“I Am Not Happy About It:” A family dreading twins reflects the selfishness of our culture


Holding up a mirror to a culture that has become selfish, soft, and sad.

The author's twin brothers, at age one, in 1989. Hence the mullets. Cody on the left, Eric on the right.

The author’s twin brothers, at age one, in 1989. Hence the mullets. Cody on the left, Eric on the right.

A recent post on HuffPo has gone viral, being reposted mostly by people who can’t believe what they just read. A man, if you can call him that, writing under the pen name Albert Garland wants you to know: “My Wife Is Expecting Twins and I Am Not Happy About It.”

This article is an excellent example of what we mean when we say “first-world problems.” Even as it starts, I know I am about to read something steeped in a viewpoint warped and twisted by selfishness. It begins thusly:

I’ve been doing some spying lately, casually asking friends and acquaintances about their experiences with having twins.

A buddy from college said of the first year: “Think of the worst thing you can imagine. That’s what it was like.”

We’re two sentences in, and I’m already gaping at my monitor. When I think of “the worst thing” I can imagine, my mind immediately leaps to children with leukemia, extreme poverty, famine, murdered children. That type of thing. What decidedly does not leap to mind is “parenting two infants.”

I’m already thinking about my mother. She found herself, a divorced single mother of two with a GED and a job in food service, pregnant with twins at age 27. And then parenting us all alone. But I’ll get to that.

We’re just getting started with this mind-blowing article.

A former colleague was more blunt: “Twins were always my worst nightmare.”

And now it’s my and my wife’s nightmare; we’re expecting twins this August.

Horror of horrors.

Not only did these disgusting people get pregnant on purpose; they did IVF on purpose. That’s right: they paid a doctor $10,000 to put those two embryos in this awful man’s wife.

In the parsimonious manner of postmodern family planners, they decided to have one more child for their toddler son. A girl, of course, since they had a boy already. (What made them think they could select the gender? An inflated sense of the power of their own wishes, perhaps?) The old-fashioned way didn’t work (they’re in their late 30s), and IUI (intra-uterine insemination) didn’t work. So the next step was the $10,000-a-pop crap-shoot of IVF, in-vitro fertilization.

It worked. But, dadgum it, wouldn’t you just know it – she came up pregnant with twins. Twin boys. Can you even imagine such suffering?

Here is the part of the article that makes you realize that if you’re reading the thoughts of a normal man, we need to seriously reevaluate our definition of “normal.”

As horrible as this might sound, we found ourselves wishing these twins away.

We considered a reduction for about 30 seconds. (That’s essentially an abortion of one twin, not both.) If you thought that IVF involved playing God, a reduction felt beyond brazen — Machiavellian, even. Give us a reason, we thought, as we had the twins tested for genetic anomalies. None came.

I have no comment. There’s nothing I can say.

The loving father goes on to talk about how horrible his son made his life.

When our first son was born, I was naïve. I remember thinking it was going to be nice to be home for a while and have some time off. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Those first six weeks were brutal. Then the colic arrived. Two months later, we were shattered, frazzled, damaged. … Three years later, we still struggle mightily with a boy who’s fiercely strong-willed and seems to inherently know that crying pushes our buttons.

Does anybody else want to put this guy through, I don’t know, Army Basic Training or something? Yes, I have no doubt that parenting a baby with colic is hard. But “damaged”? Seriously? And three years later, you “struggle” with your three-year-old son? Maybe it’s because you’re terrible parents. Just a thought.

So tell me how this isn’t going to suck. (Did I mention we live in a one-bedroom apartment?) Sure, in 10 years I could have close to a starting five of super-athletic, NBA-hopeful alpha males living under my roof smelling up the joint. But right now it’s hard for us to see twins as good news.

First: maybe you should live somewhere where you can afford more than one bedroom. Second: way to embrace the eugenics mentality of valuing the lives of your children only if and when they’re useful to you. If none of them become NBA-hopefuls, will you still love them?

In fact, he doesn’t mention once in this article that he loves any of his children.

This is how it ends:

With four months left to go, I’m not sure what stage we’re in at the moment — but it’s not acceptance. My wife and I even both privately admitted that we don’t like the new children, which is of course insane…

They say the most important thing is the kids’ health — but what about ours?

What about yours? Who cares? With all the time and energy you spend thinking about yourself, you don’t need any help from the rest of us.

I have a dual viewpoint of this article. I’m not only, as they say, struggling with infertility, but I was nearly nine years old when my mother became unexpectedly pregnant with twins. Her boyfriend, their biological father, found out she was pregnant and took off, forever.

I remember a magnet on our refrigerator when I was growing up. It said: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” It stayed there for years. Later, Mom told me she put it there for a reason, to remind herself when it was hard.

And of course it was hard. They didn’t sleep. Ever. For the first ten months, my mother slept in two-hour spurts. Now in her early 50s, she goes to bed at nine o’clock every night, and jokes that she’s still catching up.

She struggled. We all did. But my mother, who most certainly did not pay $10,000 for those twins, who was shocked and scared by her unplanned pregnancy, nevertheless handled single motherhood of two children plus twins with grace, fortitude, and love – some words “Albert Garland” might consider looking up.

Around the world, people much poorer than the Garlands view large families in the biblical way: as a blessing. Right now, somewhere, in a country where a one-bedroom American apartment would look like a palace, a man is wearing rags and watching with pride as his babies play on the floor of a shack.

“Albert Garland” is a wake-up call. His revolting words hold up a mirror to a culture that has become selfish, soft, and sad. We have forgotten what real suffering is, because we tend to not experience it. We have become so privileged that we can no longer tell the difference between joy and pain.

I’ll be praying for all the Garlands – especially their children.

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