Mid-June 2008. 9 a.m. I am pregnant for the second time. We have a scan later that morning.
"I don't care what they tell us about this baby. Just as long as it's ok. And as long as it's not twins."
Same day. 11 a.m. Still pregnant.
"Are there twins in your family?...Because I think I can see two... "
Last night. 10 p.m. An article in the Guardian Magazine on Saturday has me leaping out of bed and scurrying along the corridor to sit in the dark in S and A's room...
I'd never heard of Pregnancy Reduction until last night. This is the deal: you are pregnant with twins. And you don't, for whatever reason, want twins. So one baby, selected, usually, by the doctors on the basis of accessibility and viability is...well, is what? I can't pick the right word. Is terminated. Is aborted. Is "extinguished". Is reduced.
It was late when I read this article. I was tired. I wanted to snuggle down and go to sleep. But instead I got up, padded along the corridor and sat with my twins for a minute or so. Just to remind myself that they were there.
Why? What is it about this article, about this possibility, that got, and gets, me so het up?
I didn't want twins. I really didn't. So I can understand, in part, the fear that drives this decision. But as soon as that sonographer told me I was having twins, I wanted them both, fiercely and protectively. So I can also say that had I even known that this was a possibility, I would never have considered it.
But why not? I am pro-choice. I have, fortunately, never had an unwanted pregnancy, so I can't possibly say what I would do in that situation, but I am, in principle, fiercely in favour of another woman's right to choose. If I am accepting and supportive, as I have been of friends who have had to make that choice, why and how is this different? Why is it acceptable to me to "reduce" one baby to none, but not two to one?
Why, if I read an article about abortion, do I not insist on going to sit with L, or M, or indeed A or S, to reassure them that they were wanted?
This is, I realise, utterly illogical. But I am not alone. One of the early pioneers of the procedure (all these words are so nuanced aren't they? I hesitate in using each one) no longer performs it, after all his staff, from the sonographer to the receptionists, confirmed that they were not comfortable with what he was doing.
Why? My twins are special, of course they are. But if you asked me whether their specialness was bound up in the fact that they are twins, I would fiercely deny it, and point, instead, to S's charm, and A's determination, or A's demands for cuddles, and S's hesitations before she speaks. I am certain that twins, any twins, are individuals before they are a pair.
So if I have no moral objection to terminating a singleton pregnancy that would have produced a child that would have been just as special in its own way, why does the idea of destroying half of a pair feel so wrong?