For the record (and for anyone I know who may read this) – no, I am not pregnant. But the thought of being pregnant again doesn’t exactly sound terrible. You see – having multiples had opposite effects on my husband and me.
He is FOR CERTAIN done. I mean done done. As in, if it wouldn’t cost so much, he’d probably get snipped. In his mind, if we tried again, we’d likely have triplets considering our dynamic duo happened despite birth control. But I simply won’t let him, because for me, having my twins left me with a lot of mixed feelings.
Most of them are happy and completely rewarding, to see these two little humans I brought into the world be literally best friends forever. The rest revolve around the fact that everything I thought would be different about my second pregnancy, second newborn and then second toddler just isn’t. I often find myself completely outnumbered, overwhelmed and unable to provide for two more kids what I could have with just one. So although it’s unrealistic and financially hole digging, the odds are that I would be twins again simply won’t happen unless we win the lottery – I just can’t seem to shake the idea of having a fourth. Let me explain.
How did this happen?!
I was working full time while finishing my PhD with a nearly 3-year-old. I figured once I was done with my degree, we’d have kid #2, and we’d be set. A perfect little family of 4 was all we ever thought we’d want – no minivans, simpler travel options, and manageable after-school activities. But in the midst of completing my dissertation, I went on a work trip and on the way home I just knew that the funny feeling I had was more than just some indigestion from the airplane snacks. We were so not mentally prepared for it, but we found out we were pregnant. Several weeks later, and in the midst of an argument, we found out we were really, really pregnant, as we were due with boy/girl twins. What?! That didn’t fit in the plans. Everything from there changed.
At first, I felt shocked. Caught completely off guard. Then I felt guilty – knowing how many of my friends experienced challenges with infertility and loss. How could we possibly be in this situation? We weren’t ready, we weren’t trying, and we had to cram a few years’ worth of life experiences into just a few months. We had to put our house on the market, I had to pack up the house, buy and move into a new house after repainting nearly every room and my husband putting in hardwood along the entire first floor, and oh yeah, I finished my PhD and graduated (those last few happening in the span of 4 weeks). No question why I went into pre-term labor at just 32 weeks and had my twins at 33 weeks 6 days – right?
It’s so different
My pregnancy was a blur. I missed moments with my first I know I can never get back. My husband and I grew apart from the time spent just managing all of this, with work left to do still to get back to the place we were.
I wouldn’t trade #TwinLife for the world, as there are many amazing and beautiful moments like head butting little cuties as they lean in for a kiss. I am so blessed as my kids are thriving and incredible, and I know we are lucky for that. But, I also wouldn’t necessarily wish this for others, as this life comes with baggage, a feeling of isolation, and maybe even a little bit of sadness over the loss of what was meticulously planned to be better and the chance to do all the things I had done with my first differently. To do it better. You see, with twins, it’s like going through the first time all over again, with so many questions and worries and feelings of failure that leave me wishing for one last chance to feel like I could try this again and do it better. Connection to yourself, to your spouse, to your extended family and even with your kids is just so different, so challenged.
Life becomes a planned series of events – feeling like you’re running a logistics company vs. being a head of household, which can take its toll. #TwinLife is a unique and rewarding experience, but I feel like I have unfinished business.
One last chance
As I reflect on these past two years with my twins, and why I have this strong feeling of wanting to go through it again, I realize it’s mostly because of all of the expectations I set for myself that I just didn’t meet. I want one last chance to really sit back and enjoy every kick and wiggle in my belly not worrying about the growth of my twins and how expensive the ultrasounds were getting (they actually charge you for 2 babies, not 1 uterus – and after 20 weeks, you’re getting them at almost every visit). I want one last chance to really advocate for myself in the delivery room – not succumbing to the pressure of Pitocin as I labored slowly on my own with my singleton, or the epidural that I was convinced I needed in case a twin got stuck in my womb. I want one last chance to baby-wear without the other twin making me feel like I love their sibling more. I want one last chance to enjoy as much of breastfeeding as I could, as my connection to my pump just didn’t cut it and tandem feeding was next to impossible with a potty-training toddler shouting, “Mom, come wipe my butt,” every time I got comfortably settled. I want one last chance to have a squishy little baby fall asleep against my chest as I rock them, singing softly, breathing in that amazing newborn smell vs. the balancing act of getting two newborns asleep in their rock and plays, monotonously pushing on the bar to rock them to sleep. I want one last chance to feel like I know what I’m doing instead of being an anxious, wired, wreck of a mom who was desperate to feel like I had my stuff together, worrying that one of my kids felt slighted.
My husband will never understand why I have this feeling, saying the reason why I want a kid is a little selfish. And he probably is a *little* bit right. But I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to shake it. I know how special this amazing blessing is with the little crew I have – and I’m grateful for them every day. But if the moment ever arises and my husband ever changes his mind, you better believe I’d would take the chance to be pregnant again and be willing to see what happens next. I mean, we have room in the minivan – why not?
“Having children makes your love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bank accounts smaller, hope happier, clothes shabbier (and tighter), the past forgotten and the future worth living for.” (adapted; anonymous)