Sunday, January 28, 2007

Getting it out of the way

Yes they’re twins. One boy and one girl. No, they’re not identical. Yes, he’s bigger than she is. No, she’s older. Yes we’re lucky. Yes, we’re tired.*

Linda’s post got me thinking about the various things people ask about twins.

Of course, we always get “Are they twins?” Which is reasonable, I suppose, especially since B is so much bigger than M, though the last person to ask looked dubious as if to say “Are you sure?” Well, yes, actually. I gestated them, I got GD with them, I sat in my recliner for months with them, and I was in the room when they were sliced out of my abdomen. I did, in fact, say “You’re really going to have to trust me on this one.”

One time, we got: “Are they twins or are they two separate babies?” Um, yes? How else do you answer that?

And really often we get comments about how lucky we are (yes, we are, thanks) to have a boy and a girl. “You got it all out of the way at once.” This puzzles me. I know that boy/girl twins are the holy grail for some infertiles, and that after going through hell to get to this point, many of us feel extremely blessed to get two babies (of any gender) out of one pregnancy (or out of one round of treatment, IVF or otherwise). But the random people who make these comments aren’t coming from this world. I think they’re coming from some version of Pleasantville - where the family ideal is one boy and one girl (and maybe a dog in a cute matching doghouse).

Every time I get one of these comments, I cringe a bit. Some of it is a desire for normalcy privacy (will I ever be able to take the kids out in public without being a spectacle?). Some of it is the discomfort when our admittedly good fortune crashes up against the moments I wish I’d had my kids one at a time. Some of it is the discomfort of brushing up against my inner debate about family size. See, I’m not sure we’re done. I love my babies to pieces, and I certainly don’t want any more right now, but I can’t say yet that we’re done. I can’t get rid of the baby things, even as we outgrow them. It helps (or doesn’t help, depending) to know that we have 9 fairly good embryos just waiting on ice. To know that it’s a possibility. And I think I might want that chance. To do this again. To feel a baby inside of me. To experience the full pregnancy, to take childbirth classes and think about delivery options. To keep holding the baby I have asleep in my lap, rather than handing her off so I can nurse another. In some ways I want a do-over.

Given what we went through to get here, I don’t want take my luck for granted, but I also don’t think family building is something to get out of the way. I don’t want to belittle the experience I already had. And in some ways I feel protective of my future potential children, that I not betray them now by agreeing that our family is perfect just as it is, even though, in this moment, it is.

Does that make any sense?

* I was going to post about how we’re working on the sleep situation again, but I don’t want to jinx it, plus I don’t actually think it’s all that interesting. We’re working on it. Period.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! I often wonder if I really want more or if I just want to experience one baby at a time. Then I realize even if we have one more, I still have these two, which is wonderful and scary at the same time. We haven't decided either.

  2. I think having a bunch of good embryos on ice would definitely tempt me. But you don't have to decide yet, I'm sure you've still got plenty of recovery to get through with the two you've got!

  3. I love that: "are they two separate babies?" question, as though generally, all twins are Siamese!

    I think it's great that you still have options on the more kids front--I have no doubt you and your sweet will make the best decision for your family when the time comes.

  4. As a mom of 18 month old b/g twins, I can tell you that the attention somewhat subsides as the kids get older. The key word being "somewhat".

    As infants, my kids commanded A LOT of attention. We got all the ridiculous questions, too. One woman asked me if both babies came out at once...????? Huh? Now, we get "how far apart are they?". I almost love answering this one with, "About 30 minutes", just to see the looks on peoples faces.

    It's hard, I know. I've been there, walking away from the whispers of "Look! Twins!!" or "I'm so glad I don't have twins" yadda yadda yadda. Perhaps experience makes you a bit more thick-skinned, but we've gotten to the point where we just don't care. Ask me questions, fine. But, those that are ridiculous and stupid and intrusive? I'll be sure and point that out.

    Good luck and only gets better. :)

  5. The twin commments make me crazy. Sometimes, like you, I feel a little cheated out of what it's like to bind with and adore one infant at a time. I get tired of not being able to cuddle and love on a happy baby because the other one is crying. As much as I adore the twins, as much as I adore having twins, well, sometimes the grass is greener on the singleton side of the street.