Monday, 11 May 2015

Twin Shock

Absolutely nothing can prepare you for the news that you are having twins.  Nothing.

It was, in fact, six years ago almost to the very day that I found out that I was expecting my pair.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My fourth pregnancy was something of a surprise.  But when I'd eventually got my head around the initial shock, I was surprisingly OK with it all.  Four children. We already had three and it was only one more.  One tiny little baby.  The older three would all be at school by that point so it would just be me and the baby.  I could do that.

I was so confident that DH and I decided that I would go to the 12 week scan alone - I mean, once you've seen one baby on a screen you've seen them all right?


The Sonographer didn't even get a chance to announce "you're having twins!".  As soon as the picture appeared on the screen I knew what I was dealing with.

"NO!"  I shouted.  "It can't be!"  It felt like I'd been kicked in the chest.

But there they were.  Two tiny perfect babies wriggling around on the screen side by side.

To some people this would have been a joyous moment but not for me.  I was wracked with guilt.  We had only just got used to the idea of one more baby and somehow I had managed to conceive two.  It was all my fault.

I can laugh about it now but on hearing that I already had three children the Sonographer chirped "oh, that happened to my sister in law too.  She's got her head around it all now.  They've just turned ten."

Brilliant.  Everyone's a comedian.

That's the strange thing though.  Before I had twins everybody I spoke to knew someone else who had gone through the same - the butcher, my mother's doctor, another poster on Mumsnet (yep, I asked advice on there too) for example.  And yet, I have never really found things as terrible as each one of these people have suggested.

Sure, sometimes having twins has been physically, emotionally and financially hard.  That goes without saying, but it has not been unsurmountable.

My husband took the news better than I thought he would.  I on the other hand could not stop crying. I cried for hours.  In a way I felt like I had been wrongly chosen for this new job - mother of twins.  I cried about big things like money, space, all the usual stuff and then got strangely hysterical at the thought of having to potty train two more children - which in my heightened emotional state seemed more important that all the rest of the things put together.

But, six years on and we're surviving.  Just.  (Potty training was a lot easier than I thought it would be.)

When I was pregnant with the twins I read a book written by a twin mother that talked about "Twin Shock", the almost permanent state of shock that you feel when you are having twins.  I'm sure that twin shock does exist.  I'm sure that I've been through it.  I'm just not sure that it should exist, that's all.

I do think that most of the shock is down to other people's reactions.  If they aren't implying that your life is practically over, they are busy pointing out the obvious (like you won't have already thought about money, space, potty training...). Said in a slightly jokey fashion but always with an undertone that says "you poor cow, you are going to need so much help".

Twins are different from a singleton but they are not a freak show.  A twin pregnancy should be met with the same amount of enthusiasm as a singleton one.  In my case it rarely was.

I was so glad in many ways when we ditched our double buggy and my twins could walk (apart from the fact that it took us bloody hours to actually get anywhere).  It at least meant that people didn't see them as twins (and stop me to tell me how brave I am - I am not brave, just fertile) when we were out and about anymore.  It just looks now like we have two children - well, five in total, but we almost never take them out all together.

And to me, that's what they are.  Two of our brood of five.  Individuals.  It just so happens that they share a birthday and are the same age.

Sure, they have their funny little ways which one might assume are a twin thing, like when they answer me in unison (still freaks me out) or when they face the same way in bed (they share a room).  I have no idea if they would do that still if there was an age gap between them.   Maybe they would.

As for twin shock - I don't have that.  I have no idea when it left because I didn't notice.

Perhaps I never really had it in the first place.  Instead, maybe it just took me a while to become "Twin Proud".


  1. I like you was absolutely petrified when pregnant because everyone was giving me all this advice and contingency plans for when they came and when they did - it wasn't all that bad! Don't get me wrong it's been hard but what baby isn't? You adapt and crack on. I adore having twins and still stop and can't believe I actually have them but perceptions of twins is far scarier than the reality. And I bloody loves it x

    1. I couldn't agree with you more, Beth. I look back at myself then and honestly don't know why I listened to them!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...