Twins get a lot of attention. Not individually and not necessarily from their parents but as a set and as a phenomenon they make heads turn wherever they go. People on the street will peer into the carriage and sometimes even start talking to me. I don’t mind being talked to by strangers; often it is quite pleasant, especially when it is other twins parents or when people are being nice.
But oh! some of the things people say.
Particularly strange are people who tell me that having and raising twins is hard. This started during my pregnancy. When I would tell people that I was expecting twins, very often they would tell me that I was going to have a hard time. How they knew this I have no idea because most of them were parents of singletons. Probably they had a hard time with those as well, I guess. Or they know people who know people with twins and they heard it was very hard. I really don't know.
After they came into the world, the whole twins situation became of course a lot more obvious. This just means that people often just leave out the ‘congratulations’ – something that was still done during pregnancy – and immediately launch into telling me that I must be having a hard time.
I must? Well I suppose so. Only because you’re telling me though.
For me, I really feel I am the absolute last to complain about this situation. My first association with twins, even now that I have taken care of them for full two months, is that they are an absolute joy. Sure things can be difficult and frustrating but by the sound of it this is true for pretty much all new parents, no matter how many kids in one go. And yes I often think how having ‘just’ one kid must be a breeze compared to this. Still, my first thought upon seeing them or seeing other twins: how amazingly wonderful! Lucky me.
Isn’t it strange how these things make it clear that people often do not stop to wonder what exactly they are saying or asking? Even if I were to have a hard time with the kiddies, does it really help me or contribute to my life if you tell me how tough it was for your daughter/neighbour/sister/yourself when they/you had twins? Don’t you think that if having twins were such a hellish endeavour, I would already know by now? Maybe I could use some support instead of nightmare stories? (Ergo: are you telling me this to be friendly or are you just using this as an opportunity to display your own – supposed – understanding?)
Another example would be the question some people asked during and even now after the pregnancy. I mean: “Was it a natural conception?” I know that since I am ‘already’ 35 years old and they are twins, people will wonder about this. And I really, honestly don’t mind this question from friends and people of whom I know care about me. (So don’t worry if you ever did!) Yet on the other hand, doesn’t it make you think that it may be a rather intimate question to ask someone? I mean, it’s not like I ask you how your kids were made.
“On a picknick table? Really?”