Uncomfortable Conversations

Any time the kids and I go out in public, I’m at risk for some very uncomfortable conversations.  I understand people’s fascination with multiples, but some people seem to lose their filter when they corner a Mother of Multiples.

Uncomfortable Conversations A Mother of Multiples Must Endure | OMG There's Three

Let me walk through a real-life conversation I had on the playground yesterday:

Man: “Are they close in age?”
Me: “Yes, they’re triplets”
Man: “Seriously?  They don’t look alike”
Me: “They’re fraternal triplets, not identical”

Do you look exactly like your brother or sister?  I don’t.  Fraternal multiple are just siblings that happened to be born together.

Man: “That’s cool.  I bet it’s a lot of work”
What I Thought: Nah, I grew an extra set of hands.  I just haven’t yet cut out the arm holes in this shirt.
What I Said: “Yes, but it’s worth it”

The idea of caring for multiples is overwhelming and this is just their way of telling me I’m Super Women.  I can live with that.

Man: “We have three kids, but we spread them out – I imagine it’s not much different”
What I Thought: Did you seriously just say that?
What I Said: “I’m sure there are pros and cons to both situations”

Yes, the more kids you have the harder it gets and there really are a few advantages to having multiples – but there’s no way having three singletons can compare to having triplets.  Just like I would never assume I know what it’s like to have quads just because I occasionally watch my friend’s daughter.

Man: “So were they – um – natural, or did you use something?”
What I Thought: No, they aren’t, but aren’t they amazingly life-like.  Let me introduce you to my husband Gepetto.
What I Said: “I did IVF”

I have yet to figure out why people ask this question.  Does doing IVF make having multiples easier?  I wonder if it’s to imply that I somehow asked for it and therefore deserve the extra work.

Thank goodness my phone rang and ended the interrogation.  As painful as this conversation was, he did manage to miss a few things:

Them: “Were you surprised?”
Me: “No, I was horribly disappointed they didn’t find a forth.”

Of course I was surprised!  I’ve decided they really just want to hear the story of how I found out.  I think I should come up with a crazy, shocking story for them.  Any suggestions?

Them: “Did you have a C-Section?”
Me: “Yes, and I have pictures.  Wanna see?”

Why do people ask this one?  Morbid curiosity maybe?  Does it make a difference if I pushed them out one by one or if a doctor gutted me and pulled them out?

Them: “Do triplets run in your family?”
Me: “Hell yea – run, walk, climb things, wrestle, generally wreak havoc.”

I’ve decided people ask this for one of two reasons:

  1. To gauge my fertility history.  This question is then followed up by questions that cross into overly personal territory and question how “natural” my children are.
  2. To assess THEIR risk of multiples.  Honestly, this one is just plain funny.  I usually get a complete run down of their family history:  “My second cousin on my step-father’s side had twins.  Now it’s my turn.” The funniest time this happened was with a Nursing Assistant working with my Grandma.  She was newly pregnant with her third child.  I don’t remember which family member had twins, but it was “her turn.”  “Guess we’ll see next week.  Now I’m worried.  I hope there’s only one in there.”  Apparently my presence alone increased her chances of multiples.

Over the last three years I’ve become better at avoiding conversations like these (don’t make eye contact) – but they still catch my off guard when I can’t avoid them.

Filer people – learn to filter!


  1. Jen says

    Yep. Apparently birthing multiples equals having to put up with getting attention no matter where you go (even though all you really want to do is get in and out of said place before one if them decides to be unhappy).

    Now that my twins are very different in sizes, no one wants to believe that they are twins (recently my stroller is been what has been getting the most attention, ha ha!).

    • says

      So true! I’m tempted to one day respond to the “Were they natural?” question by asking them “Can you please explain the details to me about your child’s conception? What time of day was it? What position did you use?” But I worry instead of proving a point, I might actually get answers which would be super awkward.

  2. says

    That’s hilarious! Although the questions make me cringe. I’d never be able to think up funny answers on the spot, but might be tempted to answer with a question in return: “Why do you ask?” Because, really … WHY??
    Hope recently posted…The Daughter of My DreamsMy Profile

  3. Formerlymmm says

    There is something fascinating about multiples. I can see how it would get annoying- and I’d like to think that I avoid asking prying questions- but I understand the impulse to ask them. It’s inappropriate and voyueristic, but people just want to know all the details of something so cool.

  4. says

    My favorite question is “who is the mom?” One of us usually answers “we both are” & we still get the are they natural question.. I want to say something like did you miss sex education class?!? Lol…

  5. says

    Oh, this makes me feel bad. I’ve certainly asked “do twins run in your family?” Albeit not of total strangers! But if I’m in a conversation with someone, I might ask. Not anymore, I guess!

    I’ve usually asked because I did IVF and transferred two embryos and was totally open to twins, even hoping for them, and had high betas… and a singleton. I’m very happy with how things turned out, but multiples are still magical to me. And are, I think, to ?most people. Two of my closest friends when I was younger were identical twins and I always envied their relationship.

    I don’t know if that helps or that is just excuses, but I really do think people love multiples.
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