Monday, February 26, 2007

The Double-Edged Sword

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about twins and the thoughts you have about them when you find out you need infertility treatments. I’ve been surprised to see how many people always dreamed of having twins before they even knew they needed treatment that would increase their chances. I’ve always wanted twins, but I am alone in this sentiment in my family. Twins are so common in my family that most of my relatives are hoping they’ll dodge that particular bullet. (It’s funny when people ask me the “are they natural?” question, because I’ve never considered twins to be anything but.) My mom is not shy about saying how relieved she was about having just one baby at a time. My sister has said that her biggest fear would be having twin boys. For me, it was the coolest thing growing up with so many twins in my immediate family, and I wanted a set of my own. My mom says I’m the only one out of the three of us that could handle twins—which is pretty much the biggest compliment she’s ever given me.

Even with the history of twins on my mother’s side of the family (the side that is supposed to pass it down genetically), I always knew that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too high about having twins myself. Wanting twins was like wanting a pony. I could hope, dream, fantasize, even pray—but I knew the chances of me actually getting what I wanted were very, very slim.

So I drew the infertility card before drawing the twin card. But I got what I wanted, right? Well, I don’t know. Is the pain of infertility worth the dream come true of twins? If I were in “The Mat.rix” and could take the red pill, wake up with no infertility problems, and go on to have healthy singleton babies rather than continue on my current path, carrying my dream twins in my womb but also shouldering the weight of infertility, would I take it? Would you?????

There are many clichés that can go along with this. Stuff about not being able to know great joy without knowing great pain, and the idea that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I am stronger. I am so much more appreciative of what I have. But ignorance is bliss, right?

Infertility is a huge wound that H and I are still nursing. It opens up every time we’re faced with an insensitive comment about fertility treatments, a friend who has gotten pregnant on the first try, and the occasional thoughtless Starbucks cup. Am I a survivor of infertility because the odds came out in my favor and my IVF cycle worked? I think I’ll only be a true survivor when I can say that I’d flush that red pill down the toilet and embrace the experience I’ve been through 100 percent, the good and the bad.

Which would mean no more lying about my twins being natural. But I’m just not there yet.


Linlee said...

I'm with you. I wouldn't give up my experience either. As much as it hurt at the time it brought my husband and I much closer and made me more appreciative of what's to come.

laura said...

I don't consider it lying if you tell people they are "natural" ... it's brazen and out of line for anyone to ask in the first place. I always get the impression that is what people really want to know when they ask "Are there twins in your family?" or "Were you surprised when you found out you were having twins?" I always say "there are now" to the first question, and "Of course, who wouldn't be?" to the second. It seems like as the twins have gotten a bit older people ask directly about fertility treatment less. But boy did they when I was pregnant and when they were newborns!

I think it's so exciting that you do have this wonderful history of twins in your family. Aside from fulfilling a dream of yours (one I can freely admit I never had!), you have people surrounding you with a wealth of knowledge and helpful advice, which you will absolutly need, no matter how much you prepare! Consider yourself lucky, in many ways.

YouGuysKnow said...

I hear you on all of this!

Em said...

I have a few friends who conceived twins naturally but I think nowadays, people just assume multiples are a result of IVF/fertility treatment.