Last year, Kate and Emily were a couple who wanted a baby. To improve their odds, they both tried — and, to their surprise, they both became pregnant. In “My Wife and I Are (Both) Pregnant,” they talked about going through pregnancy together, giving birth four days apart, and bonding with their two newborn sons, Reid and Eddie.
The Cut revisited the family a few days after the boys’ first birthday party.
Kate: Whenever somebody asks me what the first year was like — I mean, it was incredibly exhausting, but it became really seamless. We just sort of fell into being parents, and the routine became the routine.
Emily: People with one baby are like, I don’t know how you do it. A lot of people have said to me, “Oh, it’s much easier for you because you’re two women.” I think that’s partly true, for sure … But I also think it’s harder in some ways.
Kate: The boys are really good kids. We got lucky, because they’re not difficult by any stretch of the imagination.
When we first spoke, I think I said that Reid was a frat boy and Eddie was a gentle soul, or something like that. They’ve kind of switched roles. Reid is very affectionate, loving, and observant, whereas the supposedly super-chill Eddie is constantly laughing and giggling. He’s kinda mischievous.
Emily: I just love watching them — it’s fascinating — and the way Kate interacts with them, which is very different from the way I do. Neither is better than the other. When she’s with them, she’s “on” … the whole time. She’s doing flash cards, reading and singing, and there’s music — it’s all-encompassing. And when I’m with them, I let them lead a little bit more.
Kate: I dress them like twins. Being an art director, I just love seeing that doubleness. In the morning I pick out their clothes and Emily’s like, “Oh my God, they’re so art-directed.” But the hard part is that Reid is bigger; he’s growing out of clothes faster. And then I have to think: Do I buy three of each so that when he grows out he can still match?
Emily: Her focus is on making sure everything’s scheduled and everything’s put away and everything’s clean and orderly. My focus is on making sure everyone’s fed and all the errands are done. Kate can’t drive, so I do all the driving and a lot of the heavy lifting — there are things that only I can do, and so that’s just how it works. It’s sort of automatic.
Kate: Emily — God bless her — is still nursing. She’s seriously a cow.
Emily: I wanted to breastfeed for a year, and I have been doing it for a year. I think we calculated that I’ve spent, like, 17 and a half days pumping over the past year.
Kate: Very early on, maybe at three months, Eddie didn’t want to nurse anymore. Emily produces a lot of milk; it was never hard for her other than the commitment of having to go pump. Whatever she pumps, we give to Eddie, and then she nurses Reid.
Emily: I’m sad not to nurse anymore, but it’s time, you know?
Kate: She read somewhere that she should start to wind down, and so she’s been doing less pumping in hopes that her boobs will go back to normal. She’s like, “I’ve been wearing these damn nursing bras. They’re so not-sexy.” I got those go-back-to-normal bras very quickly, so it’s not a thing for me. For Christmas I’ll probably buy her some sexy ones.
Emily: At the beginning, I bought the little machine that steams and purées the food. Kate was like, “This is ridiculous, you’re never gonna do it … “ And I did it, this whole time. I have successfully made 98 percent of their food. It’s important to me that I’m feeding our family. And that’s sort of been the theme of our year: that I have fed everybody.
Kate: The next step is to let them eat by themselves — but I’m so scared of them making a mess. Emily’s like, “Kate, you can’t choose what we feed our babies based on, like, the cleanup.” And I’m like, “Why?” You don’t give a klutz red wine, do you? That’s just common sense, right? Why would I give a baby spaghetti?
One time I walked in and Emily had put meatballs on their trays, and I almost had a heart attack. They haven’t figured out how to throw their food yet, thank God.
Here’s the thing: It’s very easy for me to be obsessive and controlling right now, but I know that there’s gonna be a time in the very near future where I have to let them do that kind of thing.
Emily: We have very different strengths and skills, and so we divide work equally. But then most of our disagreements are about the things that we prioritize over the other person. So if I’m not as tidy as Kate wants to be, then that’s her issue with me, you know? Although it’s the reason we work as well as we do as a team, it’s also the root of most of our issues.
Kate: I just like order, and I want to have that for the kids. I like to think that order brings some happiness to them. They know they have a routine. They sleep at a certain time; they nap at a certain time; they eat at a certain time. Every parent probably figures that out.
Emily: Reid is up at five each day — I don’t know how he does it. He’s got Kate’s internal clock, I think, or her schedule.
Kate: Eddie doesn’t wake up until around six. They’re super chatty and we’re still sleepy, so we get them and bring them into our bed. We give them a bottle or Emily nurses Reid, and they sort of hang out with us until around 6:30.
Emily: We have family time really early in the morning. It’s really nice just to be together in bed. After I’ve nursed Reid, we take turns taking them down and hanging out with them downstairs. And Kate has taken that opportunity to spend a little more time with Reid, because she doesn’t get a whole lot of one-on-one time with him.
Kate: When we’re down there, we take the flash cards out. Reid sits there with me and learns his letters. I don’t do it when he’s not interested. But the way to make Reid stop crying when he cries — which is very rare — is to sing the alphabet. He really likes it.
Emily: I think it’s great that that’s happening, and I think that it’s great that she gets into that, but there are times — like their first birthday party — where I was like, “Can you give the kid a break?” She was, like, doing flash cards in the middle of a birthday party. I was like, “Kate, enough, Tiger Mom.”
Kate: Emily leaves for work around 8:15. And I could, too, but I want that time with the boys. So we read books in the morning, and then I get them dressed and put them down for their nap. Our nanny comes around 8:30, and that’s when I get ready and go to work. By the time I get there I’m like, Oh my God, I’ve been up since five. And I’m sure they all think, Her life is so easy — she comes in around eleven o’clock.
I still have the same amount of work that I did beforehand; I just figure out pockets of time. I know I get at least 20 minutes in the morning when they’re entertained by themselves and I can send work emails, and I have 40 minutes on the train when I’m commuting. As a parent, the first thing you learn is priorities: What really needs to be done during your workday is what you do. Both Emily and I are home by six o’clock every night.
Emily: They’re both so excited when they see us. We have these French doors that separate the kitchen from the living room, and we come in through the back, the kitchen door, and we come up to the glass doors and kind of knock, and they see us and they just light up and run over. It’s just so cute. It’s the best part of my day.
Kate: I think that makes us feel better — we’re gone all day, and it is tough to be working moms even though we both love our jobs. We have a nanny who we love; that makes it much easier.
Emily: We get home about the same time, and we have a good hour of play. We always have a little family dance party and we sing, and that’s another one of my favorite times. We bathe them together every night, but we take turns bathing each of them; we switch off.
Kate: Reid is definitely more drawn to Emily, and Eddie is definitely more partial to me. It’s weird; I don’t know how to explain it. They love both of us, they’re comfortable with both of us, but there’s a preference for sure. If I walk in the door, Reid is happy to see me and he runs to me. But if Emily walks in the door, he literally squeals. He’s so excited to hug her, to be in her arms. Eddie is similar, even though he’s not super into hugging: He runs to me; he doesn’t go to Emily unless Emily really calls to him or goes over and picks him up.
Emily: I’m sure that there is a strong biological tie — you can’t deny that at all. When we’re home and Kate’s here, Eddie’s always looking for her. I mean, when I’m trying to give him a bottle and he’s screaming, it’s terrible. You can rationalize it, sure. I know he doesn’t hate me, but it is very painful. It can make me emotional. But, you know, when I try to pick up Reid and he pushes away, I get that same feeling of rejection. Whether it’s in small or big ways, it’s just hard to take. I probably blame myself for too much of this stuff. But it can be heartbreaking.
Kate: We love both children equally, but when one of them is crying, I still have this weird thing — I don’t know what it is — but when I hear the one cry, you know, Oh, that’s Eddie. I know Eddie’s cry.
Emily: I guess we don’t talk about it to each other much because we don’t really have to talk about it. She knows it makes me sad. I know that we can fix it and they’re young and it’s a stage. We tell ourselves that all the time: Everything’s a phase. The good stuff is a phase; the bad stuff is a phase; everything comes and goes in waves.
I hope that we are giving them equal time with both of us. I want them to think of us in the same way. One of them may gravitate towards Kate for a period … a phase, whatever it is, but I want them to think about us equally.
Kate: We definitely try to correct it. You know, Today I’m gonna spend more time with Reid. He has a preference for Emily, so, for example, if Emily is playing with Eddie, Reid walks over there and tries to hang on her and get her attention. If someone’s going to be in her lap, he wants it to be him. He doesn’t push Eddie or anything yet; he just wants to pile on and be part of it. With Eddie it’s more challenging, because he cries — neither of them are super finicky, but he has more meltdowns with Emily.
Emily: Eddie is having a really hard time with me putting him to bed. He really wants Kate to rock him to sleep, and he lets me know it. He does not want to be held by me. He screams; he tries to get away; he doesn’t want to drink his bottle — which is hard. If it wasn’t a biological tie, then I think we might feel differently about it, but because we’re so conscious of making sure we are giving an equal amount of mothering to both kids, it’s even harder on us. We’ll just keep dealing with some screaming babies at night. Spending individual time with each kid is really important, too. You do notice that they react to you differently when it’s just the two of you — like, I’m going to take Eddie to the library by myself, we’re actually leaving the house together and doing something fun.
Kate: We have a Filipino nanny — that was something that I really wanted. She speaks Tagalog to both boys, and they know some of the words already. My parents are from the Philippines, but I just didn’t pick up the language: I don’t speak it; I understand it a little bit. I knew that I felt sad not knowing it and I wanted it to feel very seamless for the boys.
And I especially want Reid — who obviously doesn’t have any Filipino blood — to really know that culture, so that it will help bond him more to me or to my family or to his grandparents from the Philippines. I really want our bond to be strong — I’m actively looking for ways to make sure he doesn’t feel so different than me.
Emily: Eddie and Kate look a lot alike. There’s no denying that. I don’t know how that’s going to play out. And Reid and I look way more alike, too. We’re going to have to think about how to talk to them about race, and I don’t have the answers right now.
I think people are going to be surprised that they’re brothers. It’s easy for us to understand as adults — like, “Oh, you have a donor who’s half Asian and half white, and you have a biological mom who’s all white.” But as a kid I think that’s really complicated. We don’t have to think about that issue quite yet, but the town we live in is — and this is the reason we chose it — super diverse. I feel like they’re going to be in good company and it’s not going to be as much of a thing by the time they get to school. But they have a lot to explain. They have different birthdays. They look very different. They’re different sizes. They have two moms. We’ve thrown these kids a whole lot of weird things to explain to their peers, and I always hope and pray that that doesn’t become a negative. I’m sure they will have struggles with it in their lives, but I’m hoping it’s a positive, cool thing rather than something that they’re bullied about or made fun of.
Kate: We entered into this knowing that it would be a challenge, because we really wanted to be parents and we really wanted to have a family. I was certainly surprised and delighted that people did come forward and say, “Oh my gosh, I cried when I read your story — it was so honest.” And it did make me think, Why do mothers not want to talk like this?
We’re never thinking, This is so weird, what we’re doing. We’re two people who love each other and wanted a family. I don’t know if this is naïve or not, but there was just nothing about that that was weird. We did what we had to do to make our family.
*A version of this article appears in the December 26, 2016, issue of New York Magazine.