Time Magazine recently covered the story of one couple’s chagrin upon learning the bundle of joy they were expecting contained not one baby but two. The unnamed couple anonymously posted their trepidations on a parenting website and created quite a stir. There was already one young child in the family and the parents were hoping to give him a sister. In vitro fertilization (IVF) was used, successfully, but the outcome was not exactly what the couple had in mind.
In vitro fertilization is not a process a couple enters into lightly. The medical community doesn’t allow that. The expense alone is enough to make most couples think twice, explore other options, and do some serious studying up. One characteristic of IVF treatments is that the process often produces multiple births. Twins occur in 20 to 30 percent of all IVF pregnancies.
The couples’ online rant about their bigger-than-planned family was met with criticism, enthusiasm, sympathy, and as much drama as they displayed by posting the story of their changing lifestyle in so public a forum.
Unplanned pregnancies can throw even the most stoic adult for a loop but there’s little about IVF that’s unplanned. Most people are so eager for a child they consider it a double blessing to be wanting a baby but having twins.
Every baby brings changes to the family dynamic, from the first one to the last. Each one comes with its own learning curve, unexpected moments, and period of adjustment. First-time parents will have ideas of how life will change when baby makes three but they’re in for some surprises. Parents who already have a family started may feel more aware of the changes ahead but it’s impossible to second-guess the reality of it - good or bad.
What’s the best way to cope with twins? Make the most of it!
- Allow help: Friends and family are more inclined to volunteer their time and services when twins are born.
- Shop in bulk: Non-perishables such as diapers can be bought at discount stores, in bulk on the internet and elsewhere. Take advantage of every price cut available to mothers of multiples. They’re out there.
- Take turns: Both parents must be actively engaged in baby care. Make a list of who is expected to do what when and stick to it. Plan this strategy well before the due date so emotions don’t hinder negotiation.
- Demand solitude: We’re biologically compelled to respond to the cry of a baby, especially our own, but stamina and sanity require solitude for restoration of energies. Schedule alone time - and indulge in it - when a trusted helper is babysitting.
- Remember they grow up too fast: You may feel as if you’re drowning in an avalanche of dirty diapers but the diaper phase doesn’t really last that long. When they ask for the keys to the car(s), you just might long for the good ol’ days when dirty diapers were your biggest baby worry.
- Save on education: Many private schools, informal and recreational classes, and even colleges offer family discounts when more than one child in a family attends at the same time. Take advantage.
Twins may seem like a package deal but they’re not. They are two perfectly individual human beings with their own thoughts, ideas, gifts, talents, preferences, dreams, and goals. Treat them as unique individuals and love them ferociously. Even if you just wanted one at a time. You are doubly blessed.
Source: Richards, Sarah Elizabeth. "When IVF Couples Regret Conceiving Twins." TIME Magazine, Ideas. 6 Sept 2013. Web. 30 Sept 2013.