**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.
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.