A week or so ago, I came across an article online written by a man who is expecting twins with his wife. The article has gone viral in the twin community, frankly, because of how disturbing it is. This man (who is going by the ghost name “Albert”) is “pissed” to be having twins. He referred to their due date as a countdown, not as most expectant parents do though, but like “cancer patients with months to live”. This is coming from a couple who tried for years to get pregnant, tried IVF and planned for a child because he thought it would be best for their first child to have a sibling. He is mad he won’t be able to sleep enough, mad he will have to change double the diapers, and mad that their one-bedroom apartment will now be cramped.
Okay- there are so many things I want to say to “Albert” that I don’t even know where to begin. For example, you live in a one-bedroom apartment with your wife and child, tried for years to get pregnant and used IVF, and you are just NOW thinking the living space will be a little tight?! It wouldn’t have been tight if you only got the one baby you were hoping for? Or perhaps I would start with my thoughts on him convincing his doctor to put in 2 embryos to “stack the deck” so they wouldn’t be throwing their money down the drain if the one embryo didn’t take… ugh, the more I think about the things this man said, the more angry I get.
He started off by quoting a few of the things twin parents he knows told him. His college buddy referred to his twins as “the worst thing you can imagine”. His co-worker and a former colleague had equally as wonderful things to say. Perhaps these people told him these things because they couldn’t describe what else he had in store. I’ve learned there really aren’t words to describe what having twins is really like. I am writing this to share- maybe “Albert” will come across this, maybe another scared twin parent-to-be will, or maybe it will just bring a smile to all the other parent’s of multiples out there. So, here is my two cents. These are the things your co-workers couldn’t tell you, Albert, as there are no words for them:
Maybe your college buddy didn’t tell you about what you could expect over the next few months of your wife’s pregnancy, Albert, because he couldn’t find the words. He didn’t know how to describe the joy and excitement of hearing those two heart beats at the doctors office, or the immense relief of seeing baby A and baby B healthy in each passing ultrasound.
Maybe he couldn’t think of the words to describe what a hero he felt like to be able to provide for his family while his wife was stuck on bed rest, trying to give their difficult twin pregnancy a fighting chance. Maybe he couldn’t explain how this pregnancy experience showed him how to truly be a man- which included things like making his wife breakfast every morning before he left for work and coming straight home to make her dinner, or stopping at the store to pick up Ensure’s to make sure his babies were getting enough calories, or taking over all the laundry for months to make sure his wife didn’t get out of bed. Maybe he wasn’t sure how to describe the pride you have being able to take care of your wife and watch her belly grow bigger with each passing week.
Maybe your former colleague wasn’t sure how to explain the feeling of hearing not one, but two cries, for the first time in the delivery room… knowing each baby was born and to know those cries are coming from your children. Maybe she didn’t know how to describe the feeling of not being able to hold those babies, but watch helplessly as they are whisked away to the NICU.
Maybe your co-worker couldn’t find the words to explain how humbling it is to bath 2 lb babies with a sponge. Or how scary it is to change their diaper for the first time, in fear you are going to break their fragile little legs. And I’m sure your co-worker just wasn’t sure how to explain how carefully you pay attention to each move the NICU nurse makes, to ensure you are doing everything right.
I’m sure your buddy couldn’t even begin to come up with the words to explain the feeling of holding both babies for the first time. Your buddy probably still cries remembering how that felt- that amazing feeling of being able to hold these two angels in your arms and never wanting to let go.
They probably forgot to tell you how they cried as they laid on the floor of their babies’ room, the day that they were able to bring both babies home. And how nothing else in the entire world mattered at that moment.
Your colleague probably wasn’t sure how to explain the pride, excitement and pure joy of watching your twins crawl for the first time or take their first step. Or how every sleepless night was more than worth it when your twins looked at you and said “Dada” for the first time.
Your friend probably forgot to mention how entertaining it is to watch them play together or how amazing it is to listen as they have their first conversation with each other. You may not understand a word they are saying, and they might not either, but the feeling you have as you stand in the hallway outside of their bedroom door and listen as they babble back and forth is indescribable.
Perhaps your colleague forgot to mention how every holiday has a new meaning, how every trip to the store is like a parade, how life really didn’t matter before they came along, how everything they say is funny and every face they make is adorable, and how it doesn’t even matter how many diapers you change- 5 or 10 a day, what’s the difference? They probably didn’t know how to describe the feeling of watching the bond between them grow, knowing you created a lifelong best friend for them.
I’m sure your college buddy forgot to mention how the frustration of getting woken up by two screaming three year olds four times every night just disappears when you stumble into their room to hear them say, “Daddy, me wub you so much”. He probably wasn’t sure how to describe how he felt when one of his twins said she wanted to marry him, or how all the stress of the workday disappears when he walks through the door and hears four little feet running to him screaming “Daddy’s home!!”.
So, Albert, I am sure thats all it was- your friends were just not sure how to describe the miracle of having twins. Perhaps you need new friends, because the new life you are about to enter is going to be like nothing you ever imagined, and certainly nothing like they described. You will have sleepless nights, you will have a lot of dirty diapers, but you will be so busy giving hugs and kisses and trying to take in all of their love, that you surely won’t have time to count how many diapers you are changing. Not everyone is so lucky to have twins. For some reason, you are. For their sake, I hope you can see the blessing you have been given before they arrive. And for your own sake, get a bigger apartment before August.
Twin Mom of 3 year old Molly and Madelynn
(If you haven’t already had the unfortunate experience of reading Albert’s article, you can do so here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/babblecom/my-wife-is-expecting-twins_b_3141819.html?utm_hp_ref=tw)