2014 to Mar 2016

Five things parents of multiples do not like to hear

I haven’t been really updating my blog because I was feeling uninspired.  So if you don’t see new posts, its because I didn’t have anything new to write about.  I guess I am more of a topical blogger.  When there’s a topic I am excited about, it spurs me to write and share my thoughts.  Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things parents of twins and triplets do not like to hear, and its taken me a few days to mull it over so here it is, finally.

1. We don’t like it when you ask if our children were naturally conceived or if they were from IVF.

Like really, does it matter? Do my children appear less human if I were to say they were IVF babies? Are you going to treat them any different if they were from IVF? I think the intention behind the question is not typically malicious.  IVF has become very synonymous with the rise of infant multiples, so people feel satisfied when you tell them its IVF.  The strange phenomenon of your triplets boiled down to simple science.  In our case, obviously it wasn’t IVF, and you can see the very confused looks we got.  After which they will naturally go on to ask if triplets ran in my family, and I also hate answering this question because if it did, I would have mentioned up front and cleared their confusion. Twin and triplet parents, however, feel harassed when you ask them something that is actually very private and it should be on our own volition if we want to share this personal information with you. I mean think about it: the question is very loaded.  You are asking did you get triplets from sex or did you concoct them in the laboratory.  One of my twin mum friends made a good point: no one ever, ever bothers a parent of a singleton baby with this question when the fact remains that more singleton babies than multiple babies were from IVF.  So next time just don’t ask and wait for parents to volunteer that information to you if they want to.

2.  We don’t like it when you mention or imply that our twins and triplets are a burden.

“Oh your hands must be full.”

“You must be so busy!”

“You poor thing, having to buy triple of everything.”

I think many times when people say things to this effect, they mean to empathise but it comes off negatively. A positive way to spin this that most parents of multiples will prefer is to say, “You are so blessed.” The truth is having twins and triplets is a happy, and not an unhappy problem.  Singapore alone only sees an average of 500 twin births and less than 10 triplet births annually, and this is out of 33,000 births.  So twins are quite rare in our small island and triplets even rarer.  I have met many twin mothers and even some triplet mothers by now and while they do have challenges raising their multiples, not a single one view their children as burdensome.  In fact we feel special that we were given this opportunity to have a chance to be part of something quite special.

3. We don’t like it when you ask us how we cope financially.

Discussing money is just crass, full stop.  Again, let us share this information at our own will.

4.  We don’t like it when you ask us if how we can tell them apart, and then after we say we just can, and you continue to say but what if you assigned the wrong name to the wrong baby at the hospital.

And on a similar and related note, we don’t like it when you blame our babies when YOU are unable to tell them apart.

Give us some credit? Sure mix-ups are super common and its known to happen.  But if we already said we can tell them apart, don’t try to make us feel like lesser parents and create further doubt and crisis in ourselves.  Plus we understand that you are so fascinated by their likeness, but we don’t think its cool of you to tell them that they are confusing you.  They did not ask to be born to look alike, nor did they have intentions to confuse you.  Unless you are their teacher and they were out to trick you for real, then please give me a call and I will be sure to reprimand them.

5.  If you are a close friend or relative, we do not like it when you treat our children like circus animals by asking us if you could bring people we do not know over to gawk at our babies.

This happens quite a fair bit, especially when twin and triplet parents just delivered their babies.  We would receive a slew of messages and self-invitations from family and friends about when they can come over, never mind we need time to adjust, breastfeed and rest.  More worst they want to bring along other family and friends we do not know just to witness seeing triplets because they have never seen triplets in their life before.  People forget that twins and triplets are ordinary human beings too, not circus animals.  Most parents of twins and triplets are happy to share their bundles of joy with their friends and family but its a bit much to extend that joy to strangers.

6.  This is additional and its not something parents of multiples do not like to hear, but rather see.  That is, don’t take photographs of our children without our permission.

We have actually approached individuals on the street who took photographs of our triplets without permission to erase the data from their phone.  Like how rude is that.  This is an extension of treating our kids like circus animals.

There, I’ve got that off my chest.  So next time you know someone with twins and triplets, take heed.

2 thoughts on “Five things parents of multiples do not like to hear

  1. You go, mama!! It’s amazing how so many people don’t think about how their words and behavior affect others. I would say that I’m shocked that people have the nerve to do some of those things, but I’m not. As a mom, you suddenly realize how weird it is when people say certain things to you because they don’t know what to say. For instance, so many people tell me, “Your son looks like you.” Okay? I would think that’s how genetics works. There are so many examples like that and I am glad that I’m not alone when I feel like I just want to have a normal relationship with my son without feeling like spotlight, compliments, or comments need to be given to me like a gift. Great post!

  2. It’s really not okay to take pictures of children without permission, whether or not they are multiples! There must be some children protection act in place leh, so it’s also a legal issue, not mere courtesy or lack of.

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