needing it anymore. But I digress…

14 Still Hoping { 01.26.12 at 2:10 pm }

We’re still in our IF battle but this is what I long for. To have those little hands holding mine walking in stride with me and sharing all those little moments. I started crying in the middle of this post because I put myself in those scenarios… one of these days… hopefully soon.

15 kh99 { 01.26.12 at 2:23 pm }

Oh wow. I don’t even have words other than this post is gorgeous. Thank you.

16 flmgodog { 01.26.12 at 3:03 pm }

I can so relate to this. I even relate to this in my own way with the stroller. My twin stroller sat and sat and sat in the box forever. Like eve wrote just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you get a take home baby in my world. My twin boys are six weeks old and every time I open the backend of my minivan it hits me like a ton of bricks when I see that twin stroller. I have to remind myself I am living my dream right now, poopie diapers and all!
I know how fast it all goes. I continually remind myself to enjoy “this” whatever it is with the boys because I will never have it again.

17 Valery { 01.26.12 at 4:05 pm }

Mhmmmm, still IF here. Maybe it’s a mommy/babyhood thing. But looping back into my crisis? re-live those moments/days? I’m not even sure I’d come out again where I am now. Brrrrr, no, please no..

18 Valery { 01.26.12 at 4:15 pm }

But I’ll dream of pushing a twin stroller anytime!

19 Sunny { 01.26.12 at 5:18 pm }

A lot of my friends say, “I don’t know how you do it.” — referring to having three boys under the age of four (and another on the way). But this post is exactly how I do it. I don’t look at our current situation as my “forever.” Yes, I am pushed to my limit pretty much every day, trying to meet the needs of three very needy little people. They cry, they whine, they need new diapers constantly, they throw the food I just spent time making… I am exhausted by 9 pm when I limp and crawl into bed. But this is fleeting. One day I will have all the time in the world to do my hair in the morning. One day I will go to the bathroom without little fists pounding on the door and opening the handle. One day there will be no one fighting to sit on my lap.

And that day will be beautiful too, in it’s own way, as I get to watch my boys grow up and become independent.

But I will miss these days, crazy as they are. I will miss them a lot.

20 It Is What It Is { 01.26.12 at 5:44 pm }

Such a sweet ode to your twins and to how all mothers both embrace and lament their child(ren) growing up.

21 AlexMMR { 01.26.12 at 6:33 pm }

16 weeks today and I still can’t starting perusing craigslist or any other source of twin equipment. I can’t imagine getting a stroller at 7 weeks.

22 Her Royal Fabulousness { 01.26.12 at 6:42 pm }

You should frame this post.

23 Sara { 01.26.12 at 7:52 pm }

This is so beautiful and so sad and so true. I’m glad that your stroller found a good home, anyway, but I can imagine how hard giving it (and what it meant to you) up.

24 Tigger { 01.26.12 at 8:11 pm }

I am happy that you found someone in such a similar place as you were to take your stroller. She will now get to have her own moments, just like you did, in the same stroller than you did. I…can see camaraderie there, a sense of linking. That sense of camaraderie is why we donated most of the Boy’s newborn clothes to the NICU where he stayed for the first few days – we knew they were low on newborn clothes at times (although plenty of preemie!), and the people meant so much to us while we were there. I only hope that someone just like the Boy gets to wear them, that they have the same luck for them that they did with us. (Not that the clothes were lucky, really, but still…)

25 jjiraffe { 01.26.12 at 8:42 pm }

Tremendous post, again. Wow.

I feel for you so much. The W explanation of time would be much appreciated here, too. And I know exactly what you mean: “It felt (irrationally) like someone else had taken my moment.”


26 Esperanza { 01.26.12 at 10:37 pm }

You’ve done it again. Laid it all out there for all of us to see it and recognize it and know we are not alone. Thank you.

27 Mali { 01.26.12 at 10:57 pm }

I just think there’s a lovely continuity that you got the stroller from another mother of twins, and now you’ve passed it on to someone else. Yes of course you’re sad. But that’s ok. But this made me feel happy – what a wonderful gift you’ve given that woman – and imagine her thinking of you and your twins as she’s pushing her own around in a few months.

28 Heather { 01.27.12 at 8:28 am }

Hi Mel… (I’m sorry I’ve been a bad friend the past few months. I promise to do better).

I’m all for symmetry too…balance (I’m a Libra). When we moved, S found large boxes of baby clothes that I cannot for the life of me bear to get rid of. I KNOW in my head that there are no more babies here, but my heart is not ready to accept that. I don’t know if it will ever be able to accept that. And I don’t know how to get over it. I don’t know how to explain to my heart that I’m an old lady with a teenager and a child who cannot take care of himself…I don’t have enough arms to adopt again. There are so many times that I wish I could separate myself from my emotions. It’s so very difficult.

Anyway, much love.. Keep holding hands and enjoy the wonder you see before you. But know you’re not alone in your feelings and you always have us to listen.

29 SuchAGoodEgg { 01.27.12 at 8:43 am }

Perhaps my most favorite post EVER by you, which is saying a lot. Love love love. xoxo

30 Ellen K. { 01.27.12 at 8:56 am }

I love your point about the symmetry. I’ll be thinking about this all day.

I agree that moms of multiples have a strong sense of camaraderie.

And someone actually answered your post! I think 7 weeks is awfully soon to buy a double stroller, but my fingers are crossed that she’ll have a smooth, healthy pregnancy and delivery.

My own double Snap & Go helped me get outside almost every day during the mild winter following the girls’ birth. I wouldn’t have been able to lug a regular tandem stroller down the steps due to my c-section incision.

31 Rebecca { 01.27.12 at 2:26 pm }

This is so beautiful. It makes me excited for my twins even more and more. I really can’t wait.

32 stephanie { 01.27.12 at 3:52 pm }

I have been unable to get rid of anything baby-related. It’s all in a closet. I don’t know when I’ll be able to let it go. Someday. Maybe?

33 stephanie { 01.28.12 at 5:49 pm }

You made me cry. If you figure out that W thing I want the recipe for my house.

34 Lori Lavender Luz { 01.29.12 at 3:37 pm }

You are such a wonderful mom, an amazing person. That stroller has some good juju infused in it.

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