Guest Author - Julixa Newman
I just finished reading “Double Time,” by Jane Roper, and I have to say that I really felt like a close friend of the family by the time it was over. Jane generously shares her deepest thoughts (good and bad) during what seemed to be the most hectic period of her adult life; raising her newborn twins, Elsa and Clio. While I didn’t suffer from the extreme ups and downs that Jane experienced, I can definitely see how situations that arise while raising multiples could inhibit someone with pre-existing disorders.
As a mother of 4, and most recently a twin mom myself, it was very easy to relate to the day-to-day struggles of doing everything twice, including the changes, feedings, breakdowns, doubly expensive purchases and so on. Jane’s twins’ prominent personality traits almost eerily crossed over to my twins in some way or another-which certainly helped me feel a tighter bond with her story. Jane hysterically describes all my favorite moments from my twins’ early years; everything from the weird way one is shy while the other magically works a room, to the fights that start from simple hugs and laugher, and so on. I must say it was almost spooky how I could have written the exact same sentences without even knowing Jane personally. She captures the thoughts that we all find ourselves thinking, but rarely admit; things like the anxiety ridden conversations with oneself when one child still sits around like a newborn baby when their sibling has been crawling about for a week (what’s wrong with them??), to the age old question of whether or not to separate them when school starts.
Jane’s willingness to share her history of depression, as well as her journey through various medicines to find a way to manage it through all this creates a large, clear window into their family life. I actually felt as close as a houseguest might feel while seeing the ups and downs described so vividly, and the frustration that can arise not only from the usual “double trouble,” but the added inconvenience (to put it mildly) of having to navigate through the stages of depression during what should be the most amazing time in one’s life. As anyone would, I almost feel thankful for her husband Alistair (as an outsider), because he seems like a very laid back, patient, and understanding husband; perfect for her and very content with his station (twin dad) in life.
In summary, I really enjoyed reading Double Time. Jane made me feel like a guest in her home, in a visiting member-of-the-family kind of way. The writing made me feel up close, and the language reminded me of talking to one of my close friends each day over coffee, venting to one another over what makes us crazy. No, I do not suffer from depression, but I do practice the exhausting art that is raising twins. I can see how, in somewhat altered states of mind, it can be a major struggle to not snap at anyone in the room at any time. Certainly, worrying about those “milestones” that babies reach, and the seemingly infinite wait for the second to catch up can drive anyone over the edge, especially a parent fighting a battle like depression.
If there are any of you that are experiencing feelings like this, I would encourage you to see how Jane manages it all. If you aren’t feeling this way, then this is also a great twin mom story complete with laughs, touching moments, and familiar situations.