Were you aware that becoming a parent of twins makes you instantly famous?! You can’t go anywhere in public without someone commenting on your family; so plan ahead and add on an extra 10+ minutes to any errand you need to run. You and your traveling circus are about to be the talk of the town!
Actually, a good friend of mine had her twin girls about two months ago (and they are such cute little nuggets) and we recently had a conversation about some of the crazy/annoying/dumb things that come out of strangers’ mouths when they see twins out in the wild. This conversation inspired me to write this blog post. I have compiled a list of some of the things people in general just should NOT say to parents of twins. Most of these I have heard personally, others I have solicited from other parents of multiples. Enjoy, have a chuckle, and if you are not a parent of twins/multiples, try to use that brain of yours!
Note: Most of these are related to having twins, as I have no experience with higher numbers of multiples; but trust me, their comments are equally as agonizing if not worse.
- Assuming they know the gender – I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Oh, a boy and a girl??” when my identical girls are clearly wearing dresses, bows and have their ears pierced. Yes they are bald, but if you can’t 100% tell the gender, then keep your mouth shut!
- “Were they natural?” – Twins can be conceived “naturally” (really, aren’t all babies natural, no matter how conceived? I mean, they aren’t aliens, plastic, unicorns…) as well as with the help of fertility treatments. No one should assume it was one way or another, and it is a pretty private question to ask. I mean, I wouldn’t walk up to a lady with DDD perky breasts and say “nice boobs, are they are they real?” And finally…who CARES???
- “You’ve got your hands full” – Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. What I do know is I don’t need your constant reminder that my life is more often than not, chaotic. And you know what else, my hand may be full but my heart is FULLER.
- “Better you than me” – If these people could understand what we went through to have these beautiful baby girls, I hope they would think twice next time before uttering these words. Finding out I was pregnant with twins may have been the biggest surprise of my life, but it was also the biggest blessing of my life. However, this person is right, it is better that it is ME instead of THEM. After all, it takes a special mom/dad to parent multiples. You need to be kind, mature, accepting, loving & compassionate (among many other things), all of which the person who says this most definitely is not.
- “My kids are 13 months apart, so it’s just like having twins” – NO IT IS NOT. You did not have two newborns at the same time. Your children were not going through the same leaps and milestones at the same time. Were you nursing multiple children at once? Nope! Your body did not go through what carrying multiples puts you through. Yes, having children close in age can be difficult. But it is not the same as having twins or multiples. And really, when did this become a contest?
- “Which one is older/smarter/more outgoing?” – This really annoys me, especially because I try so hard not to compare my girls to each other. They are individuals and will do things at their own pace which may be the same, or it may be completely different. I hope they embrace their individuality and grow up with their own tastes, interests, etc. But for those of you who are really curious….Lennon is one minute older than Rowe; in the scheme of things, does that one minute really matter to you? Both of my girls are brilliant, funny, kind, etc.
- “Do twins run in your family?” – This one, at least for me, requires a bit of scientific explanation. And usually, when I am out with my girls, I have a million things on my mind as I am trying to make sure they don’t escape and run into traffic, swallow an acorn or bite the toddler on the jungle gym. I really don’t have the time or energy to explain the science behind “twins running in families”. But I’ll explain it here, with hopes that my small blog may reach the masses and you can avoid asking me in person. My canned response: “Yes, twins actually DO run in my family, but my girls are identical which is not hereditary.” You see, fraternal twins CAN run in families. It has to do with the mother hyper ovulating and releasing more than one egg, per cycle. Fraternal twins are the result of two eggs being fertilized. So, if your mom or grandma has fraternal twins, then their daughter or grand-daughter may be more likely to have fraternal twins. But it has to do with the mothers’ side of the family, because face it, men don’t ovulate, so they can’t inherit that gene. My father’s brother and sister are fraternal twins. So I am not more apt to have fraternal twins, but my fathers’ sisters and their daughters may be more likely. Identical twins, like my girls, are purely spontaneous. My egg split after fertilization and resulted in my twin girls. Nothing about genetics played into that occurrence. Just pure luck and a gift from God. See – you learn something new every day!
- “Do you have a favorite?” – WHYYYYY?!?! Of course we don’t have a favorite, we love both girls equally with all our hearts. And if we did have a favorite, do you think we would be stupid enough to admit it??
- “Are they both yours?” – Wha??? This one came from the friend mentioned above, and literally had me questioning the intelligence of society. My friend was out to breakfast and the waitress asked her if her twin daughters were twins. She answered yes, and then the waitress asked if they were a boy and a girl (you know, the usual). My friend responded “no, to girls”, to which the waitress then asked “are they both yours?” Really? I am not even going to justify this question….
- Comments on different sizes – My girls are pretty darn close in size, but I know a lot of parents who receive constant comments on the size difference in their multiples. They ARE different people. And there are various reasons why there could be a difference in size. A lot of them can be traced back to time in the womb. Perhaps they experienced IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), or maybe they had TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome). Or perhaps one just eats more than the other or has a faster metabolism. Whatever it is, again, why do you need to know?
- “You must have had a lot of sex to get two!” – Ummmm, do you have a filter? And in my case, actually, no we didn’t have to have sex at all thanks to IVF. Leave my sex life alone.
- “A two for one deal!” – Little do these people know that we paid for two rounds of IVF, so in reality, we got what we paid for. But this bugs a lot of twin parents. You can’t put a “price” on a child…they are invaluable.
- “Do you/did you breastfeed?” – That is absolutely none of your beeswax!! Fed is best, we don’t need your judgement.
- “You must be miserable” – Actually, I love my life. Sure, I have times where I want to scream and hide and down a whole bottle of wine (and I have!), but miserable I am not. I am so beyond in love with my family.
- “You’re done, right?” – Who has decreed that two is the perfect number of children to have? It differs for every family! Some are happy to stop at one. Others are content with none. Some are hoping and praying to have one, while others want 12. There is no limit on the love a family can give to their children, and it is their business and theirs alone regarding how big (or small) they would like their family to be.
So PLEASE, for the love of babies, next time you see a family of multiples out in the open, try to think before you approach us. And, instead of saying one of the above listed statements, try out one of these choices:
Things you SHOULD say to parents of multiples:
- You are blessed
- What a beautiful family
- Here, have some money!
- Let me buy you a coffee
- Aren’t you lucky!
- You are super mom/dad!
- You are doing a great job!
**Disclosure: My views do not reflect the views of all parents of multiples. In fact, some love answering your questions. Half the time, I usually don’t even mind. But we would love some new material!