As new parents of twins, my husband and I received special attention from strangers, as we passed by them our double stroller or dual infant car seats, or otherwise wrangled them.
And it became apparent really quick that people have no idea what to say when confronted with this rarity that is having twins.
Only 33 twins are born per every 1,000 births (source), so despite twins births being on the rise, it’s still not common to know or see a lot of twins.
While people already love to touch pregnant bellies of strangers, or shout at them while pregnant, they also really love babies! So, when a stranger sees not just one, but two babies, they often feel the need to comment to the parents of the twins about it.
Now, the range of what is said to parents of twins spans a broad spectrum. Some are clearly jealous. Some second-guess their own child-birthing choices. Some just baffle in wonderment at how parenting twins would actually work.
As first-time parents to twins, there is a lot we ourselves haven’t figured out yet, or know. But, we do know that we are gonna do our best to roll with our reality and blessing that is being parents of twins.
Things People Say to Parents of Twins
We have heard at least 30 different remarks about having twins. Many of them are as follows:
“Oh no! Twins!”
“Are they twins? Is a boy and a girl? Two boys? Two girls?”
“Are they identical?”
And then after we say they are NOT identical we get often get questions about if they are boy/girl, or how we tell them apart anyway.
“I don’t know how you tell them apart. Must be because you’re their parents. I would have to put a bracelet on one or something.”
Our twin girls look nothing alike. I want to ask if they can tell their two sons/daughters apart.
“I can’t imagine having twins!”
“I had two kids really close in age. I felt like I had twins.”
Two kids close in age is its own challenge and blessing, but it is just not the same as having two at once.
“Do you always dress them the same?”
“You must not be getting any sleep! You must be exhausted.”
“Two for one, huh?”
“I’ve always wanted twins!!”
“My ___(fill in relation)___ has twin ___(fill in genders)__”
And twin parents care because…?
“I don’t know how you do it!”
“I couldn’t do it.”
So you would’ve abandoned one at birth or what?
“How old are they?”
“What a great blessing!”
“You have your hands full.”
“I had only one baby at a time and that was hard enough!”
“Better you than me!”
“Do twins run in your family?”
“Are they natural? or did you have fertility treatments?“
This is perhaps one of my favorite questions, because why would I tell a random stranger if I had fertility problems? And actually, I had twins because I am extra fertile, rather than infertile, thank you.
“They are so beautiful! Congratulations.”
“I could never do that! How do you do it?”
“Do they have different personalities? Is one the ‘evil’ twin?”
“Just wait until they get older! It gets harder!”
Thanks for your vote of confidence. Isn’t every stage hard in some way? And doesn’t every stage also bring with it some ease? Isn’t that parenthood? Isn’t that life?
“Do they wake each other up? Do they set each other off?”
No, not usually…
“That’s so neat!”
“I bet they’ll be the best of friends.”
“I’ve always wanted a twin!”
“You’re so lucky!”
Now, I know having and parenting twins is hard, tiring, and stressful. Because it is, especially when they both do cry at the same time…
But other times they are so adorable!
Do you realize how wonderful it is to cuddle with two babies? To have two babies smiling at you at the same time?
To see two babies cuddle with each other?
To have two babies sleeping on you or with you at the same time?
I feel so absolutely blessed to be a mother of twins. I don’t know why I was blessed with twins, other than God thought I needed to be.
A lady at the store the other day asked me “How is having twins?” and I answered “Great!”
I really think this took her off guard. She responded with the “Having one at a time was hard enough” response.
But, seriously, having twins is such a blessing.
Yes, it is hard, but so rewarding. I love spending every day with my honeys! So, I’ll take whatever things people say to parents of twins if it means I get to be the one blessed to have them.
For more posts about parenting twins, check out these great posts:
- How to stop twins from hitting each other
- Twin Sleeping Arrangements from Birth and Beyond
- How my homeschooled twins learned how to read
- What I learned from breastfeeding twins for 13 months
- Twin vs Singleton Pregnancy
- How to transition twins to toddler beds
- What having twins is really like
This post was originally published June 27, 2010, when our newborn twins were only a couple months old.
We’re all guilty of one of those lines I’m sure. The fertility one definitely blows my mind. I may make dumb comments but certainly don’t invade a complete stranger’s personal life! They’re growing up so fast!
Just wait until a complete stranger asks you in the middle of a crowded checkout line if you had a “vaginal delivery,” not “natural” or “c-section,” actually asks if it was “vaginal,” then proceeds to ask every detail of how they were born. That was one of my favorites. One of my other favorites was walking around with a 14 month old and twin two month olds and people asking if they’re triplets! Ummm…yeah they’re triplets; I just delivered them a year apart!
Someone asked my sister and I if we were twins when I was in high school, prom dress shopping. My sister is six years older and there is a brother between us! Fast forward and my sister did have a set of twins in her second pregnancy. Now she has five kids and would not trade a minute with her crew.
haha i love the one about them being identical because they are each there own little person!
Your girls are so cute! It looks like you’re doing well and I loved the list of things people say….SO true. You’re inspiring me to actually get my act together and start blogging again.
Brittany and Joe says
Wow the older they get the more they don’t look a like. That’s funny that people say stuff like that. When people are taken off guard they don’t know what to say. I’ve had to deal with this too. So I guess just take it in stide.
Sorry, but i am totally jealous! 😛
I can’t believe how big they are getting! Hope all is going well with you!
I just saw your article. The question we got most was if our boy/girl twins were identical. My husband started saying, “Yes, my daughter has a wee-wee!”
I am a twin and 45 years old. My identical twin is my best friend, but over the years we have certainly been compared and asked all of the questions. “What’s it like to be a twin?” (Really…. because I was born this way I don’t know anything else.) I actually have friends that are fraternal girl and boy twins who constantly get asked if they are identical! My best advice is to not try to make them different and don’t try to make them the same. There are times when they will amazingly make similar choices without knowing. There are other times when they want their own identity. I hate when twins are forced to be different. I hate it when twins are forced to be the same. Let them guide that and don’t compare them. Twins are awesome! And other people will never understand that bond. All of our lives, people try to separate us but really just be friends with both of us. We don’t come as a package, but we do have loyalty to each other. So, we prefer to be friends with both of our friends. Most awkward moment is the person that hugs you thinking you’re the other one and you don’t know them. Happens all the time.
I know this is a comment from awhile ago but this is really good advice. I have identical twins boys and I’ve heard so many different things when it comes to individuality. I think letting them lead makes a lot of sense, but also to not be worried if they are wanting to be similar at times. Thanks for sharing.
Love the article! I have several friends with twins. I hope I havnt been as bad!
I’m sorry I’m a spelling nazi sometimes and have a minor correction, in the beginning you talk about people having “no tack” the word is actually “tact”. I probably have no tact for pointing that out lol. Just trying to be helpful!
Blessing Bona says
Totally hilarious! I can relate to “are they identical?”
Lady was seeing the twin boys and asking if they were twins. hahaha…
I am 66 years old and an identical twin to my sister. I have always LOVED being a twin and still do. I am over-the-moon excited that my son and his wife now have boy-girl twins. The questions and comments from people are positive for the most part. Negativity pops in once in a while due to jealousy, in my opinion. The joy of being and/or having twins far outweighs anything the naysayers can come up with.