I’m a worrier.
In elementary school my teachers wrote the maximum time I was allowed to spend on a homework assignment on the top of my worksheets. In Girl Scouts I was known for fretting over budgets instead of activities when planning trips. In college I did test walks to my classes to assure myself I wouldn’t get lost. I’d rather sit in my car in a parking lot for 20 minutes, early for an appointment, than show up on time or, worse, show up late.
Most new moms, if they’re being honest, will tell you the first few months with a newborn are difficult. For me, they were almost impossible. Suddenly I wasn’t worrying about a grade or a budget or directions or showing up on time. I was worrying about a life—a tiny, helpless, beautiful human life. I was recovering from a C-section. I was sick with some bug. I was having trouble nursing. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I cried, constantly. Time, support, love from my husband, parents, friends and Sophie—along with a little, daily pill—ended up helping me.
My OB said I should expect to deliver the twins sometime around the end of May. For most people spring, when we haven’t even begun to experience the cold, dark days of winter, seems so far away. For me, it feels like next week. And as is in my nature, the worrying—along with the deep excitement—has begun.
So here is my list of twin-related worries that have been occupying my brain day and, lately sleepless, nights:
• I have two arms but will have three children.
• I live in a 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom/one-bath house that no one seems to want to buy.
• Someone will eventually buy our house and, before we find/move into a new, larger house, I’ll be put on bed rest or, worse, will be in labor.
• I nursed Sophie for 13 months and, for most of those months, I often felt like that’s all I did. Multiply that times two.
• This week at the grocery store I saw a shopping cart that can hold four(!) children. To me, this is society’s way of telling me it’s possible. But the logistics of it makes my head hurt.
• We use cloth diapers with Sophie most of the time. And we’re always behind on laundry. I can only imagine the number of loads we’ll have to do not per week—but per day—when two more babies are added to the mix.
• I’ve always wanted to experience a natural birth. Sophie was breech, so I had to have a C-section. Already I’m hearing a C-section with twins is the more likely scenario. And this saddens me.
• Here we are in front of our new-to-us Subaru, purchased early 2008. Come May 2009, it will be too small.
• I will be a mini-van driver.
• I’m not quite sure when I’ll shower.
• I’m not quite sure when I’ll eat.
• I’m not quite sure when I’ll sleep.
• I worry about the lack of attention Sophie will get, no matter how hard I try to make sure she feels as loved, as cared for, as wanted and needed and important as she is now.
• I’m grateful for my freelance work, which exercises my brain, allows me adult interaction and helps pay the bills. But I’m not quite sure how I’ll manage the same workload with two more mouths to feed, bottoms to change and brains to stimulate.
• When all three children are crying I wonder how I will know who to comfort first and how bad it will be when I, inevitably, start crying, too.
• I’m concerned with the fact that I’m already in maternity jeans. I mean, really, how big am I to become?
• I worry about the first sleepless, worry-and-joy-filled crazy year going so painfully slow and yet, at the same time, so painfully fast.
• I worry this list is already much too long and that I’m coming across as ungrateful when I truly realize how lucky—very lucky—I am.
I realize every single one of these worries has a response. And, deep down, I know I know them all. Many parents have raised happy and healthy children in houses as small (and much smaller) as ours. It’s OK to let things go and know that I may have to have a C-section, I may have to use more disposable diapers than I like, I may have to supplement with formula. I will (eventually—right?) sleep. Sophie will feel loved. And in the end, like every other mother of twins (and more!) I’ve talked to, I know, looking back, I will have not want to have changed a thing.
But blame my nature. Blame my hormones. Blame the makeup ad I saw in Elle magazine today of a beautiful, perfectly-put-together-model-like mom smiling and holding newborn twins. I worry. And worry and worry and worry. I just hope that, in the next 6-1/2 months, my overwhelming excitement overtakes my daily list of worries and always-joy sets in.
“That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” —Chinese Proverb