I guess I’ve been so conditioned by link bait that I actually think in listicle form. (Anyone else?) So, since I’ve been compiling this “what not to say to a woman pregnant with twins” list in my head anyway as I go along, please indulge me while I vomit it forth upon the Internet.
With one disclaimer: I always found these “what not to do/say” lists wildly patronizing — like, OK, fine, sorry I bothered to talk to you at all, cranky lady! But I imagine this post as less of a finger wag at kind people who are simply sweetly inquiring or making conversation, and who couldn’t really know better (or could they?), and more of a thing for other pregnant ladies to read along with their “amens” and “mmmmkays.” We’re in this together, moms-to-be of multiples! So without further ado:
You must get as much sleep as you can before the babies come!
You think? Yes, sleep would be awesome. But these words to an insomniac are toxic. Saying “you have to sleep” is pretty much the kiss of death for someone who already knows that but historically hasn’t been able to do much about it. Associating sleep with pressure is bad bad bad, so please let’s not. And also, you know, there is a lot clanging around in the ol’ brain at night these days for pretty legit reasons. And my back hurts. And I can’t figure out this complicated pregnancy pillow, etc.
Twins! Cool, so you’re done!
I actually have no discomfort with this question personally because it’s no secret that I don’t want more children beyond two. When people ask, “Is this your first pregnancy?” I’m happy to volunteer, “Yes, first and last.” But I imagine I’d be super bummed out if people made incorrect assumptions about my future plans based on their own preferences. To each her own, right? (I’m looking at you, Double Duty Twins super fun/makes-it-look-easy twin mom with a third on the way!)
When are you due?
I know this one sounds really innocuous, and I feel nitpicky for putting a question so apparently innocent on a list like this. But when you’re carrying multiples, you really don’t know when your babies are coming. You hope they get to the 38-week cutoff your doc jotted in his calendar lo those months ago when it seemed so far away. But you also hope they make it anywhere close to that. Deep down (or on the surface), you are first hoping just to make it until 30 weeks, and then 32. And maybe you feel like a time bomb and it’s scary. It’s just a totally weighted question with a more complex answer than the asker is anticipating.
Twins! Was it natural?
So you’re asking if I had IVF? No, I did not, actually. But if I don’t even know you, why would we even talk about that? To me, that question seems akin to gawking at someone’s boobs/hair/whatever, and being like, “Pretty. Is it real?” You may want to ask this of someone you know well (and someone you know won’t kick your butt for asking) but think about if you should be asking this of a stranger.
And that says nothing of all the complex classist concepts tied up with the whole dialogue. Like, yes, you noticed I’m over 35 with a master’s degree and I live in Los Angeles, so you just made a quick calculation in your head and determined I got myself in a bind after I heedlessly focused on my career too long or something? Ugh, the whole thing gives me a headache (more specifically, a backache). I think we know that making assumptions makes a you-know-what out of you-know-who.
You’re about to pop!
This one’s so duh, like obviously you probably shouldn’t gawk at anybody in general and remark about their massive girth unless you want to announce that you were raised in a barn. To, “You’re about to pop,” I just say, “No, I’m not.”
But it’s pretty logical that moms of multiples can get super ginormous bellies as they’re making various people in there — even when they’re nowhere close to official due date.
On the flip side, if you (me) have a formidable twin bump, you may find that someone at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market decides not to cut in front of you after all for a sample of Korean spicy tempeh because she observes you “need some protein quick before you deliver.” However, it should be noted that the paparazzi stalking Rachel Zoe as she shops for flowers with Skyler in the stroller will still come close to knocking you down with equal recklessness as if you were not in the family way.
Bonus! Things you can say that make a woman pregnant with twins feel really great and love you forever:
“You look fab!”
“You’re killing it in that dress!”
“You’re carrying it all in your belly.”
“Twins — what fun!”
“Yes, the cheese is pasteurized, and so is this killer green juice.”
“Here, let me pick up that thing for you off the floor.”
“No worries, the bathroom’s right here.”
[Just nothing related to her pregnancy. Because you can bet she has discussed that with 52 inquiring strangers already this morning.]
Like Ricky Shroeder says, that’s one to (ahem) grow on.
Hey moms of multiples out there: What did I miss? What irks you the most? Let me know in the comments!