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Double the joy

New mothers' group is geared to those who have twins

New mothers' group is geared to those who have twins

October 10, 2008|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- It was a T-shirt geared to moms that helped Kristy Horner, 29, name her new mommy group.

"The T-shirt said, 'Not guilty by reason of twinsanity,'" Horner says with a laugh.

And since she gave birth to Gabriella and Griffin 17 months ago, Horner says she's found that no truer words have ever been spoken.

Horner, of Martinsburg, says she and her husband, Chris, 30, were expecting twins, and they knew they were in for a lot of work. Twins run in both her and her husband's families, so Horner says they knew there was a possibility of doubling her family size after they married in 2000.

On May 3, 2007, the twins were born. Since then, "it's been a whirlwind," she says with a smile.

But, Horner says, nothing really prepares a mom, especially a first-time mom like herself. To help other mothers of twins and those expecting twins to get a clearer understanding of what life is like with multiple babies, Horner started a new mom group called Twinsanity based in Martinsburg.

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A Berkeley County Schools homebound teacher, Horner says she had been looking online at MeetUp, a Web site where organizations set up Web sites for networking.

"It just struck me. I didn't know one parent here with twins," she says.

So Horner decided to found her own group through the Web site. She started the site in August, hoping she'd might find at least find one other mom of twins.

"I was just looking for a playdate for the kids," she says.

Within a month, Horner says she met 14 mothers of twins, and, so far, they all live in the Eastern Panhandle. The first meeting was at the Daily Grind at Foxcroft Plaza in Martinsburg.

Horner says for her, it was nice just to talk to other mothers with twins. She says it's different for mothers of twins compared to "singletons" -- the nickname they give to moms of a single child.

Sure, she says, there are things that mothers of a single child can understand when it comes to twins. But trying to have one set of eyes on two children can be exhausting.

"It's nonstop in a good way. A good kind of chaos," she says with a laugh. "Somebody's always into something."

Since the first meeting of Twinsanity, the group has continued to meet regularly. Some meetings are just for moms, some are for moms and twins together, some for moms, twins and siblings, and some for families, Horner says. To join the group it costs $10 a year, which helps to maintain the Web site that costs $19 a month.

Horner says each meeting has an agenda. She says mothers of twins like the structure because it's what makes their lives run more smoothly every day.

"There's structure, but we're not strict," she says.

Christen Cameron, 28, of Glengary, has known Horner since eighth grade. Cameron says she is expecting twins on Dec. 4, with husband, John, 29.

"We had no history of twins at all. It was quite shocking," she says with a laugh. "Just talking to Kristy about it, I learned that it was quite a different experience than having a single baby."

Since her friend started the group, Cameron says she's been listening to Horner and the other moms, hoping to prepare herself for welcoming her two, new children. She says most of what the moms have told her, she experienced with her own child, now 2. One thing the moms have told her, Cameron says, is that things will get easier.

"They tell me to just wait. Make it to 6 months and it will be easier," she says.

Emily McClung, 27, of Martinsburg, says she found out about Twinsanity after running into Cameron at a doctor's appointment. She and her husband, Reece, 30, are the parents of Calum and Liam, 8 months.

McClung says she noticed Cameron, but didn't want to approach her at first because she always hated when she was pregnant people asking her about if she was having twins. That was until she spotted the twin-specific magazine she was reading. So McClung struck up a conversation.

McClung says what she likes about Twinsanity is that she's able to connect with other moms who are going through the same thing.

"It's a different experience having twins," she says.

Everything is more challenging, McClung says. From trying to feed both babies at the same time without one getting fussy, or trying to get them both to nap at the same time, or changing two babies at the same time, or trying to get them both to hold their bottles at the same time.

Being a mom of twins means that life has to be scheduled. "One thing we all agree on is a routine," she says.

McClung says she likes about the group is knowing she has others to turn to for advice.

"Just talking to other moms who know what you're going through," she says. "There's some things that singleton mothers may not get."

Eventually, Horner says she wants to have Twinsanity be more than just a playgroup or a chance for moms to get away. She has her sight set on bigger programs for the group, including legislative efforts.

One proposed bill she hopes to block is the Twins Law, which has been proposed in West Virginia and other states. Bill sponsors want to mandate that, in public schools, twins be placed in different classrooms. Horner says she wants to make sure that parents retain the right to decide what's best for their children.

Horner says although the name of the group is Twinsanity, she's open to members with triplets or other multiple babies.

Since starting the group, Horner says that she has gained the knowledge she was looking for from the other moms.

"This has been an invaluable experience to me. And it's not just for me, but for my kids," she says.




Want to join?



To join Twinsanity, visit twins.meetup.com/41 and click on the "join us" button. Kristy Horner must approve you before being allowed to join the group. The first two visits are free. The group meets at 7 p.m. on first Thursday of every month. Membership is $10 a year.

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