Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Different Mother

I have been reflecting on the kind of mother I have become since the birth of the boys: decidedly different. The number of children born into our family 10 weeks ago has necessitated a busier, more multi-tasking, less present mother than I ever was with my daughter. These thoughts were not coming together in prose; a style departure is in order.

The day you emerged from me, you were pulled away.
Your tiny bodies were not laid on my breast.

I mothered you through thick plastic and
Hated the leaving of you in a place not your home.

Your three new lives broke me open into four pieces,
Each piece regenerating and growing stronger.
I am one mother moving in many directions, all at once.

I am less able to hold each of you, but able to hold more of you each day.
You hear my voice singing to you less, but hear me soothing your brothers constantly.
Does that soothe you too?

I am spread too thinly now, but wider, longer too.
Like spilled milk, vast and white, smoothing out the rough edges.

You, my three glorious boys have but one mother to nourish and nurture you
Whose body makes your milk yet cannot feed all of you at once.

I hope when your tiny hands touch, you draw comfort from each other and
You understand that I wish I could always hold you, always feed you, just us.

I learn from you each day how to make each moment, each interaction
Thick and warm and sustaining.

I am different this time, not ideal, but perfect for us, I hope.
You three are perfect for me.

Are you a different mother than you'd imagined? Are you still trying to become a parent? What is your ideal role? Do you have peace about your mothering?


  1. Oh Carrie...
    Your poem was so lovely but also achingly heartbreaking. You know I worry too about Piglet, about the twins, about not being able to be the mother I want to be, the mother I have been. But I try to soothe my worries with the knowledge that the mother you are, is the perfect mother for your children. How could they not know your love, your devotion, your complete and utter dedication to their well-being and happiness? What child could ask more of their mother...

    Sending you much love as you navigate these long, weary days.

  2. That was beautiful and sooo true! I will pass this on to a new Trip Mom who's struggling with exactly the same thoughts right now! It is so different and with that comes guilt. It's hard even now at 15months, wanting to make sure each of them has a part of me, just for them, that touches their soul daily. I'm in tears because I don't think it happens every day, but they have me....all the moments they're awake...hugs and kisses like crazy and I just pray my presence is enough...It is enough...And I find comfort in that. I love how you hope that they are soothing and comforting each other and I do know that's been true with our trio. And they have lots of love from their older brothers, DH and older sister. That counts. It's not how it was with one or my idea of perfect, but it's beautiful in NEW ways. And I find that beauty Everytime they smile X3, cooX3, kiss X3, hugX3! And that is an experience very few of us will EVER get to experience! That's how they show me I'm doing a good job! God bless you up there in Seattle! You're doing an amazing job!

  3. Parenting is so different for all of us... I know your boys will know they are loved and cared for from their earliest memories:-)

    I came across a woman who is preg. with quads:

    I'm sure she'd love to hear from you:-)

  4. What a beautiful poem, it expresses every emotion perfectly. I appreciate that. I've been wondering myself lately as the time quickly approaches when I can finally meet these lovely two boys. Keep up the hard work!

  5. So beautiful; you have me in tears.

    I am much more willing to share them with others, probably in large part because they are multiples. Ultimately that's a good thing for all of us. I think if I'd had a singleton I might never let anyone else hold the baby.

    I am not as doting as I thought I'd be. I just don't have as much to give as I thought I would. I think that will come with time, and with sleep.

    Everyone constantly remarks about how laid back we are as parents. I expected that DH and I would be the way we are, but I didn't realize how non-laid back everyone else is.

    I know that I am doing a great job of mothering, but peace is not the word I'd use. Can you feel peace with one part of life if you don't feel it in some others?

  6. definently different...

    after my twins died, a part of me died and so now to my new baby girl (who i fought like hell to get here) i am a different mother than to her three old sister.

    not worse. not better. just different.

    i had those same concerns about having twins...of course, they were never lived out. i'm sure you are doing an amazing job...

  7. Those little boys and A are more lucky to have you as a mother than they will ever know or you can ever imagine. :)

  8. Wow! You express yourself beautifully! How amazing it will be for your children to be able to read this someday. I'm definately not the mother I imagined. I never imagined I'd be a mother without her baby.

  9. *sigh*
    I get this.

    Often I feel I am not doting enough on each of the babies. I guess I thought I would never want to be without one or two on my hips. Instead I find myself feeling overwhelmed and needing a break more than I expected. I do the best that I can and hope that the people we have surrounded ourselves with can help fill in where I lack (so far I think we're doing pretty well).

  10. Beautiful ! Yes, I know very well what you are speaking of. It was a really hard adjustment for me, having mothered one child first, then twins. I did feel very torn, and worried that they were not getting as much comfort as they wanted and needed from me.

    I found there were many ways I had to do things differently that second time around, and it was more stark and obvious in the early days. The one-on-one time, and total dedication that I could give my first was just not possible -- there was less holding, more crying, and that was HARD!

    Somehow though, those worries eased over time. I saw how my girls thrived despite the differences. I saw how they were indeed comforted by my presences -- my holding and talking to one spilled over and comforted the other(s).

    And they also had the huge benefit of each other -- at first older sister entertaining the babies, then all three talking, playing and loving on each other. Things are really great now, and I think they get so much from each other, as well as me. I certainly have things I need to work on (finding time to stop what I am doing and PLAY with each one and all three together comes time mind) but for the most part, I feel at peace and happy with how we manage....

  11. Beautiful.

    Yes, I am quite the different mom that I thought I'd be. The NICU did some of it. Mothering living twins did it. Mothering children in heaven did it. On the positive side, I am more forgiving of myself for what I cant do/didnt do and am just trying to thrive in what I can.

  12. Wow - how lovely. I'm definitely a different mother than I thought I'd be - for lots of reasons. I'm not sure I could articulate them right now, but I love this series of thought provoking questions you've given me. I hope to delve into this more this year as we await baby #2. Thanks for giving me food for thought.

  13. I have been following your blog for months - long before you gave birth to your three amazing little boys. It has been a joy to follow your story and to get to know you and your family through your posts. I think that i was drawn to your blog for a few reasons.

    First - i was intrigued, because i am a twin. My parents had four children in 3 years – an effort that i didn't truly appreciate until more recently. The relationship that i have with my twin is amazing - your boys are very lucky to have each other. And, A will always have a special place – as the oldest, and the only girl. They are all very lucky.

    Second - I, also, live in Seattle

    Third - my husband and i have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years. After trying for a year, we went through two unsucessful rounds of IVF and are close to embarking on our third round. We have had difficulty finding good, unbiased information - and i have appreciated all that you have learned and shared over the last year.

    This all brings me to my final point. We have just recently opted to change fertility clinics, but i am still feeling rather uncertain about our path. I know that you have learned quite a bit over the last year or two, and am hopeful that you are willing to share some of it with me. I don't know anybody in the seattle area who has gone through what we are going through, and i am looking for somebody with some experiences, that i can learn a thing or two from.

    If you are so willing - please email me at

    Thanks very much,

  14. How true. And beautiful. I have similar feelings, but I can't seem to put those feelings into words so eloquently.

  15. What a beautiful post.

    I'm a different parent than I thought I would be...and I'm sure it will change again, no doubt.

  16. Hi Carrie,

    I did enjoy this post.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. Just to clarify, are your boys on Prevacid or Prilosec? Maddy is on Prilosec and that's what you said your boys were on in your comment, but your blog says Prevacid. It sounds like Prilosec if it has to be compounded. Thanks for pacifier tip. I'll try anything! And if I get to request a flavor, grape it is. I just want her to feel better.