Monday, February 24, 2014

When Two Become One – What Not to Say….

This week marks 5 years since my twin sons made their arrival on this earth…their much anticipated arrival. Unfortunately it wasn’t anticipation filled with only happiness but rather with fear, sadness and even dread. 
I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to share in the days leading up to this much celebrated birthday and decided I have two very distinctive things I need to share in my heart…two things that need two different entries to share. 
Today I want to talk about what it’s like to be a loss parent, an angel momma to a loved one who you see develop in the face and actions of their twin and in the case of identical twins like Cam and Cole,  in the face of their twin.  And what I most want to share is what not to say or even think and why… because when the two babies you were expecting to raise together suddenly become one it really is a place of bittersweet heart tugging feelings. Some of this I have posted before and will pull from that post but some of this is just a strong feeling I have lately that people don’t ‘get it’ and need to be reminded of just how hard this is.

The absolute worst thing anyone could ever say is ‘at least you still have one’ or ‘thank God you didn’t lose them both’.  This is likely the most hurtful thing any twinless twin parent could hear.  Basically we are being told that we should be happy with the life that still beats in our womb or wiggles in our arms and that the life that has left that we had prepared our hearts and minds for is not important.  When this is said it feels like we are being told that we aren't grateful enough or that we should be happy we can still have a child since so many people don't have any children.  And while I respect that and appreciate it, there is no way to compare the two.  At least I still have one... yes and at least my heart is still beating despite the fact that it shattered into a million pieces the day I learned my son was gone.
Oh and by the way there is no at least in childloss.  None.  If you want to support your loved one in the best way possible, keep “at least” out of your conversations with them.
And this ties directly into my second point. 

Please don’t tell me to focus on my survivor, to not forget what a miracle he is, to cherish him and please don’t ever tell me I am lucky to have him. By saying that you are telling me that you think I am so shallow that I can’t see that.  By saying that you make me feel like I don’t have a right to focus on BOTH my miracles…that I should not be truly amazed that my body created two identical little boys.    I know that Cameron is a miracle, that he is amazing. I know we came so very close to this not being the case, I know that we could have lost him too. But that doesn't mean I am 'lucky'. It's not so lucky to bury a child, not so lucky to have been through what we were through.

Please remember that there are days that deserve to be recognized, that I need to be recognized.  Cole has both a ‘death’ day AND a ‘birth’ day.  He didn’t just die, he was also born.  On Cameron and Cole's birthday PLEASE acknowledge that BOTH of my boys have a birthday that day, both of my boys were BORN that day. They might not both have had a heartbeat that day, one was born still but he was STILL BORN... That day is a day of joy for us as we celebrate the miracle that is Cameron but please don't forget that Cameron has a twin brother who was also born that day!
And along with this, please understand that it really, REALLY hurts when you don’t recognize either of these days in our life…especially if you did on that first or even second year and now you don’t.  I know that it might have seemed like the ‘right’ thing to do by sending me a message, calling me or sending a card etc on Cole’s first angel day (and please know that it was and is so very appreciated) but for some reason people think that it’s only hard at the start, the first few years.  December 13th will NEVER be a day I DON’T cry.  This is one of the things that bugs me the most. There are very, very few people in my 'real' life who call me or send me a message on Cole's angel day. Some people who have known me all of my life who all but ignore this day. That very much. He was and is a very important part of my life and that day is the most painful of days for me. If I am an important part of your life, can't you make this day an important part of it too...can't you make me important that day above all other days. I know it's really close to Christmas and we're all busy but please, just call me, send me message, a card, come by for a visit... don't ignore that day. Ok rant, over.  

Do not discredit the bond my twins will forever have.  They were created together, they grew together and they lost their physical bond together, in the same womb, touching each other.  Don’t roll your eyes or look away when I say things about Cameron not liking to be alone or needing the touch of others all the time because he’s never been alone from the moment of conception.  Twins have a forever bond, twins have their own language, twins can communicate without ever speaking or almost read each other’s thoughts.  There are countless stories out there of twins separated at birth who end up marrying spouses with the same name, selecting the same career, living in similar homes etc.  If this is the case then why is it so hard to imagine that a twin on earth and a twin in heaven will also have a forever bond. 

Some days are harder than others, some days just getting out of bed is hard, even 5 years later…and those are the days I need your support most.  Being reminded that my boys lost this connection when Cole died, being faced with the reality that I am raising one half of a whole is hard, it makes me sad.  Even 5 years later it still happens and some days I want to crawl back into bed and hide because I feel that sad but I do keep going, I do put on my fake smile and I do go about my day. I know I do a good job of covering some days...especially days when I watch a set of gorgeous ID twins playing together (which happens almost weekly), when I've caught Cam in his 'twinness' in front of the mirror or playing by 'himself' talking to another boy with another voice or just simply when something has triggered a memory and my heart breaks all over again. But trust me, some days I'd rather just stay in bed or sit at home with my 'TTTS family' and be lost in memories and sadness.
But I don't do that, I keep going, put on my big girl pants and a smile and go about my day. Lots of times people who don't know me as well, or rather haven't known me as long, tell me how amazing I am about it all, how strong I am, how inspiring. But those closest to us always seem to be the ones who miss this or even worse are more critical and judgmental. Some days having one of those people tell me how proud they are of me, how strong they see me etc...well that would just make my day!

Never, EVER say how hard raising twins would have been either physically or emotionally. This comment is both degrading and rude.  I know where you are coming from, I get that life would have been busy and the way my life has been in the last few years, the instability in income etc, has made raising three boys difficult without thinking of the fourth.  But really, REALLY, you think I want to be reminded of that??? By saying this you are basically telling me that I couldn’t have handled it and that, my friend, is an insult! And if you happen to have twins, please don’t complain to me about how much work they are… I don’t want to hear it because I would give my left arm to be that busy!

Please do not expect me to not be sad or affected by milestones.   It is impossible to not be affected by those moments that should have been a celebration of two little matching boys doing this together…like going to school, like graduating, like going off to college. It is reminder of what should have been.  I live with reminders everyday of what I have lost and everyday just might have a bit of sadness to it.  For me, most days I don't wake up sad but I ALWAYS wake up remembering what has happened, always wake up thinking of Cole within minutes.  It doesn't always make me sad but I do still find myself thinking 'I can't believe this happened, I can't believe this is my life'.  I marvel each day how much different my life is but it isn't always a feeling of how negatively different it is...just how different it is.

I am a twin momma, I will always be a twin momma.  I may not always feel like I am one because it's hard to even imagine what it would have been like.  I may not always feel like I am one because people discourage me from talking about my twin boys, from talking about my angel baby.  No twin mommy should ever be made to feel like she isn't a twin mommy and no twinless twin should ever be made to feel like he or she doesn't share something truly amazing, truly a miracle with another child conceived with them, loved with them, forever connected with them. It is a bond that will never end. 


  1. Jodie, you are an inspiration. I admire you time and time again for your ability to say it like it is, like it should be and like it REALLY should be, if we only took the time to think before we speak. Don't ever stop doing what you are doing because there is a need, a big need. The world just needs to hear what you are saying on a much bigger level. Given what I've been through, there are definitely similarities as only those closest to me know we lost twins before Colston arrived and then five weeks later was diagnosed with cancer. Not knowing what to say, many prefer to say nothing and while I am hurt by the fact so many prefer to sweep it under the rug, I also realize it is probably better to say nothing at all than to say something without thinking about what they really want to say. I for one was so heartbroken for you when you lost Cole and then when the boys were born but Colston was so sick at the time, I didn't mark the days down. Don't stop talking about it, remind us always.

  2. Oh my word Jodie, you have put everything, absolutely everything I feel about losing little Jack Reuben and my miracle survivor Xavier James, into perfect words. If only people did stop to think, try just for one second to walk in our shoes, this blog wouldn't be necessary. But they don't! We are and always always will be twin mummies, and I hate the fact that we don't get to watch our twins grow together and achieve all those little (and not so little) milestones. Thank you for putting everything into words and making me realise, once again, however alone I feel in this journey, I am not the only one going through it. Lots of love Fiona x

  3. thank you for sharing this. I lost two of my identical triplets at 16w and I'm still pregnant with my third baby and you put so many of my feelings perfectly. ❤����