I don’t claim to be a controversial person. Honestly, controversy makes me twitch uncomfortably.
The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy article in the New York Times Magazine has sparked tons of controversy among the multiples community and the Christian community.
If you don’t know anything about the article, here’s a quick summary:
Any woman going through assisted reproductive therapy (ART) knows there is a great chance of conceiving multiples. A growing trend among those twin pregnancies is to reduce the pregnancy from two babies to just one baby.
A quote from the article states:
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, one of the largest providers of the procedure, reported that by 1997, 15 percent of reductions were to a singleton. Last year, by comparison, 61 of the center’s 101 reductions were to a singleton, and 38 of those pregnancies started as twins.
So, about not being controversial….
I am the mama of twins.
Of course, my husband and I believe our girls are the most beautiful creatures to ever walk the planet.
As a stay-at-home mama, I’m the curator of these two priceless works of art.
I live the hard stuff. I had a rough pregnancy, and now I’m out-numbered with two toddlers. I can do hard things, I tell myself over, and over, and over.
Too, I see the joy; the gifts Brynne and Hadley’s very being is to our lives. Just last night we watched the girls make a game out of kissing each other in the bathtub. Giggles galore!
My heart swells, and the hard stuff fades.
If you haven’t stopped to read the article, this is how it starts out:
As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt.
I’m all for grace, and seeking understanding. I’ve never walked in Jenny’s shoes. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be her. What’s described above sounds gut-wretching to experience. In fact, it leaves me on the verge of tears.
But not for Jenny.
Jenny’s decision was based on a lifestyle choice:
Jenny’s decision to reduce twins to a single fetus was never really in doubt. The idea of managing two infants at this point in her life terrified her. She and her husband already had grade-school-age children, and she took pride in being a good mother. She felt that twins would soak up everything she had to give, leaving nothing for her older children.
I think about the twin who gets to live without knowing the joy of playing kissing games in the bathtub.
Because, he (or she) is a twin, even if he’s the only one living.
Okay, so I am sad for Jenny too. I think about what she’s missing, what she lacked the courage to experience. Those kissing games in the bathtub are priceless. My daughters are masterpieces.
Jenny didn’t just destroy a shadow on an ultrasound, she destroyed a masterpiece.
We have a dear friend with a 3D/4D ultrasound business. From the time our girls were 12 weeks, their celebrity status rivaled those Twilight kids. We, the paparazzi, desperately wanted to see the two works of art God was knitting in my womb, to see to see their little faces.
I want to show you some of the pictures from when the girls were 14 weeks. Our masterpieces.
I can’t help but wonder what Jenny’s decision would have been if she’d seen her little ones this way.
This makes me so sad. I picture all the moments we have with our girls, watching them grow together and seperately and try to wonder how I could live without either one of them.
I really ADORE how you said that you tell yourself that you can do hard stuff and I love this post!
Yep, I’ve heard about the article but haven’t read it. Hearing about it is enough for me, I think.
After years of IUI’s, and IVF’s, and 3 miscarriages, I spent the first half of my twin pregnancy just terrified that I’d LOOSE one! I guess I never even considered the reduction. I feel like we were truly blessed to have two. But, I will honestly say that if we had three, we would have probably considered it mostly for financial reasons. So while I hate the very thought of reduction (it literally makes me feel queasy), I can’t judge anyone for having done so.
Just my take. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your perspective, pj, and for your kind words 🙂
When Amanda had posted the original article from the New York Times Magazine on the Multiples and More facebook page, there were several people who commented that they either had reduced, or would have if they’d had larger pregnancies.
So, question–are reductions always done at 14 weeks? That just seems awfully far along.
I have 5 week old twin boys and I couldn’t imagine my life with just one of them. They are both already so unique and special and love being together, I am looking forward to many evenings full of bath tub giggles! When I was pregnant I lived for the ultrasounds, I would count down the days until we would see our two again. I cannot tell you how special it was to see God knitting our precious boys together week by week. It is not my place to judge anyone for their decisions, but it truly saddens me. Although I am still in the sleep deprived, overwhelmed, newborn twin haze I wouldn’t have it any other way. Two may be hard and there may be days I just want to sit in a corner and cry, but hard things bring great reward and these two little ones already bring so much joy to my life! I cannot wait for all the fun and laughter we will get to experience by having the opportunity to be parents to these amazing little boys!
i just read your article and i love the way you talk about your girls. you are right in saying that they are masterpieces. they truly are and such a blessing. all babies are a blessing.
i have been truly blessed as i have a 5 year old little boy. a set of twin girls that will be 3 in november and i’m currently pregnant with another set of twin girls that are due october 25th. i have never had to do any kind of fertility, i just get pregnant. like i said, i am truly blessed. i love watching my girls and the closeness they share. they are amazing.
this pregnancy was not a planned pregnancy and when we went for our first ultrasound i can say i felt more than overwhelmed to find out it was another set of twins but the thought of getting rid of either of them would never cross my mind. when we told people we were pregnant with twins again we got so many comments like “wow, if you’re happy then i’m happy for you… i guess”, “OMG, what are you going to do?” and so many more comments that i can’t even think of right now. my answer, it is what it is and we’ll make it work. yeah, i have my moments of OMG, 5 little ones 5 and under and feeling overwhelmed and scared to death but you know what, i wouldn’t change it for anything in the world! i’m also not a young spring chicken as i will be 38 years old next week.
i was also pregnant in august of 09′ (another set of twins) that i miscarried at 8 1/2 weeks and i can honestly say that i was completely devastated when i lost them. i wasn’t ready to have another newborn yet alone two more. my son had just turned 3 and my twin girls were just 9 months old but again, we would have made it work.
that people make the decision to get a reduction just makes me sad. i didn’t read the whole article, just what you have written from the article and that is enough for me. i can’t imagine how you pick which one keep and which one to get rid of. then i would think there is an enormous amount of wondering what if and guilt as you watch your little blessing grow and think about the one that isn’t here any more. it’s just sad that so many people choose to do a reduction.
I had not read this article yet…broke my heart. My twins would be different little people without each other. They came out intertwined and couldn’t sleep without being attached and using each others hands (and sometimes face) as a pacifier. They had their own language. They are best friends. They are partners in crime. They are confident toddlers because they have a built in safety net at there side 24/7.
Twins are a miracle… and I think they in some ways are easier than singletons. They entertain each other and have someone other than you to play with. I can do things my singleton mama friends can’t because my twins can play while I get things done:)
I am sad for the days ‘Jenny’ will look at her beautiful child and know that there is a missing piece that should have been there… 🙁
We have 15 month old triplets and the day we found out that we were pregnant with them we were “advised” to reduce. Our way of thinking was “if we were blessed with three then there’s a reason and God wouldn’t give us more than we can handle”! Since most of these multiples pregnancy are due to fertility treatments, these people should already have an understanding of the possibilities and responsiblities of more than one child rather than using the excuse of “I only wanted one and can’t handle more than that”. If you are going to go through all of that heartache to get pregnant why on earth would you take any of those blessings away! These people need to start taking responsiblity for their choices instead of the easy way out and what’s being “advised” to them by a doctor who has more than likely not been put in that situation themselves.
Our twins were natural and a surprise. I had gone in for an ultrasound to see if I was miscarrying, and found out I had two very much alive babies. My grief at the thought that I was losing a baby (no fault of my own) is difficult to describe. I can’t think of choosing to reduce my multiple pregnancy with anything less than abhorance. Having twins has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but the joy of watching them together completely outweighs it.
We have quads. Reduction was offered to us by my doctor. Before my husband and I even decided to go the route of fertility treatments we decided what we would do. Reduction was never even an option for me. I had decided that I would take my chances with what I had been given. I look at my four healthy beautiful children and sometimes think to myself ‘What if I had reduced to two? Which two would I be without right now?’ Another thing tht crossed our minds was what if you reduce and then don’t have a ‘healthy’ baby. Would you spend that child’s life wondering about the baby you didn’t keep? It’s a lot to think about, especially when you’re body is raging with pregnancy (and fertility treatment) hormones.
Wow, Taryn! That is a lot to consider–so much. I appreciate hearing from you, as that was a decision that you had to face head on.