A Note



I met a young woman recently who told me shyly that she was pregnant with twin sons. She said she understood that I was the father of twin sons, and did I have any advice for her as she went through her pregnancy? I said yes, I did have some thoughts and suggestions, and then I said what is written below, as the young woman backed away slowly in horror, which is not a phrase you get to type very often.

I said that my beloved wife grew noticeably large about the middle parts when she was pregnant with our daughter, but when she was pregnant with our twin sons, she was so big that if Big was a town you would have to drive for hours or transfer three times on the bus to leave town. She was global. She was cosmic. She was vast. She was bigger than the planet Jupiter, which is 1.43128 x 1015 kilometers cubed, which is whopping large. She was so big that she had an area code and two telephone exchange operators named Jessica. She would have had her own Zip Code, but we did not register in time for that, so she did not get a Zip Code of her own, although it would have been pretty cool to have a personal Zip Code, I still think.

I babbled on and said that my beloved wife, when not pregnant, is a slight woman who might weigh 100 pounds if she had just eaten an entire young elk with a lovely watercress salad on the side and perhaps a glass or two of syrah, although you could easily go with a pinot noir or a tempranillo there, but when she was pregnant with the boys, everything was different, and she might have weighed 700 pounds, or “more than 600,” if you wanted to be fussily accurate and avoid hyperbole. She wore tents and tablecloths and parachutes. She could only bathe in lakes and ponds. When her water broke, the streets were flooded in most of the south metropolitan area. It is interesting to me how swiftly the price of necessaries goes up in situations like that, so that flashlights and sandbags and bottled water and boots and pumps double and triple in price seemingly in hours; is that enterprising business, or commercial immorality?

By now the young woman had begun to back away, and even though I am a complete and utter idiot, it did register on me that she was retreating from the conversation, and how often do you see someone edge away carefully from someone else in conversation, like a bus slowly leaving a bus stop? But I was off and running by now, amusing myself in gleeful fashion, which appears to happen regularly, according to my beloved wife, who did finally deliver our sons, who according to the nurse, clearly a practiced liar, weighed six pounds each. The boys, I informed the young woman, each looked exactly like Yoda, if Yoda had just been doused with various slippery liquids, and was stark naked, and very upset about being forced headfirst through a birth canal with no prior warning whatsoever. One thing no one ever says about the miracle of birth is that the baby or babies come out without a stitch of clothing. It is amazing to me that no one ever mentions this, but right about here, I realized I was talking to myself, as the young woman had abandoned the scene. So I went on my way, happy to have been of some small modicum of help to a young person. We should all, I think, try to gently give advice to young people when they ask for it, although it seems to me that usually they only ask for advice the one time, and then never again. Why this is so is a mystery to me.


Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Brian Doyle, an essayist and novelist, died on May 27, 2017. To read Epiphanies, his longtime blog for the Scholar, please go here.


Please enter a valid email address
That address is already in use
The security code entered was incorrect
Thanks for signing up