When not one but two celebrity twin pregnancies were announced this month, moms of twins everywhere groaned in sympathy.
Not because Beyoncé and Amal Clooney reminded them growing two people inside you is tough work (it is), or because high-profile pregnancy announcements bring up complicated feelings for a lot of people (they do). But because they know too well that both these women are going to face an inevitable barrage of questions.
The same questions.
Over and over again.
Let's agree to do all double-moms a favor and cross of these "must asks" off our list:
1. "Are they twins?"
Yes. But honestly, twin-mom Megan Zander points out on Mommyish, do you really care either way?
"I’m always tempted to say, No, just to see if they will slump away dejected," she writes. "And if I tell you they’re not twins, then you’re conversing with a women who dresses her kids in matching outfits for Target runs on a random Tuesday, so I would back away slowly if I were you because clearly I have issues."
Twin-mom Julie McCaffrey puts it a different way. She says this question is basically the equivalent to asking someone at a bar, "Do you come here often?"
2. "Are they natural?"
"As opposed to what? Artificial?" writes twin-mom Alana Romain for Scary Mommy. "It’s a sensitive topic and also, nobody else’s business. It’s also implying that natural twins (or "spontaneous" twins to use the proper term) are somehow better, which is untrue."
Questions like this are extremely obvious code for "Did you use a fertility treatment?" The general rule from most moms is that unless they volunteer this info, don't ask. It's nosy, kind of rude and likely to earn you a sassy comeback, like this from one frustrated mom: "No, they're aliens."
3. "C-section or natural birth?"
Zander acknowledges that this might seem like a harmless question, since birth techniques in 2017 run the gamut and women often like to trade war stories.
"But twins are commonly born prematurely, are at a higher risk for complications during delivery and many, mine included, spent time in the NICU before coming home," she writes. "It’s been over a year and I still have very strong and very mixed emotions about my pregnancy and labor. So unless you are my therapist, don’t ask me about it."
Not to mention that the word "natural" can be pretty loaded.
4. "What about breastfeeding?"
This one feels like a trap to most moms—not just those with twins—who know from experience that the person asking probably has plenty of opinions on the subject.
Debates over the merits of breastmilk vs. formula rage on all the time, but the only thing any mom needs to worry about is what works for her and her babies. Case closed.
5. "Are your hands full?"
"It's double the work," writes Jenny Benjamin on Cafe Mom. "Actually, scratch that, it's probably five times the work. It's not all cute coordinated outfits and secret twin-speak and hilarious YouTube videos."
6. "Are they identical?"
To be fair, this one requires a bit more specialty knowledge.
In a nutshell, "identical" twins come from the same egg. They literally have the same genes—and genders—like clones. All other twins are "fraternal" twins: two separate eggs fertilized by two separate sperm. If you see a boy-and-girl pair of twins, they are definitely not identical. Even if they do "look really similar."
7. "Better you than me!"
Okay, so this one isn't a question. But it gets an honorable mention from long-suffering twin-moms all over the internet.
"Thank you," one retorted. "I woke up this morning hoping I'd receive a word of discouragement while pushing a cart of preschoolers down the cereal aisle." Point taken.
Others reflect that it's like implying to a mom that she might not fully love or enjoy parenting her children—and no one has the right to do that, even accidentally. Because one thing all twin-moms agree on is that they love their kids to pieces, even on the worst days.
And one last thing. Please never say the phrase "double trouble" ever again. Especially if you run into Beyoncé or Amal.