parents

Why I feel sorry for the parents of ‘those’ twins.

Twins
I feel sorry for the parents of ‘those’ twins.

**Editor’s note: If you’ve had trouble conceiving, please note, this post may be triggering for you.**

By KELLY EXETER

“Seriously I have never read such selfishness.”

“Put them up for adoption where they will be snapped up and loved.”

These were some of the reactions on my Facebook feed to posts written by a husband and wife on Babble. The posts detailed the married couple’s three year struggle to provide their son with a sibling. Their difficulty in conceiving, their long battle with IVF. And then, their horror when they finally fell pregnant with and gave birth to two sons.

That’s right, horror. Not joy. Not elation. Not thankfulness. Not gratefulness. Horror.

“I can’t even read it”.

This was from a friend who had endured more heartbreak than any person should in trying to add to her family. I hope she really didn’t read the post in full because if she had this is a taste of what she would have seen:

The husband:  …we’re pissed. And terrified, and angry, and guilty, and regretful.

The wife: In my mind I had done nothing less than ruin our family.

The husband: As horrible as this might sound, we found ourselves wishing these twins away.

The wife: The twins are coming fast, and I don’t feel a sense of joy. Instead, I feel responsible. We only wanted one.

Believe me when I tell you that I’m not cherry picking the ‘worst’ quotes here. Both the husband and wife’s posts run in this vein throughout; the ire of my friends was well-deserved.

It’s almost impossible to feel anything but revulsion at the thoughts both parents admit to. And I can’t imagine that their lives were in any way improved by sharing these thoughts so publicly with the world.

As with anything though, if you’re able to look beyond the initial visceral reaction, beyond the black and white; shades of grey will always emerge. And maybe because I had my second baby only five months ago, it’s easier for me to cut straight to grey.

Kelly with her daughter
Kelly with her daughter
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And the first thing I see in their words is terror.

It seems their first child was, and still is, super challenging. The couple clearly love him to bits but can’t help wondering “what if we get another two like that? At the same time?”

Because here’s one thing people tend to forget about babies: It doesn’t matter how badly they are wanted or how much love you have for them or how ‘good’ they are. They are really hard.

It’s not just the sleep deprivation – everyone can remember that side of things. No, it is the utter relentlessness of it all. Trying to function as both a useful member of your household and society can become incredibly difficult; you are on call 24/7.

There is a small human completely dependent on you, who requires you to respond to their every need. And as fast as you figure things out with that small human, new challenges rear their head even more quickly.

I am lucky to have one of those mythical ‘good’ babies (generally happy, good sleeper, no colic, no reflux… the Holy Grail) yet I am still tired all the time.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether I’ve got sleep the night before or not. By the time the ‘witching hours’ of 5-7pm roll around each evening, I’m fighting the urge to cry. It’s hard not to get worn down by the sheer groundhog day-ness of it all.

This couple has no idea what kind of babies they’re getting but what they do know is even if both babies are amazingly good, life is still going to be full-on. And they clearly don’t think they’re going to be able to cope.

I would be terrified too.

The second overriding ‘grey’ I see in their story is exhaustion.

Three years of physical exhaustion caused by a child who has progressed from ‘challenging baby with colic and sleep issues’ to ‘toddler with behavioural challenges’. Overlay this with the mental exhaustion of spending more than two years trying to conceive and failing and you’re in a serious world of hurt.

I don’t even want to imagine the toll this has taken on their relationship at a time where things need to be more rock-solid than ever.

So while I can see how hurtful and infuriating these posts would have been for anyone out there trying to conceive at the moment, I can’t help but feel a bit of compassion for these two parents. Because in the end, feelings are feelings aren’t they? Is there such a thing as right or wrong feelings when finding yourself in a challenging situation? I don’t think there is.

What there is though is the expectation that as a human being you will adapt and make things work. Because that’s what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom – our ability to adapt.

And if these guys are struggling to adapt their brains and get their heads around this situation, I’m not sure putting a foot on their heads and forcing them to stay underwater is the way to go. I’m thinking it might be nice to throw them a lifebuoy instead.

Mother, runner, writer, blogger. Serial over-committer. Kelly believes that a busy life doesn’t need to be a stressful life and if she can learn to live a life less frantic, then ANYONE can. She blogs here and if you’re socially inclined she loves a chat on the twitters and Facebook too.

Were you surprised by the parents who took to the internet to lament the birth of their twins? Do you agree with Kelly that we should have more sympathy for their situation?

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