Overcoming Emotions When Everything is Out of Your Control

Joe Rawlinson by Joe Rawlinson - October 25, 2012

David and his wife recently found out that they’re expecting twins. And of course, that’s a huge surprise. They’re in the initial state, like most of us are as parents of twins, of complete shock and being scared about what this actually means for their family.

Twin Ultrasound

He’s feeling like things are out of his control. They’re expecting twins, wasn’t really in their control, it’s a surprise, and so he’s grasping at how he can gain control of things in this situation.

And so one of the things that he and his wife decided to do was keep the gender a surprise for the twins. And so they went to a follow-up ultrasound, and before they could say anything, the technician blurted out, “Oh, are you excited to see twin boys?”

And so he was caught completely off-guard. His wife was caught off-guard. And so he was mad, and his poor wife was crying, and so it’s just not a great situation. And so he’s trying to reconcile these emotions that he’s having of anger and frustration and not being able to control the situation.

Emotional Roller Coaster is Normal

David, one thing for you to know, and for all of us expecting twins, is that the emotions that you’re describing and that you’re feeling are completely normal. As you mentioned, David, you are grasping for something that you can control, and so far everything about twins has been out of your control, from finding out you had them to accidentally finding out what the genders were.

Funnel Emotions to Positives

So in the early weeks, after finding out that we were having twins, I was completely shocked and scared, just like you’re describing. I turned those emotions around by focusing on what I could actually control, and that was mostly making preparations for our twins’ arrival, making the preparations in our home and for our family, things that I could make lists, I could control and move forward.

Now, there’s a silver lining to knowing the genders of the twins. David, now you can prepare boy-specific things.

My wife and I found out the gender: we found out we were having girls. I thought it was great that I could picture my girls in the future, in my mind, what life would be like with them after they were born. I could envision them playing in the backyard, dressed up in their ballerina outfits. It was easier for me to visualize what it would be like to be a father of twins because I knew what the genders would be.

Now, David, the pattern that you’re seeing thus far in your pregnancy is also foreshadowing and getting you ready for the surprises that you’ll get throughout the twin pregnancy after your twins are born or even during the pregnancy.

So my advice would be to strive and be as flexible as possible. Twin pregnancies may have bed rest, or they may not. The delivery of your twins may be what you’re expecting, maybe what your wife wants, or maybe not. The twins may spend time in the NICU, they may have complications, or they may not.

(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)

There are so many things outside of your control that you need to focus on what you can control and take each step and surprise as they come. You’re absolutely entitled to be mad, angry, sad, and everything in between. This is completely natural. As long as every twist and turn still has your twins on track to arrive healthy and safe, you have reason to rejoice.

All right, David, I wish you the very best, you and your wife, as you prepare for your twins’ arrival.

This question was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast episode 20.

Picture by Nikita Borisov.

Further Reading

Dad's Guide to Raising Twins book
Don't forget to pick up a copy of the definitive guide to raising twins. "Dad's Guide to Raising Twins" was written for fathers of twins to help guide you through the first several years with twins. Click here to learn more about the book and get your copy.

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