This week's Question of the Week is:
Do you think parents of multiples are more likely to become divorced? Why or why not?
Do you think the MOST study is accurate?
My 2 cents on this subject:.. ***Let me first just say that I would only think of posting about this in the hopes that it will help someone else who may already be, or may soon be going through this...***
What aspect of parenting multiples have you found to be the most difficult as it pertains to maintaining a relationship? For us, I believe there are two aspects:
1. We are a blended family. When Eric and I married, my kids from my first marriage were 9 and 12 years old already. Eric had never had children of his own. We are parents in different seasons: I was experienced (not that I am better at parenting, just that I had the advantage of already making some parenting mistakes) and he was a new parent. He had never dealt with a newborn; and to thrust not only one newborn, but three (and then ultimately only two) into his life was a HUGE change to his life.
Which brings me to the second aspect:
2. We lost a multiple, which adds a whole new stress to raising multiples. Men and women are different through NO FAULT. We are just wired that way. So, as the kids grew, we reacted different to the loss of our son, which has been proven (not officially, just through info from other loss parents and other stories from loss families) to add a whole new stress to a marriage.
The two of those combined made for a very hard time working not only as a team, but even being each others' rock, which is what a multiple parent ANY PARENT needs from their spouse.
How do you maintain a healthy marriage/relationship? Ok... someone tell me this secret, we haven't figured it out yet. Not that we're divorcing, but we have far from a healthy relationship. (no secret there)
If you were to give one piece of advice to a couple who just found out they were pregnant with multiples on how to stay happy together, what would it be? To talk OPENLY. To learn together what is ahead, from the very real possiblity of preemies to how to raise preemies if they in fact are born early, to the needs of surviving multiples, to therapy needs and doctors' recommendations. Both should take part in doctors visits, both should attend therapy when possible, both should read about and understand the challenges that your multiples face. Hopefully you have started on the road to multiple parents with a mature, strong marriage already in place, as being new to the marriage and then having multiples is a HUGE change of scenario for the relationship. TO SHARE RESPONSIBLITIES. Too often moms (and in some families Dads) take on more of the daily responsibilities. It's just not healthy for a relationship when one parent wrangles infant and toddler bedtimes and daily routines alone. This lends itself to cause many a rift in a relationship. (in my own households and others.) I will say that being the mom of multiples, surviving multiples and kids with special needs is tiring. I was lucky in that I was a SAHM for the first 3 1/2 years, but now, working 57 hours aweek, chasing teenagers and running alongside busy toddlers, cooking homemade meals *almost* daily and keeping up with homework, household chores as well as care for animals and yardwork; I'm tired. Everyday. That never goes away.
My biggest and most fervent advice, however, is for everyone to remember why they got married in the first place. People will change as they grow, human nature, that is. For everyone to understand that hurt feelings hurt for a long time, and to always treat those you love like you love them. Like you care. Think of them and their needs before yours when able. Notice when they need your help and support, and always remember: you chose them as your spouse for a reason, stand beside them, be their comfort and support.
And, while you're doing that, think of what a wonderful thing you're teaching your children...
I think there is probably a higher divorce rate amongst multiple birth families. And that really makes me sad. Most of us have tried VERY hard to get pregnant with our kids. We were blessed with multiples because God thought we could handle them for some reason. And to tear through their life and make them deal with a divorce is sad. I took part in the MOST survey, and my thought is that it was a great representation of the families that took part, but that it is just that, only the representation of those who took part. Divorce is a taboo and embarrassing subject. May be that the parents of multiples that are divorced did not want to air their "dirty laundry" or, moreso, didn't have the time. We know how busy we are as married parents of multiples, imagine being a single parent of multiples!