Saturday, March 15, 2014

Double Trouble or Twice as Nice?

I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure the birth rate in my community dropped when word got out that we were expecting the twins a few years ago. Everyone knew the pregnancy was a surprise and I imagine a low rumble of nervousness snaked it’s way into the conversations of mothers who, like me, had their hands way too full to imagine surviving an unexpected twin pregnancy.
I remember being bombarded with questions like, “Was the pregnancy really a surprise?”, “Do twins run in your family?”, and “What are you going to do?”.

Amazed at the audacity of some inquirers I often answered in short, semi-rude quips hoping to avoid discussions about my reproductive abilities; “Yes, we were surprised”, “No, twins didn’t run in our family”, and “Thank you for pointing out how hard having five children will be. I’ll sleep so much better tonight now that you've reminded me I’m in over my head.” 
Looking back, I do however wish I had a dollar every time I was asked if I knew what we were having (babies, duh!). I suppose people really wanted to know if we were having boys or girls, fraternal or identical twins. I should have stared a pool; odds four to one the babies were fraternal and two to one if I had a boy and a girl. However, in this gamble the bet would be placed on my behalf so that I could keep all the winnings. Unfair you say? Well, as the one who actually funded the diaper expenses of those two kids I can assure you I needed every penny I could get my hands on. 

Twins didn’t just happen to our family though. If you've thought that multiple births are more common lately you’d be right. I did a little investigating and it turns out about one in every 30 women that goes into labor comes out with two babies.

It gets worse, for example, did you know the more children a woman has the more likely she is to have twins? Older mothers are more susceptible to multiple birth pregnancies as well and a woman in her 30’s is much more likely to have twins that a mother in her 20’s. However, a woman in her 40’s is much, much more likely to have a set than a 30 year old. In addition, if you've already had a set of twins, your chances of having another set quadruples. Yikes! Add to that research indicators stating that taller or overweight women are more likely to have twins than thin, short women.

In other words, I was doomed.

Contrary to popular belief identical twinning doesn't always skip a generation. Identical twins are more likely to be stroke of luck (if you want to call it that) rather than heredity.  To make matters more intense, if you are a fraternal twin your chance of having twins increases to one in 17 births. You can be sure I’ll be quick to tell my daughters this fact if they even think about becoming sexually active before I, I mean they, are ready for parenthood.

Having a set of twins was a most shocking revelation but it turns out, as with most things, even the most unexpected turn of events can work out for the good. While we are larger than your average family I would confess there are some huge upsides to big family living.

Primarily, I think we have a lot of fun. With so many personalities and varying ages between us there is always activity and laughs. Which almost makes up for the financial burden and premature grey hair. Almost. Why? Because I'm the mom and I said so. That's why!

This article appears in The Daily Review Atlas as a part of a weekly series entitled "Practical Parenting". Other articles in the series can be accessed at this link. For more information about Parent Education services or to contact me about speaking at your event send an email to starski(at)

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