With my basketball belly leading the way these days, I inevitably get the "what are you having" question often. Once I reveal that there are two babies inside, everyone seems anxious to share their own thoughts/advice. Most people are incredibly kind and seem truly excited by our good fortune. Many, though, quickly dive into what I find to be inappropriate territory. Here are some of my favorites:
"Do twins run in your family?" When did it become appropriate to ask a random stranger about his or her medical history? I believe this is just a veiled way to ask whether you conceived with the help of fertility drugs. If someone is awkward enough to ask this, I usually respond with "No, we did fertility treatments" or "No, we did IVF." Awkward questions deserve awkward answers.
"Were you surprised?" Seriously?! Who finds out they are having multiples and is not at least a little surprised? Yes, we did IVF and knew that we had transferred two embryos, but very few couples are blessed enough to have both make themselves at home. This is also, I believe, a veiled attempt to ask about whether you participated in fertility treatments. These people get the same response as above, but usually modified with some kind of "We were definitely excited."
"Did you conceive naturally?" Though this one is rare, people actually do ask this. This question is both invasive and offensive. First, how I conceived is really not an appropriate topic for discussion. When you see a woman pregnant with one child, do you ask her about the circumstances surrounding her conception (was the baby planned, did she and her husband have one too many to drink)? Moreover, it implies that because we used fertility treatments, our children are somehow "unnatural." Just like every other baby in the world, our twins were each conceived with one sperm and one egg (luckily for us, we were able to use our own). Sure, there were a few extra steps, but these are normal, natural children.
"I'm so sorry..." Some people actually offer their condolences when they hear we're having twins. I quickly correct them, informing them that we could not be more excited to be having two children at once.
I know that most people mean well, and that society has a fascination with multiples. I also know that this fascination is not going to end with the twins' birth and that we will be fielding these types of questions for years to come. But I strongly recommend that if you come into contact with someone having multiples, do not ask them anything you wouldn't ask a person having one baby. Congratulate them, be excited for them, and leave the awkward questions tucked away, unasked.