Remember back in the summer I was worried about writing controversial posts? And one of those posts that I had on the queue to write about was how I’m terrified of parenting twins?
Well, the time has come for that post.
To clarify: no, I am not spontaneously pregnant with twins.
But the CDC’s recent report on the climbing rates of twin births in the last 30 years has prompted me to finally write about this, because the numbers don’t lie:
The twin birth rate rose 76 percent from 1980 through 2009, from 18.9 to 33.3 per 1,000 births. (Source: CDC)
The CDC has concluded two major contributing factors for this:
- Higher maternal age is more likely to naturally produce twins, especially for mothers over 40, and;
- The increase of fertility treatments nationwide.
Anecdotally, I’ve seen the growing trend of twins in my own lifetime. From elementary through high school, I only knew one set of twins. (Hi Dilella boys, if you’re reading this.) When I got to college, I was surprised when as a first year RA, I had a set of twins living on my floor as roommates. Working in higher ed for the next seven years, it was not uncommon to see two or three sets of twins in each year’s roster of students.
It’s to the point now that when I see a double-seater with two lookalike children being pushed down the street by their smiling parents, I wonder to myself, “Are those fertility treatment babies?” It’s none of my business, true – but I can’t help but wonder all the same.
From a clinical perspective, the rate for multiples for donor egg recipients is in the 20-25% range, from what I’ve read.
So, all things being equal, I’ve got about a 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 chance that our (whenever the hell we finally get started with) donor egg cycle could produce twins. Or more.
And the thought terrifies me.
It seems so selfish, right? Like infertile beggars can’t be choosers? That I should just be graciously humble and grateful that we wind up with any children at all?
I’ll be totally honest. It’s like when parents-to-be are asked, “Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?” and they say, “Oh it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s healthy.” In our gut, we ALL know whether we want a boy or a girl. It’s just “impolite” to actually verbalize which gender you’re really hoping for.
In truth, of course we’re happy with no matter what we get. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t fantasize about things turning out a certain way.
For me, the fantasy is parenting one child at a time. In a perfect world? I’d love to parent two children spaced about 4 years apart. (And if you must know, because I’m usually pretty blunt around here, two girls.)
*raises eyebrows and makes a worried face*
So of what exactly am I terrified?
The financial costs. NICU for statistical probability of premature birth. Double feedings. Double diaper duty! Finding (and paying) for schools for them both. Double college tuition… at the same time. The mysterious lack of babysitters (this was told to me by a parent of twins; people are more than happy to watch your kid when you’re a new parent. Important to note: kid singular).
Truly, it comes down to this: having a child is overwhelming. Having two at the same time? Doubly overwhelming.
Now, let’s stop for a moment and take a rational, distanced view of things…
Do I have any reason to worry about this right now?
No, not at all. But it’s just another of those list of One Million Things to Worry About When You’re Infertile that, had I not been infertile, probably would have never crossed my mind. And since I wrote that post last June announcing that yes, the idea of parenting twins makes me blanch a little, I hadn’t thought much about it. Until this CDC report that reveals that yes, twin births are indeed up due to fertility treatments.
I really have no reason to worry about twins. (And since my words live in perpetuity on the internet, my Possible Future Twin Children should know that yes, of course we love you, of course we’re grateful for you, and no, we wouldn’t change things for the world.) But still, somewhere, on one of the back burners of my brain, I still worry.
I guess it all just goes back to a fear of the unknown. We just don’t know how any of this is going to turn out. So rather than really addressing that fear, I harp on dumb things like worrying about whether or not we’ll have twins. Or whether or not we have implantation. Or whether or not I’ll miscarry. Or whether or not I’ll get preeclampsia, as it’s more likely to occur in donor recipients.
It’s just all those worries, swirling around in my head when truly, I need to live in the moment. Right now the closest thing to twins I have are two adorable cats from the same litter.
And yes, they are a handful.
So there, I’ve gotten that off my chest, and I actually DO feel better having put it out there. Other folks still in the trenches: does the thought of multiples overwhelm you sometimes? Are you excited by the idea of multiples?
Parents of twins: Tell it like it is. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What’s awesome about twins? What overwhelms you? How did you handle finding out you would be parents of twins?
Sound off in the comments!