I listen to my singleton counterparts talk about sleep deprivation, illness, doctor’s appointments, and guilt. I stay silent. I listen and I commiserate. I never let on that I think you have it easy. I never let on that I am jealous of the time you have with your one baby. I spent months in a sleep deprived haze and we did it alone. We didn’t have the help of a night nurse or family members. It was just me and my husband. We don’t actually remember the first six months of their lives. All of those important milestones don’t even register in my brain. I vaguely remember their first birthday. There was no bonding as a family, only survival for that first year. It was a job. The hardest job I have ever had. It’s still a job-but as it turns out a job I was made for. After four and a half years, at least I am not on the graveyard shift anymore.
I don’t judge you for having one baby at a time, but I do laugh silently to myself when you complain. I often wonder what it would feel like to have one baby at a time. I wonder what it would feel like to bond with my newborn in the middle of the night, not to rush through feedings because there is another one screaming to be fed. To be able to spend the time staring at the perfect human I made. To quietly watch as my baby sleeps, to feel that peace, to feel that overwhelming, unconditional love. Maybe I am romancing a singleton birth. Maybe my mommy guilt has gotten the best of me. But I long for the moments that I never got to have with my twins.
When they were still in utero I fantasized what a singleton pregnancy would be like. Would I enjoy it more? Would the pain, the discomfort, worry be less? I can only imagine that it would. I can only imagine worrying for one is easier than worrying for two. Four legs and four arms punching my organs has to feel worse than two of each, right? My bladder pretty much gave up four months into being pregnant. I wonder if it would have at least made it eight before it decided to rebel. The thing is, I’ll never find out. I will never know if a singleton pregnancy is easier.
I wonder what it would be like to walk into a store and not have all eyes on us. I wonder if people would even notice that we were there. I wonder what it would feel like to not have strangers interested in my fertility and family genetics. Could I simply walk into a store, buy what I need and leave? Could I shop in peace, without fights over who sits in the bottom and who sits in the top of the cart? Is that even a thing? Do singleton parents shop in peace? Probably not. I long for the days of walking into the mall and not having to chase kids in opposite directions. I know one day I will miss it; they all say I will. But while I am in the thick of mayhem and foolishness, I dream of quiet. I wonder what it would feel like not to have to ask strangers for help. I dream of a day that I don’t need to stalk the double seat shopping cart at the grocery store and a day that I no longer need to squeeze a huge stroller through a manual door.
When the tantrums are times two and it seems that I need to split myself in half, I am a little jealous. On the days when nothing is going right and both boys are overtired and under stimulated, I am envious. Nights when two are screaming they wanted pasta not chicken nuggets, and I am walking a very fine line of good and bad parenting, I am exhausted. When I have to pay double for sports, doctor appointments, shoes, clothes, and school I am a bit green (as my green disappears). I cringe thinking of the day that my boys choose different hobbies, on different days, with different friends.
Along with the added pain, and worry, they tell me that I am four times more likely to have another set of twins. That is enough to scare me into celibacy. At the very least an IUD. Would I change it? Never. But am I secretly jealous of you and your one baby? Yes. Yes, all day long. I know that I am doubly blessed and my boys have the most unique bond anyone can ever have. And for that I am extremely thankful. They fill our home with laughter and love each and every day. For every moment that I am jealous, there are one thousand times that I am grateful for the bond they share. They can spend hours in a world all their own, and it is beautiful. They are so much more than brothers, they are twins. Sharing everything since the womb.
Laura Birks is mother of 4 year old twin boys. She just recently quit her 9-5 job to start a freelance writing career. Superwoman. She writes regularly for her blog positivelysarcastic.