As the weeks of my twin pregnancy progressed and I became increasingly less mobile, is when the thought of bringing two more children into my family really began to seem like a daunting reality.
When we first learned of the twins (“Two heartbeats!”), the prospect was more of a shock than anything else. I don’t think anybody plans to have twins. Then of course, you don’t want to start thinking about two of everything because you don’t want to jinx it and have something bad happen to one or both babies. So it also wasn’t really real yet.
Then as they grew bigger and bigger at each ultrasound, it started to get exciting. Buying for two new babies. Decorating another nursery. Coming up with names. Being told that having b/g Year of the Dragon babies is the luckiest of the lucky.
Right around 28 weeks, however, is when reality hit, at least for me. (Husband was thinking of the financial implications as soon as he saw those heartbeats.) Even though I stopped working then, it got harder and harder for me to keep up with the toddler we already have. Of course, I was already as big as I was full term with her, but I felt incredibly guilty when I invariably lost my patience toward the dinner/bath/bedtime hours when all she did was be two.
How much less attention will she be getting once the twins were born? She had no idea what was coming. My little girl will no longer be the only little girl everyone adores any longer (she is the first grandchild on either side of the family). If I already felt I couldn’t be the mom to her that I wanted to be and the twins hadn’t even been born yet, how would we handle having all three? Could I love the babies as I loved my firstborn?
The thoughts went round and round my head until at times I just cried. I just cried looking at the innocent face of my daughter who only knew good things in her life and had no real concept of sharing. My poor baby never asked for any of this.
These feelings only intensified when we were in the hospital recovering from the c-section and she went to live at Grandma’s. We had her stay there until I felt I could move around again, which took about 2.5 weeks. In those 2.5 weeks, with the addition of the crazy hormones, I cried all the time. I missed my first baby. I mourned her role as my only child. Horrifyingly, at times I even resented the sweet newborns sleeping peacefully by my side because in my mind I felt they were the culprits of all this.
But my daughter ended up being the most wonderful surprise of all. We had heard stories of older children regressing when newborns were introduced into the family, stories of terrible tantrums and potty trained toddlers wanting to go back into diapers. We had given her some toys when she visited us at the hospital, saying they were from her siblings. She didn’t really know what was going on, but she happily accepted them, as well as her siblings, and went about her merry way sharing my hospital breakfast with me. And then she came home. Everything was back to normal for her, except there were these two sleeping crying things who Mommy and Daddy constantly had to feed. She would notify us when the twins were crying, “Mommy, sister is crying! She wants milk! Pick her up!” For the most part, she heeded our requests for her to be quiet, not to play with certain toys where the babies were sleeping, and all the “Wait”. There was the occasional whining, but it really hasn’t been too bad.
Now the twins are 12 weeks old, and our eldest will turn three in May. She has become such a sweet little big sister. She talks to her siblings, holds their bottles, kisses their heads, and is soooooo excited when one of them smiles at her. She considers them part of our family and always asks if they’re coming along, just as she does with Mommy and Daddy.
I’ve gotten over whatever guilt hangups I had about the twins ruining her life. She has proven to be much more resilient than I thought. And the future with all three of my children adoring each other brings tears to my eyes, in a completely different way. I imagine all the beautiful interactions with her siblings that I’ve enabled her to have, and my heart melts at the interactions I’m already beginning to see.
Yes, I do love them all; and yes, the love is much greater.
lunchldyd is a mom to an almost 3 yr old daughter and her 12 week old twin brother and sister. She is also a high school teacher. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 children under 3, and two neglected dogs.