6 weeks ago…
“Okay, Marianne, I need to show both you and your husband this. There’s two.”
“Two what?” I ask.
The ultrasound technician looks at me, like she can’t believe she has to spell this out. “There’s two,” She repeats, pointing to the screen, which shows two tiny blobs. I still don’t get it.
“Honey,” my husband says, looking like he’s won the lottery, “it’s twins! We’re having twins!!!”
I look at him. He’s not joking. I look at the ultrasound technician. She’s not joking.
See my reaction below:
Twins. Oh. My. God.
I should note at this point in the story that it took me about a week to get over the shock, and I’m still slowly coming to terms with it, but overall I’m very happy. I’m going to be having beautiful little twin children. Despite my
frequent occasional panic about the logistics of managing two newborns simultaneously, I’m fairly amazed at what’s going on inside my body right now. Neither my husband or I have any history whatsoever of twins in our families, so while the presence of one baby is miraculous enough, two at the same time seems like a once-in-a-lifetime gift.
I’m not going to go into details about my challenges during the first trimester, but needless to say, having double the symptoms made it difficult to function. I’m now 13.5 weeks in and am doing much, much better than I was, but I’m still in the process of having to adapt to my new reality, which includes having to take a hiatus from teaching paint nights.
While I knew that a family was on the horizon, I had no idea they’d come so quickly, let alone as a pair. As a result, I’ve scaled back my paint nights almost entirely, and am hosting my last event on March 7th. After all: I can’t really lift heavy things, or move in tight spaces once my belly really starts to grow.
While I’m still going to be working on some paintings, I’ll be putting the majority of my focus on designing a nursery and getting in more days as a supply teacher before I need to go on mat leave. Before I became pregnant, I imagined that I could simply continue working as I had been, just with a cute little baby bump as an accessory. Now that I understand how physically demanding pregnancy is, I’m adjusting my priorities.
And that’s completely fine by me. As much as I love and cherish my work, it’s okay to let parts of it go.
So if you don’t see any new paint nights posted, or there aren’t any new paintings coming down the pipeline, please know that my paint night business did not fail. The quiet on my end is solely so that I can focus on self-care during what is about to be a long, and enormous, pregnancy.
Some Thoughts on Privacy
Lots of parents like to document their pregnancy publicly, and lots of parents don’t. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your family, and it’s your choice.
For me, I’ve decided that I’m going to try and protect my children’s privacy as much as possible. While I may share some photos from their nursery design, from this point onwards, I won’t be sharing any photos of my rapidly expanding belly, or snaps of my babies after they’re born. If anything, I’m dreading being out and about with them and having strangers reach into their stroller and touch them (please don’t) while gushing, “Oh my gosh, are they twiiiiiins?!”
So in the age of over-information, I’m choosing abstention. It’ll be easier for me to stumble along the path of parenthood knowing that I can do so in relative anonymity, especially because I know I’ll be making plenty of mistakes. I also want my focus to be on the authenticity and meaningfulness of my new little family unit, and not on documenting it and presenting it to the world. The shiny bloggers you see, with their hair perfectly done, their makeup flawless, and their baby looking angelic? Fake, fake, fake. I am expecting to be a hot mess, but a happy one. I won’t pretend to be anything but.
So What Happens Now?
For now, I’m going to keep plugging away on a commission I have on the easel (a beautiful snowy owl) and focus on getting that done. Once that’s complete, I’m actually going to be getting a little experimental, trying different styles and subject matter. I love painting realism; I love the challenge, the focus, and the complexity each piece presents.
But the walls of my own home are empty. Now is the best time to get a little experimental and try different styles, perhaps something splashy and colourful and more modern. I’m really craving more floral paintings; I loved working on the tulips painting this summer, and I have a few ideas in mind for big peony and iris paintings in my own home.
So while I’m temporarily disappearing to focus on creating my greatest masterpieces (ever), know that I’m doing so with gratitude, excitement, and joy. I’ll be back at some point to resume my work as an art teacher, and I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have about your own ongoing practice.
On behalf of my growing family, I’d like to thank all of you for your support. Every time you’ve attended a paint night, or gone to one of my exhibitions, it has meant the world to me.
With immense gratitude,