Thoughts on the inherent risks of an identical twin pregnancy from one career woman to another.

An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer

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Categories Parenting

Dear Ms Mayer,

I know that you get a lot of flak. Because of your job as a relatively young female CEO of a high profile company, the world reads into your personal decisions all sorts of gender stereotypes and norms. You may have no interest in serving as a feminist symbol, whether icon or patsy.

I’m not writing to you as a feminist (which I am) or to criticize how you achieve family-work balance. Instead, I’d like to talk to you working MoM to working MoM. First off, congratulations on your identical twin daughters! I wish for you a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.

Welcome to the most wonderful club in the world, that of Parents of Multiples. While I’m sure that every parent of several revels in their children’s sibling relationships, there’s something magical and humbling about the wombmate bond. The identical bond is even deeper. I’m a mother of identical twin daughters myself, and close as we are, I can only marvel on the beautiful intimacy of their unique relationship.

The fact that you already know that your daughters are identical makes me suspect that your daughters may share a membrane and/or placenta. Of course, you may have conducted genetic testing and have a di/di pregnancy. If your girls do share a placenta, though, that makes your pregnancy a high risk one. Like you, I intended to work right until the moment that I went into labour, but the babies had a different idea. I started having preterm labour symptoms that forced me to reduce my work hours at 31 weeks gestation. Please listen to your body, which may not have quite the commitment to working all the way through your pregnancy that our work ethics have.

I wish for you your dream birth. However, we MoMs often don’t get that luxury. In fact, about 75% of twin births are C-sections. In my own case, I had to have an emergency C-section because one daughter’s water broke and both babies were breech. Even though it was only 3 hours from entering labour to delivery, Twin A was in distress by the time she was born.

Ms Mayer, please allow me to assure you that a C-section is major surgery. Yes, it’s standard surgery, but even a run-of-the-mill Caesarean involves cutting through multiple organs, each of which must heal. You’ll need time to let your body stitch itself together, ideally with minimal scar tissue. The scar tissue from my C-section has left me unable to have sex without excruciating pain. Like every other mother, your organs will be moving into their post-pregnancy arrangement, which may not look like where they were before you got pregnant. All this will be happening in the first days of your daughters’ lives, when they need you and you’re enveloped in visitors and well wishers. Allow yourself to heal, please.

I hope for your girls the full term gestation that my daughters were denied. I had a picture perfect pregnancy, but my sweet girls were still born at 33 weeks, less than 4 lbs each. They’re doing fine now, but they were in the hospital for just over 2 weeks. If your little babies were to follow the same schedule as mine, your commitment to return to work when they are 2 weeks old would put you at the office when they are released from the NICU. I wouldn’t recommend it.

A mom with one of her identical twins, born at 33 weeks gestation. Identical twin pregnancy risks are real.Don’t get me wrong. I, too, considered returning to work relatively early. While my girls were in the NICU, I considered returning to the office. I thought this would let me have a few weeks home with them once they were released. I was ready to start the paperwork when a NICU nurse told me to hold off. Our daughters would be home in days, not weeks.

I honestly thought I was in control of the schedule, but pregnancies have their own ebb and flow, as do newborns. Our bodies and those of our babies run the show. I hope that you have everything you dream of, but in your commitments during this pregnancy and its aftermath, I ask you to leave room for the unknown. Identical twin pregnancy risks are all too real.


Sadia Rodriguez

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

10 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Marissa Mayer”

  1. I remember reading this also. I hope this means her office will be at home or she will have time to take some calls or video calls -or- the nursery will be at the office with a comfy place to sleep. I’m a techie, a married full time working mom, a mother of 3 girls, the 2nd and 3rd are my mo-di twins. Some call me a feminist, but I believe in equality to a point – men and woman are different. I had some family help at the beginning and we have a wonderful nanny – but bonding takes much longer than 2 weeks… lack of sleep, hormone changes, and the complications with her body or the babies are all things that will be issues to work though. THE BIG ONE – LACK OF SLEEP = CAN’T WORK WELL! There are so many things out of her control. We’ll see what happens. I wish her all the luck and help. But, I also hope she listens to her body, gives herself time to heal, sleeps, and spends time with her little ones – time she will never have again.

    I had a great mo-di pregnancy, but had to leave work before the end of my pregnancy, had labor stopped at 32 weeks, had a easy delivery at 37 weeks, I wobbled for weeks, could barely climb stairs, and my belly muscles are torn up making my core very weak. My babies were healthy – just needed to be woken up to be carefully fed. At 6 months – they both are now sleeping through the night. Now, I can finally really focus at work!…at 6 months! YEAH!

  2. I haven’t experienced having twins, so I can not comment on a twin pregnancy, but my third pregnancy was difficult (but still magical) I developed a heart condition which left me pretty much bed ridden and had an emergency c-section at 35 weeks, luckily my son and I were healthy. But I do know to expect the unexpected and pray for the best. #TwinklyTuesday
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  3. I returned to work too early with my second after just 4 months off in total and resented work for bullying me back. I couldn\’t take any time off with the triplets I just had to manage them around Coombe Mill, somehow that felt easier though as home and work were at least the same place, though to be fair I have little memory of those first 2 years with 6 tiny children and a business. #TwinklyTtuesday
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  4. This is so honestly and beautifully written. I don’t have an experience of a twin pregnancy, but I do agree that people need to be relaxed about the way their birth will go, and I’ve also heard the statistics on births and multiples. My philosophy was ‘do what you need to do to get the baby out safely.’ That worked for me! I feel returning to work after two weeks is just plain ludicrous. But maybe that’s because mine are 3 and 21 months, and I still couldn’t manage to hold down a job, and cope with them! I’m all for equality, but we need to put our babies, and our postpartum health and mental health first.
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  5. Beautiful post Sadia, and full of good, non-judgmental advice. I think it is important to listen to our bodies, they know what they need from us! Thanks for hosting your last #TwinklyTuesday, hope to still see you around :)

  6. all great advice and written in such a nice way :) I do not have twins – 1 is more than I can handle anyway haha! – but I can’t imagine going through pregnancy with 2 babies and knowing both you and your babies are always at risk! I too wish her a good pregnancy and the birth she wishes for :) #twinklytuesday

  7. Once again, you are spot on, with kind words and without judgement. I too, had loads of plans before I was even pregnant with my girls. From that first ultrasound, they kept reminding me that flexibility was key in making this work. I hope she can listen to her body and her babies, in a world that will tell her to ignore all three. Thank you for reminding her and us other MoMs!
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