Post and photo by Gayle Weiswasser.
There are a lot of twins around these days. Yet, people are still fascinated by multiples, and, despite good intentions, ask a lot of questions that drive us twin moms a little crazy. Here are some things not to say to a twin mom the next time you see her:
1. "Do twins run in your family?" Either they do (which will lead to fraternal twins, not identical twins), or they don't, but if she had some help in the fertility department, it forces her to go down a road she may not want to go down with a complete stranger.
2. "When did you find out you were having twins?" If she did IVF, she found out really early. Again, this is a question she might not want to answer - see #1.
3. "I don't know how you do it." She probably doesn't either, but she doesn't really have a choice.
4. "How lucky! Now you're done." Maybe she doesn't want to be done but she can't get pregnant, or maybe she does and her husband doesn't, or vice versa. Regardless, you may be raising a sore subject.
5."Now who's older?" This one kind of baffles me. Yes, one came out before the other (by one minute, in my case), but twins are actually conceived at the same time.
6. "That one seems to be the shy/outgoing/funny/louder/friendlier one." Despite people's best efforts to make it so, twins don't always fall into set roles. There is a lot of shifting and changing and evolving that goes on every day, and pushing twins into roles really doesn't do anyone any good.
7. "Oh my god! My sister/cousin/colleague/neighbor/best friend has twins!" Twin moms don't really know what to do with this one.
That said, I don't mind at all when people ask if my daughters are twins, and I love when people tell me that they too have twins. We understand each other, and it makes the conversation start out from a very different place, like we're in a secret society whose grueling hazing rituals have led to a special bond of parenthood.
Most of all, I love when people tell me that they are a twin. I often worry that it's hard to be a twin, especially when I see my daugters going through the inevitable rough patches they hit from time to time, and I love the reassurance that happy adult twins give me about their childhoods and the strong friendships most seem to have with their siblings.
So next time you see that mom with the double stroller, tell her you like her shoes. That always works.Top Articles on MultiplesMultiple Personalities: Are Twins Less Distinct from One Another than Singleton Sibs? Do Moms of Twins Live Longer Than Other Mothers? Things You Can Learn from Non-Traditional Families