This story is a tribute to all mothers of multiples, whether that’s twins, triplets or even more! It’s very common to see twins in Singapore now, and I even know of a few families that have been blessed with triplets! But novelty aside, taking care of two or more babies at the same time has had its challenges… here’s my story.
I had just about had it with everyone I knew (or didn’t know) telling me how lucky I was to have twins for my first pregnancy. Not that it was planned, genetically engineered or modified in anyway, I assure you! As they say in Singapore,“Wow! So good lah! So lucky! One shot all over already”. Moreover, considering the local penchant for boys, I had struck gold as far as most people were concerned, since I’d given birth to identical twin boys.
While I did feel extremely lucky and humbled to have been blessed with two beautiful, healthy baby boys, there was no denying the challenge that went into the early years of bringing up twins. As a first time mom, changing double diapers, feeding two at the same time and keeping track of two sleeping patterns, while on little-to-no-sleep myself, felt like too great a feat to achieve on most days. I love my boys to bits, but at the worst of times (including those nights of back to back midnight feeds) life certainly didn’t feel as lucky and golden as it was made out to be.
Thankfully Singapore has a fantastic group for parents of twins and multiples, called Twins Plus which for me was an absolute life saver! Having started in 1995 with a handful of mothers with multiples, today it’s blossomed into a non-profit volunteer group made up of a real mix of women all working together to provide its members with the support and guidance needed when raising multiples. The group represents over 220 families across the island, of which there are 190 families of twins and 25 families of higher multiples (that’s a whopping 458 kids!). Apart from holding regular playgroups for multiples of different ages, Twins Plus also holds an annual garage sale (keep an eye on their Facebook page for deets!) as well as social activities and an informative resource library for parents.
As a mother of multiples, I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to be associated with Twins Plus a few years ago when my twins were still toddlers. Who knew such a deep sense of serenity and sanity could prevail from bonding with fellow struggling moms over details like how they never managed to shower till 4pm each day or how it had been at least 2 days since they had last brushed their hair? Hearing that other moms in my situation were going through exactly the same thing was a huge motivational boost and gave me so much more confidence in looking after my own pair. It was fine that the house looked dishevelled on some days and that the housework didn’t get done (despite having a helper). For once, I could justify that having an extra pair of hands to look after the baby was more important than mopping the floors!
Ironically enough though, this support also went a long way in keeping me grounded. While looking after two or more babies at the same time (and perhaps also other siblings of different ages) is tough, life is a lot harder for people who have very little help and even fewer resources to offer their children. It reminded me innumerable times to be a mom and to step up to the daily challenge!
The icing on the cake for me has been my good fortune in forging some very close friendships with other moms from the group, who have been there for me no matter what! They are my support system within a support system. Each time I got close to having a panic attack from an overwhelming sense of failure amid a dishevelled house and mountains of diapers (which happened more often than I would care to admit!) I would be rewarded with something quite unexpected – that one look or smile from one of my boys that said “Don’t worry Mom, you’re brilliant. We’re just doing our thing and being babies! You’re doing an awesome job and we love you”.
And just like that, my boys got older, everything was fine and life with my twins was indeed the blessing it was meant to be.