This playgroup "doubles" as an
information exchange for the moms.
Special to the Jewish News
uzanne Jacoby admits she was a little inexperienced when she gave
birth to twin girls in January. Being an aunt had been easy, so she
wondered how raising twin babies could really be that hard.
"I thought it would just be great," said Jacoby of Birmingham.
"And then I brought them home and said, 'Oh my God, now what?"'
She had questions and no answers about sleep schedules, balancing the
amount of attention paid to each baby and what to do when the babies get sick
at the same time.
It didn't take long for her to find the support she wanted. She kept hearing
about other Jewish women in the community with twins, and coincidentally, a
number lived nearby in Birmingham. She invited them to her house for a get-
together, and they formed a makeshift playgroup for twins that doubles as a sup-
port group for the moms.
"When people find out you are pregnant with twins in the Jewish community,
people just start connecting you," said Barbie Zaltz of Huntington Woods,
mother of Zoe and Isabel, 5 months. "We all had a connection to someone."
By the time the group hosted its second meeting on June 13 at the home of
Rachel and Steve Robinson (parents to Jacob and Jonah, eight months), word
had spread and the group had reached capacity. The current count: seven moms
and 14 babies.
At the meeting, six moms and 12 babies filled the lower level of the Robinson
home. The moms were ready to talk — there is too much to know, too much to
learn from the others, they said.
In a short time, they covered the basic subjects: diapers, bath time, nap time,
sleeping through the night, the "dumb" things people tell you and getting out
on the town.
"People have no boundaries when they see you with twins," said one mom. "I
had someone I never met come up to me and ask who my fertility doctor was."
While rocking one baby and looking with delight at the other sets of twins,
Shelley Berhrendt of Birmingham (mom to Jack and Noah), commented, "Just
think about how much we spend on diapers a week."
At 10 to 12 diapers a day for each baby, it adds up quickly. But no one com-
plained. "I feel so blessed that I have two," Jacoby said. "I feel so lucky that I
have two healthy babies."
The playgroup babies, ranging in age from 2 months to 10 months, are not
yet mobile, which allowed the moms time to talk. Also helping out were Jacob
and Jonah Robinson's grandmas, Barbara Robinson and Sue Simon.
"We have a great time," Jacoby said. "We all compare notes, we have new
friends who understand what it's like and we can call anyone at any time to ask
For now, monthly topics are out. Instead, the moms swap notes about chang-
ing two diapers and giving baths, and they tell tales about childbirth. Some of
the kids take meds for reflux. One mom dresses her girls alike because it is easi-
er. Another dresses them in similar attire.
"I bathe one, and the other falls asleep," said Rene Taub (mom to Ella and
Sara, 6 months).
One suggestion from the group: bathing one while leaving the other in the
baby seat, then switching. Said Zaltz, "Bathing is really not easy."
By 1:30 p.m., the women had been at the Robinson home for 90 minutes,
and the babies were starting to dose off, two by two in their infant seats. It
looked like a baby assembly line.
The Robinson boys were sound asleep upstairs. Berhendt noticed them on a
TV in the basement. "Wow," she said. "That is a great video monitor!"
The system was part of the Robinsons' home security unit.
"That's today's tip," Berhendt says.
The moms started packing up and comparing notes:
• For all but one family, the twins are their first children.
• All but one family lives in the Birmingham-Bloomfield area.
• Each mom had a Caesarian-section delivery. Each was on bed rest before
• Each delivered a healthy set of same-sex babies: four sets of girls and three
sets of boys. The average baby weight was 5 pounds.
• Each set of twins shares a bedroom.
• Each mom had a career before giving birth; one is now back to work part-
time and another is full time. The rest are taking breaks to raise the babies.
• And each mom gained . . . well, no one wants to say publicly.
If anything, organizer Jacoby said, the women have learned that raising twins
is all trial-and-error. "It is about balance, like a recipe," she says.
Next on the group agenda: meeting at the zoo or bringing in experts to speak
about raising twins ... and arranging a moms' night out. E