Talking to Myself

Shannon Fukuyama

Between us, my husband and I have seven kids at home, including our six-month-old twins. You'd think, with eight other people around, there would always be someone to talk to. There's only one problem with that thought--no one listens to me! Oh, there are plenty of people to talk at. Just no one to talk with. Consequently, I've developed the habit of talking to myself. At first it was just a few words here and there--a "to do" list repeated in order to keep my memory sharp, a phone number. Over the years, I've grown quite chummy with myself. The three of us, me, myself, and I, have had some fairly deep and productive discussions. A relative used to say, "you'll always get the right answers when you talk to yourself." Often that's true. If you want someone who shares the same point of view, who better to talk to than yourself? But there comes a time when even I don't have the right answers. When I don't have any answers, for that matter.

One of those times came about a year ago. My final pregnancy, the one planned to produce the "ours" to go with the "his" and the "mine," became complicated. Words like "multiple gestation," "placenta previa," "high risk," and later "premature rupture of membranes" and "premature birth" came into my world. Being a woman who'd birthed my last two babies at home with a midwife, I was plunged into a whole new realm. My best chum, "self," had no idea what to say.

The family, whom we've already established never listen to me, was of little help. What golden nugget of wisdom could a bunch of goofy kids (who can't find their own shoes or the feet to put them on) and a husband who'd never created (or would that be "procreated?") twins before be expected to impart? My mother had miscarried a set of twins years ago. She, also being a nurse, was the closest I had to an expert on the subject. Oh, my ex-mother-in-law had twins among her six children. Somehow, it didn't seem quite right to discuss the pregnancy I shared with my second husband with the mother of my first husband. Not to mention that she delivered them full-term (the first in an elevator on the way up to L & D) after a perfectly uncomplicated pregnancy. So where does one turn when one (and others who surround her) has no answers to desperate questions?

The Internet! By typing my "words" (see above) into a search engine, I found a virtual world of information. More than I could digest. For days, all conversation with myself was put aside as I devoured page after page of "previa" and "pregnancy." I suddenly had all the answers. I knew everything I could possibly ever want or need to know. Only one problem-no one to share all of this with. My husband blanched whenever I brought up subjects like "bleeding episodes" and "degree of cervical encroachment." Not exactly topics you'd discuss with a (then) four, seven, eight, ten or fifteen-year-old either.

I found a parenting site (StorkNet) inviting women to share their pregnancies by keeping an online journal. If I didn't have someone to talk with, at least I'd have someone to talk at. I began my journal by catching up on the first several weeks of my pregnancy. Then, as each new "word" was added to my condition, it appeared in the space I'd been allotted. I imagine Maribeth, the "keeper" of StorkNet, (in addition to her concern for me) was pretty excited about the way things were adding up. This was GOOD STUFF! Not just your "run-of-the-mill, wait for nine months and the baby pops out" kind of thing. A regular "Drama in Real Life." She notified several twins resources about my online journal. Last July's issue of Twins Magazine contained a small paragraph alerting readers. And that's where Leslie, sometimes known as my "better half," came in.

All this time, as I researched on the web and contributed to my journal, there'd been no one that I could really talk to about the questions and feelings I had. I could find information on practical matters, such as: when to call my doctor, what to expect if I began bleeding (which I did, several times), what kind of stroller to buy and how many diapers I'd need. But there was no one to share my "dirty little secrets" with. The fact that I never really wanted twins. That if I'd known the pregnancy would turn out to be so messy and disruptive, I wouldn't have planned it in the first place. That I wondered how I'd hold on to myself and not become just "the lady who transports the twins." Who could I share these feelings with when I was too ashamed to admit them even to myself?

Leslie saw the blurb in Twins Magazine and began following my pregnancy. She emailed me her phone number, "In case you need to talk with someone who's been there." "Call me anytime," she said. I called from my hospital bed after my son's membrane ruptured at 25/26 weeks (depending on whose due date you use). The fact that I was drugged half out of my skull on Mag Sulfate and painkillers did not phase Leslie at all. I rambled, she listened. For hours! (Leslie's in Missouri, I am in Ohio. I never saw the charges on my calling card, but I imagine it was quite painful for my husband when he opened the bill.) We discovered we were both on AOL and it became our routine to talk in IM's often. I will never know how Leslie managed (with infant twins and another young daughter, not to mention a husband of her own), but she was always available in the dead of night (the panic hours) when no one else was awake. I was no longer talking to myself (or not talking to myself, as the case may be).

From that initial reach out and touch someone moment, the concept of TWINSANITY grew. We knew there must be others out there talking to themselves with no one to hear them. Those who find the other multiple's sites helpful, but somehow not quite enough. As mentioned on the home page, Leslie's still working on our mission statement and I'm afraid I'd be stepping on toes if I continued along these lines. It's enough to say that we're here, we're talking, you're welcome to join us and we hope you'll keep coming back. I truly love an audience!

Until next time…I'll be talking to myself.

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