When I was pregnant with my twins, whom I carried to full term, I got a lot of attention because my size made me a spectacle on the street. At that time, a friend who already had twins told me, "Oh, don't expect that will get better after you actually deliver—in fact, it gets worse!" And now that I'm a proud mom to a pair of toddlers, I'm here to report she was fully right.
These days, we still get a ton of attention, often from well-meaning strangers who are just trying to make conversation. Like probably every other twin mom in America, I hear the same comments over and over again—whether intentionally negative or not—that make me cringe. Here are some of my least favorites.
1. "Are they natural?"
This one always tops my list because it's 50 shades of wrong, for so many reasons. It's like asking, "Nice boobs—are they natural?" At the heart of the question is nosiness about an issue that's none of your business if we're strangers. And, of course, to imply that human beings are anything other than "natural" is downright obnoxious. No civilized person should ask a question that tactless!
Of course, what people who say this really want to know is if the twins were conceived using fertility treatments—which would make them somehow less worthy?! Again, those people can file that question under None of Their Biz.
2. "Do twins run in your family?"
This question seems like an innocent one. But whether or not people realize it, they are often fishing for the answer to the same question about fertility treatments. And believe me, mostly they realize it.
3. "Are they identical?"
This one isn't a mean-spirited question, but it is often ignorant, especially in my case. One is a girl, one is a boy... so they cannot be identical. (Nevermind the fact that one is also a curly brunette, and the other is a straight-haired platinum blonde.) The askers of this question can have a pass though... I didn't know the first thing about twins either, before I had my own!
4. "Who is the smart one?"
Another woman in my multiples club came up with the ultimate clap-back for this one: "People always ask me, 'Who is the mean one?' I'm just going to start answering 'me' and walk away! I'm super open to answering a ton of questions but don't ask me to put a negative label on one of my children.'"
5. "Who is older?"
While I am not personally offended by this comment, I always find it interesting that so many people seem to really care about birth order. My son is one minute older, and we're happy to share that info. But a lot of twin parents find it much more sensitive.
"Many parents of twins choose not to tell their children who was born first because the idea of one being older is a false construct and can cause unnecessary friction," said one mom in my multiples club.
Another pointed out, "Then they try to draw conclusions based on the answer, using irrelevant generalizations from singleton siblings. Like, 'That's why this one is taller,' or 'Oh, you must act like the oldest.' A singleton parent once tried to convince me that which twin was born first really did make a difference in their personalities... which are different regardless of who came out first or second!"
6. "Two babies, and a third on the way!"
Thanks to the enormous pressure on my body, I ended up with diastasis recti after delivery. Beyond that, my uterus needed time to shrink back down to size. So to the woman who peered into my stroller at Target when my babies were only days old, and then glanced at my belly and made this remark—and to all those who made similar comments in the early days postpartum—just... nope. Don't say it!
7. "So you're done!"
Actually yes, I plan to have just these two kids, a decision I made with my husband. But for one thing, my family planning is none of strangers' business. And for another, why does two kids have to be the magic number for everyone? (Answer: It's not.) People especially love to make this comment after noting that I have "one of each," a boy and a girl. Needless to say, I think a family is complete whenever the parent or parents feel it is—not after achieving an arbitrary boy/girl balance.
8. "You must be miserable."
The bride's cousin literally said the following sentence to me at a wedding: "Twins?! I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." I thought it was almost unspeakably shocking, until another mom in my multiples club said she's heard the very same words—verbatim.
Are you kidding me? We probably don't have to even discuss why not to say these words out loud, but I'll dignify them with a short response: No, having twins is no cakewalk, in particular the pregnancy part and the newborn part. And neither is anything else in this life that's rewarding on a deep level.
My standard answer to any comment about my home life with twins? "Piece of cake," I say... just for fun.