Twins club helps mothers who feel double-teamed

December 03, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

In Friday's Carroll County edition, a story about the Mount Airy Mothers of Twins club incorrectly reported the sex of Linda Ellis' twins. Her 22-month-old twins are a boy and a girl.

+ The Sun regrets the errors.

Every month, a very exclusive club meets for dinner in the back room at the Olive Leaf restaurant in Mount Airy. There's only one membership requirement, but it's a tough one: Club members must have given birth to twins.

Called the Mount Airy Mothers of Twins club, the group gathers at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month to swap stories about the joys and frustrations of raising twins. The mothers share advice on everything -- from whether to let twins sleep in the same crib to how to handle siblings' jealousy.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"It's a great escape. I live for the monthly meetings," said Linda Ellis, the mother of 22-month old twin girls, a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. "It's the one place we can let our hair down."

Mrs. Ellis joined when she learned she was pregnant with twins.

At the club meetings, members told her what to expect during the delivery and gave her advice on caring for the twins after they came home from the hospital.

"The idea of having twins seemed exciting, overwhelming and scary all at once," Mrs. Ellis recalled. "Just to have them [club members] there to call and talk to, it was really a good support group."

Linda Mabry of Mount Airy founded the Mothers of Twins club 6 1/2 years ago when her twin girls, now 7, were infants.

"When you're a new mother with twins, everybody can give you '' advice. But unless they've lived through it, they really can't know what it's like," Mrs. Mabry said. "You tend to isolate yourself, mainly because you can't go anywhere else" while tending to two babies.

The club started with four members and has grown to 30. Their twins range in age from infancy to 7. One member is expecting twins in March.

In an informal survey completed 1 1/2 years ago, there were 56 sets of twins from birth to grade school with Mount Airy mailing addresses, Mrs. Mabry said.

"It makes you wonder why there are so many," said club member Lynette Lenz. "We joke about it and say, 'Don't drink the water.' "

Mrs. Mabry said her goal in starting the club was to provide a pool of knowledge for new mothers of twins to draw on if they feel overwhelmed.

"If a mother's having a rough day, or she can't figure out how to get two babies to stop crying, I wanted her to be able to pick up the phone and call any member on the list and at least have a shoulder to cry on," Mrs. Mabry said. "And that seems to be what has happened."

Mrs. Lenz, a five-year club member whose twin girls are 7, says she wished she had joined when her twins were infants.

"At the time I had my girls, I didn't know anyone else with twins, and I felt very alone and very overwhelmed," she said.

Now, group members with younger twins regard Mrs. Lenz as a veteran and look to her for guidance.

"When I say mine are 7, they say, 'You do survive,' " she said.

Club members often share tips on how to outsmart two little minds that are working together to create mischief.

"Things start going downhill at 18 months, when they [the twins] figure out that if one crouches down, the other one can climb on their back and flip out of the crib," Mrs. Mabry said.

Another popular topic among club members is how people react to twins when they're out in public.

Mrs. Mabry said when her twins were younger she could barely push the stroller a few feet in a mall before someone would stop to comment on them. And the presence of twins seemed to encourage people to ask her personal questions, such as, "Did you take fertility drugs?"

Although the group's monthly meetings are restricted to mothers only, fathers are invited to one meeting every summer. Occasionally, Mrs. Mabry invites speakers to the meetings. Guests have included a pediatrician, a dentist and a counselor who has twins.

Mainly, club members look forward to the meetings as an occasion to enjoy each other's company, and learn and laugh together about raising twins.

"The most important thing I get from it is the camaraderie, the friendship and the fellowship," Mrs. Ellis said. "We have one very important thing in common."

The Mount Airy Mothers of Twins club will hold a Christmas party for families at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mount Olive United Methodist Church Educational Building on Gillis Falls Road. Anyone who plans to attend is asked to call in advance. For information call Linda Mabry at (301) 829-2851 or Ann Sperry at (410) 489-7313.

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