"OMG, Are They Twins? (And Other Things You Shouldn't Say)"
The fact that the human body can grow more than one child at a time is pretty amazing, no one can deny that. But when you actually see it happening right in front of your eyes, or have even a moment to be able to be a part of that miracle, is a "few times in your life" kind of experience. But when it comes down to it, most people who have not been pregnant with or raised twins don't know HOW to talk to those of us who have. I mean think about it, how many times have you gone up to a person who just has one baby and said something like: "OH MY! You've got your hands full" or "I have a friend who had a cousin who's best friend had a baby girl too!"...... that's what I thought.
I can understand why most people would put me in that "weirdo" category because, even though everything around me wasn't always happy, I truly was happy being pregnant. My friends tease me because of how much I MISS it, and because I am willing to do it all over again, twins or not. But not all of us like showing off and taking an endless stream of photos of the bump. Some of us, unfortunately, don't even have the opportunity to fully enjoy our pregnancies. Carrying multiples can risk complications not usual to singleton pregnancies, which is all the more reason to know what is ok and not ok to say to us when we are "out in the wild."
Here are the Top 7 Things that never got old for the 36 weeks and 4 days that I baked and toted my twincesses around in their utero heaven. It's not that I don't love to chat, it's just that it seems to be the unwritten rule to make these same few statements to M.O.M.s (Mother Of Multiples) EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. we get stopped. And really, we just want it to stop.
1. "You are gonna need two of EVERYTHING!" First of all, babies are expensive, so please don't be "that guy" that momentarily puts M.O.M.-to-be in panic of how broke she is about to be. Unless you are donating to our cause, there is no need to remind us of how expensive life is about to get. (And for the record, NO we don't need two of everything. It's all about trial and error in that department.)
2. Please spare us the chain story of how you know a set of twins: M.O.M.s are cool, twins are cooler, but it's ok if you leave this part out of the story. ESPECIALLY if you have to go back 2 or more people to tell us how you know them. It's not that I am complaining about hearing your story. I personally LOVE meeting new people. But I'd rather spend that brief moment in time getting to know about YOU. "Twins are everywhere. I get the point. Now that we cleared that up, how's your day going?"
3. "Look at that belly!" Pregnancy is an amazing and beautiful thing, but every body is different and whether there is one or three inside, there is no need to talk about how big a mom-to-be is. (You don't know what the view is like from the top looking down. And you don't know what kind of day that mom is having either.) "Ya, I know I'm the size of a whale. Thanks Captain Obvious."
4. "Are they identical?" This seems to be the most important things to strangers, and one of the last things we are worried about. We are more worried about things like "Can we make it without NICU time?" or "I hope I don't end up on bedrest!" Truth is, unless they are in ONE SAC and share ONE PLACENTA (mono/mono) we don't really know. (Of course we know they are not identical if it's a boy/girl set. But that just seems to be stating the obvious.) There are times when even I can't tell them apart, can we just leave it at that?
5. "Twins? Double Trouble!" Please, just STAPH it. Why can't it be Terrific Twins or something more positive? I realize that as I carry these two babies in my belly, my days of chasing mini humans in opposite directions and tending to TWO screaming babies will be endless. Do you really think I need you to add to that stress? One of my personal goals as a blogging gentle parenting M.O.M. is to break the mentality of "double trouble," "twin terrors," etc., etc. because in reality, we can use EVERY ounce of support and uplifting we can get!
6. "Better you than me." Ummmm, with that mentality I agree. I don't know what's worse. The fact that you are writing off my transition into motherhood completely, or that you are implying that I can't handle the cards that have been dealt to me. If you REALLY feel this way, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself. Don't be the Debbie Downer that has to rain on someone else's parade. You never know what that person may have gone through (or currently be experiencing) in relation to their pregnancy. It's called tact. Use it!
7. "You want to breastfeed? Good luck with that!" This was BY FAR the biggest, most worst aggravating comment anyone can ever make, twins or not. If we do get to the point in the conversation where the topic of breastfeeding comes up, by all means let's discuss it. But please, don't dismiss the idea right off the bat. No one has ever asked me if my girls were "natural," but when it came to natural styles of parenting, everybody got so wound up. There is nothing shameful about breastfeeding and while it's definitely not easy, it is 100% possible to breastfeed multiples (and for longer than a year if they want to keep going!)
TIP: Instead, ask me IF I plan to breastfeed and be supportive! There is already SUCH a lack of resources and information for tandem breastfeeders, don't be part of that problem.
I know this sounds ranty, but in all honesty I think most people just don't realize how many times we get stopped for these kinds of questions and comments. And whether you mean to or not, sometimes these comments can really make or break a pregnant womans mood. My point is: Be nice. At the end of the day, carrying two (or more) lives around and having to grow them for as close to 9 months as we can get can be one of the scariest things. Because with that experience comes risks, patience, and lots of self care. Don't hesitate to stop someone when you see multiples because you are fascinated. It's always fun meeting new people, time permitting, but at least next time you have the inside scoop on what NOT to say!