Friday, March 17, 2006

Negotiating a New Identity

So, we went to our first Parents of Twins group meeting this week. (It’s actually Mothers of Twins, but since J came too I’ve been trying to be inclusive.) It was a weird experience. There were several other pregnant women - I was actually the least pregnant by several weeks. Except for the woman who is expecting twins via a surrogate, it wasn’t clear to me that any of the rest had any trouble getting there or that this was anything but a surprise. Maybe I’m just so used to being open to that and they’re busy moving on or redefining their identities. Or maybe infertiles don’t join the group.

It was another version of the “do I still consider myself infertile now that I’m pregnant” question. And apprently, the answer was yes, sort of. I felt more comfortable with the slightly older pregnant woman who might have been through treatments to get there. I couldn’t completely shake the journey that brought me there, nor could I ignore the other women’s situations. But at the same time, I was trying to make sense of my new identity - mom of twins.

I generally dislike it when women define themselves solely in their capacity as mothers. Don’t get me wrong, I think mothering is incredibly important, but those women on message boards who use names like “Britney’s Mom” or whatever just bug me a little. I’m not planning to give up my name when I have these kids. I’ll still be me. I hope. But I do understand that a huge part of my identity will shift has already begun to shift.


On another note, what the heck are receiving blankets used for? Apparently I’m supposed to get a boatload of them, and I’m not sure why. Anyone?


  1. I've been thinking about this whole "Parents" of Twins thing and all I can come up with is that the more organized a moms' group is, the weirder it is. Granted, this is based on limited experience (two highly organized groups with "facilitators" versus two completely relaxed groups, one of which involved alcohol at 4 pm). It's a shame because I'm sure there are other parents (and parents-to-be) of twins in your area, many of whom have conceived through IVF. Then again, I've slowly realized that just because someone else has been through IVF to get pregnant doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to be able to relate to them. A woman I sort of know in real life is currently pregnant with IVF twins and her approach to the whole thing is just drastically different from my own. I think aside from blogging internet infertiles, I have yet to meet anyone I can quite relate to about all of this.

    So... I would recommend using the internet to find reassurance and advice about twin-specific issues and then just finding a small loosely organized group of moms (of twins or otherwise) for face-to-face companionship. I'm not sure how to go about doing that exactly. My two groups have come about through friends and other spouses of H's coworkers. My sister-in-law had a neighbor she liked with a baby who had some friends with babies.

    And as for the receiving blankets: I was just thinking about this, having recieved my first batch of pink ones already. I know I used them. I can tell that the blue ones I have left over are well worn, but I'm having trouble remembering how or why. I think they're supposed to be used for swaddling (they're the same as the ones the hospital nurses use to swaddle). But I found them completely useless for that purpose. A bigger, stretchy jersey knit blanket works much better for swaddling - the kind they sell at Gymboree, though they also have some at Target now. I think I used them as back-up burp rags, though cloth diapers worked much better for that. I think the main thing they were good for was protecting other surfaces and propping G's head up on the changing table (he had pretty horrible acid reflux, so he was constantly spitting up mass quantities and did slightly better if his head was elevated as much as possible). I think you could probably do without them. I did use the waterproof pads people gave me, despite thinking they'd be useless. They were good for putting between the babe and the sheet in the crib and on the pack-n-play bassinet to protect the sheets from the constant deluge of spit up and from our very frequent diaper leaks. You're not really supposed to do that because the waterproof pads aren't breathable and are thus a SIDS risk. But for the first month or so when he was completely incapable of changing position on his own, I felt comfortable using them.

    Wow - sorry to be so long-winded and assvicey this morning!

  2. Oh my, I used them for everything! Swaddling, lovies, changing pads while out and about, spit up cloths (they cover a lot more area than cloth diapers), light weight covers for summer months, etc etc. I always had a couple around wherever the babies were. Plus I used to them to cover up while nursing in places I felt a little weird nursing, like church, the in-laws house, restaurants if I wasn't in a booth...that kinda thing. And they are so cute!

    But that's just me...

  3. I don't blame you for renaming the group Parents of Twins. It sounds like a more fun group that way. I sometimes feel like there's so much focus/support for the mothers that it's too easy to minimize the role fathers play. It bugs me. A lot. So much that I find myself rarely using the word "mom/mommy" in relation to my desire to have a child. Maybe you could start your own group! And I'm so with you on the mother as defining identification. Another thing that bugs me a lot.
    And thank you so much for the tips you mentioned about the blood draws. I'll make a point to drink a bit more water before I go.

  4. Re: rec. blankets. As K&M said, many uses - like drop cloths for babies. Will save your clothes, your furniture, the baby's clothes, etc. Uses change as baby grows. One of first parent skills is how to wrap one around a newborn - it makes most new babies feel safer by being snuggled tight at all times. Also helpful to hold their arms from flailing during diaper changes and sponge bathes. If you have spitters you'll never leave home without several. The more washable the better.

  5. I'm so glad you asked about receiving blankets :)

    And the whole "Britney's Mom" thing bugs the hell out of me.

  6. Apologies for total assvice from a stranger...

    I know it seems far, far away now, but receiving blankets--big ones, especially--will also become important when they become preschoolers, because they're the perfect size to bring for a naptime blanket. Crib sheets will be likewise perfect for covering naptime mats.

    Oh, and I found you because I was checking to see if there was news on DeadBug's baby. Hi!