Reflections from my twin births

Faced with unprecedented challenges as a first-time mother to premature twins during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharmeen's story is a testament to human strength and adaptability. It emphasizes not just the physical and emotional resilience required to overcome such obstacles, but also the undeniable importance of having a robust support system—whether near or afar—to ensure a healthy and supported postpartum recovery. Her journey is one of hope, bravery, and the unspoken bond of motherhood that endures even the toughest circumstances.

2022 marked a monumental year in my life: I embarked on the incredible journey of motherhood, welcoming twin girls into our family. This significant life shift occurred just as we were emerging from the shadow of the pandemic — a time rife with masking and strict health protocols. Our twins were not only the first babies within our circle of friends but also the first grandchildren on both sides of our family. This resulted in an overwhelming wave of excitement and eagerness from our relatives, all keen to lend a helping hand whenever possible.

The pregnancy journey brought its set of surprises, with me being categorized as high-risk. This designation meant adopting a cautious approach — persisting with masking, avoiding large gatherings, and embracing a rigorous schedule of weekly doctor visits to ensure the well-being of both myself and the twins. This starkly contrasted with the typical prenatal care routine, converting what would normally be a handful of doctor appointments into a consistent pilgrimage to my healthcare providers.

Being a meticulous planner with a penchant for organization, I had convinced myself that thorough preparation could mitigate any challenges. Despite our family residing afar, we leaned on a close-knit support network of friends and cousins, and I frequently sought wisdom from my mother. My mom’s tales of loneliness during my brother’s birth in the U.S., devoid of a support system, underscored the importance of having a nurturing circle during such pivotal moments.

The premature arrival of our twins at 33 weeks catapulted us into an unforeseen scenario, with my mom’s flight scheduled a week too late. The subsequent weeks, marred by the twins’ NICU stay and my recovery from a C-section and postpartum preeclampsia, unfolded in a blur. It was during this tumultuous period that the potential benefits of having a doula became glaringly apparent. Doulas, with their deep understanding of birth and postpartum care, could have offered invaluable support, easing the immense pressure we faced.

Postpartum, I poured my efforts into establishing routines that facilitated not just the care of our newborns but also my recovery. Despite these efforts, the creeping shadows of postpartum depression loomed. The challenge of accessing mental health support during this time highlighted a significant gap in postnatal care — a gap partially filled by the unwavering support of friends and my partner.

Reflecting on these experiences, I am adamant about the importance of a knowledgeable and culturally attuned support system for expecting families. Such support can profoundly impact not just the physical recovery of new mothers but their emotional and mental well-being as well.

The experience of giving birth stands as the most significant moment in my life to date. I often wished for the wisdom of someone experienced, who could navigate me through the expectations and answer the questions I didn't even know I should ask. The presence of comprehensive support and a nurturing community can transform the onset of parenthood from a potentially rocky beginning to a journey remembered fondly. The importance of a supportive village cannot be overstated. Recognizing that there's a wider community eager for the same access to trusted, motivational, and supportive care, like that offered by Cradle & Coos, offers hope and reassurance that future generations of parents will have the guidance they need to embark on this beautiful journey.


Sharmeen Khan is an educator and mom to twins, who serves as an integral part of the Cradle & Coos team. Her personal journey of giving birth to twins during the challenging pandemic era fuelled her passion for advocating holistic postpartum care for every mom. Sharmeen possesses a rich educational foundation, holding a Bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, alongside a Master's degree in Education Policy with a dual focus on Urban Education and Gifted and Talented from Southern Methodist University. With over six years of invaluable experience, she is well-versed in collaborating with children and parents, providing guidance and teaching on early childhood development and the nuances of parental support.

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