When you have multiples, you meet LOTS of other parents of multiples. It’s like a weird little fraternity; if theirs are older they tell you, “you’ll be okay, you’ll make it, it gets easier”. If yours are older, you tell them that. It must have been lonelier years ago when EVERYONE AND THEIR BROTHER didn’t have multiples, now everyone does. The girls were in a library class last year with four sets of twins and a set of triplets. People ask you personal questions that they would NEVER ask parents of singletons. I know, I AM the parent of a much ignored singleton. Me and my three kids are standing there, “Oh your babies are gorgeous, did you use IVF? Did you take drugs? My sister’s boss’ neighbor has had fertility problems too, hey do you see that other child lurking behind you?” “Um, yes, this is my son, Aidan”. People touch your stomach, they talk about mucus plugs, your nipples and how they babysat for twins once 500 years ago and ever since they knew they should have twins, blah, blah, blah. SOMEONE ASKED ME IF I KEPT MY LEGS IN THE AIR FOR A REALLY LONG TIME AFTERWARDS, SERIOUSLY!
Not everyone wants to talk about how they “got” their twins; especially if they’ve been down the long, expensive and often disappointing roller coaster of fertility medicine. I did not have fertility issues, in fact, I think if I think about getting pregnant for long enough we might end up with more kids. I don’t mind sharing, in fact, I’m sure I share way too much information on a regular basis. I had Aidan when I was 26 and single. I was on TWO different kinds of birth control so I was pretty sure it was a sign from God and Aidan saved my life in ways he will NEVER understand. When I was 28 he snagged Dan for me; I sent his little 2 year old cuteness over to hit on a boy for me. That’s right, I used him as a pimp. It worked, I married Dan. Fast forward and I’m 34 and Dan and I have hit a rough spot, if you’re married, you know, it happens. If you’re not married here’s a warning; BEING MARRIED IS THE BEST THING AND THE WORST THING THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN TO YOU. IT’S HARD, IT’S HARD ALL OF THE TIME AND IT’S SO MUCH WORK, BUT ONCE IN A WHILE IT’S WORTH IT. Sorry, I got distracted. So, anyway, typically, I’d say our relationship volatile, some might say “passionate”. So, I find myself pregnant, accidentally (yes, again) and seriously, I’m thinking this might be the child of Christ because things have been rough and there hasn’t really been a lot of action going on. So a few weeks later we go to the first ultrasound with my Mom and Aidan and Aidan says, “Oh, I REALLY wish for two”. Seriously, kid? I can’t even deal with one right now. An hour later my Mom and Aidan are out in the hall and the crazy ultrasound tech is telling Dan and I how she always finds twins and just yesterday she found triplets and Dan tells her about Aidan wishing for them and then the bitch says “oh look, there are two heart beats”, and I’m like “one’s mine right? You don’t know me well enough to joke about this” This is where she says she’s not kidding, Dan slumps against a wall and I burst into tears. They are not tears of joy.
Here is the most important difference between the parents of spontaneous twins and the parents of IVF multiples (or some other form of fertility enablement), it’s the mind set. Any good IVF doctor will tell you that multiples are a consequence of fertility treatments, not a desired outcome. That being said, the risk is there, you know it can happen. I have friends who have used their life savings for IVF and truly hope for twins so that they are able to have two kids. When you’re not getting along and barely having sex, the odds of getting pregnant at all go down, so I was surprised. I freaked out, I was totally unprepared and in utter denial. Aidan comes in and the afore mentioned crazy ultrasound lady says “looks like someone got their wish” at which point my 7 year old starts dancing and jumping for joy and says “oh goody, I hope they’re those kind that are stuck together” I say, “Oh God, please stop wishing NOW”
When the girls were babies we’d be out with a friend and her equally attractive singleton and people would literally swoon over my dumb luck. “Oh my God, are they twins? You’re so blessed”. “Twins, you’re so lucky” “Wow, you must have your hands full” “What did you do to deserve two?” Let us not forget the oh-so-creative "Double Trouble" Here’s my all time favorite; “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE SO LUCKY, I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TWINS”. I can only speak for myself but that sentence makes me want to choke the life out of the speaker. I want to say “Lady, YOU HAVE NO IDEA, first of all; they told me I could keep having sex until my 30th week AND THEY LIED, we got cut off at 20. You have no idea, the hormones….Second of all, I don’t know if you noticed, BUT THERE ARE TWO OF THEM. Thirdly, have you seen my boobs? They are 34 K. THAT’S RIGHT, BITCH, I SAID ‘34K’. And, I spend 20 hours of a 24 hour day with TWO PEOPLE ATTACHED TO MY GIANT BOOBS AND NO; THEY WON’T GET SMALLER WHEN I’M DONE NURSING, THIS ISN’T MY FIRST RODEO. Fourth, these ‘blessed twins’ cried EVERY DAY from 6am until 6pm for SIX MONTHS. SIX. Their Dad left at 5am and got home at 7pm and could NOT understand why I wasn’t happier, everything seemed okay to HE WHO GOT TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ALONE. Fifth, did I mention THAT THERE ARE TWO OF THEM?”
Anyway, I never said it but I really wanted to and maybe someday I will. Now that they’re nearly four and not in a stroller the comments have died down a bit. Mostly because they never hold still long enough for people to notice they look exactly alike. Maybe they think I just have one really fast kid, I don’t know. I like it better, I want them to know they are special because of how smart and funny and clever they are; I don’t want them to think that what’s special about them is that there are two of them. They should be special for the things that they have control over, not their mom and dad’s dumb luck. So the next time you’re out and see a frazzled mom or dad standing over a double (or triple) stroller, think carefully before you tell them what you’ve always wished for. Do you know what they wish for? I do, they wish for sleep.