To the Mom of Twins on the Autism Spectrum
Dear Mother of Twins on the Autism Spectrum,
There are two days you will never forget: the day you found out you were pregnant with twins, and the day both your twins were diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. You’ve experienced the highs and lows of motherhood. There are many other mothers out there like you, and yet it seems there are so few. You, mom of twins on the spectrum, have a unique situation. And while you may search for companionship from other moms of twins, mothers of multiples, or other moms of children with ASD, none of them can truly relate to what you are feeling, except the few (or not so few) moms who have walked in your shoes.
Prior to learning your twins had autism, you already felt the stares in the grocery store parking lot, the sighs of relief from moms of singletons when they saw you juggling twins from the backseat with an “at least I’m not her” look written all over their faces. But you were underestimated.
Calculating every trip, every step, every chore, every errand, you made sure those two babes had everything they could want and need, and then some. You were the quintessential Super Mom. You befriended other moms of twins. You compared notes, met in the park, even went to the local “twin club” a few times. But then something changed. Your twins weren’t learning as many words as the other twins did. They had no interest in playing with the other twins or even playing with each other. They stopped eating the foods they loved. They grew more distant. They cried more often. They talked less frequently. Until they completely lost their words. And you lost your mommy friends. And you were no longer Super Mom. Or so you thought.
Months later, when the paperwork subsided and evaluations were completed, you finally received the diagnosis. You clenched your hands together, fingers raw from filling out hundreds upon hundreds of pages of questionnaires (times two), and prayed you would find strength. But you already had that strength within you.
“Super Mom of Twins” had learned to rock a sleeping baby with one foot while feeding the other from her chest. She had mastered the art of one-armed diaper changing, leaving the other arm free to wrestle an oncoming baby. She knew how to comfort, cajole, and coo — enough for two. She was trained to ignore stares from onlookers and field an array of incessant questions from the simply curious to the oddly probing. And even though she didn’t feel ready at all, she was ready to be the mom of twins on the spectrum. As ready as any mom could ever be. And more.
So, when you look back on that second most memorable day of your life — the day you discovered you were doubly blessed with two unique children, remember how strong you already were. It’s going to come in handy. There will be times you feel lost. Just remember you are Super Mom, and find your way back. There will be times you wish you were like the other twin moms. But they will never know the joy you’ll feel when your twins have successes — and they will. There will be times you wonder why you were chosen for this task. The answer is simple. Because you can do it. And they need you to do it. You are Super Mom, and deep down inside you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Photo via contributor.