What is your first reaction when you see a mum with twins? Do you say something along the lines of “I don’t know how you do it. It must be so hard!” Turns out most people say exactly that – and I must admit I’m one of those people, too. Antoniya, mother of twin boys, tells us why that’s a bad idea – and what we should say instead.
Tell us Antoniya, how often do you hear people commenting how hard it must be for you?
All the time. It’s a normal reaction, I understand that. Everybody is like, “oh I have a baby and it’s so hard, I can’t imagine what it’s like with two babies”. It is hard, yes; and you basically try to get used to it, try to find a way – and you don’t want to hear that your life is hard. Having twins might be hard work, but that doesn’t mean you should always comment on that.
It sounds pitiful. And it’s all focusing on the negative side of having children. When people say “oh it must be so hard for you” they’re only focusing on the negative part of having twins.
What would be a better alternative?
I’d like to hear somebody focusing on the positive sides of having twins when they’re communicating with me. That’s more encouraging, and it makes me feel better. I don’t want to hear it over and over again that “your life must be so hard” because then you start feeling that way.
“I don’t need you to tell me my life is hard; I need you to say something positive.”
We need some positive affirmations about our situation. That makes you feel better, makes you feel more confident, makes you feel you can do it – even if it’s hard.
To close friends and family I’ve said “I don’t need you to tell me my life is hard; I need you to say something positive about the situation”. And they understand, but they also need to change their perspective, because this is the first thing they see, that it’s hard. It’s quite natural to react like that.
If you want to make a real connection with parents of twins, you should say something positive about their situation. I don’t even like using the word “situation”; we’re just parents, like any other parent. It’s just a variation on being a parent. It feels like people exaggerate how difficult it is; it’s really just a variation. What about those parents who have three kids, or a two-year-old and a one-year-old, that’s also a challenge – it’s not just parents of twins who have it hard.
I prefer focusing on the positive part – and there are lots of positive parts.
Yes. For example, twins will keep each other company, they will play together. When you only have one baby you have to entertain him all the time. And they will have this special connection their whole life. I think nothing is quite as strong a bond as the bond between twins.
Exactly. People have told me that and I love it. These kind of comments make me feel better, and they make me see my boys in a different light. It’s very nice to hear such comments. There are so many positive things you can say. Positive affirmations are very important not just in pregnancy and birth, but later on in motherhood as well. At any stage of motherhood. With twins I feel it’s even more important: if I hear more people say positive things that also helps me to act upon it.
Sometimes the smallest gesture, a simple word can brighten up someone’s mood. It doesn’t need to be anything big, just a short sentence can make someone’s day. Words are powerful, and they will influence your overall feelings about being a parent. Yes, it is difficult, but there are other things that we can focus on: the benefits, the nice moments together, and so on.
It’s interesting for me to notice how people react, and I wanted to share my thoughts. I don’t want people to just see the difficult part.
So next time you meet a mum of twins, remember: don’t comment on how hard it must be for her. She knows that very well. Focus on positive affirmations instead, which are very much needed and always welcome. Comment on the positive side of twins growing up together:
- the special bond they have that will last for a lifetime;
- the nice moments they share as a family;
- the fact that the twins will never be bored because they have each other to play with;
- the mum not having to entertain them all the time (this alone is a huge bonus);
- always being there for each other and having each other’s backs during difficult times;
- … and really there are so many positive things you could say – just get creative 🙂
Thank you Antoniya for sharing your story with us ♥