A pregnancy takes a lot out of a woman’s body. Having twins, is twice as hard with the same space and resources. It is incredibly tough on the body. Everything hurts, you start getting uncomfortable at 16 or so weeks. Getting up to pee is a task and by the time you’re in your 8th month, you are basically immobile. In my case, it was 7 months of house arrest because I had a delicate pregnancy and was on complete bed rest. It is also a time where you’re excited, anxious, scared at the same time. I was lucky to have a lot of people watching out for me. There was a lot of love and care that I got and for that I’m incredibly grateful. Even though I was holed up at home, friends and family were always around to keep me company (despite my mood swings and terrible tantrums). I am super grateful to my friends and fam who gave me practical advice and helped me weed through gyaan to find wisdom. Looking back, these are the funny things I heard. I have no doubt they came from a place of concern but they did scare me for a bit back then.
- Please don’t eat for two:
Ok! I’ve been a chubby person my whole life. Diet and exercise have been a huge part of my life. And because I was very open about my struggle with my body weight, most people thought it’s perfectly normal to comment on my size. The moment some people heard I was pregnant, their reaction was, ‘you’re going to put on so much weight!’ Or ‘please watch what you’re eating.’ Sure, I get that you’re coming from a place of concern, but the last thing a pregnant woman needs to hear is a warning about just how fat she is going to get. I had a high-risk pregnancy which meant that I was on complete bed-rest, so thank you very much I am aware of the weight gain I’m about to experience. But my priority is good nutrition for my baby (babies in my case).
- Be happy all the time
This one annoyed me the most. I’m sorry, but just because I have a tiny human growing inside of me, I’m not going to have joy shining out of my arse. With the difficult issues I had, I was scared, anxious, and sometimes furious (wildly furious as my hormones got stronger). But everyone wanted me to smile and be happy because ‘otherwise the babies will feel your emotions and it’s bad for them.’ I know my babies are priority, but hello, I haven’t stopped existing and I’m allowed to feel and process the emotions that come naturally.
- When I was pregnant…
Some wanted to dispense advice. And I was lucky to get a lot of precious wisdom from many moms around me. But there were a few gems who wanted to compare my pregnancy to theirs. ‘Oh you feel that way? When I was pregnant it wasn’t so bad’ or ‘oh strange that you’re eating xyz food, during my pregnancy I wasn’t allowed’. Please understand that every pregnancy is unique and medical science evolves everyday. So don’t compare! A pregnant woman is already feeling many emotions, one of them cannot be that she’s not doing a good enough job of controlling hormones or her diet.
- Someone we know also went through what you did and they (insert: something bad happened)
When people heard about my pregnancy, the normal advice would follow. But some would follow it up with a warning about how a lady in bed rest during pregnancy who went through what I went through ended up with a bad outcome. I am sure, again, that this came from a place of concern, but dude! I’m scared shitless anyway. Do I need to know about your relative who died in childbirth or a twin mom who ended up losing one baby because she did something? Nope! Also, Please stop judging that poor woman with ‘all because she did not do this or did that’. Unless you’re a medical professional, your reasoning doesn’t make a difference to me. And please contact Shonda, maybe this will be useful to her for some Grey’s Anatomy case study.
- Do you know the gender?
Here’s the thing: it is ILLEGAL to know the gender in our country! There are serious implications for both parents and the doctors if they try to determine the gender of the foetus. This is because, over the past centuries, a male child is a desired outcome. Not for us. We didn’t care if we were having a girl or a boy. The surprise factor was the most wonderful thing when I finally underwent a C-section. I did not want to know which team wins half way into the match? Where’s the fun!
And because I was pregnant with twins there were a few extra gems!
- Do twins run in the family? IVF?
Asking me if I had any treatments is as intrusive as asking ‘which position did you do it in to conceive?’. A woman may have had treatment, may not have. Twins may run in the family, they may not. It is, at the end of the day, a very private thing. So don’t ask unless you have a valid reason to (you might be trying too and might need help/answers, and I’m here for that). And if you must ask, please be sensitive about it and be upfront about your reason.
- Man! We were tired with one, how are you going to manage?
No. No mother needs to have it highlighted how tough her life with two infants is going to be. She knows it’s going to be chaos. She knows she will need a lot of help. And unless you’re showing up to change nappies at 3 am or to help feed them at 6am, you don’t get to rub it in! Also, if your intention is to warn her about the help she needs, do it in a sensible manner. ‘Your life is over’, ‘you poor twin mom’ or ‘my god! How will you do this?’ Are not appropriate responses! (Unless you’re a fellow twin mom who follows it up with solid advice on doing things well! Thank God for those, you know who you are!)