Thursday, November 17, 2005

So you're having Twins...

One of the things I love about living in New York, as I did a few years back, is that no matter how esoteric or freakish you are, you’re bound to find a group of people who share your whimsy. If you’re a Zoroastrian armpit fetishist (a group I identified with briefly while dating a wrestler), you’ll find ten others just as hyped about underarms as you. It was in New York that I started to enjoy joining groups. I joined a group of Jews Opposing Racism, (and was nearly tempted into joining a group of Racists Opposing Jews when they showed me the free SS boots you get in the start-up pack. Man, those Nazis knew how to wear shoes). I joined the NYU Screenwriters’ Association and went to a couple of meetings of the Africans in America society. Although I was the only person with an African passport there, I was ostracised for being white. Nonethelss, every group I joined, I found people I could really relate to, people who shared similar experiences or feelings to myself. I felt validated in the knowledge that I was not the only freakish Nork on the planet who felt the way I did. So it was with great excitement that I recently went to my first Multiple Birth Association meeting.

A group of women as large as myself waddled through the door of the exquisite, spacious house with their world-weary partners in hand. We all plopped down on couches and chatted politely. Two, three or four? How far are you? Are they identical? Are there twins in your family? (This last question is very thinly veiled code for ‘Was this an assisted pregnancy?’ and it carries a tacit judgement with it that annoys me. Even though my twins were not conceived through IVF I almost feel like telling them they were just to get the smug looks off their faces).

The convenor, a gorgeous woman in immaculately stylish clothes, introduced herself. Her name is A and she has identical twins boys who are eighteen months. She shows a picture of the delightfully cherubic lads, and we all smile and breath sighs of relief as we notice that neither of them seems to be 'special' in the mentally or physically disabled way that twins sometimes are. She insists that we help ourselves to the delicious spread of cheese and dips while she shows us a video. I'm just starting to think that this is all going to be a breeze when the la-dee-dah middle class charade ends. The ‘video’ (henceforth referred to as The Horrorshow) opens with a couple screaming at each other while two newborns cry incessantly in their arms. It goes on to follow the pregnancies and births of four women carrying multiples. By the end of the pregnancies the women are so gargantuan they look like ten of Pamela Anderson's breasts have been pumped into their bellies. Then they show the births. Seeing one alienoid head emerge from a vagina is disturbing enough. Watching two should be grounds for a compensation claim for Post Traumatic Stress. A few of the babies are horribly premature and have to be kept in intensive care for months, with thousand of tubes hooked up to their birdlike translucent bodies. If you’ve ever seen newborn mice, picture them pinker and smaller and you have an idea of what these premmie twins looked like.

The couples who do get to take their babies home seem worse off. They’re constantly feeding, burping, changing, settling the babies. At a certain stage the man invariably returns to full time work and the woman is left at home staring at a wall while the babies scream. Each mother describes the horror and endless exhaustion of having multiples. None of them end their quotes with anything that approximates a hopeful or positive angle. I keep waiting to hear that ‘it’s all worth it’ or ‘I wouldn’t have it any other way’ but the Horrorshow starts to become so bleak I feel like I’m watching a Ken Loach film. Ken Loach if he spent two days in a prison cell with Mike Leigh while taking downers. Finally it ends. Our lovely hostess smiles sweetly and asks if anyone has questions.


Then the fuckhead next to me puts her hand up. I expect her to ask if there's a way of terminating the twins at 32 weeks, but instead she wants to know if The Bugaboo Frog is the best stroller to get for twins or if the Mountain Buggy is better.

Does she not comprehend what we just witnessed? Has she no internal organs?

R and I stay for a half an hour but are forced to leave when another Knobhead wants to know if a foam rubber breast-feeding pillow is better than the rubber blow up ones.

Denial and Consumerism. The only way we multiple-carrying-humanoids cope with the crushing reality that we’re about to embark on a feckin tough journey.

Am thinking of popping the twins out then rushing back to New York to join the Mothers Who Deserted their Families Opposing Reality Association.

Anyone want to join me?


Blogger Urban Chick said...

here is the best retort to the thinly veiled 'do they run in the family question?' i heard from another twin mum

old lady in park: ooh, twins?
mother: yes!
old lady: IVF?
mother: no, sex, actually
[at this point, the old lady shuffled away sharpish]

crikey almighty, woman! the talk i attended at the UK multiple birth foundation was not nearly as scary...some twin parents even said they quite liked their kids

which was nice...

p.s. it's mountain buggy all the way, honey - don't even THINK about the bugaboo (i don't care if gwyneth paltrow has one)

4:46 am  
Blogger LJ said...


8:48 am  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

Oh dear. Now you have me freaked out and I KNOW I'm never having any more babies.

Listen to Urban Chick. She is the twin-meister.

What the hell was that woman's purpose in showing that video? Is that supposed to be 'support'?

9:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are twins in my family (my mother's a twin and there are two sets of twins amongst her cousins, one of which had twins) we also have triplets (another of my mum's cousins).

When the triplets were born it was the scariest thing I have ever seen. They looked like little frogs lying on their backs with their little limbs spread out around them and their tiny little froggy eyes hidden under sunglasses.

I remember how the family assumed they'd be fine but the nurses looked like they could die any minute. I remember the look on their parents faces.

That's the kind of stuff they probably showed in the photo. What they left out was how beautiful those little froglets become. How they interact, how they love each other, how they grow and grow and grow. And how they are worth every moment of worry.

Look at these kids now and imagine how beautiful yours will grow to be -

P.S. Stick with the MBA, they have awesome Christmas parties for the kids.

11:57 am  
Blogger Frankenmum said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:20 pm  
Blogger Calliope said...

man. I'll meet you in NY, but good for you for fleeing the scene when you did!

1:30 am  
Blogger Frankenmum said...

You'd think in a city the size of Sydney there'd be multiple Multiple Birth Associations. So you might have a choice between the Positive but Realsitic MBA as opposed to the Denial by Shopping MBA!

Hope you can find a Mothers with Multiples and A Sense of Humour group. Hey, maybe you should start your own...


11:39 am  
Blogger Lin said...

I think you need to start your own 'club' before the babes are born. Maybe have a multiple choice test: favorite drink, how early is too early to imbibe that favorite drink after having babies? In other words, set the bar, Yc...and don't let a bunch of morons set it for you.

4:19 am  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

This sounds like my idea of hell YC, you and R are very brave people.

10:15 am  
Blogger surly girl said...

it does sound hellish. as with all parenting groups - avoid. otherwise before you know it you'll be discussing your perineum with a total stranger while a stepford wife demonstrates the best way to have a three-course meal on the table when your husband (no "partners" here. no thank you) gets home from an exhausting day at the office. after all, you've only been looking after two tiny screaming babies all day - do you want him to wonder where the woman he married went etc etc....

9:58 am  

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