no more negative nellies

image via Flickr user AMERICANVIRUS under a Creative Commons license. Image links to Flickr page.

People seem to have two parallel reactions when informed that we’re having twins. The first is the excitement that Jon says only happens when the person having the twins isn’t the person expressing the excitement. The second reaction is to attempt to terrify us.

Now, I don’t think people are actually intentionally attempting to terrify us, but they’re doing it anyway. I liken it to a hazing ritual, or the way the old-timer attendings like to make medical residents feel small and sleep-deprived because “that’s how it was in my day.” In terms of baby-having, this usually involves telling us we’ll never sleep again, we’ll never have sex again, we’ll never have money again, I’ll never not have a baby attached to my body again, I’ll never finish school, etc. And the thing is, I think most of the people making these sort of statements mean well– they might be telling us something they wish someone had told them before they had a baby, or maybe they’re passing on something they found genuinely helpful.

But the thing is: we’re freaking out enough, thanks. Anything you could possibly say to us has already crossed our freaked out, holy shit, what’s gonna happen to us minds, and then some.

I’m worried about bed rest and NICU time. I’m worried about whether or not I’ll ever get my PhD and become an English professor like I planned. I’m worried about how the dynamic of my marriage is about to change. I worry that I’ll never be able to go to the grocery store again, because you can’t put two infant carriers in one shopping cart. I worry that I won’t be able to have that special first-baby bond I see with my friends and their firstborns, because I’ll always have some other baby with needs distracting me from cuddles and eye gazing. I’m worried I won’t even be able to keep two tiny humans alive. When I really get on a roll, I worry about double terrible twos and threes. I worry that we’re going to be shut-ins who never leave our house. I’ve got plenty of worries.

And Jon does too.

So the other day he made a declaration: we’re not gonna take it anymore. We are not afraid to get rude with people who are saying things that scare us, and we’re not afraid to tell them to knock it off, because we are trying our hardest to think positively and be excited, and it’s really taking some effort because right now, all we can think is HOLY SHIT. I’m literally already growing out of my pants, and I’m only at 8 weeks, and shit is just gonna keep getting real. So, if you know us and speak to us, could you maybe help us be excited and not scared out of our minds about this? I know everything in our lives is about to change, for better or for worse, and we could sure use some stories about the better parts right about now.

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24 thoughts on “no more negative nellies

  1. I only have one, but FWIW, all those life changes you are afraid of? We had them, too, and we had no idea how much BETTER a baby would make life. There’s a definite adjustment period (which I’m sure will be doubly true for you!), but it gets easier, and with an almost-six-month-old, we are now starting to be able to focus on our own goals/wants/needs again.

  2. I was six when my sister was born and then 18 months later my twin sisters were born. That’s three babies in diapers- a family of now six, living in three rooms as the rest of the house was under construction and my Mom had Post partum depression, but guess what? SHE ROCKED IT ANYWAY! I know you are going to do GREAT! And even though I am a stranger, i am totally excited for your adventure. There will be plenty of time for cuddles and eye gazing and let me tell you a secret- having another child to keep the other one company when they want to play TOTALLY frees you up to do other things, such as have a quicky in the other room, or do homework, or just brush your teeth. Those things may look different for awhile, but it’s a short season in the grand scheme of things and as i often remind my husband “This too shall pass”. :) Best of luck!

  3. I have a friend at church who has twins and then a younger daughter. (All our teens now.) I said something once about it being double work. She said “I never looked at it like that. Yeah, twice as many bottles and diapers, but from a work perspective and an adjustment perspective, I went from not being a mom to being a mom. From not being up all night to being up all night. You can’t measure if it’s double work or not because, one baby or two, it was just what we did. We didn’t know the difference. ” And really, I think that sums it up. You’ll be fine. You’ll do what has to be done. And you’ll get twice as many first smiles and first laughs… and first birthday cakes. Which, to me, is what matters most. :-)

  4. I’ll leave some encouragement. Yes it will be hard, yes you will be sacrificing parts of your life that you don’t even realize yet. I hope you don’t gloss that over completely, because it’s best to be fully aware of what’s going to happen.


    Every single thing you go through will be worth it. There is literally no greater joy in my life than being with my baby girl. I can have the worst day at work, come home in a driving rainstorm (stalled of course by idiot Arkansas drivers), almost hit a dog, pull in and ding my door, but the second Avery smiles when she sees it’s me, all that goes away. People are generally negative, and they will focus on all the bad things about pregnancy and parenthood. But even with all the drastic changes and sacrifices, it’s completely worth it. I feel triply blessed beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. So be sure to remember that, even when life feels at its worst, your soul is about to be completed in parts you didn’t even know were empty. Congratulations, Jen and I couldn’t be more excited for you and Jon.

  5. I am fully aware the with pregnancy comes a whole lot of scaring yourself to death. I don’t know why people feel compelled to add to it rather than help. I’d advise to absolutely shut down the negativity. And try to do it in a way that makes the “helpful” person feel a bit slow, like “Gee, really? You mean babies are work? This might be complicated? I had no idea!”. Or if you really want to set them off, just tell them you have 2 dogs, so you like totally get what you’re getting into.

    I’d say the best thing to do is wait until you’re 20 or 30 weeks along, and then plug into your local Moms of Multiples group to get some actual helpful advice and hand-me-down clothes.

  6. P.s. I almost created flash cards to present to people, cards that gave statements that I considered helpful and supportive. Choose your card. Otherwise, hush.

  7. People don’t know how to talk to pregnant women. They always say stupid things. Just ignore as much of it as you want.
    As a bit of encouragement, a friend of mine wrote her dissertation while pregnant and chasing around a 15 month old. It can be done.
    Congratulations, officially.

  8. Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry that there’s been more negativity than encouragement during this crazy, out of your mind time. The day I found out I was having twins (we weren’t expecting a 2nd, much less a 3rd!) I cried. Like all day. I got all the same stories and I had all of the same fears that I know you have now, plus I already had a child that I was trying my best to raise. People sort of lose their minds when they find out you’re expecting twins..and unfortunately it doesn’t really stop after you have them. You get the dumbest questions and tons of unwanted advice. People still ask me if the boys are identical. Have they seen them? Do they know what that word means? I’ve tried to stay away from saying much to you because I don’t want to be lumped in with that lot, but if you ever have questions on how to navigate the grocery store (such a simple thing, but totally hard with twins) or the other myriad of things that you will go through, or if you just want to call me and scream for a minute, I will listen. Just try to keep yourself sane and I think the blog post is a good first step :) I was having a conversation with a friend of mine one day..bemoaning the fact that a mutual friend has children that are so perfect while mine always seem to be so crazy. My friend said, “God doesn’t give crazy children to the people who can’t handle it.” It was funny at the time, but I think it might actually be true, so remember he won’t give you more than you can bear, and you will be just fine.You are a smart, strong woman and and parenting is a lot less scary when you can look at all the other things in life you have managed to accomplish. Be fearless.

  9. Two poopy diapers at a time, yes. But two big goofy baby grins, two times the elation of the first steps, and twice as many overzealous toddler hugs. It’s going to be fantastic. You’re going to do/be great.

  10. I’ve done the single-infant thing twice now and although the idea of twins is kind of scary, I am STILL envious. By which I mean all the positives are going to outweigh the negatives by a zillion bajillion miles.

  11. Sarah, there is nothing in this world that compares to the first time you look in YOUR childs eyes; their first smiles; their infectious laughs; and the most wonderful hugs you will ever experience. I remember from my mom having twins that it was most certainly challenging, but if she were still with us I know she’d say she’d happily do it all again. The first year of there lives is, in a word, awesome (we are just barely into year 2 so it may be even better – I’ll let you know :)). It is truely amazing to watch them learn and grow and see their personality emerge. I can think of no experience that has been as challenging or as rewarding as parenthood has. Congratulations again!

  12. I have a 2yr old, and when I see him interact with other kids his age (his BFF has the same birthday, in fact) I’m envious (my heart really does do a little pitter patter, sinky, smiley thing) of people who have two little people to watch grow up together. Parenting is a huge adjustment, HUGE. I’m not sure the number of kids you have really has much impact on how much of an adjustment. I mean, one kid, two kids…you figure out how to do it, and you dig in and make it happen. And when they learn that they can put their feet in their mouth – there will be twice as much amazement. And then when they jabber at each other like those YouTube phenoms, the grin on your face will be epic. Congratulations!

  13. Hi Sarah,

    I think Audreya said it best ~ took the words right out of my mouth actually! :) You will do what has to be done AND you will love every minute of it! Becoming a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me!


  14. I’d like to slap all these negative comment makers for you! My grandmother is a twin, she and her sister were quite the surprise for my 19 year old great-grandmother at the time (I believe it was 1937) since she had no clue there were two babies in there! Just imagine how much more prepared you’ll be! My grandmother always says that twins aren’t twice the work, more like 1.5 times the work, because you’d already be doing it anyway, now it’s just a bit extra! AND, if you ever need a vacation, there is a lady that lives sort of far away but is totally willing to come visit to watch your babies since she won’t be having any for a few years (ME!) You and Jon are going to be awesome parents, whether it’s 2 babies or 12 babies, you’ll work it out!

  15. Oh, why are people like that? You have every right to be as excited as possible, you have so much to look forward to! I am a major worrier but it doesn’t get me anywhere. You’ll be blessed with the tools, energy, help you need when you get that far, but for now, enjoy this sweet anticipation and relax :) Congratulations! You have your priorities right! Proud of you guys if I’m allowed to say so.

  16. I have a cousin who had twins about 6 years ago while she was finishing graduate school. Everything worked out fine for her and the babies … and she didn’t have a doctor for a husband. She has said the same thing that Audreya’s friend said and that it was totally worth it.

    Plus, if you can handle introducing Tinycat to 2 dogs, then you have got this in the bag. :)

  17. Y’all are going to be awesome parents. The Lord has you, and those sweet babies, in His hands and He is in control of the situation. He’s totally got this. You will become a strong mama who will raise strong babies with opinions and passions and dreams. Don’t take any crap. xoxo, Becca
    PS – I think you can carry twins in a Moby wrap when they are peewees. We love ours, Jed included.

  18. I don’t have kids, but I really want twins someday. I see some major benefits. My sister has 4 children with about 5 years between them and they’re all at such different stages that I figure twins is the perfect way to not have that problem. Also, twins are super cute. And everyone’s really impressed with parents of twins. And, you’re pregnant for half the amount of time you usually would be to have two children, have to deal with half the number of months of sleeplessness etc. Oh, and the babies entertain/comfort each other somewhat too. Congratulations, you are going to be amazing!

    P.S. as for the finishing uni thing, my sister started training to be a midwife 9 months before the first was born and finished while pregnant with number 3. It may take a little longer but I have no doubt you can absolutely do it!

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