Couple Angry About Expecting Twins

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Alissa_Sal's picture
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Couple Angry About Expecting Twins

Couple angry about expecting twins writes about it on Babble. Commenters not happy.

On the parenting website Babble, an expecting mom and dad have written a pair of essays about how, after two years of fertility calendars, intrauterine inseminations, and in vitro fertilization, they are now pregnant with twins. Actually, the essays are about how they are not elated. In fact, they are ?terrified? (her words) and ?pissed? (his). Mom and Dad had hoped to give their 3-year-old son a younger sibling, but they had not hoped to give him two.

?The twins are coming fast, and I don?t feel a sense of joy,? Mom writes. ?We are not rich. We work hard to provide a good life for our son, and we have dreams, as all families do, of going to Disney, college, etc. I worry about how much of our attention and resources will be taken away from our firstborn.? Their distress was compounded by the fact that everyone around them saw their twins-to-be as a positive development. The couple?s own doctor announced the possibility of two viable fetuses as ?good news.?

The couple wrote the essays under pseudonyms to protect themselves and their (unwanted) children from the Internet storm that was about to rain down on them. And rain it did: Commenters flocked to the pieces to inform the parents that they should feel blessed to have gotten pregnant under any circumstances. After all, many couples struggle for years to conceive without success. Some become pregnant only to miscarry. This couple invested a lot of time, money, and effort in order to bring another kid into the world, and now they?re dissatisfied with their exceptional luck. Well: ?Boo ****ing hoo,? as one commenter put it.

The easy response is to say that this couple needs an attitude adjustment (or professional help: Prenatal depression is as common as postnatal depression, and the couple is currently in therapy to address its issues). But their story speaks to how unsettling an unexpected child can be, even if its parents have the means to plan?even engineer?a pregnancy.

We tend to think of unplanned pregnancies on a sliding moral scale. The social acceptability of not feeling overjoyed about bringing a new life into the world shifts depending on the prospective parents? perceived reproductive agency. Abortions are more accepted when the woman had no choice in becoming pregnant (as in the case of rape exemptions) or when she has little choice but to terminate (when carrying the pregnancy to term threatens her life). Less socially acceptable?but still understandable?are abortions undertaken by very young or very poor parents, for whom raising children would constitute an exceptional struggle. Then there are those couples that don?t want to have children that they can?t afford to take to Disneyland. Those people are dismissed as monsters.

Somewhere in the middle are the well-to-do parents who go to great lengths to conceive, only to find themselves pregnant with triplets, quadruplets, or more. Because these IVF-induced megapregnancies are risky, it?s common to surgically eliminate some of the fetuses to improve the chances of the others. There?s even a pleasant euphemism, ?selective reduction,? to normalize the procedure as an acceptable choice on the reproductive menu. But that pass ends at twins. Reducing twins to a single fetus is a controversial choice because, as Ruth Padawer?s 2011 New York Times Magazine piece on the phenomenon explains, twins aren?t seen as risky enough to mom and baby to medically justify eliminating one of the two fetuses. Eliminating one fetus to save two others is an understandable decision, but eliminating one out of two gets into Sophie?s Choice territory.

It doesn?t help that, culturally, twins are perceived as a rare gift, what Padawer calls ?the idealized notion of twins as lifelong soul mates.? Those who do make the choice rarely discuss it. As Padawer notes, ?secrecy is common among women undergoing reduction to a singleton. Doctors who perform the procedure, aware of the stigma, tell patients to be cautious about revealing their decision.? Some women ?are so afraid of being treated with disdain that they withhold this information from the obstetrician who will deliver their child.?

Babble?s anonymous couple ?considered a reduction for about 30 seconds,? Dad says, but ultimately decided the procedure was too ?Machiavellian? to undertake without reason. Still, they privately hoped that doctors would locate some socially acceptable justification for them to undergo a reduction, like genetic anomalies in the twins. Sadly, ?none came.? That sounds exceptionally crass, but the depth of desperation buried in that thought process is instructive. The culture of silence around this issue means that people aren?t even aware of all the reproductive choices they?ll have to make until they?re visible on the sonogram. This couple has been shamed for airing their unpopular feelings for all to read, but they?ve done a service to prospective parents who are weighing their own options?and may now have a better idea of what they?re in for.

What do you think? Was it bad of this couple to express unhappiness with their twin pregnancy? Should they just suck it up and be grateful? Are they doing other couples a service by serving as a cautionary tale? Any other thoughts?

GloriaInTX's picture
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Sorry I just can't sympathize with these people. Nobody's life is perfect. Get over it. Sorry their perfect plan of the perfect 2 child household didn't work out. If they were really that set against it they should have been adamant about only implanting one embryo at a time. They took the risk, they need to quit complaining and deal with it.

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I cant even read all of this.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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This is a topic that I have gone up at down with. There have been times when I am experiencing or have just experienced a miscarriage that I get frustrated with people who are complaining about their pregnancies or are unexpectedly pregnant. That said, there have also been times when I did not love being pregnant and the complications that came with it. There are also times that people become pregnant at an inconvenient time or have twins when they would have preferred one. It is a fact of life. Even with pregnancies that I very much wanted, I had my moments of doubt, worry, and second thoughts. I think that is very normal. Anonymously writing an article saying you are not thrilled to be pregnant or that you wish you only had one baby is not the end of the world. Complaining to your child or telling you wish they were not born is a different story though.

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Although I totally disagree with the attitude, I do agree that this can serve as a warning to future parents. If you aren't prepared for multiples, multiple eggs should not be implanted. If you aren't prepared for the possibility of twins, you shouldn't have kids. The majority of the twins I know are not from fertility treatments.

I have no problem with people having twins to have OMG moments or to freak out about how to manage financially or how to manage because for most people, one at a time is enough. To say you wish that one had an abnormality so you could get rid of it is horrible.

I'm glad it is anonymous so these kids don't have to read about it.

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What strikes me is that it seems to me like they didn't even really want one kid, let alone 2. The mom talks about how they wanted another to give #1 a sibling, which seems to me like a weird reason to have a baby if that is your only reason. Like yes, I wanted T to have a sibling, but I also wanted another baby really badly because *I* wanted one, which seems appropriate since I would be the one slaving away and spending all of my money taking care of another one. And the dad basically talks about how awful #1 still is. So I don't know, but it seems to me like maybe they weren't in the best place to start trying again for one, let alone messing with the possibility of 2. Having said all of that, I do have a tiny bit of sympathy in that I can imagine having twins is sooooo hard. I feel like they brought it on themselves, but I do have a bit of sympathy for anyone who is having twins, intentional or not. Don't get me wrong, I think that the idea of twins is a little magical too. My mom is a twin, and she and her sister are so close. I can always tell when my mom is talking to her twin because her voice changes slightly to sound like what I think of as more like my aunt's voice, but my cousins tell me that their mom does the same thing and they think of it as being more like my mom's voice, so I guess it is just their shared voice. But I still think being the parent of twins would be really, really hard, at least while they were little. Do we have any moms of twins who could weigh in on that?

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I remember being so relieved at my ultrasound with DS2 when they told me there was only one. Twins run in my moms family. Her dad was a twin, she was supposed to be a twin, my aunt had twins...etc. I was so scared that the baby we had decided to be our last, would actually be two, and I didnt know how I would handle it. Hopefully better than these parents, but maybe just more privately. I think the part about the parents being treated for prenatal depression is a big part of this story that is glossed over. It could be taking feelings that everyone feels at times when expecting and magnifying them, making them last longer, etc.. I dont think these parents are bad people or bad parents, but I hope someone comes around often in the beginning to make sure the babies are OK, cause if these parents already feel this way, who knows how they will feel, what PPD could cause to happen, once the babies are here.

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I can't say I have much sympathy for them. When you knowingly ttc you do have to expect the unexpected. I didn't really want to have twins but I can't say I would have been upset if I found out I was having twins. I didn't read the whole post but if they implanted more than 1 egg that was definitely the time to feel out their emotions on having multiples.

I do agree that it sounds like they didn't really want #2 to begin with and have an overall weird sense about what it means to be a parent.

ftmom's picture
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I remember being so relieved at my ultrasound with DS2 when they told me there was only one. Twins run in my moms family. Her dad was a twin, she was supposed to be a twin, my aunt had twins...etc. I was so scared that the baby we had decided to be our last, would actually be two, and I didnt know how I would handle it. Hopefully better than these parents, but maybe just more privately. I think the part about the parents being treated for prenatal depression is a big part of this story that is glossed over. It could be taking feelings that everyone feels at times when expecting and magnifying them, making them last longer, etc.. I dont think these parents are bad people or bad parents, but I hope someone comes around often in the beginning to make sure the babies are OK, cause if these parents already feel this way, who knows how they will feel, what PPD could cause to happen, once the babies are here.

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I was so relieved that Kaiya was not a twin. One was enough at the time. But had there been 2 we would have figured it out. Because that is what you do for your kids. And now that Rob is too physically unable to keep up with a little, I wish she had been a twin so I could have had 2. But that didn't happen so I accept it. That is what we do. We accept the whims of biology.

But theirs was not a whim. I think it is really irresponsible to do all the fertility treatments and implant eggs and then get upset about the results. They could have made different choices to prevent twins. Since they didn't I think they should accept the consequences and not complain about it.

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I know that when I was going through fertility treatments we were asked about how we felt about multiples should they occur. We were ok with twins, iffy about triplets (we have triplet nephews, we know how much work 3 is) anything higher and we would be talking about what to do. Since we were doing IUI it was not a case of how many embryos to implant.

While I understand the need to vent about the unexpected the fact they felt the need to post to the internet their feelings is disturbing to me. I know lots of women who wanted one more and had twins. I really wonder if they would have the same attitude if they had conceived naturally...

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I can understand a feeling of not wanting another baby. I actually don't think its weird at all to want two children but not a third. Tons of people feel that way. I understand that they probably knew there was a risk of having multiples in their case...but I don't think that means that they should have to want multiples. I can understand all of that.

I wouldn't have been able to sympathize with wanting to abort one of them though if that had been what they decided to do. I would wholeheartedly admit to feeling a bit judgey about that, whether i'm supposed to or not.

And you know, just because they are not happy about having twins doesn't automatically mean that they will feel negatively towards the child when they are actually here.

I was conceived over 9 years after my sister was born. I will tell you they were NOT elated at the thought of having another baby. I've never felt unloved or unwanted though.

Edited to remove the redundant sentence.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

I can understand a feeling of not wanting another baby. I actually don't think its weird at all to want two children but not a third. Tons of people feel that way. I understand that they probably knew there was a risk of having multiples in their case...but I don't think that means that they should have to want multiples. I can understand all of that.

I wouldn't have been able to sympathize with wanting to abort one of them though if that had been what they decided to do. I would wholeheartedly admit to feeling a bit judgey about that, whether i'm supposed to or not.

And you know, just because they are not happy about having twins doesn't automatically mean that they will feel negatively towards the child when they are actually here.

I was conceived over 9 years after my sister was born. I will tell you they were NOT elated at the thought of having another baby. I've never felt unloved or unwanted though.

Edited to remove the redundant sentence.

I agree with this. There are many, many people that feel conflicted when they first find out they are pregnant, but are over the moon excited by the time the baby is born. Someone once told me that is why you are pregnant for 9 months, to get used to the idea. I also agree that I would have a much different opinion if they were aborting one of the children, but just whining about it anonymously? I am sure if one of my pregnancies were twins I would have times of complete joy and excitement, and other times of sheer panic and overwhelmedness.

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My niece has twin boys that are a month younger than my granddaughter. Sure it is tough sometimes, but like anything sometimes it makes things easier too because they always have someone to play with and they entertain each other a lot. There is good and bad. Twins run in my family so I have twin sisters and twin nieces and my mother had 2 sets of twin sisters. My son Jake was almost a twin but I miscarried one. I can understand complaining about something but I guess this was just a little over the top to me.

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I have twin 6 y.o. nephews who were conceived by IUI. My brother and SIL were like "HOLY F@#$" when they found out it was twins, but not once did they ever express any disdain for the 'extra' baby or that they wished it was only one or whatever. After they were born I think it was about 4 months until I actually talked to my SIL. She was totally slammed around the clock with feedings and all the baby stuff, times 2. I remember watching her feed those boys and I was in total awe of the machine that was once my SIL! I get being fah-reeked out when you learn you're having multiples, but hey, that's the risk with fertility treatments.

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Reading their original essays instead of the article about them made me a lot more sympathetic. I think they are going through what most parents-to-be of twins go through. I can have sympathy for them, not in a "those poor people are having twins" way but I have sympathy for their worries and fears about exhaustion, about not being able to manage, etc. We were particularly helpless new parents with BOTH of our kids; I found the baby stage the most challenging of all so far. Now that mine are 6 and 9 I'm in completely different territory and a lot more relaxed.

I would be terrified to have twins, to have two babies (and toddlers! eek!) the same age at the same time. Financially it IS a different story: two cribs, two high chairs, two car seats, two of all these things that are hand-me-downs when you have kids one after another instead of at the same time.

This seems very human and normal to me, and I'm sure they'll love their kids, and they will struggle too. I do think that when you do IVF you are taking that risk and you have to be prepared for it, but who can really be prepared? Who is ever prepared? Unless you have a lot of twins in your family I don't think you have a real sense of it all.

I think they're having real, normal fears and putting them out there on the web -- anonymously, which I like -- might help some other folks acknowledge and accept their feelings in a healthier way.

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I would be freaked out to have twins. That is not to say that if I did I wouldn't have loved them any less. I think all the fears are normal and its ok that they voiced them because our thoughts are not always sunshine and roses and I don't think we need to put up a facade that they are.

I'd like to have a 3rd child, but as I get older the chance of twins increases and it is a real factor in whether or not we might try for a third baby. 4 kids would be a lot different than one for us. 3 in daycare at one time :eek:
If we did decide we would be taking that chance, but if it happened I'm sure I would have a few days (or more) of OH S***, how are we going to do this? Wink