I went back to work after having my first child, so our time together was quite limited when he was an infant. But when we were together, he had my complete, undivided attention, whether I was feeding him, playing with him, or simply sitting back and watching him explore. And while I always found myself longing for more time with him, I knew that we were still getting plenty of bonding opportunities.
By contrast, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom from the moment my twin daughters were born, but I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to bond with each as an individual. Of course, this is a symptom of not just having two babies at once, but of having an older child to take care of as well. And I get that. But I do feel that because I have twins, I’m missing out on some of those mommy-baby moments you can only have when your children are tiny that you can really never get back—like when your child falls asleep in your arms while nursing. When that would happen with my son, I’d often sit there for an hour just letting him rest, but if that happens with one of my daughters, I usually have no choice but to dump her in her crib to let the other one feed.
I also used to love the morning routine I had with my son. I’d go in to see him once I heard babbling through the baby monitor and would start off by making silly faces. Then I’d lift him up out of the crib, hug him, kiss him all over, and take my time changing his diaper and getting him back into his pajamas to nurse.
With my daughters, it’s not like that. When I hear noise through the monitor, I bolt out of bed and go racing into their bedroom. From there, I whisk the crier out of her crib (assuming there’s only one crier, which is not always the case) change her diaper in rapid-fire fashion so as not to wake her sister, carry her down the hall into my bedroom, and plant a quick kiss on her cheek before putting her on my breast to nurse, all the while wondering—and worrying—when her sister will get up and start crying for attention and food.
We signed up for a Mommy and Me class in late September, though I was hesitant at first to do so because I worried that it would end up being more stressful juggling both babies than enjoyable. A friend of mine who convinced me to go had done the class with her first child and is doing it again now with her second. When we first discussed it, she told me how much fun it had been to do with her son, and how it had been their special thing that they did together. I want that same bonding experience with my daughters, but for us, it’s not Mommy and Me, it’s Mommy and We.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever really get the opportunity to do anything with my daughters individually as long as they’re infants. And in some ways, that makes me sad.
But, when I think about it from a more positive perspective, this whole bonding struggle is actually kind of a blessing. I mean, my “problem” here is that I’ve got two amazing daughters who coexist in my world as the lady loves of my life and happen to do so on the exact same schedule. I may not be bonding with each alone for hours and hours at a time, but we’re learning to bond as a nice little unit.
Before I had my twins, I once asked my mother how she ever managed to juggle her three children at once, and her response was, “Don’t worry—you never run out of love.”
My daughters may not get to stay asleep in my arms. They may have to turns being held, and changed, and fed. But they’ll never have to take turns being loved.