Having twins, you get lots of comments from strangers.

“Are they fraternal or identical?”

“Boys or girls or one of each?”

“How do you handle two at once?”

“Were they conceived naturally?” (This one, by the way, is a super personal question that should never be asked of a stranger.)

“You sure have your hands full!”

The list goes on and on and on. People generally mean well. Mostly, they just want to chat, which I’ve learned to do, especially since moving to the Midwest where apparently talking to strangers is normal. (In my home state of New Jersey? Not normal.)

But there’s one comment that comes up often from friends or even strangers who have one child, or have had multiple children but one at a time. They say something like, “Wow, I only had one. I have nothing to complain about. I don’t know how you do it with two.” Or they’ll be talking about a hard parenting situation they faced, then realize I’m standing there and become almost apologetic for admitting they had a tough day with their child.

Mama, hard is hard. Yes, I had two at once. Yes, that was and is hard. But the challenges I face as a twin mama do not invalidate the challenges you face in your journey of motherhood.

Yes, there are varying degrees of “hardness,” and I can imagine a thousand parenting scenarios more challenging than the one I’m personally in. But if you have one baby who is happy, healthy and an “easy baby” as they say, you are still dealing with the life-altering responsibility of parenting and will likely face many days that bring you to tears. And let’s just be clear on one thing: No baby is easy.

I have friends with five kids and children with special needs. I know mamas handling parenthood on their own, mamas without help, mamas with triplets, mamas with one who just. won’t. sleep. I look up to them and am inspired and encouraged by their unshakeable resilience. I don’t know how they do it – but as a mom, you just do it.

You love your kids and work with the hand you’ve been dealt. You recognize the challenges you’re facing but embrace the joys at the same time. You grow, you change and you learn to love your children more deeply than you ever thought possible.

You don’t have to appear like you have it all together, even when you’re struggling. You do not need to pretend that your heartache, your sleepless nights, and your tears don’t exist because someone else may have more sleepless nights and deeper heartache.

Yes, have perspective. Show compassion and seek to serve those facing difficulties. Recognize that you are not alone as you navigate the daunting task of parenting, and be aware of what others around you and around the world go through to support their families.

But also know that your pain, struggles, tears, cries, frustrations, and heartache matter.

Sure, there are times when having two newborns at once can be more challenging than having one newborn at a time. But Mama? That doesn’t mean having one newborn isn’t hard.