April 20, 2021
"Mothering is a Twofold Job"
by Megan Karp
When I tell my husband how badly I want to be a mother, he reminds me that I already am. I am a mother to our twin boys, Dax and Oliver, who passed away when I was halfway through my pregnancy late last year.
I’ll never forget that routine ultrasound—I was excited, as all mothers are, to see my babies. To me, the boys looked healthy – growing bigger, moving around in my womb.The doctor’s energy was different this time though.
Is something wrong? I asked. The doctor said he’d prefer to not answer until the ultrasound was completed.To me, his lack of answer was an answer in itself: yes, something is wrong.
When the ultrasound concluded, the doctor called my husband up to the room to let us know that our boys had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) – a rare condition that occurs when identical twins share a single placenta. In essence, Dax, our Twin B,received more nourishment from the placenta than Oliver, Twin A, which caused developmental problems in both boys.
Both boys, we were told, would die unless I received an immediate invasive uterine surgery. This high-risk operation didn’t guarantee any survival, but if it was successful, I would need to be on bed rest the remainder of my pregnancy. While we had less than 24 hours to process all of this information, the choice was easy for me, I was (and will forever be) willing to do whatever it takes to protect my children.
I received the surgery two days later, and immediately after, we lost Oliver. I’ll never forget watching his heart stop beating on the ultrasound, directly after surgery, my husband’s hand in mine. After ten days of bedrest, we lost Dax due to further complications that stemmed from surgery.
Of course, this summary of plain facts provide zero justice or illustration for the darkness we experienced in effort to save, and ultimately lose, both of our precious sons. Days before their death, we saw our boys sucking their thumbs, kicking their legs,making expressions in the womb. We fell in love with our children, and in a matter of two weeks, we went from looking at cribs to cremation.
The scars on my heart and body remind me of the lessons my boys taught me—unconditional love, devotion, forgiveness. This Mother’s Day, though, I reflect on a special lesson my boys taught me: that motherhood is a twofold job. In essence, being a mother isn’t solely about mothering my offspring. I have to mother myself too. I have to remind myself that everything will be okay, no matter how hard it all seems. I have to remind myself to live in love, not fear, and to never take what matters most for granted. I have to remind myself that, through the darkness, there is opportunity to level up into a stronger and more loving human being.
To all the mothers out there, including those with scars, you are loving, you are strong,you are powerful.
Happy Mother’s Day.
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