The changes come thick and fast when you begin to quadruple in size. Here’s my handy guide to what a pregnant-with-triplets mum can expect to lose, based on what I saw my wife lose as she progressed through her pregnancy.
One – your dignity
You’ll be showing body parts to complete strangers that your husband rarely used to get visitation rights to. Clothes will become increasingly ill-fitting, even maternity clothes won’t fit at all well. You’ll be so uncomfortable at times that you won’t care who sees your knickers if lifting your feet to an adjacent chair brings a modicum of relief. Towards the end you’ll be man-spreading like no man has ever spread before.
Thankfully, most of this occurs in private rooms where you at least know the names of those present. And they’ve seen the wobbly bits and private parts of plenty who came before you. Sometimes, strangers in hospital corridors will be treated to sights they’d probably rather have avoided, but such incidents are usually inflicted on those who have themselves been there before or who will be there very soon.
Even at home, you’ll find all dignity evaporates as you begin to need help with a whole host of situations. You’ll need help to ungainly roll off the settee so you can go to the toilet, you’ll need help drying yourself, particularly the parts of your body that you hope no-one ever comes face-to-face with, and you’ll need help to pull on the compression stockings that your OBYN has recommended you wear to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. This last one in particular is a real treat for both participants (I’m joking of course, just in case that didn’t come across very well).
Two – your savings
Children are really expensive, babies even more so. Three babies at once? Say goodbye to your rainy day fund. And your second honeymoon fund, your early retirement savings and your treasured “if he pisses me off I’m leaving him” stash.
For most mums-to-be, a baby shower or a baby list can help secure a good amount of the essentials you’ll need. Most of us thankfully have families, friends and work colleagues who will gladly contribute to the cause, but no matter how many gifts and donations of pre-loved items you receive, you’ll almost certainly find yourself spending a small fortune filling in the gaps left untouched by all that generosity.
Three – your options
A lack of options presents itself in many ways. For instance, very few products are made for parents of triplets. And where they do exist, it’s usually a choice of very few alternatives, often only one. A parent-to-be can normally choose from hundreds of possible options, not so for us. Take prams, there must be over a hundred different models on the market, to suit all budgets, available from a host of mainstream and specialist retailers, both online and in brick-built stores. There’ll be a seemingly endless supply of reviews, opinions and recommendations. In comparison, there are about five different three-seat prams on the market, and they’re all remarkably similar.
Always fancied a home birth? Or a natural underwater birth supported by hypnotherapy and acupuncture (well, some people do)? Chances are you’re way out of luck, as anything other than a C-section won’t be an option. Even if you manage to persuade your medical team to agree to a natural vaginal birth, the chances of that actually happening when the time comes are slim.
Additionally, it’s common for parents-to-be to deny themselves the chance to prepare, sometimes because of superstition, perhaps because of previous bad experiences. They’ll put off getting the nursery ready until the very last minute so as not to tempt the universe into inflicting some sort of cosmic revenge. Parents-to-be of triplets don’t really have that option. You have to accept, preferably sooner rather than later, that you don’t have time for superstition. You need to get as much ready as soon as possible, because the time will rapidly arrive when you won’t have the energy or even the ability to complete the smallest tasks. And this counts for any husband or partner as well. They’ll be doing everything they used to do, everything you used to do, and plenty more besides.
Four – your patience
If you’re anything like my wife, things will annoy the hell out of you. Even the small stuff. Especially the small stuff. Not always but more so than normal. My wife was rarely left home alone but we didn’t spend every minute together in the same room. I purchased a receptionist’s desk bell for her to whack if she ever wanted my attention for any reason, but in truth I probably used it in jest more than she did in anger. She relied on WhatsApp, presumably because of the read receipt notifications!
And to add insult to your predicament, you’ll probably become inexplicably attractive to your other half. It might have something to do with your boobs growing impossibly large, or maybe there’s just something in the air caused by a lack of intimate relations over a prolonged period. Whatever the reason, if your husband or partner is anything like me, they will undoubtedly enjoy taking advantage of your lack of mobility to take a few playful liberties now and again, which is sure to help you remain calm and patient.
Five – your clarity
Even basic decisions become difficult. Or at least they seem that way. Sometimes it’s a question of which pants you need to put on that day, or what time you should make the appointment for the next scan. The slightest disruption to the prevailing calm – such as the dog going temporarily berserk because she thinks the doorbell is for her – can cloud your mind for hours.
My wife and I found ourselves often re-visiting earlier decisions, if for no other reason than our minds had wandered. Previously settled issues would suddenly be open for debate, not because we were having doubts, just that we’d simply forgotten that a common position had been agreed. We eventually got a handle on this by emailing a to-do list back and forth to each other, moving things to the ‘done’ section as we ticked them off.