Tuesday, January 8, 2013

An Introduction

I never set out to have three children under three years of age.  I thought I was being super adventurous when I convinced my husband to try for a second baby before our first son had turned two.  We were in seminary, and everyone around us was having babies close together (people do that; they have lots of babies when they're in seminary, even though it makes no financial sense since they are usually very poor and very busy). So, we decided to be like everyone else and have a second baby.  The joke was on me when I found out I was having twins.

I knew practically no one who either was a twin or who had had twins.  There were certainly no twins in my family.  The doctor's first question of, "Do twins run in your family?" was answered with an emphatic "NO," followed by a nervous laugh, followed by a shocked silence.  My husband's head was in his hands, and stayed there for the remainder of the appointment. 

Not knowing any twins or "moms of multiples" made me feel like I was the only person in the world going through this. Seemingly everyone can relate when you're pregnant, but I didn't know anyone else who'd experienced a twin pregnancy.  And what about when the babies were actually born?  Having THREE kids under three years of age?  That's crazy.  I might as well put on a long skirt and join the Duggar family.

A sense of loneliness followed me until I had the twins, when I realized that, in actuality, everyone either is a twin, has siblings who are twins, or has had two babies within a year of each other, which apparently is "practically the same as having twins."  One week I went to the grocery store with my two-year-old and the twins in a double stroller (always a fun way to meet new friends).  The woman behind me in the check-out line chatted with me about how her sisters were twins, and how she had hoped to have twins.  "Never had twins, but I did have six kids," she triumphantly told me.  As I loaded my groceries onto the belt, my checker said, "I was just telling your husband that I had my twins when my first baby was only 16 months old!" The previous week I had met a nice older couple whose twins were born and raised, who encouraged me that "it does get better," and the week before that, yet another woman approached me and simply said, "I had twins.  We all survived."  

When I wasn't feeling so lonely, I started to take a little pride in what I was going through.  Not many people are brave (crazy? blessed? cursed?) enough to have three kids this young, and that made me feel a little special.  I was quickly humbled when I realized that, again, I was in very good company.  The best illustration I can give for how common it is to be in my situation is to explain how hard it was to find a name for my blog.  My original (or, as it turns out, unoriginal) idea for the title was "Three Under Three."  This title, as well as the URL address, was taken.  Also taken were, "Life with 3 under 3," "Three Unda Three," "3 Under 3 and more" (yikes), and my personal favorite, "Three Under Two."

I was reminded of a prophet in the Bible named Elijah who became convinced that he was the only one left who was serving God.  When he cried out to the Lord, explaining how faithful he had been and how everyone else had turned away, God informed him that there were in fact seven thousand others who were still serving Him.  In other words, he really wasn't that special, and he really wasn't that alone. 

I've learned a lot of things in my nine months of pregnancy and my three months of having my three kids, but one important lesson is that, like Elijah, I am not all that special, and I'm not alone.  There are many other moms and dads out there who know exactly what I'm going through, or who have an even more challenging situation they're facing.

One thing all of those other parents can relate to is that there are good days and bad days.  On the good days, I look at my three diaper-clad sweethearts and feel so blessed I don't know what to do with myself.  As any Facebook friend of mine can attest to, I am crazy about my kids.  But my kids also drive me crazy.  On the especially difficult days, my mantra has been "if I can just survive this first year, everything will be fine." My occasionally wise husband (who did eventually pull his head out of his hands) reminds me that God didn't give me these children so I could just survive.  "God meant for you to thrive, Hannah."  He is absolutely right, and as this new year begins, I can't help but anticipate what it will bring.