It’s been about three and a half years since we found out we were having twins.
It was probably the biggest surprise of my entire life. Well, of course it was. We were just going to have *a* baby and see how it went. We weren’t even committed to having a second at that point. We were testing the parenthood waters. Twins didn’t run in either family, hell, it never even occurred to me that it might be an option. Twins happened to other people. We were renting a 2-bedroom duplex and had lots of student loan debt.
We were totally unprepared for two babies to appear on that screen.
Lots of things ran through our minds and came out of our mouths that day: Where will they sleep? How will we pay for this? Will I have to quit my job? We’re going to have to move! OMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!!
You know what didn’t cross our minds?
Reducing down to one baby.
I mean the plan was to have ONE baby. We were comfortable with one baby. One baby is an easy dream compared to two babies…right? Twins was going to be hard! I wanted to breastfeed! I wanted to baby-wear! I wanted to carry on with life as usual. With a baby.
So color me shocked when I read the New York Times article about how women undergoing fertility treatments who wind up with twins are choosing to reduce them down to one.
I don’t get it.
These women are trying harder than most people to have a baby. They are using methods that have much higher rates of ending up with multiples and then when they do (surprise surprise), they are just picking one (or letting the doctor pick) and getting rid of it.
Because they don’t want a huge lifestyle change.
Because twins are difficult.
Because two children are a financial burden.
These are the risks of making babies. Why is this even an option?!
Because they are already using science to get pregnant, they look at it like one more choice on the menu, like they are putting in their order at a diner. Would you like the IVF? Yes. One child or two? One. Boy or girl? I already have a son so we’ll keep the girl.
These same women talk about how if it had been a natural pregnancy they wouldn’t consider a reduction.
I. Don’t. Get. It.
Natural or not, these are PLANNED pregnancies.
I am pro-choice so I am not sure why I am struggling so much with this. I don’t even struggle with it if it’s reducing higher order multiples (but that is another can of worms).
Actually, I do know why I struggle with this. I am pro-choice, not pro-abortion. I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare. I think it should be available in situations such as rape or incest or where a pregnancy will cause harm to the mother.
These women are choosing to become mothers. They are doing it with science. They are making the choice to reduce so they are not inconvenienced by juggling two. One of the doctors tries to comfort his patents by playing up all the things that can go wrong with twins and a twin pregnancy.
That in itself makes my head spin. There is nothing you can say that makes it OK. If these women feel better knowing they may have dodged some disability….well, I can’t imagine getting rid of a pregnancy because there was the chance of a disability.
The women in this article obviously know they made a really shitty choice. If they felt it was an acceptable choice I think they would own it. Only one woman was named in the article. Some of them didn’t even tell their own OBs.
I try to imagine what that conversation would be like.
“We were having twins but you know, we really want to get into that lake house and twins would just eat up the budget so we decided to reduce….”
or maybe this
“I know we’ve been trying forever to conceive but when two popped up on the screen it was like WHOA! We already have two kids and since my husband works so many hours I just can’t imagine wrangling 4 kids including 2 infants so we decided reducing was the best option.”
Yeah…I can’t really come up with anything in my head that sounds reasonable. It’s probably a good thing that they keep this little secret under their hats.
The worst part of the article though was the Dad who let the mom make the decision because she was going to be the main care provider. Seriously? Just because your wife is going to be doing most of the work you don’t feel like you have a say in whether or not she gets rid of one of your children? WTF?
I suppose in the end, these women get to carry around this secret shame.. I really hope it’s worth it to them.
And one day, when one of their friends calls them up and excitedly tells them she is having twins, instead of being able to offer excellent twin mom advice, they can smile and be comforted knowing that because they chose to go with one baby they will always have nicer stuff.
Because it’s all about the handbags and the shoes and the weekend getaways.
I can’t imagine anyone would be appalled
***ETA This is talking about *healthy* pregnancies and *healthy* babies. I would never judge a parents decision based on some anomaly or defect that would cause a severe reduction in quality of life. That is something each parent needs to make on their own and that deserves it’s own post somewhere down the line. For me personally it would not have made a difference as it would still be my child- I can’t imagine life without my boys- disabilities and all.