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expectant mother to lose a baby also put her feet back on the ground.

The twin boys, Darren Douglas and Brett Howard, had entered the world on schedule - September 1st. Five weeks later Shelby had resumed her television role, and now she was happily relating the whole "exciting" experience, elaborating on how much "fun" it's been since, and expressing her hopes for their future lives.

And as she speaks, with enthusiasm, laughter and expectations, an aura of glowing motherhood seems to surround her. Here is a young lady living every moment of a wondrous experience to its fullest extent.

"I can't understand what happened to the post-natal blues I've always heard everyone gets," she beams. "It's amazing, but I haven't had even one moment of depression. I was expecting it and was ready to accept it."

A possible explanation is Shelby's tendency to be a people-person - always relating to people around her. First, at the hospital. There were always lots of visitors around her bed. And at home, the usually bustling household on which many friends were accustomed to dropping in remained just that way. She credits Marty with that. He has a genuine and sincere interest in people," she explains, "and we've always had lots of friends over. We don't feel it should change now. When I felt tired I said so and just went to bed. No one was insulted."

And what about work? That had concerned Shelby most - how she would react to going back to work, and whether or not her concentration or motivation would be impaired.

"It was great getting back to the show," she now claims. "As a matter of fact, I love it even more. I just feel rejuvenated, more atune to what's going on around me. I'm very stimulated by the whole thing." The glow brightens.

Shelby admits she wouldn't want to work five days a week for any length of time now that she has a large family (which includes three dogs and three cats), but her General Hospital schedule is ideal. She's thankful that she was able to find a "perfect lady" to care for the babies while she's at the studio. "The first day back, I was tempted to call her and see how they were, but I disciplined myself not to," she says. "She knows where to reach me if necessary."

The twins (they're fraternal, not identical) will be raised by their parents, though, despite the fact that Shelby plans to continue working. "I enjoy coming home to them so much," she says. "Being in a totally different world on the days I work makes me anxious to run in and see them again with fresh eyes."

So the active life of Shelby Hiatt seemingly keeps running on all fours, even with the double dose of newness. "Now it's hard to imagine having just one child," she reflects. "I mean, he'd be lonely and need a friend."

While her life-style has not been dramatically altered since motherhood, there have been some changes in the actress herself. Not the usual weighty ones, however. She doesn't feel crushed by a great deal of heavy responsibility, or more bound to the house. She was already a responsible person, and she and Marty are self-admitted "homebodies" anyway.

"Once the realization of having twins began to set in, I suddenly got very chauvinistic about it," Shelby reveals. "Even in the hospital I was very proud, and I didn't hesitate to show it." She explains that she'd previously considered herself to be of a very timid nature. "I'd hate to do a lot of little things, which were silly. Like having to call a dentist and change my appointment."

Not any more. "I feel more salty," she states. "Maybe it's the sudden realization that I'm a grownup. Now I find myself doing many everyday things that I wouldn't have done before. I really feel a great deal more self-confident."

It becomes her, like everything else about her. Her new-found "salty" character certainly doesn't result in a pompous air. On the contrary, it's a pleasure to witness. It brings forth phrases like "they're just incredible," "they looked so cute I wanted to gobble them up" and "I was proud that they were big enough to grow out of an outfit." All said with that genuine smile and happy voice.

Raising twins. Not always an easy thing to do correctly, according to many experts in the field. Problems such as retaining each one's individuality, one twin adopting an inferiority complex, obvious partiality displayed by parents, etc. Very real problems, all of which Shelby is aware and attempting to approach with practicality and reality.

"I'm taking one day at a time," she says. "Right now, I just want to hold them and talk to them and give them a secure and loved feeling. As for rules, I'll play it by ear. I think you have to improvise and rely on your better judgment, because each situation is different. You can't set down rigid rules. Books aren't as helpful as the experience. Right now I mainly want to make sure I remain consistent and sensible in raising them."

One area in which she is particularly emphatic is strictness. She was raised with it and feels that it's better for the children in the long run to realize that there are certain things you do and certain things that you don't do. "As long as you don't go overboard," she adds. "It starts with letting them cry themselves to sleep. I found I wanted to rush right in and pick them up, but I was able to stop myself when I realized how much better off they're going to be if I don't do things like that."

As for showing partiality towards one, she's not too concerned. "Each will have his own special charms," she says. "I can see it already."

She doesn't plan to get them identical toys and identical wardrobes. "They're really just brothers who are the same age, and I'll raise them like that. If one receives a train set, why should the other, necessarily, get one? I'd rather get him what he wants. I think children know when you're giving both the same thing just to make the other feel equal. And I"m sure they resent it."

Shelby is the first to admit that numerous unanswered questions await her during the maturation of her children. What if one is a better student than the other? Do you send them to separate schools, or do you let the inferior student begin to realize he's not as scholastically sharp, and then start coping with that? Very real problems. "But we'll solve them," smiles Shelby.

"Marty and I are a perfect balance" she states with reference to parenthood. "I'm more of a disciplinarian, even with myself. He's the opposite - very easy going. I hope the boys will get the best from both of us, because kids often learn more from what they see around them than from what you try to teach them."

In thinking about any future additions to the family, Shelby realizes how overpopulation gets started, even by well-meaning people. "We begin thinking about how nice it might be someday to have a girl," she relates. "She'd have two big brothers to stand up for her. But the problem is, we could wind up still looking for that girl after five more brothers!"

Her eventual solution may be adoption. Reminded of the recent decline in parentless children, Shelby is quick to point out that adoption centers are having a difficult time placing racially mixed children into homes. "Apparently, a lot of people don't want them," she frowns. "So maybe we'll look into that some day."

For now, the future of her two sins is uppermost in her mind. She becomes serious while relating a recent thought she had while gazing down on them sleeping in their cribs. "I hope for Darren and Brett that they have full lives that will fulfill them," she says. "I hope they'll have the discipline to do the things they want to do, and that they'll do them with gusto. Let them live life with real gusto...and be happy."

Gusto. Happiness. Shelby Hiatt. They all go together.


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This was great. Thanks for posting. I love seeing the old brownstone, Bobbi & Jake, Aunt Ruby, Scotty, Tiffany and her sister Cheryl. I remember I even liked the pairing of Cheryl and Robert. The good old days.

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I think this time period was Bobbie at her most real, as she always had to put on a little during and after her marriage to Tony.

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