The Washington Post
Doing a double take after twins news
Adapted from an online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: We wanted one more baby, for a total of two, but found out we’re having twins! O-Mfreaking- G. I’ve spent the past two weeks, since getting the news, in a state of absolute shock and amplified first trimester symptoms, which are making it really hard for me to perform my daily basic functions (full-time job and parenting).
And even though we wanted our son to have a sibling, I can’t shake the feeling that we are ruining his life, if temporarily.
Somewhere deep down I know I will love these babies, and that I will be able to feel excited, but it’s all so . . . daunting and scary right now. Not to mention that I can barely get out of bed, though I absolutely have to. Any words of wisdom to help me get through the next few weeks, as the news settles in further and (hopefully!) excitement starts building?
— We’re Having Twins
We’re Having Twins: I think all the twin parents I know best have the same story — they had kids already and these were okayyyy-maybe-just-one-morechild pregnancies. Ha ha. JK, says Life, except it’s never kidding.
You have a child already, so you've already seen up close how little say you get in how stuff turns out even in your own household and family. Think of this news as your doublerefresher.
You will get the hang of however this turns out, just as you would have gotten the hang of whatever else you would have gotten that wasn’t at all like you imagined it would have been. Because it was never going to be as you imagined it anyway.
Your son’s “ideal” life might be as a solo child, one of two, one of three, or one of more than three. This is an unknowable thing, so don’t bother trying to know.
Don’t beat yourself up for the panic, either. It’s normal. Just laugh where you can and get some rest where you can. Congrats.
And when you’re on your own caring for everybody, you soothe two squalling babies sequentially — don’t even bother trying both at once. Also, twins are, for all relationship and child-rearing purposes, two completely different people, even when they’re identical. There are my unsolicited pro tips.
Re: Twins: A friend of mine had one child I will call Pat, who is high on the “wanting attention” scale, and had been an only child for more than a minute, so was used to a lot of parental attention. I can’t speak for the parents, but I wondered how Pat would do when twin babies showed up.
I am happy to report that Pat saw the babies as two more people to pay attention to — vs. seeing less attention from the parents, despite that obviously occurring — and was very enterprising in finding ways to interact with and play with babies, then older babies, etc. The parents presented the twins as a happy event and Pat was as happy about it as the parents and I were. So go ahead and shake that “feeling that we are ruining his life.”
Anonymous: So great, thank you.