Twenty-Seven Weeks, Six Days ~ September 3, 2004
~ Backing up and Trying Again
We did a visualization/script in my HypnoBirthing class that kind of threw me. It was a bonding exercise, where you go in and see what things are like from baby's perspective.
Well, one baby was fine. The other... the other kind of felt like it wasn't entirely sure of its welcome.
Intellectually, that makes sense - I wasn't EXPECTING twins, I wasn't PLANNING for twins, and twins did come as something of a shock.
But emotionally and even spiritually, getting that 'sense' from one of them broke my heart. I don't want any child of mine to feel uncertain of me, to not know for sure if it is welcome in my heart and my arms. I couldn't help crying at the sense that I had not made the effort to explicitly welcome that baby, at least not as much as I had the one I'd anticipated. All my early work on welcoming the pregnancy was definitely aimed at ONE baby, not two. The 'sneaking in' I was prepared for, the space I made in my life, my expectations, my heart, my hopes and dreams - all for one baby.
So what about the other?
It isn't automatic, expanding that to two babies. They aren't just one bigger baby, or a unit that is somehow two babies combined into one. It is two separate individuals, two beings, two hearts, two bodies, two minds, two souls. Two separate personalities, two separate sets of needs, life paths, talents, graces, weaknesses, charms. Two unique sets of lessons for a mother to learn.
I had to back up and try again. Open up that space in my heart - not automatically, but intentionally. It was already open-ish, and certainly there was no block, no negative, no sense of non-welcome. Just not as much full welcome as I'd extended to the 'expected' baby.
Beyond that, I'd always, all my life, expected three kids. Three boys, the ones I'd met in my dreams. I never expected anything different from that. And to paraphrase my mom, nothing hurts so much as violated expectations. And nothing will throw you so much as violated expectations, even when they're broken in a good way.
So, now, I have to go back and re-write the messages in my heart. Re-accept the whole pregnancy, as a twin pregnancy. Re-welcome the two of them, equally. The feeling I have of them is definitely different, between the two - there is one that is 'known' to me, and another that is not. One I welcome as an old friend, the other I welcome as a gift. This second twin, the unexpected grace... perhaps the girl I never thought I'd have, or perhaps a boy that I equally never thought I'd have. Or hey, maybe both will be girls and completely throw me for a loop... but still, I have the sense that one is the one I knew in childhood, and the other is new to me, unknown from this direction, though who knows how long her soul has been watching mine.
It hurt a lot to feel that I had not welcomed them equally. And yes, I do think that is true - just in simple time investment, half my pregnancy was focussed on one child, and only one. More, I felt that the expected child had felt a need to protect the unexpected one from my dismay over the surprise. Suddenly, the fact that twin A is curled around twin B in an arc, and twin B is balled up within that curve no longer translated as 'twin A is taking up a lot of space and not leaving much for B'... instead, it is twin A making a sheltering curve for B, and B is curled into that protection. A more positive relationship between the two, in image, though one I don't want them to HAVE to rely on. It is my job to protect them. Both of them. If they choose to do that on their own, as well, that's okay - but I want it to be in addition to knowing fully and deeply, that I am there for each of them, as much as any other of my children.
It hasn't taken long to adjust, really - but I did have to back up and start over. Funny, for someone who knows full well that life is full of cycles, and that we often have to re-run over old ground to find our way forward, it took me by surprise. But there is another season within this pregnancy, still, and more time to prepare the ground in this garden of family. I have two trees to plant instead of one, so I have to look around and find the perfect place for both of them, rearrange the other things in the garden to make space, shift a few plans, postpone a few others... but I refuse to let this one sit unplanted or untended any longer. They're both mine, and they both belong here.
Welcome, little one, you are truly welcome. Yes, it will change what I expected of my life, but it will only make this garden more beautiful. You were a gift I never expected, but I am sure you will grow and bloom in wonderful ways. The joy of that is something unexpected in the best sense - a true gift.