Adulthood, Babies, Parenting, RealTalk, Sarcastic, Twins

Legal Mental Torture for Expecting Moms (or: Unsolicited Advice)

Aside from the present struggle that is waiting another 5 days to find out what my twins are, there is another all too common torture that is inflicted on moms-to-be practically daily: unsolicited advice. I don’t think we can even help ourselves; I’m definitely guilty of it myself too. New or expecting mom is suffering from X, or nervous about Y, and suddenly we’re all fucking experts on the subject, or have some story about it, or have heard something from a friend/the news/the Internet/deep space so *that’s* clearly the gospel truth. For some reason, we seem to particularly like scaring the holy hell out of each other, as if rehashing our own horror stories or terrifying opinions somehow bumps us up a notch on a theoretical totem pole of mom-knowledge or experience.

Most recently, I’ve (naturally) been plagued with such “advice” surrounding the impending arrival of the twins – everything from their mere existence to how much harder our lives are going to be once they’re here. No shit…I know it’s going to be hard. Arguably twice as hard. Babies are a fucking trip to begin with, let alone managing two. Do you REALLY think it’s helpful to constantly remind me that my life is about to become the definition of a living hell?? Do people think that’s somehow useful?? That it somehow prepares you better, maybe?? Personally, I think it’s just stress-evoking enough to send your blood pressure through the roof and up the odds that you’ll be throw into full blown preterm labor right then and there. At least there aren’t nearly as many veteran twin moms lurking in the shadows, just waiting to share their terrifying birth stories like singleton moms were with my first (in fact, twin moms may be the best of them to talk to, because they’re actually smart enough NOT to over-share their horror stories to someone about to take the plunge themselves).  

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love seeing the surprise on people’s faces when I tell them we’ve got twins on the way. It’s one of my favorite things about having to carry two little nuggets around for the better part of 9 months. It’s hilarious and dramatic and usually pretty wonderful. But not always…upon sharing the news I literally had one woman drop her jaw to the floor, put her hands over her gaping pie hole, gasp loudly, then practically yell across the room with a look of sheer terror on her face: “OH MY GOD Christina – TWINS?!? How are you going to DO it???” Newsflash fuckface: the standard response here is congratulations. Some kind of excitement. Something. I felt like saying back, “Yea, it sounds pretty tough; I think I’ll just give them away instead, or maybe kill them off altogether. It’s still early enough…” [Note: this is not meant to be a dig at or judgement of those who may have made those decisions. To each his own…I don’t have to raise your kids. That just clearly wasn’t the news I was sharing at the time.] And this person is not a relative or someone even remotely close to us who may end up (read: get stuck with) sharing the burden of raising said twins. Unhelpful reaction – which has been followed by weeks of similarly unhelpful, unsolicited advice. Smh…

Interestingly enough, while shopping with Logan a few weeks ago, we saw these twins in the store that entirely changed my perception of the adventure we’re about to embark upon. Logan actually noticed them; that’s how well behaved these kids were being – I didn’t even see them at first. He said to me, “Look mumma – twinnnssss!! Just like we’re going to have!!” with a big huge smile on his face. So excited. He’s the best – four year olds have this brilliant honesty & innocent naïveté that can make you see the world in a whole new light. So I turn around and see strapped into the shopping cart two adorable, Bruins-clad, curly blonde haired 2 or 3 year olds who were chatting between themselves and giggling happily. Cue the light bulb. 💡 WOW – that doesn’t look so bad!! Their parents don’t look like they’re about to jump off a bridge in the slightest. The store isn’t falling to the ground around a tornado of ill-behaved monsters. They actually are just really cute!! And that’s when it dawned on me: I had never, ever pictured life with the twins as anything but screaming, inconsolable babies and a house utterly destroyed and in squalor. Literally never. I hadn’t even considered the two beautiful little smiles that would be staring back at me, the comfort of always having a buddy at home, the (dare I say) convenience of “getting two done at once.” After all, if we had a third kid via a third pregnancy, that’s basically another two years of being out of commission due to pregnancy, nursing, and the sheer exhaustion of having a child under a year old. Then I thought about the twins that I knew personally, particularly ones of one friend from school that’d had a girl followed by twin girls two years later (bless his heart, lol) since Logan’s even had a few gymnastics classes with those twins. They seem happy and well-adjusted and the twins were very sweet little girls. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad…

And that’s when I finally let myself start getting truly excited about having twins. About time too, since it’s happening whether we like it or not at this point. I realized I’d let myself get so wrapped up in the combination of what others were telling me and my own concerns and fears that I wasn’t even enjoying the prospect of these babies coming into our family. I finally acknowledged how much I already love both and each of these babies. Now I’m working hard on letting things roll off my back when they’re negative, whether directed at me or just floating out in the world, waiting to be seen. I don’t need the stress or the bad vibes and I sure as hell don’t need the extra anxiety – my own mind creates plenty of that by itself. I just try to be real zen and shit, you know?

So one last piece of [unsolicited] advice (see, I told you everyone does it 😉) for you all: before you go to say something, particularly to those in vulnerable states like new or expecting moms, think twice about whether your statement is actually going to be something useful to the other person. “Is what I’m about to say helpful? Did they ask for my advice/opinion/story? Am I just trying to scare them?” Those around you will appreciate it. I know I myself am certainly more selective in what I choose to share these days. 

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