What is it about being in public with your babies that encourages complete strangers to throw all sense of privacy and decorum out the window? Here are some of the cringe-worthy comments I’ve received that you’ll want to avoid.
"Oh, you have twins. That's double trouble!" "Are they identical?" "Do twins run in your family?" "How do you tell them apart?" These are all examples of appropriate things to say to moms of twins. But what is it about being in public with your babies that encourages complete strangers to throw all sense of privacy and decorum out the window? Here are some of the cringe-worthy comments I've received that you'll want to avoid when talking to moms of twins; or any mom really.
Do you really need to know? I'm pretty sure that if the mother wanted to be open about her possible infertility, she would bring it up on her own. And if they were conceived naturally, how does the mother answering in the affirmative not make the moment completely awkward? It's better to let the answer to this one remain a mystery.
When in doubt, you can always say, "Oh, what adorable babies!" But leave the baby making questions alone.
"Did you get really big?"
Seriously? Yes, she did. Can we move on?
"Did you nurse them?"
Breastfeeding is a potentially sensitive topic for many moms, and twin moms are no different. At the very least, breastfeeding may not be a topic that the twin mom is willing to discuss with just anyone who asks about it. It is better to not potentially hurt a twin mom's feelings and play it safe rather than sorry. She has enough on her plate and doesn't need your judgement, whether it is intended or not.
"You are done, right?"
How does asking an exhausted mom of twins this question help her to feel good? You are basically saying, "Children are so awful, you better not be having another one!" When people would ask my aunt, "How many children are you going to have?" I believe she would reply, "All of them."
There's a saying among twin moms: "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart." If the mother is done having children, you will know when she doesn't get pregnant again. And if she isn't done having children and would like to have more, your question is only going to cause a sting in her heart. What if she wants another child, but is unable to conceive again? Just don't ask this question.
This one is definitely a go and it is infinitely better than "You must have your hands full!" Coming from a friend or family member, asking twin moms if they need any help is the best thing you can ask. Chances are they do need your help, even if they aren't willing to admit it. Even if you don't feel comfortable babysitting, you can offer to run their errands. They probably don't want to lug two infant car seats into the grocery store alone.
Family and friends who check in often and offer to come hold the babies or do some light housework can be a real lifeline to a brand new mom of twins. Just having someone check in and talk with for a short while can make a real difference.
Alicia is a mother to four children, including identical twin boys. She is also a former high school English teacher. She writes about family and home on her blog. She enjoys the funny things her children do and say and is the author of Motherhood or The Widening Gap Between Showers (available on Amazon).