On Having Twins

You might be surprised at the number of questions I get from strangers about being a mother of twins. Some are incredibly invasive, and my answer goes something like this: “No, we didn’t use fertility treatments. Thanks for asking. How well are YOUR reproductive organs working these days?”  Some are incredibly uneducated: “Well…they’re boy-girl. So no, they aren’t identical. No…really…that’s like biologically impossible. There’s at least one MAJOR difference.” But most people are well-meaning, so I try not to grumble.

I think one of the questions I get asked that’s really difficult to answer is: “What’s it like having twins?”


That’s a kind of hard question to answer just in passing. Having twins is joyful. Having twins is hard. Having twins is busy. Having twins is hilarious. Having twins makes you feel like you’re the circus coming to town whenever you go out in public. But it might just be better if I illustrate this for you with a few examples.

What it’s like being pregnant with twins…

If you’ve been pregnant before, you might THINK you know what huge is. But you have NO idea. And hey, Kate Gosselin is saying that exact same thing to me right now, I suppose.

Being VERY brave here. This is me, at 35 weeks pregnant (a week and a half before the twins were born). At 35 weeks with two babies, my belly measured as if I was 42 weeks pregnant with one baby (like I was 2 weeks overdue). Translation: MISERABLE! At least it was winter.

What it’s like giving birth to twins…

Without getting graphic.

Well, again, if you’ve experienced the whole pushing one baby out, just imagine doing it again 8 minutes later. Trippy.

And for those of you who have never given birth, here is a pictorial description:




You may be astounded at my candor here. But let me just say–another part of the joyful experience of giving birth to twins (in a teaching hospital) is that EVERYONE wants in on the action. I think every nurse, doctor, midwife, intern, candy striper, priest, security guard, janitor and gift shop attendant in the hospital was in the room with me that day. That’s like 10% of Chicago’s population. They’ve ALL seen the goods. So really, that lemon up there is nothin’. I have no shame.

What it’s like having two newborns…

First, the cuteness. Oh, the cuteness!

Immediately after my twins were born, they had to go under this heat lamp thing while the neonatal team checked them out. My daughter was not so happy about this, my son grabbed her hand. She calmed down. *waits for your collective “Aws”* Yep, it sounded just like that in the hospital room too.

Next, everyone and their brother assumed I’d lose my mind with two newborns and a  2-year-old at home. But this was not the case. Maybe it was just my twins, but all they did was sleep for about two months. Wake-up. Diaper change. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. That was it. They never really cried. Half the time I forgot they were there (just kidding). Those days are what I like to call The Easy Part.


…getting to be models for all your friends (or friends of friends) who sell things on Etsy.

…getting to dress them in twin-ish costumes on Halloween (at least while I still have a say in this matter). Though they weren’t exactly thrilled about this, even at 9 months old.
…double the fun on Christmas morning.
…having someone to taste your frosting on your first birthday.
But be careful, it’s also having someone to bite your finger on your first birthday.
…having two of them to cause trouble.
…matching PJs (and the impossibility of getting the twins to look at the camera at the same time, let alone smile).
…needing the world’s largest stroller to go anywhere.
It’s having built-in playmates while simultaneously having instant sibling rivalry. It’s switching from one-on-one to zone defense. It’s having arms of steel but a belly of jelly. It’s watching one hold out their hand to help the other get down a step. It’s the highest of highs: two babies laughing, two babies walking side-by-side, two babies holding hands. It’s the lowest of lows: two babies teething, double the diapers, two babies crying at once, a lot of refereeing. It’s constant comparison, despite your best efforts not to do it (and not to worry when one walks before the other, one is bigger than the other, one talks more than the other, one has more advanced motor skills…).
Ultimately, it’s actually really hard to put succinctly into words. But this is my life. The good and the bad. I wouldn’t change a thing.

10 thoughts on “On Having Twins

  1. Girl, all I can say is Amen!… You’re preaching to the choir!… You took the words right out of my mouth… etc., etc. lol! It’s nice to see someone happen to put my thoughts into words so eloquently.. and hilariously 😉

  2. I always enjoy coming across other sets of boy/girl twins. I think its so different then same sex twins, a totally different animal. I applaud you for giving birth naturally. I just didn’t have the courage to do it. Total coward. You’re about 5 months ahead of me I think. I’ll have to keep checking in to see what I’m in for!

    • Oh goodness, thank you. While it was my goal to have a natural birth, I ended up not having a choice in the matter–everything progressed REALLY fast (I won’t go into too much detail, but we were lucky to make it to the hospital in time). Crazy. But the only thing that matters is our kiddos are here and healthy, so no need for disappointment :).

      As for the next 5 months? It gets interesting as they get more confident/independent. I have two climbers on my hands…oh boy :)!

  3. Pingback: They Like Me. They Really Like Me. « Erin Writes

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