Author: Belinda Smith
Unless you are an A list celebrity, nothing can prepare you for the attention and infamy that multiples will attract when you are out and about in public. People in general see more than one baby at a time and lose their collective minds. I personally have had people follow me down escalators, through shops and even out to my car just to get a look at three babies at once.
I am sure many of you reading this have experienced all the different scenarios from staring, whispers and sideways glances, to the people bold enough to come up and ask questions/give opinions/give advice (most of which is not helpful in the multiples world as we all know!).
Going out in public with twins, triplets or more
I am a naturally outgoing person, happy to meet new people and have a chat. I can imagine however, that if you are more introverted or avoid crowds that this type of interaction can be both exhausting and terrifying. Throw into the mix after birth hormones and general uncertainty about looking after newborns and you can understand why some people have very negative feelings about venturing out in public.
When you are out in public with twins, triplets or more, it is not only having people come up to you that causes concern, but also what they may say. We have all had the predictable “Double Trouble” ( or in my case “Triple Trouble”), “You’ve got your hands full”, or my personal favourite “Better you than me”. Occasionally you will have some kind souls say how blessed or lucky you are but these people are definitely in the minority.
The worst one I have ever had was a lady who followed us down several escalators at the shops and then, after clarifying that we indeed have triplets, declared that “We were put on this Earth to suffer.” I know right! This is the only time that I have ever been truly surprised and annoyed by what a curious bystander has said and I turned around and replied “You know my children can hear you!” Needless to say, this made her realise the gravity of what she had just said and she walked away. Thankfully the boys were only 2 at the time and were blissfully unaware of what had just happened.
Why people say what they do when they see parents of twins, triplets or more out and about
The thing I have come to realise over time is that these people see our situation and then imagine themselves in that scenario. They then verbally respond without taking the time to analyse how their words may affect you. Mostly they are just interested or in awe of you and all that you do to look after your precious babies.
Because the nature of the general public is so unpredictable it is hard to give tips on how to respond to these situations. We could go out one day and be stopped five or six times and then on other days make it back to the car without so much as a confused glance in our direction.
If you can, try and keep these things in mind:
If you go out with the knowledge that you could be stopped or approached by other people it won’t be such a shock when it happens;
Be assertive if you need to be.
It is all well and good for people to approach you but if you are in a hurry or concerned about germs or just not in the mood to make small talk don’t be afraid to respectfully tell someone to back off or that you are not interested in a chat. These are your babies and your life and you get to decide.
Most people are just curious.
If I had a $1 for everyone that said “I have never met triplets in real life before” I would be a rich woman. Very often they have dreamed of having twins or wanted multiples and are just interested to see how it is in reality.
Going out in public with twins, triplets or more
I hope that this has not scared away any of our pregnant families, reading this blog before their babies have arrived. Rest assured most people are very friendly and have the best intentions behind their questions and curiosity. Often you leave them with a smile on their face and you have had a chance to talk about your kids and share your experience.
Also, I found that going out in public with twins, triplets or more once they are out of the pram means the attention decreases significantly. Don’t get me wrong we still get stopped and asked all the questions (I think particularly because mine are identical) but there is definitely less incidence of it. Also, the boys are old enough to answer some questions now too so that is nice to see them have the confidence to positively interact with others.
Finally, I think the best thing to remember is that you can influence how this affects you and your kids. If they see you positively react when presented with these situations then they will do the same. This is their life and it is our job to equip them with the skills that they need to handle conversations that are unique to them because of the circumstances of their birth.
Good luck out there.
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