What Not to Say to Moms of Multiples

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When you become a parent of multiples, you instantly open the door to unsolicited comments and advice. It’s part of the territory. You might as well be a celebrity because everywhere you go, someone knows someone who knows someone with twins or triplets, etc., and they can’t help but tell you about it. If you are new to this #momofmultiples life, 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!

I have compiled a list of things that I have come across in the past 3.5 years of being a twin mom that tends to drive me crazy when hearing. While many of these are from my personal experiences, others I have solicited from other parents of multiples. Enjoy, have a chuckle, and if you are not a parent of twins/multiples, bookmark this!

Note: Most of these relate to having twins, as I have no personal experience with higher numbers of multiples. However, rest assured, those parents experience equally agonizing, if not worse, uninvited comments.

Assuming to know the gender

I can’t tell you how many times I was asked in the past, “Oh, a boy and a girl?” when my identical daughters were clearly wearing dresses, bows and have their ears pierced (not that that should automatically categorize them as female). Yes, they were bald for the first 2.5 years of their lives, but if you cannot 100% tell the gender, it’s probably best not to assume you do.

“Were they natural?”

Twins can be conceived “naturally” (In reality all babies are natural; no matter how conceived. I mean, they aren’t aliens, plastic or unicorns…) as through the assistance of fertility treatments, and that is no one’s business but your own and is actually a very private topic. I mean, I wouldn’t walk up to a woman with large breasts and ask her if they are natural; would you? And really, does it matter?

“You have your hands full”

Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. What I do know is that I do not need your constant reminder that my life is more often than not, chaotic or that I can’t remember the last time I went to the bathroom alone. Do you know what else? My hand may be full but my heart is FULLER.

“Better you than me”

I wish everyone knew the extent of what we went through to have our girls; this might make them think twice before uttering these words. Learning I was pregnant with twins may have been the biggest shock of my life, but it was also the biggest blessing. So I suppose, when I really think about it, it IS better me than them. It takes a special person to parent multiples because it is so very different from raising a singleton (that’s what we moms of multiples call single births). And I am honored to have been chosen for the job.

“My kids are 13 months apart, which is just like having twins”

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. You probably did not have to nurse multiple infants at the same time or double up on nighttime feedings. Your body didn’t go through a multiple pregnancy with its high risks, aches, and pains. Yes, having children close in age can be difficult, but it is most definitely not the same as having twins or multiples. Also, when did this become a contest?

“Which one is older/smarter/the troublemaker?”

This one is super annoying, especially because I try so hard not to compare my girls to each other. They are individuals who will do things at their own pace, which may be the same or completely different! I hope they embrace their individuality and grow up to have their own tastes, interests, etc. Nevertheless, for those of you who are really curious….Lennon is one minute older than Rowe, both are brilliant, funny and kind, and they each get into equal amounts of mischief.

“Do twins run in your family?”

This one, at least for me, requires a bit of a scientific explanation, which I usually don’t have time for as I am trying to keep my kids from escaping and running into traffic, swallowing an acorn or biting the other toddler on the jungle gym. Nor do I have the energy to explain the science behind “twins running in families”. However, I’ll explain it here with hopes that my post may reach the masses so there is no need to ask 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 fertilized eggs. So, if your mother or grandmother has fraternal twins, then their daughter/granddaughter may be more likely to have fraternal twins as hyper-ovulation can be hereditary. 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 but I do not have an increased chance of having them. However, my father’s sisters and their daughters may. Identical twins are spontaneous. My embryo split after fertilization, which resulted in twins. Genetics played no part in that, 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 our children equally with all our hearts, and if we did have a favorite, do you think we would admit to it?

“Are they both yours?”

Huh? This one stopped me in my tracks, and I almost responded with “No, we found this one on the side of the road.” My girls are identical. They look exactly alike. So it just makes sense that they are both mine. I understand that there are several sets of multiples that vary in size, gender, hair color, etc., but in the majority of cases that you see a family out with children seemingly the same age; they are likely siblings. Again, this question probably doesn’t need to be asked in the first place.

Comments on size differences

My girls are pretty darn close in size, but I know parents who receive constant comments on the size difference in their multiples. We need to remember that they are, in fact, different people. There are various reasons why there might be a difference in size, many that can be attributed to time in the womb. Perhaps they experienced IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), or maybe they had TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome). Or maybe one just eats more than the other or has a faster metabolism! Whatever the reason, commenting on any person’s size is a no-no in general.

“You must have had a lot of sex to get two!”

Some people have no filter, along with little common sense. The amount of sex a couple has does not particularly influence their likelihood to carry multiples. In my case, sex wasn’t a factor at all thanks to IVF. So please, focus on your own sex life.

“A two for one deal!”

Little do they know that we paid for two rounds of IVF, so in reality, we got what we paid for. However, this bothers some of us parents of multiples. 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 judgment.

“You must be miserable” 

Actually, I love my life. Sure, sometimes I want to scream, hide and down a bottle of wine; 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, while others are content with none. Some pray to have just one, and others want 12. There is no limit on the love a family can give 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 encounter a family of multiples, try to think before you approach us. Instead of saying one of the above, 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’re 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 don’t even mind; but we would love some new material!

 

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Morgan Cranston
Morgan Cranston is a full-time working mom who has been through infertility, a high-risk twin pregnancy and is currently wrangling three-year-old identical twin girls and a one-year-old son. She lives in Sylvania with her P.E. teacher husband, children, and beabull Sonny. Morgan loves to write and share stories through her personal blog, www.thepatientmom.com. Follow her on Instagram (@the_patientmom) for a mix of parenting advice and mishaps, fashion, adventures and fun. In her free time (what’s that?) she also enjoys red wine, beating everyone in Jeopardy, crafting, online shopping and SLOWLY flipping her house room by room.

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