When people find out you are pregnant, they offer you all sorts of advice – well-meaning, to be sure, but advice nonetheless. When people find out you are pregnant with twins … Katy-bar-the-door, the floodgates of advice are WIDE open! I was often shocked to find out that the people who had the MOST advice often had little-to-no experience with multiples at all! Everyone knows someone who knows someone … and the stories just kept coming. I actually had one woman tell me, while standing in line at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, the story of how her sister was pregnant with twins and – are you ready for this? – miscarried one at twenty-something weeks. (Let it be known that I was twenty-four weeks pregnant at the time of this conversation.) What is wrong with people? Why is it that when you have multiples, people feel it is okay to say things to you that they wouldn’t say to any other human on any other day?
Thankfully, mommas of multiples have learned to take it all in stride. We realize that our little ones are fascinating, and 98% of the time, we are happy to chat and let you “ohhh” and “ahhh” over our darling offspring. But listen up, friends: I’ve polled several Multiple Mommas and we’ve come up with a list of things you definitely SHOULD NOT SAY to moms of multiples. These are things we’ve all heard at one point or another – in some cases, we’re not even too sure what they mean. Ready? Here goes:
1. “Are they real?” No one is quite sure what is meant by this question. Our best guess is that it means the same thing as “are they natural?” and “did you take meds?” - all of which are closely related to the “did that just happen?“ question. Regardless of what is meant, you would never ask a mom of a singleton if she took meds, if she meant to get pregnant, or if getting pregnant ran in her family – so why would you feel justified in asking it to a mom of multiples?
2. “Are they identical?” I realize this question isn’t too off-putting, unless you ask it of a mom with boy/girl twins. In case you aren’t aware, it’s impossible for boy/girl twins to be identical. As the word implies, “identical” means they share the same DNA. ALL of it. You get what I’m saying here?
3. “How do you tell them apart?” Even identical twins have distinguishable characteristics – and once you know them, you honestly have trouble seeing that they look alike. True story: I have identical twin friends in their sixties. I once asked them, what were some of the strangest things people had ever said to them? Their response: “are you twins or are you sisters?” and “how do you know which one you are?” Oh, my …
4. “Twins! Two for the price of one!” Last time I checked, parents of twins still have to pay for food, clothing, diapers, toys, college, etc for both children … it’s not a buy-one-get-one-free deal for life.
5. Quite possibly the comment I dislike the most but hear most often is, “twins – you’ve got your hands full!” Yes, I suppose I do – but not in the way you might think. I love having twins. I can’t imagine NOT having twins – and all the multiple mommas I know feel the same way. So, yes, we DO have full hands – but, as my friend Jill says, “we also have full hearts.”
Being a mom is the most incredible experience – and being a mom of multiples makes it that much cooler!
To my fellow mommas of multiples: what else should our readers NEVER say to a mom of multiples? Let us hear your experiences in the comments section below or connect with us on Facebook!