From the beginning of our relationship, we knew we wanted children. Each of us had moved up the ladder with relative ease in our chosen career fields, so we naïvely thought the most difficult thing about getting pregnant would be making the decision to do it. We were wrong. First one of us tried, then the other, with no success. And then, all at once, we were both pregnant: on the same day, with the same donor, and with due dates that fell three days apart. Immediately, every single person we knew had one question: “How are the two of you going to do this?” Easy, we thought—there are two of us. One of us would run errands. The other would offer foot rubs. We’d rotate the late-night dog walks and order every meal in. Since we’d conquered the music business and the publishing industry, a little morning sickness would be a piece of cake, right? We pictured a sort of pregnancy fire brigade, each of us pitching in to help the other until we got too big, at which point we would … well, we hadn’t thought that far. “Let’s just celebrate!” we told our friends and family.
And thank God for our friends and family! It’s like they knew when asking us the fateful question of how we were going to do this, the real answer was “You’ll be helping us, sillies!” By the time we were in our ninth month, our home had a revolving door on it—with mothers delivering meals, siblings lugging baby shower loot, fathers assembling things they never knew existed, and friends dog-sitting and driving us to appointments.
Our grand delusions about the joys of pregnancy were squelched by the second trimester. Between the two of us, we experienced every pregnancy-related ailment listed on www.Babycenter.com., from numb hands to swollen ankles to inappropriately timed laughter. “I knew this was going to be fun,” one of us would mumble sarcastically in bed, and the other would mutter, “I just had no idea how much fun,” finishing the sentiment. Then we would roll over and snuggle with our individual body pillows.
But with our unlikely twins growing inside of us, every moment of those nine months taught us more about life—and our relationship—than any baby book, therapy session, or birth doula could. We learned, for example, that our mothers are always right. We learned that God has not come up with a better way to get a baby out than to have the body turn itself inside out like a tight-fitting pair of your favorite Jordache jeans from 1984. And that homeopathic remedies like moxibustion and traditional therapies like Pitocin and epidurals all work—depending on your definition of the word “work.”
This book is our family’s personal story. But in many ways, it’s a story for anyone who has ever taken a pregnancy test and felt the heart-wrenching disappointment of a negative result. It’s for families who would go to any lengths to conceive a child. It’s for anyone who has ever been told their way of life is not acceptable. But mostly, it’s for any woman who has fervently wished that her partner could just understand what it was like to be pregnant. Let this book be your empathetic partner, because our story redefines what it means to walk in another person’s shoes. Trust us, we’ve been there … Times Two.
© 2011 Kristen Henderson and Sarah Kate Ellis