If you're pregnant with twins or multiples, congratulations! You may feel excited and happy, especially if you've gone through a long journey to get to this point.
It's also normal to feel nervous, scared, or even sad. There are risks to a multiple pregnancy. You may be worrying about losing the babies, or wondering if you'll be able to handle caring for them when they arrive. You may also feel angry - getting pregnant was difficult for you, and now you face a potentially difficult pregnancy and birth.
While it's true there are risks to multiples, and you do need to be informed of the risks so you can be aware of troublesome symptoms and make informed choices regarding your pregnancy, it's also true that there are many positive aspects to carrying and raising more than one baby at a time.
Denial isn't good, but focusing on only the negative isn't great either. Here are some positive thoughts on twins and multiples.
Two (or Three or Four) Heartbeats
Remember when you hoped to see any heartbeat on the ultrasound screen? The first time the ultrasound tech detects not just one but more than one heartbeat, you may be thrilled and scared. But over time, as you slowly come to accept the multiple pregnancy, seeing more than one blip on the screen will warm your own heart.
Earlier (and More!) Sensations of Fetal Movement
Mothers of multiples may pick up fetal movement weeks before mothers of singletons. When the first movements begin, you may need to be very quiet and still, and the sensations may be light, like butterflies.
As the pregnancy continues, the movements will becoming more noticeable, until near the end, people sitting next to you may be able to see the bumps and squirms!
Double the Baby Bliss
As the mother of multiples, you'll get to enjoy double (or triple or quadruple!) the baby bliss. Moms of one may baby may gaze upon their one sleeping child and smile with joy. But you'll get to gaze on one face, and then another adorable face, and maybe another, depending on how many babies you have!
You'll also get to go through the thrill of the first smile, the first giggle, the first word, the first step, and so on, more than once. The excitement and joy isn't less for the next baby to reach an important milestone. Each big moment is precious.
Fascination of Watching Multiple Children Grow Together
You may begin to feel like you're witnessing a research study in your own home, as you watch your children develop at different rates and in different ways. We all know that each person is an individual, but we don't often get to see babies or children at the exact same age, raised in the same environment, grow together.
For example, your babies may not only start walking at different times, but also reach that milestone in different ways. One may scoot and then crawl and then walk, while another by coast around the room and never do much crawling.
If you have identical twins, you may wonder at the things they do that are similar compared to the things they do that are so very unique. If you have a boy and a girl, you may find it interesting how they play or develop in different ways.
Twins may not always become the best of playmates, just like any pair of siblings. But in the younger years especially, they will be their first playmates to each other. The idea of life without their twin won't even occur to them.
As they get older, some twins remain close playmates, and they may have an especially close sibling relationship as adults as well.
If you have twins, and they are your first, you already have the average American family size of two children. Automatic family!
Get the Diapers and Sleepless Nights Out of the Way
Of course, if you plan on having more, this may not be quite a big advantage. But if you think these will be your last babies, you'll be able to go through diaper days and sleepless nights all at once, instead of over a period of four to five years.
Your diaper changing and lack of sleep will be more intense than those caring for one baby, so not everyone will agree this is the easiest path. On the other hand, if you're going to focus on the positives, might as well celebrate the multiples boot camp path - overwhelming but over faster!
Impress Friends and Strangers at Parties
If you've been dealing with infertility for awhile, you've probably listened to your share of parents complain about their kids. You may have even heard the infuriating comment, "Consider yourself lucky you don't have kids! They just take over your life!"
Well, now, you can one-up those people. When they start complaining about their one baby or one young child, you can say, "I have twins." (Or triplets, or quads, whatever you've got.) For best effect, say nonchalantly, with a glass of wine in hand.
They are likely to respond, "Oh, I could never handle twins!" That's when you, again, in a totally calm blissed-out voice, "You're probably right. Personally, I'm in heaven." And if they declare you super mom or dad, accept that title with pride.
(I feel the need to say if you don't feel you're handling the twins or triplets well, that's totally normal, too. Be sure to ask for help from those that can offer you positive support. But at the party, go ahead and fib a little about how competent you're feeling!)
Focus on the Positive Side of Statistics
Yes, twin and multiple births come with risks. But those risks come with a positive side as well.
For example, if 10% of twin mothers experience gestational diabetes, 90% of twin moms don't. If one in four mothers of twins experience pregnancy hypertension, three in four do not have problems with high blood pressure.
If 10% of identical twins sharing one placenta experience twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), 90% do not.
Sixty percent of twins are born premature, but 40% are born on time. And of those twins born after 35 weeks, about half are born vaginally.
Be careful not to use the positive side of statistics to ignore symptoms or blow off doctor's orders. Balance your optimism with reasonable caution, and you're more likely to have a healthier and happier twin pregnancy.
More on twins:
- Twin Pregnancy Risks
- What Increases My Chances of Having Twins
- Quiz: Are My Odds for Twins Higher Than Most?
- Twin Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
- Quiz: Could It Be Twins?
- Clomid Twins: What Are the Odds You'll Conceive twins?
Schmitz T, Carnavalet Cde C, Azria E, Lopez E, Cabrol D, Goffinet F. "Neonatal outcomes of twin pregnancy according to the planned mode of delivery." Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008 Mar;111(3):695-703.
Trying to Get Pregnant. March of Dimes. Accessed February 3, 2012. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/trying_multiples.html