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There has been a little video making the rounds on the Internet:
All my other multiple parent homies and I have been having a good giggle about it. It’s nice to have a giggle about it, because there is a standard line of questioning that goes on when you bring your multiples out in public with you. I get it, multiples are fascinating! I am fascinated by multiples (especially high order multiples – 3 or more). I try to be gracious and resist the urge to toy with the interrogator, because they don’t know that I have already answered the same line of questioning 10 times during the (what was supposed to be) short trip to Target, but when you’ve repeated yourself that many times, it’s difficult not to spice up the act a little. Here are my top questions/remarks, and the longer form responses I give – I might print this out and hand it to people.
1. Are they twins? Yes. They are. (I imagine that when my kids get older it will be harder to tell that they are twins. There is a size discrepancy between the two of them and they are boy/girl. For now, though, while they are at the same developmental stage of infancy, I am always a little curious what other options the interrogator is considering…)
2. Are they identical? No. They are not. Identical twins share the exact same DNA thumbprint. Essentially, they are a genetic copy of each other coming from the same egg fertilized by the same sperm. Fraternal twins are siblings (no different from a siblings who were born years apart from each other) who shared the womb. They come from separate eggs fertilized by separate sperm. Boy/Girl twins are always fraternal because they cannot be genetic copies of each other when their basic sex organs are not the same. Boy/boy twins and girl/girl twins may or may not be identical. The fact that they are the same sex does not give the answer to the question whether they are identical or not. There are a lot of clues during pregnancy that tell the doctor and the parents what type of twins are present, but I won’t get into all that.
3. But they look alike. That’s because they are siblings. Again, fraternal twins can look alike, and not be identical. The question of whether or not twins are identical is actually a scientific question.
4. Are they natural? Yes (that is everyone’s answer to this question – not just mine – because the question is so ridiculous. What are you asking? Are they homosapiens? Yes. Are they human beings? Yes.) I think that the question that people are meaning to ask is “were they conceived naturally?” Which A. is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business, and B. is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business. In the event that you were not aware of A and B, you must surely know C. that is a totally inappropriate question to ask, and is none of your stinkin’ business.
5. Were they born naturally? (Again, another kind of bizarre question. They were inside a body, and they came out. Why does it matter how they got there?) This one trips me up a little… Do you mean “were they born vaginally?” and you’re just too shy to say the word “vagina?” And again, what makes this your business? I am always curious about the motive of this question. I have learned, because my answer is no – they were born by c-section, that the follow up question is usually an investigation of whether or not the c-section was necessary. This is usually asked by a person who has a vested interest in the field of multiple births like a Doctor, Midwife, Nurse, or Doula. The short answer is yes.
People are not always aware that vaginal birth is definitely an option for multiple births. For me, it was the desired option. What matters most is baby A (and baby A is always baby A – it is the baby closest to the exit) is engaged and in position. For a skilled Doctor, baby A only needs to “pave the way” so to speak, and baby B can be turned or maneuvered in the meantime to make the journey safely and properly. In my case, both babies were lying across my abdomen (transverse) when I labored, and not in a “head-down” position. It would have been dangerous for all parties to have allowed me to attempt a vaginal birth. So, yes. It was necessary. Also, for the record, I think that is a highly personal question.
6. Oh, it’s so nice that you have 2 and they are one of each. Now you are done. UGH. This one just really really bugs me. Usually I get this one when I’m out with just the Twinstroms. The interrogator usually believes that I am mommy just to the Twinstroms. I usually add that I have a four year-old at home as well – and that we were only trying for one more. That’s the story they hear. The story (as those of you who have been reading Keeping Her Cool for a while know) is far more intense than that. I am actually a mommy to 5 children. Two of them did not get to stay here to live a long and happy life. So… this one stings a little for me. I imagine it lands on everyone’s ears a little differently, but the bottom line is – again, none of your business whether I am done or not.
7. How do you do it? I just do. We all just do. Whatever your perceived challenges are in life… you just do.
If you want to know more about multiple births, the special challenges and joys of birthing and raising multiples, or how you can help a parent of multiples in their lives, I was lucky enough to have been asked to be a guest along with Tory from Welcome Baby Care (who was my Postpartum Doula following the birth of the Twinstroms) on the Good Enough Moms Podcast.