Expecting Twins, Disaster

Thanks for the tip from Chris Fox, who is more newsy than I am.

A father expecting twins blogged about his feelings and experience, and there was some kind of backlash; the mother (his pregnant wife) then did a write up to offer her version of the story.

There is much criticism that can be heaped on these two.  Aside from the easy and obvious – “So I made the final call: we transferred both embryos.” …and… “Why would the universe, God, karma, whatever, whomever think it was a good idea to bring forth twins in our lives?” – in the same write-up*, presumably written by the same person with at least a passing understanding of cause and effect…

Well, just sit with that.

Many of the commenters noticed this, of course, but I want to ask another question:  Why would it occur to her at all that anyone had done this to her, as though she was an innocent bystander and was suddenly pregnant with twins?  What’s more, I don’t think she’s the one and only person in the world who would have thought that …even if you leave off her husband.

Seeing as how the divine and/or or transcendent entities she refers to are interchangeable, I assume she does not hold a serious faith in any of them.  In fact, she speaks of a general sense of disillusionment – she went from being an optimistic person to damn-well near a fatalistic one.  She rejects the straightforward acknowledgement of reality from her doctors (“This was always a possibility.”), and rejects the sentiments of others – some presumably having experience as parents – who say, “Things will get better.”  The former she rejects as lacking compassion; the latter as lacking understanding.

I have seen this before – in children, and in adults acting like children, including myself.  It is the position of someone who has not gotten her way, and the only solution she would smile on is that which sets everything right.  Exactly right, the way she would have it.

And other commenters have asked, “So things didn’t work out according to your plan?  You’ll have no pity from me.”  But I want to ask, “Why would you expect that things should go your way?”

I do hold a serious faith, and I do not expect everything to go as I would like.  It is difficult for me to understand why this is a serious objection to faith.  For if you abandon your faith, things still will not go your way all of the time – does that somehow bring comfort, like one who has sufficiently low expectations for life, thereby reducing his hurdles to a height of a few inches, so that he feels accomplished when he clears them?

There are other serious objections to faith – let’s not let disillusionment be one.  After all, doesn’t this only prove the point that, if there is a Creator, ye are not He?

But my good friend has, in part, sent this along to me because I am also a parent of twins.  And I say that these parents already are, too, though they have begun with a false start.

Still – and if I could speak to them directly, this is what I would say – take heart.  It is not necessarily a crime nor a sin to speak your feelings out loud.  But you must recognize that your feelings, in this case, are unworthy of you, and they are unworthy of your unborn children (and your born child, for that matter).  You are a human being, and not a computer program – you may change your mind, and even your heart.  You have freedom of the will.

You are not a slave to the feeling that you have “ruined your family.”  You are not a slave to the feeling of being “not happy.”

And if it was me, speaking to my child, or myself – Rise up, child of God.  Be bigger than you are.  We are all falling, all the time – get up.  Ask for God’s grace, and go on as though you are sure it will come.

Because, y’all, twins are tough.  You find yourself in the situation, sometimes, where you hold one and the other cries.  So you set the first one down and pick up the second…and the first one cries.

And they don’t just cry.  They wail, they beg through big, wet tears for the suffering to stop, they scream as though they are being carried away by lions.  You don’t just attend to their needs – you attend to your own, knowing that this wailing and gnashing of gums is wholly unjustified, and yet you must comfort these children.

And maybe you’re already tired, because you’ve worked all day after losing sleep all night, and the older children are now clamoring, and whining, and relishing even negative attention.  You are probably hungry, having foregone food for the sake of making sure the children are fed, and you really are – a psychologist would readily bear this out – strung out on adrenaline, straining to preserve a semblance of order, of anything looking like control.

You know, with terrible certainty, why some parents beat their children.

Nevermind that you’re feeling vulnerable, financially.  Nevermind that your spouse seems not to understand your plea for help (or simply is unable to do anything about it), or that you felt disrespected at work today, or that your friends are falling away because they don’t have the same obligations you do.  Or worse, your dreams are falling away.  Nevermind the other, even more serious, troubles that life brings.

My dear friends, mother and father – is that all?  You have two real, live people with you.  It is an amazing, solemn obligation even for the naturalist – for the supernaturalist, you are looking at the image of God.  Prefer that you should die rather than fail in your duties.

I beg – I hope and sincerely pray – that you know, you were made for this.  When you see that, and you let the obstacles to it fall away, you will be good parents.  Maybe great.  Maybe holy.  That potential really is there.

Gird your loins.  Change your mind.

It does get better.


*Resisting the inclination to call it an “essay.”

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