Last night we attended an “expectant parents’ meeting” of a local Parents of Multiples group, hosted at a private residence in a very upscale neighborhood. When we got out of the car, Husband pointed at two tiny chairs on the porch, each with a boy’s name painted on it. They were the sorts of names you associate with hulking teenagers wearing polo shirts and backwards baseball caps. “These are not our kind of people,” he said morosely.
I glared at him. “Can we just give them a chance, please?” I’ve really been wanting to meet other parents of twins, and I wasn’t prepared to abandon hope of meeting kindred spirits before I’d even walked in the door.
Unfortunately – and as usual – he was right. The meeting was led by two mothers of twins, who were very eager to share their stories about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and sleep issues. Most of these stories were pretty negative, which, okay – pregnancy and parenting of multiples is different from singletons, and who am I to judge another parent’s experience? There was a round of introductions, and everyone cooed enviously over the woman who, at 32 weeks pregnant, had only gained 26 pounds. I tried not to let my incredulity show too much; low weight gain is not particularly healthy for a multiple pregnancy – the goal is typically a bare minimum of 35 pounds, with 50 or so considered optimal for higher birthweight babies. But this is LA, after all, where Thin Is In no matter what the price.
Sleep and time management were two of the biggest topics. The solution? Nannies and night nurses. “So worth it,” was the conclusion, “especially if you like your sleep.” We expectant parents received copious information on interviewing nannies, checking references, and paying them (“You’ll pay more for an English-speaking nanny, but don’t you want someone who can communicate with your kids?”). The possibility that such alternatives were not remotely affordable – or desirable – for some parents was simply not addressed.
Breastfeeding was presented as a virtuous-but-often-unattainable goal, and one that we shouldn’t feel too much pressure to pursue. “How long can you exclusively breastfeed twins?” asked one woman. “Well, I did it for nearly five months,” replied the host, failing utterly to answer the question. I timidly raised my hand, and suggested La Leche League as a resource for information about breastfeeding multiples. We had attended a meeting there the night before, and had come away with some really great information and resources. The host made a moue of distaste and jumped in to warn the group that “La Leche League is pretty militant and hardcore.”
All in all, we came away feeling like a couple of uppity, barefoot hippies who would get our comeuppance when these babies were born and we suddenly discovered that it really was impossible to raise twins without a big house, a stay-at-home mom, and paid help – oh, and lots and lots of formula. As much as I want to connect with other parents of twins, this group is clearly not for us.
If anyone knows of any hippie parents of multiples in the greater Los Angeles area, please let us know. I’ll invite them all over to our small, patchouli-scented apartment. For potluck, of course.