I Spent Years Trying To Get Pregnant, But Felt Guilty When I Found Out I Was Having Twins

Carol-Ann Reid always knew she'd end up having twins. But it still didn't prepare her for the shock – and guilt – of finding out she was carrying two babies.
Carol-Ann Reid
Badass Birth Photography
Carol-Ann Reid

In My Story, readers share their unique, life-changing experiences. This week we hear from Carol-Ann Reid, 34, who’s based in Macclesfield.

From a young age, I had this belief that I was going to struggle to get pregnant, but always said I would eventually end up having twins. I don’t know why I had this belief or why I would say it...

It was just this gut feeling.

When my husband and I first talked about having a family, I actually shared with him my long-held belief that I wouldn’t get pregnant straight away – so we decided to start trying straight away and I came off contraception.

Two years of trying, nothing had happened and alarm bells were ringing because we knew a few people that had been tested and were looking at IVF after a couple of years without falling pregnant.

We both got tested and the fertility specialist said everything seemed OK, I just wasn’t ovulating properly.

They offered me tablets to help me ovulate more, but when they said it increased the chance of twins by 10%, I kindly declined.

As much as I joked about knowing I would end up having twins, I had a real fear of it happening. I’m a big believer in the divine time – that when it’s meant to happen, it will happen – so we just went along with it.

I realised I needed to work on my own health and body. I had been running off adrenaline for years and that had a massive impact on my menstrual cycle.

I’d also been working out three to five times a week. I was eating healthily, but not consuming enough calories. I started to look into reflexology and began to exercise less and eat more.

One of the biggest lightbulb moments for me was hearing myself say: “I’m trying for a baby” and “I’m willing and allowing pregnancy to happen.”

Then, lo and behold, it was about a week later that I found out I was pregnant, aged 31. It was overwhelming and surreal – especially as I’d done that many pregnancy tests which came back negative over the years.

I booked into a private scan at five weeks pregnant. The sonographer moved the camera and I saw the tiniest second sack and said “I think I’m having twins,” but she disagreed. They thought it might be a blood clot.

At about seven weeks pregnant, we had another scan and discovered that I was having twins. I said the F word lots and the first thing I thought was: “What about my business?”

I’d changed careers and had finally got my mindset coaching business flourishing – I’d completed all my qualifications, had a great repertoire and was fully booked with clients.

And then, of course, there was the financial aspect, knowing that as a self-employed person you don’t really get support from the government.

On top of that, it was instantly a high-risk pregnancy. There was a lot to take on board. And then there were the reactions from other people...

When we told them we were pregnant, it was tears of excitement. But when we told them it was twins, it was like a totally different reaction. All of a sudden it was: “How are you going to do this?”

I suddenly had to be the strong person saying that everything was going to be fine – reassuring everyone else, when it should have been the other way around.

I don’t think enough people speak openly about this guilt. A lot of people go into that instant survival and protection mode because you get asked a lot of questions. We were even asked if we wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy.

But I think if more people spoke about it it would normalise that it’s OK to experience an absolute rainbow of emotions in the beginning – and even throughout pregnancy and after.

After finally getting my head around things, I knew some mindset coaching would help so I had some hypnotherapy and EFT (emotional freedom technique) – an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress.

I recognised I was having a trauma response to finding out I was having twins. Acknowledging this really helped my nervous system to know I was safe and that I could go through with my pregnancy.

A lot of what we tend to feel guilty for almost isn’t necessary, because a lot of the time it’s guilt around things we either can’t change, things that are out of our control, fear of judgement or fear of not being enough.

And really, if we strip everything back, none of that matters. We are enough as parents. As long as we’re doing our best, that is enough.

Carol-Ann Reid and her husband with their twin babies.
Carol-Ann Reid
Carol-Ann Reid and her husband with their twin babies.

I gave birth to Blake and Carter, now three, after carrying them for 37 weeks and three days. It was the week of the Covid lockdown.

The day after, they turned my theatre where we had the boys into an emergency intensive care unit.

I decided to discharge us all 48 hours later as it was so scary. I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for the boys, but it wasn’t quite the magical moment, you dream of. Again, I felt that pang of guilt for not being delighted with every step of the journey.

But I knew I had to release this guilt and understand that life doesn’t have to be picture perfect and it’s good to drop the perfection filter.

As for my business? I’d put lots of things in place in the run up to the boys arriving – and it’s grown since having them.

My greatest challenge became my greatest manifestation.

Life and business mindset coach and mum of twin boys Carol-Ann Reid is the host of new real and raw podcast Going Within Is The New Going Out. She was interviewed by Natasha Hinde and her answers were edited for length and clarity. To take part in HuffPost UK’s My Story series, email uklife@huffpost.com.