Recently, I scoured my local library for books about twins. I’m desperate to get my hands on any information, because, let’s face it, I’m scared shitless. There are no local chapters of any twin parenting groups. I don’t even know anyone who has had twins. Nor am I able to find much on the internet that isn’t completely frightening. (I’ve already convinced myself that either one twin is going to vanish or they are going to get twin-to-twin-transfusion.)
So, I headed to the library with high hopes and a desperate need for information. And this was the ONLY book I could find in the pregnancy and medical issues section. But, based on the cover, it looked like exactly what I needed. It claimed to be about “The Journey Through Pregnancy and Birth”
It wasn’t until I got home and started reading that I realized that it was by Jane Seymour. (If you, like me, don’t recognize the name at first glance, she was an actress, the star on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, a fact that is mentioned in just about every paragraph of this book.)
I’ll start gently here and say that overall this book was a lovely memoir-style account of her pregnancy with her beautiful twin boys. I’m sure they will enjoy reading it when they grow up. The rest of us, however…
I was looking for a practical guide to having twins. Medical tips and stories about twin pregnancy -and how it differs from singleton pregnancy- alongside tips about to deal with things like “What the hell do I do when they are both screaming?”
and ” How will I find time to take a shit?” and ” Will I ever sleep again?”
This book, while decently written, was completely unrealistic and unhelpful to the average, non-famous, non-wealthy person. In the beginning, when she talks about how she had a personal trainer to help keep her body in shape, I cringe. (There are sections with suggested exercises, which is about the only tidbit that might actually help the average person.)
When she talks about what to wear- which is an increasing concern for me, as regular maternity clothes don’t seem to be able to accommodate a twin belly- she discusses how her stylist helped keep her looking fabulous, and how the costume designer for her show would make her all of these handmade, tailored to her growing body outfits. That’s all well and good for her, but I’m going to be wearing muumuu’s here pretty soon.
Doctors hover at her beck and call, and her driver and ever attentive husband were there to cater to her every whim. Friends and fans and relatives sent her every possible item of baby gear she could imagine, and when she realized the bathroom off the room she “chose” for the nursery didn’t have a tub, only a shower, she had to “quickly get a bathtub installed” making sure it was wide enough to accommodate two children.
Seriously? Who lives like that? Most of us can barely afford our mortgages, let alone a quick last-minute remodel. We don’t choose our nurseries, we use whatever office, closet or hallway will fit them. If we have an emergency in the middle of the night, we go to the emergency room, our doctors do not come to work with us, nor are we able to afford to take blood pressure monitors and contraction straps home with us to monitor our pregnancies.
That last bit gets me the most. I almost died from pre-eclampsia the first time around. Having a monitor at home could have saved my life. But they just don’t give that stuff to normal people. You have to go to the doctor’s office or have someone check your blood pressure a few times a week and hope that you live through the days and weekends where it’s NOT checked.
In the real world, doctors don’t come to work with you, nor do they come to your baby showers. And, we have to actually buy all our baby gear ourselves. No one is going to do it for us. These kids are going to have a used, mismatched bedroom set, made up of whatever we can find on craigslist and at consignment stores. And then we have to pray that two cribs will even fit in the room we have to use for them.
I know I may sound like I am bitter because I don’t have the money and privilege that this woman had, but really, it’s just frustrating. I needed a book aimed at real people, with real solutions for real problems. Not something written by a woman who not only had a day nurse and a night nurse who did all of the twins night time feedings, apparently, but also had a special trailer at her work set up just for her kids, with a nanny, so she could work, but also have her children near her and well cared for. Do you know how many people dream of having a job with onsite daycare for their children? That they don’t have to pay exorbitantly for? Do you have any idea how much the average person struggles to pay for daycare for even one child, let alone two??
Speaking as someone who can’t afford to work, with just one child, because I’d make less than it costs for daycare, this makes me want to scream. It’s wonderful for her, but not at all helpful for those of us who live in reality. I can’t afford a night nurse. I AM the night nurse. And what I need are practical tips for how to survive that without losing my fucking mind in the process.
In my opinion, this book should have been in the “memoir” section. While being a decently written, easy read, it’s not even remotely helpful for the average person expecting twins and looking for practical tips, guidance, and help.
Does anyone out there know of any books that ARE?