This year, my “baby” brother graduated from high school. As he is getting ready for his first semester of college, I am thinking back to that summer, my emotions, and how it is eerily similar to being pregnant with twins.
Tim and I had just started dating that past April, and we graduated in June. We had both decided on our colleges: him to Virginia Tech with regular decision, me to Vanderbilt after getting accepted through early decision in December (we made our decisions long before we started dating). Then we started dating, despite our better judgement (we didn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship when we went away to college). Regardless, some feelings you can’t deny, so we went with it. We both fell hard (and never broke up once throughout our first year apart- or our whole relationship).
Ok, none of that relates to pregnancy, but I had to fill in some personal history.
So, let’s look at a comparison:
1. Graduation: In the fall, she is excited about the prospects of so many amazing experiences in college. The whole idea of college is filled with so much intrigue. I’m going to meet so many new people! I can reinvent myself! I am going to be the best ME I can be and find myself! AND I GET TO GET AWAY FROM MY PARENTS!
Pregnant with Twins: When she first decides that she wants to have a baby and finds out that she is pregnant, she is so excited about all of the “fun” things that go along with having a baby: nursery decorating, baby showers, cuteness, giggles, “playing house.” She doesn’t think about the lack of sleep, stretch marks, body and mental pains, heartache, etc. It is all sunshine and roses.
2. Graduation: Then she has to apply to said colleges, and she gets overwhelmed with the details. How am I going to finish all of this while still being a high school senior, have family time, be with my friends, do my after-school activities? I can’t do this!
Pregnant with Twins: Then, she has the moment of being overwhelmed (especially when she finds out that it is twins). Oh my gosh, this isn’t what I planned. I always imagined my life with one baby at a time. How am I going to go to the grocery store/mall/airport? How will they fit in the car? Do I have the finances to make this work? Can I really deal with TWO babies at a time?
3. Graduation: Then, she starts getting closer to the end of the applications. Oh my gosh, I see the light! I can SO do this!
Pregnant with Twins: As the morning (or in my case: all-day) sickness ends, she slowly starts to come out of her shield of terror… Oh my gosh, I see the light! I can SO do this!
4. Graduation: Then she hits “Send.” Oh wow, I’m done! I feel so fantastic!
Pregnant with Twins: Then, she is totally done with the morning (all-day) sickness. She literally feels like Superwoman. Oh wow, I’m done! I feel so fantastic! Give me some french fries!
5. Graduation: Then comes the waiting game. Oh crap, what if they don’t like me? Should I have included XYZ in my essay? I forgot to tell them about ABC! Oh my gosh, I’m not going to get into any college. I’m going to have to work at the drive-thru of a fast food chain. I’m never going to be a doctor/lawyer/vet/dream job!
Pregnant with Twins: Then comes the waiting game as she has to wait in between appointments. Are my babies okay? I can’t feel them. I feel a cramp. Is that normal? My back isn’t hurting. It’s supposed to be hurting. Something is probably wrong. I really need to take my prenatal vitamins, but I can’t get them down. Am I going to hurt my babies? I’m so worried. I’m never going to be a good mom!
6. Graduation: Then, after having to wait for what seems like forever, she gets her first letter. Of course, it is from a safety school, but it is still an acceptance! OH MY GOSH! I CAN GO TO COLLEGE!!!
Pregnant with Twins: Finally, after what feels like a long wait, she gets to go into another ultrasound to see her babies. Look at the head, the brain, the hands, the backbone, the feet. They are so active!
7. Graduation: Then, she gets her first rejection. Why me? What is wrong with me? Why didn’t they like me?
Pregnant with Twins: Then she starts second-guessing herself again as a mom.
8. Graduation: Then she gets the letter from her dream school. This is the big one. She opens it, reading “Congratulations!…” Yippee!!!!! That is the one I wanted.
Pregnant with Twins: Finally, the big day when she gets her gender scan. Is it two boys, two girls, one of each? After what feels like laying forever on the table with an ever-full bladder, the ultrasound tech says, “Congratulations! Baby A is a … and Baby B is a …” Tears ensue. Yippee!!!!! That is what I wanted!
9. Graduation: She thinks about her options and makes her choice. Did I make the right decision? Is this what I wanted? Will I fit in?
Pregnant with Twins: Now that she knows the gender of her babies, she can really start the “fun” part of pregnancy. This also includes maternity clothes, since she is probably starting to show her bump at this point. What color will the nursery be? What will be the theme? How will I coordinate two genders in one room? With maternity clothes, do I want to wear flowy clothes or show off that bump? Will people think I’m pregnant or just fat?
10. Graduation: Then comes the month and days leading up to graduation. Every person asks her, “Are you excited?” and she replies, “Oh, I’m thrilled about it!” When what she is really thinking is: I AM TERRIFIED! Why am I the only high school senior in the world that is feeling this way? All of my friends are so excited, and I am going to be miserable. How are they so ready, and I’m so NOT ready?
Pregnant with Twins: When people find out that she is pregnant, they have a series of questions that they ask (typically in this order too): 1. When are you due? Well, I’m due on ___, but since it is twins, they will probably come about a month early. 2. Twins?!? Which side of the family has twins? (The easy answer, although it has no genetic link) Both of our sides have twins. 3. Are you excited? Yes, we are thrilled!(which is sometimes true and sometimes a bold-faced lie) 4. Well, get your sleep now. I have a friend who has twins/triplets/quads… (continues with some horror story). (She thinks: Oh, great. That was JUST what I needed to hear from someone that has absolutely no idea what I’m going through and how different a twin pregnancy is from a singleton.) She says: Oh, that’s nice.
11. Graduation: Finally, graduation and summer. At about the end of June, she starts to get excited again as she fights with her mom about every little thing (I believe that this is a natural progression that helps the daughter and mother break their tight bond and separate more naturally in the fall). She attends summer orientation and actually meets some potential new friends. She realizes how her high school friends are starting to separate from her as well. Wow. I actually AM excited about this!
Pregnant with Twins: Now, as I’m not quite at this point yet, I cannot say how I will be feeling, but I think it is going to go something like this: My back hurts. My stomach hurts. My bladder hurts. My feet are swollen. I’m hot. I’m tired. But I have these two miracles growing inside of me. Wow. I actually AM excited about this!
12. Graduation: Then, about a week leading up to the big move, she gets a wave of terror again, followed by a sense of peace and innumerable butterflies (basically every emotion under the sun). Can I really do this? Will this work out? What did I get myself into? What am I talking about? GET ME TO THAT COLLEGE!
Pregnant with Twins: Again, not at this point in the pregnancy (gearing up for labor), but here is my guess: Can I really do this? Will this work out? What did I get myself into? What am I talking about? GET THOSE BABIES OUT OF ME! I WANT TO BE A MOMMY!
So, really, soon-to-be college freshman and preggy mommas-to-be, did I get it right? Or was I totally off the mark? It’s actually pretty eery how the feelings lined up (for me at least).