My twin pregnancy was diagnosed at our 20-week ultrasound. Our twins were healthy and the pregnancy was low-risk, as twin pregnancies go. We were flooded with congrats and well wishes from friends and family.
I spent the first week after the ultrasound in complete shock. Sometime during the second week, I calculated what our daycare expenses would be. By the end of that week, I was very, very depressed.
According to the multiples pregnancy books I read, this is normal. Knowing that only made it slightly easier to deal with. I felt so guilty for having to fight back tears when people told us how blessed we were. People told me how much they always wanted twins, and inwardly I felt that they didn’t know what they were talking about. We were going to be under tremendous financial strain, as the bonus baby necessitated a move from our apartment and an upgrade from our small cars to a minivan. Not to mention a double stroller, a second crib, second infant seat, etc.
Also, reading the statistics on multiples pregnancies is a terrifying pastime. I hesitated to think much about the babies or the future, especially in terms of happy glowing mommy moments with my healthy babies. I focused on gaining weight and getting through the day. I didn’t get excited about actually holding and meeting and having my boys, until the night before they were born.
To clarify, I don’t think I was in a clinical depression while pregnant with them, or postpartum. However, I felt very depressed and that feeling persisted for quite some time after they were born. By which I mean, there were many happy times, but there were also many, many times I cried and wondered why God had done this to us. When people told me how blessed I was, I thought about the long days listening to the babies scream while I tried to work from home. I thought about the hours upon hours my 2-year-old spent watching cartoons, and how many of her meals consisted of dry cereal or crackers. I thought about how many of my meals consisted of a handful of M&Ms or, if I had the luxury of time, a can of green beans. And I thought, if this is a blessing for me, it is a terrible punishment for my children.
Time has given me the gift of understanding of how quickly and how certainly things change. That first year after the twins were born, I lacked the perspective to understand that this was but a season, and it would change, and I would be able to enjoy my children and my family and my entire life so much more. I was focused on surviving the day-to-day, instead of enjoying the day-to-day. I’m not sure a mere change of attitude would have remedied that, given our circumstances, but it would have been easier to get through that intense first year if I could have but glimpsed the future.
Certainly, life with kids aged almost-three to seven is worlds easier than life with three under three. We still have our rough times, but they don’t compare to that first year. And now, because I have seven years of parenting under my belt watching how quickly kids flip in and out of unpleasant stages, it’s easier for me to let a few bad hours, days, or weeks roll off my back. My first round of having three kids under age three was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but soon after that it got to be a lot of fun having them so close in age. So much fun that I was thrilled to sign up for a second (much easier) round of three under three when my fourth child was born. And I was secretly a bit sad it wasn’t twins.
Jen is the married work-from-home mother of 7-year-old Miss A, 5-year-old twin boys G and P, and 2-year-old Haney Jane. She blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.