The Things People Say…

Since having the girls I have joined some sort of unique members club. Twins and multiples are a fascination for so many people. You never really appreciate how interested people are until you have them and are exposed to all that entails when it comes to being out with them. I see a lot of twin parents writing about some of the crazy, bizarre and occasionally offensive questions they get asked by random members of the public. They aren’t alone in the feelings of annoyance and frustration felt when all you want to do is nip round the supermarket and two hours later you emerge having forgotten what you ever went in for, feeling like you’ve just done a press junket for your latest release. We’ve all been that person; the one cooing, the one peering into the pram to say how cute, the one asking if it’s a boy or a girl (dressed in pink and a bow in their hair but ok, we’ll go with the questions). However there is a line to this interrogation, just because there are two doesn’t suddenly mean my reproductive history is a free-for-all and it astounds me how some people never stop to think before they speak.

Every woman’s journey to pregnancy is different. I appreciate that I am incredibly lucky that once Mr M and I decided we wanted to start a family we didn’t have to wait long. Having twins never even crossed our minds given we had no family history of them but we’re extremely blessed to have the girls. What I don’t see as a bonus is how many people ask if they’re “natural” or not. As a side note dear reader, I assume there’s enough information there to provide you with the answer to that question so it doesn’t need to be raised again respective to our children. Just in case you were ready to ask.

Now think about that question for a minute and what it actually implies. You, a random stranger whom I’ve never met before are asking me something deeply personal and very complicated. You have no idea what journey I, or we as a couple may have taken to get to the point of holding children in our arms. You have no idea if that question comes with memories that might want to be buried, or with mental and physical scars. You don’t know if the road travelled to get to the point of having those babies has been a straightforward and simple one, or if it’s taken years with lots of tests, doctors, medications and losses along the way. But yet this question is one that gets asked quite regularly if you speak to multiples mums and dads.

It does seem to be a question reserved for people who have multiple pregnancies and I appreciate this is because of the increased chance of having a multiple birth through IVF. I get that link in people’s minds but that doesn’t mean I want to discuss it with the queue of Starbucks waiting for my skinny latte. I’ve yet to hear of anyone walking up to the parents of two different aged children, point and say “What method did you use to come about these then?” or ask things like “Are these natural?” Or “Did you have help?” Actually no, they’re 10% porcelain and we got them on a buy to let scheme but thanks so much for the interest.

As Mothers Day in the UK has passed by I am so fortunate to have celebrated my first one but I am aware that it may not be a day of celebration for every woman. For some it’s about remembering their loss, the journey they have or are currently still taking to get to have a child and the sadness felt if it’s an experience they may never have. You only need to look very briefly on social media to see how many networks of support there are around all of these areas, and whilst some individuals chose to share their experiences others may not. Either is absolutely fine, but it isn’t fine to just assume you can ask willy-nilly.

Nor is it fine to tell me how identical my non-identical children are. Yes I’m sure they are non identical. Yep, 100%. Ok, they aren’t person who just accosted me in the street, of course you would know having literally just met me. Thank God you were here.

Conversely I also get (a lot), “I bet you won’t be having any more now!” or “You’ll have to try for a boy next!” Well weird stranger in the park 1) if I choose to have more it’s unlikely I’d pick you to discuss it with and 2) having one of each is not something I’m bothered about but clearly you are. Now actually I hold my hands up and say pre babies I might have asked the second one so I do apologise for not realising how very annoying it is until now. Just so we’re clear on this once you’ve had fraternal twins you’re three times more likely to have them again. So no, we’re done thank you.

I do always appreciate that nobody ever really means to cause hurt or offence when asking these questions, and at some point we have all been that fool asking a new mum something we probably should think twice about but there are always limits. Someone’s reproductive history, their deeply personal relationships and intimacies are not public fodder just because they were lucky enough to have more than one baby at the same time. So next time you’re tempted just remember to think about the impact your words may carry. In the meantime, with the help of some multiples parents here are some classic questions ( and some potential replies). You have been warned.


1) Are they identical? (Very popular for boy-girl twin parents ironically)…

2) Did you have help? Yes, my husband helped…

3) Boy and a girl? Two boys? They’re in a pink buggy…

4) Are they twins? I’m not really sure…

5) Are they yours? No I rented them for a day to scream and keep me awake…

6) Did you plan them? Hmmmm…

7) Are you having any more? See above stats people…

8) Two for the price of one! No I’m pretty sure the last time I checked it cost me two for the price of, well, two…

9) Double trouble! If you have two kids of any age the trouble increases exponentially to the number of kids you have…

10) I bet you’re tired! (I don’t think this one needs a response to be honest. Look at me…)


3 thoughts on “The Things People Say…”

  1. I still chuckle to myself at “closed for business”! 🙂
    Can’t wait to ask you about 6 of these when I see you next!
    P.S. don’t be so colourist(?) – Mr M is a prime example of a boy wearing pink! 😉


  2. Pingback: Multiples and More

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