About a month ago, I was asked to write a guest blog article for YourTango.com, a New York-based social/relationship website. Since then, Glo.com (a fashion and lifestyle online magazine owned by MSN.com), re-printed it for their site, and then on Monday, June 7th, this article was featured on the MSN.com Homepage. It was AMAZING to see it there, but alas, it only lasted for a few hours! Such as all news … it’s only new for a moment!
A few of my readers asked if I would please post the article on my blog, so here it is:
MARRIAGE & MULTIPLES: SURVIVING THREE SETS OF TWINS
by Fran Pitre, author of TWINS x 3
If someone had told me when I was 25 years old that one day my husband and I would be parents to three sets of twins, I would have laughed out loud. At the time—it was 1988— my husband Bruce and I had been married about three years. We were very much in love, building our relationship upon mutual trust, love, respect, humor and faith in God. We also had a very active, healthy and happy sex life, but we hadn’t yet decided it was time to start our family.
Some years later, we thought we were ready, and after several attempts at conceiving, we finally discovered that I was pregnant. What we didn’t expect (or plan for) was the news that we would be having twin baby girls.
They say that having a baby changes everything—and they’re right. For us the changes were multiplied by two (at least). Having never had one baby, we were suddenly the parents of two screaming, needy, demanding, exhausting little human beings who didn’t have any concern or regard for the fact that neither of their parents had slept or showered in days—or had even remembered to brush their teeth.
The first year following our daughters’ births was chaos. At times, I’d look in the mirror and hardly recognize myself. I’d gone from a 34B bra size to a 38DD—sounds nice, except that I was twenty pounds overweight and didn’t feel like myself at all. I’d evolved from a slender, sharp-dressed career woman to a mommy who wore “comfortable” clothes and no longer bothered with contact lenses.
By the time our girls were six months old, I knew the time had come to focus on weight loss, even though my husband, Bruce, insisted that motherhood agreed with me, and that I was very sexy. I suspected he wasn’t telling the whole truth.
In 1999, I became pregnant again … with triplets. This was NOT the plan, but do things ever play out as planned? Bruce and I did our best to wrap our brains around the reality of what we were facing, but I still I fell apart many times in the early days of my pregnancy. Bruce would sometimes find me sobbing on the couch, and he would assure me we’d get through it. My daughters, then four, would also bring me back to reality, reminding me that I didn’t have the time to cry and pity myself. I had to go on and care for my family.
Ultimately, we lost one of the babies at the end of my first trimester, but went on to deliver the other two healthily. And with two sets of twins, life was, to say the least, busy. Some days were so chaotic and tiring that one of us would sometimes find the other asleep in our daughters’ room following an attempt to settle them down, or we’d take turns sleeping in our guest room while the other was up all night with a screaming baby.
I thanked God every day that Bruce had such an even temperament, and that he was the hands-on dad that he still is today. Emotionally, I was all over the chart (especially during the early months following the babies’ births), but I knew that I could lean on Bruce because of his constant support, laughter and commitment to our family.
On occasion, I found myself thinking back to the days when it was just the two of us. We had less stress and pressure, had a whole lot more sleep, and a whole lot more sex! But then I’d realize that we were still happy, and that I wouldn’t want to change a thing about our lives. As for finding time for lovemaking… honestly, stealing away when the children are engrossed in a Disney movie gives way to the suspense of potentially being “caught,” which only makes our spontaneous encounters all the more exciting—and sometimes funny.
Once, one of our daughters walked in on us when Bruce had just gotten home from work. We had run off to our bedroom while the children were playing across the house in one of their bedrooms. Suddenly, the hall light streamed into our room, and we realized we were not alone! Bruce quickly told our daughter, “Honey, while Daddy was taking off his work clothes to put on his play clothes, he tripped and fell on Mommy who was sitting on the edge of the bed.” Our little girl, then 5, simply asked when dinner was. I told her “soon,” and she just turned around and left our doorway. Bruce and I burst into uncontrollable laughter.
Fast forward again to the spring of 2007, when we learned that I was pregnant again. We were completely surprised that I’d actually become pregnant again, but even more stunned to discover that we were, in fact, having our third set of twins. So, after another difficult pregnancy, our two youngest sons were born. We now had a girl/girl, a boy/girl, and a boy/boy—every conceivable twin combination.
This time around, however, I felt more than exhausted, more than emotional, more than overwhelmed; I was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. Several weeks went by as I tried to come out of it by myself. I woke in the night between breast feedings only to sob over the many challenges we were all facing. Bruce realized it was time to be leaned on yet again, and he stepped up. He supported me in all ways, including my decision to pursue help. And with time, patience and our matured mutual trust, love, respect, humor and faith in God, we got through another difficult challenge.
Today, our kids are 15, 10 and 2. We’re dealing with potty-ed and driver’s ed at the same time, and everyone is always going in different directions. Bruce and I are closer now than ever, having made it through so much together, and we cherish our quiet time alone.
As we have awesome, built-in babysitters, we often go out for a bite to eat and a walk on the beach (with our cell phones close at hand) so that we can talk, plan and enjoy each other’s company, as we always have. We also take time in the midst of the chaos to steal a quick embrace in the kitchen during dinner prep, at which point we often hear the kids say, “Ooooooh, Mommy and Daddy loooove each other!” I think this is a healthy example for our children to see. (Of course, they also know that we don’t always agree, because no two people always agree.)
I truly believe that if a person keeps himself or herself grounded in reality, keeps priorities in order, exudes a positive attitude, holds tightly to faith in God and finds the humor in everyday events, true happiness and contentment will naturally follow.
Bruce and I struggle day-to-day with finances, children getting sick, plans that fall through and with dreams that have not been fully realized, but we are committed to our marriage. Although we argue, disagree and have bad days (or weeks), we persevere and remember that we’re in this together—for better or for worse.
Does having three sets of twins make our marriage worse? Ask me some days, and I’ll say YES! But this is our life, and we know that we are all blessed with each other to laugh with, wrestle with, eat dinner with, share with and say good night to at the end of each day… and to be greeted by at the start of the next. *