Saturday, September 24, 2011

"do twins run in your family?"

Cute boy special: two for the price of one at the farmer's market!
Every mother of twins (or any number of multiples) probably gets this question a lot.  I am not sure if it is just curiosity, or fascination with multiples, or fishing for tales of fertility treatment, but it is one of the questions I get most frequently when I'm out with the boys.

Sometimes when people ask if twins run in the family, I will be glib in response and tell them "No, it was a 2-for-1 special at Main Line Fertility!"  Last weekend, when my parents came out of the farmer's market, each pushing a boy in a cart, I was reminded of my answer!

Instead of the "do twins run in your family" question, I sometimes get a variation of it, which is something like, "Were you surprised when you found out you were having twins?" (Answer: no. I put back two excellent-quality embryos and had very high hormone levels early on) or "How far into your pregnancy did you find out you were having twins?" (5 weeks exactly, at my first ultrasound).

I am always very honest with people and say that no, twins do not run in my family, and that they are a result of fertility treatment.  I am not ashamed of the fact that we needed assistance to conceive, and consider myself extremely lucky to now have two perfectly healthy children.

Sometimes people say that they always wanted twins, or that they had two children 15 months apart, which is a lot like having twins.  I think other moms of multiples get upset at these comments; I am only bothered by people saying that they always wanted twins.  People who have never had a twin pregnancy will never know the anxiety or concern that comes with a high-risk pregnancy, and I wouldn't wish it on them.  Yes, it is a faster route to making a family of 4, but it certainly isn't easier.

I know that other moms of multiples would kill me for saying this, but I think that once you get past the first 6 months with twins, it is easier to have twins than it is to have two children 15 or so months apart.  Twins go through the stages of development at approximately the same time- they are immobile at the same time, and mobile at the same time.  They play with the same toys, so I don't have the jumperoo and the cozy coupe taking up space in my living room.  I honestly can't imagine having one toddler and one very needy infant, when the toddler still needs (and is accustomed to) a great deal of attention, and the infant is attached to you at all times.  In the early months with my boys, I always felt like there wasn't enough of me to go around, but both boys survived, and thrived, and now seem perfectly happy with the amount of mommy they get.  It must be so hard to have one child, to whom you can completely devote yourself, and then have to take some of that attention away to focus on a new baby.

Twins also entertain each other, and at times that makes life easier.  They're not dependent on my attention every minute, and always have each other to play with.  I worry less because even in a new and strange situation, they aren't alone and have each other for reassurance, which makes things easier for me.

So, no, twins don't run in my family, and my twin pregnancy wasn't a huge surprise, and it wasn't easy to stay pregnant for 36 weeks or live through those crazy first few months of their lives, but I can also understand why someone might actually want twins of their own.

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