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Twice as bad: The top 10 things twin parents do not want to hear

Twice as bad: The top 10 things twin parents do not want to hear

Twice as bad: The top 10 things twin parents do not want to hear

I'm gonna do it - here it is the top 10 things I've heard as a twin parent that really get my goat! We get a lot of comments, mostly helpful, kind and sympathetic. But littered amongst those comments are prying questions, accusations and downright rude comments from complete strangers.

So, take heed, and scratch these from your discussion repertoire with twin parents!

1. Oh gosh, twins! That sucks!

There's a few variations of this one, some more extreme than others, but the general meaning is all the same. For many people, hearing or seeing that you have twins results in an instant negative reaction for them, to which twin parents are on the receiving end. Yes, it might be a shock for us, yes, it might be a lot to take in, but telling us that it sucks is not going to help us!

If you must say something, why not try - "Oh gosh, twins! That must have been a big surprise! How are you feeling about it / how are you managing?". This is a much more helpful comment and will open the dialogue for an expectant or new parent who might actually be in need of a friendly ear.

2. Two boys / two girls - that's disappointing!

Be it identical or fraternal, having twins of the same sex can lead to comments about missing out on having a child of the opposite sex. These are really not appropriate comments. There are so many joys to be had with twins of the same or differing sex, suggesting that one or another is a disappointment is not cool!

3. So, did you use IVF?

I fundamentally HATE questions about how twins were conceived, and whether IVF or fertility treatment was involved. This is such a personal question and one that parents of singletons rarely, if ever, have to answer (I was certainly never asked this question whilst pregnant with my singletons!).

A less invasive question is whether twins run in the family. I am happier to answer that question, as I can choose how to respond, either with a blunt statement "no", or I can elaborate further (if I choose to do so) about the fact my twins were conceived whilst undergoing fertility treatment. The place, the person and the context makes a huge difference to how I answer this question and it is far more appropriate to answer.

4. That's going to be expensive

Duh. We know. Basic maths hasn't escaped me since finding out we're having twins. Do you really want to help us? Why not give us some useful advice that might actually help us?

One of my favourite gifts for new parents is The Barefoot Investor for Families (not affiliated in any way). This is a much more helpful way to help out expectant or new parents of twins, who may need a helping hand to get their finances under control.

5. So I guess you didn't push them out!

This is right up there with one of the worst questions. How I birth my children is none of your business, unless I choose to tell you! Yes, in my case, my twins came out the sunroof because they were both breech, and that was the safest option for all of us. But there are so many different stories to be told on twin births, and assuming that a parent took one option over another isn't cool.

6. You've got your hands full (without offering to help)

Meltdowns with multiple children in public are heartbreaking, stressful and overwhelming. I have been there more than one time. Comments like "you've got your hands full!" are super common, and most of the time are not intended to be rude or nasty. But sometimes, when said in the context of a parent who is clearly doing their best in the moment, can be downright upsetting.

If you must make the comment, accompany it with an offer to help them in some tangible way - offer to walk with them a little bit whilst they (or you) push the pram, or to sit down with them whilst they calm down, or to watch their toddler whilst they deal with two screaming newborns. Honestly, these gestures can make the biggest of differences in that parent's day.

 7. The other one is crying - you should put that one down

When you have twins, the odds are they will both be crying at various times. If you see a twin parent holding one whilst the other cries, just know that there is a good reason for that, and the child with the most pressing concern is being held for a reason. If the other child is otherwise safe but unsettled, don't say a thing. You really don't need to.

8. I had my kids a year apart, I know JUST what it's like having twins

No, you don't. I'm sorry, but you don't. No doubt you have had your own unique challenges coming with children that close in age, for sure. But it is not the same as having twins.

Twin parents have navigated high-risk pregnancies, difficult recoveries, as well as the stress of dealing with the demands of two newborns at one time. We embrace the chaos of this family life, but it is certainly not the same.

9. You've got twins, at least you don't have to worry about being pregnant again

This is, I think, is seen mostly as a genuine observation, and in some instances if you know the family very well, may be an accurate one. However, an assumption on someone's choices about the intended size of their family when you do not know them, or do not know them well, is fraught with danger.

One family may be quite content with their twins, but for another family it may only be the start of their journey.

10. I guess I won't be seeing you at any social events any time soon!

This one hurts a lot when you're in the depths of adjusting to impending or new twin parenthood. Chances are, yes, we are likely to be recluses for a while. And chances are yes, logistics may see us decline more invitations that we accept for a while.

Reminding us that our foray into parenthood is going to be more challenging than it might be for other parents is not going to make us feel any better! Why not try offering to host an event that suits the twin parents instead? Ask them for what time of day their kiddos are most settled, and try to organise something accordingly. They will be more grateful than you know!

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