Pregnant with twins?
So you’re having twins and that thought probably either terrifies or delights you… or you have a strange mixture of both.
Having been pregnant twice with twins, I’ve known both the terror and the delight.
Knowing I was pregnant with twins delighted me because it made me feel special – after all, twins don’t happen to everyone, especially when we have zero twins on either side of the family. And as I only wanted two children, I loved the idea that my body was busy being a home to siblings who would grow up together and be best playmates.
At least that’s the way it worked in my head – it never occurred to me to think about the jealousies or other potential difficulties of being twins. Nor, for that matter, did I ever contemplate any of the potential difficulties of raising twins. You know, small things, like how to manage at those times when both are crying for your attention.
The terror of being pregnant with twins
The terror was about my changing body – and whoa did it change at a speed that simply alarmed me. Clocking in at 4 ft. 11, I’m hardly what you’d call tall, so being pregnant with twins was like watching a beach ball growing around my belly until before I knew it – I felt as round as what I was tall. Already at 4 months, when some of my friends were still practically flat-bellied, my husband was having to shave the legs I could no longer see.
I watched with growing horror as telltale stretchmarks started to crisscross my stomach looking for all the world like a road system that had survived an earthquake. My breasts felt like two Mount Everest’s just sitting on my chest coming along for the ride and I couldn’t help noticing that my thighs and behind seemed to be expanding until it felt like you’d need a passport to get from one side to the other.
I found I just couldn’t be one of those women who loved being pregnant. I hated that I waddled instead of walked. I hated that I felt to incredibly hippo-like and mostly I was terrified that my body would never be the same ever again. And what to wear was the stuff made of nightmares.
The cause of my body terror
The last time I was pregnant with twins was 1993 and looking back I can’t help but wonder at how I allowed the terror of my body to become far more important than the absolute wonder at what my body was up to. Here was a miracle in the making – and yet I allowed my body obsession to have a much louder voice. And I landed up spending much more time and energy of my body obsession instead of the miracle in the making.
Instead of focusing on what I did have (the absolute wonder of not one, but two little lives growing inside me), I focused on what I didn’t have (a thin, stretchmark-free petite body). Now, when I weigh what I didn’t and did have on the wisdom of hindsight scale – I want to shake my head at myself.
How could I let such a fabulous chance at witnessing a real live miracle not only pass me by, but cause me such terror? Years later I think I have the glimmer of an answer.
The early 90’s was before the time when pregnant celebrities either bared all (ala Demi Moore style) or their pregnant midriffs. Pregnancy was something to be hidden behind clothes. And all the pictures in the media, even in Pregnancy magazines, only showed small and petite.
By comparison to every picture I looked at, the media pictures of pregnancy were neat, tidy and enviably fashionable. My body felt like none of those things – I felt like a misfit amongst women. I felt as if my body was betraying the sisterhood of pregnant-but-still-attractive-and-desirable women.
How to delight in being pregnant with twins
If I had to do it all again and be pregnant with twins again, I’d do things vastly differently:
- I’d spend a lot more time watching my growing body with curiosity.
- I’d spend a lot more thought on what was happening on the interior of my body than on the exterior.
- I’d read more on the stages of pregancy than feverishly comparing my body unfavourably with every pregnant women picture I saw.
- I’d remember that research shows that our emotions are filtered through our growing children and be sure to feed them thoughts that flooded them with health-enhancing endorphins rather than health-eroding toxic thoughts.
- I’d relax so much more and focus on being healthy rather than merely being body beautiful.
- I’d remind myself that my pregnant body is beautiful and sexy and that stretch marks and cesarian scars are not something to fear, but reminders of a wondrous miracle.
- I’d take the voice of terror and hang it out to dry where it couldn’t rob me of the wonder and delight of being pregnant with twins.
- I’d learn more about ‘what is baby growth’ vs ‘what is fat growth’