A week ago I attended my first EMOMs event. EMOMs stands for — wait for it — Eastside Mothers of Multiples. Yes, it’s a real club. And yes, I was a little cagey about attending a meeting.
Something about the concept of the group hinted at a freak-show…like gathering because we all have red hair or we’re all left-handed, both clubs for which I would be eligible for membership but wouldn’t attend if you paid me.
Right before walking in I said a quick prayer that this would be helpful, not intimidating, and not make me feel like I had just joined an illicit underground network of society. All of these prayers were answered.
First of all, there were snacks, which always warms this pregnant lady to a group of people. Secondly, people were sitting awkwardly at various tables, not speaking, and I made the Herculean effort of sitting at a table occupied by just one couple and introducing myself (and my snacks). I normally loathe this sort of interaction, but my desperation to learn from the bedraggled experience of others pushed me outside my normal confines. It turns out that being a member of EMOMs has two sides to the coin: you don’t know anyone in the room, but you have endless discussion topics with everyone because what you have in common bonds you instantly.
I found it amusing that everyone put on name tags with their twin stats:
B/G 2 years
G/G 15 mos
I didn’t know this little rule so my name tag just said my name. I suppose it could have said, “Abby, B/G due in a month” but my stomach was doing all of the talking. Every person introduced themselves with an incredibly detailed rundown, but it didn’t sound at all TMI to me, because I wanted to know every detail of others’ experiences.
“Hi I’m Jen, I have fraternal twin boys who are 23 months and were born at 36 weeks 5 days via c-section.” Sometimes they’d state where they gave birth or if their kids had to be in the NICU. It was like listing war wounds from ‘Nam in a support group while everyone nodded in understanding.
Nearly everyone already had their twins; there were only two other pregnant women in attendance. But it was shocking to me how veteran I felt compared to them — they were saying things like “My doctor told me a lot of twin moms stop work at 28 weeks” and I found myself replying “That’s really only if you’re on bed-rest or having complications. I’m 32 weeks and still working full-time. You’ll be fine.”
We separated into groups based on the ages of our children, so I was in the first year group. Our discussion topic was “Feeding the Whole Family” and they passed out great recipes for protein snacks to grab while breastfeeding your litter. Naturally, a big part of feeding your whole family in the first few months is relying on others to do so — they highly recommended taking advantage of the free meal support EMOMs offers or having friends and family deliver dinners. After the initial survival period, they recommended time-savers like crock-pot meals and roasted chicken from the grocery store.
It wasn’t long before we were swapping tips on everything from breastfeeding to sleep schedules, with reviews of baby products mixed in. I grabbed for a pencil and started scribbling notes while eating my second cookie. It was incredible to have an entire table of women who were going through exactly what I was, and some who even said, “Don’t listen to the people who say your life is over and this is the worst, hardest thing you’ll ever do. It’s not that bad; you can do it!”
It’s a welcome sentiment right now, because lately I oscillate between uncontrollable excitement at meeting the babies, and mind-freezing terror at what lies ahead of me. At any given moment I’m either ecstatic with anticipation or paralyzed with fear. From what I’m told, this is normal. Mike feels the same way, and it’s amusing when we’re having opposite experiences.
“Oh my gosh can you imagine that a month from now we’ll be cuddling them and holding them all day?” one of us will say happily.
“Holy crap, it’s all day. It’s every day, with two, and twenty diapers a day, and what if they scream all the time?” the other will reply, hunched in panic.
This is why I’ll continue to attend EMOMs events. I need the cold shower of reality mixed with the soothing balm of reassurance. And snacks. I need lots of snacks.