Twins can be a joy — but also double the work and stress for mums. Recognising this, Norwood has for 18 years operated the Twins and More group, bringing together mums of twins (or indeed triplets or quads) to enjoy a break while their offspring play in an adjoining area with volunteer carers.
Founder Ruth Conroy sits among the circle of mums at Norwood’s Kennedy Leigh Centre in Hendon. “I think it is very important for the mothers to realise they are not on their own,” she says. “When you first come home with twins it can be very isolating.”
Nicole Parkinson — whose twins are 22-months-old — finds it helpful to discuss problems with an understanding audience. “I often feel like an octopus. Every day there is a challenge that other people wouldn’t think about, like simply carrying two children at once. Thank goodness women have hips.”
Jacqueline Curzon — runner-up in the Jewish Mum of the Year TV show — says with feeling: “People who haven’t had twins don’t know how hard it is. I had four children before my twins and I remember thinking ‘how hard could this be’? But it is actually horrendous. I tip my hat and my coat to anyone who has triplets.” But after a lengthy discussion about the struggles, Sara Diamond — who has two sets of twins aged eight and two — puts matters into perspective. “When you’re going through it, you get on with it.”
So what are the anxieties and worries of a mum with twins? “I used to weigh out their puree to the gram,” reveals Rachel Robertson, discussing her determination to ensure her 21-month-old twins are treated equally.
Viviane Goldsmith — whose identical twins are 19 months — dresses them in the same tops. “At this age it doesn’t make a difference. It is what’s easier for me and what I think is cute.” And on the topic of cuteness, she adds: “When you go out with identical twin boys, everybody stops you. You go to Brent Cross and you have to add extra time to your shopping trip. I often worry about my bigger boy because he is always hearing people say, ‘ah twins’.”
But on the plus side, “there is so much laughter”, Ms Robertson reports. “Mine make each other giggle and we laugh at the things they do together. It’s a lot of fun.”
Ms Diamond agrees. “When it is their birthday, there is such excitement between the two of them — they get to share that. That’s just so nice, to have a mate.”
Amanda Whitely, mother of three-year-olds Zac and Zoe, feels comforted by her children’s bond. “They get to start school together. I think they are very lucky because they have got each other.”
Yet Ms Robertson worries that hers “won’t make friends because they have each other”.
However, as children and mums reunite at the end of the session, the beaming smiles from all tell a story. “If
I had a choice of having twins or not having them I would definitely have them,” Ms Curzon concludes. “I would have them double.”