Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh Look...Twins! Were They Conceived Naturally?

So, I am gonna go out on a limb here and say that comment is about as intrusive as asking "Oh Look....Twins!  Were You on Top or Was He?"  Ok, maybe that's a LITTLE over the "top"...pun intended!  But seriously?!?!?!  Who asks this question to a total stranger?  Especially before engaging in some friendly "word-foreplay" or at the very least....Tell me they are cute first! LOL

This statement has been the second most popular question in the short 17 months of Ave and Bryce's existence that I have been faced with, right behind the following ludicrous, but funny, interaction (which has happened ALMOST on a weekly basis):

"Are they twins?"
Me- "They sure are!"
"A Boy and a Girl?"
Me- "They sure are!"
"Are they identical?"
Me- "The sure arn't" LOL!!!

It's amazing to me how many people really don't understand the basic biology about reproduction and how IDENTICAL Boy/Girl twins is impossible, but then again, I try not to be annoyed or too facetious about it because not everyone has had to take the same daunting journey through infertility and IVF (in-vetro fertilization) that I have, which did provide a "refresher" on my knowledge about Grade 9 Biology and Sex Ed. :)  I do find humor in this interaction but I still struggle to find "humor" in the "Were they conceived naturally?" comment...

From my experience, not many people openly discuss their infertility and what measures they have or have not taken to conceive a baby.  I, on the other hand, have never been private or perhaps more importantly, ashamed of the fact that my husband and I used IVF as the successful method to start the family we both have always wanted...but that is not the case with MOST couples and I respect this.  Perhaps it is because I have a friend who has gone through the emotional roller coaster of her life trying to conceive naturally and through medical interventions (not specifically IVF) unsuccessfully and how the sheer thought of discussing it causes her great pain.  So the thought of EVER asking someone something so personal has NEVER even crossed my mind and I would have thought the same for others, regardless of their knowledge or lack there of, of social etiquette's.

Knowing that IVF and infertility is NOT something you want to ASK someone about, I made a conscious decision to include that we were having twins that were conceived through IVF when my husband and I participated in the Twin Prenatal Classes, in hopes that this might make another couple (there were a whopping 20 couples expecting twins) feel comfortable enough to engage with us, privately outside of class.  That did not happen.  Not one other couple or person, that's a total of 40 people, talked or even mentioned infertility or IVF.  I must say, I was beginning to feel very alone, in that MAYBE I was the ONLY woman there that had had to use IVF to become a mom and that I wouldn't make one single connection that I had hoped for.  That didn't happen either.  Shortly after Ave & Bryce were born, one woman from the class sent me an email (we had thankfully exchanged emails with everyone in the class the last night) asking if I'd like to get together with her for a "playdate", this is so funny when I think back because the kids were only 4 months was more like an "adult interaction reprieve". It was only a few short minutes after we starting talking that afternoon that she opened up about how she and her husband had also conceived their babies with the assistance of IVF.  Out of all the women in that class, she chose to connect with, I'd really like to think it was because of my bright, friendly personality but I think it was due to my openness about our infertility...and that's great!  We have since had many chit-chats about our journey to conception, it certainly doesn't dominate our conversations or friendship but it is a bond that we share.

Anywho, my point being....I have no difficulty in speaking or talking about infertility and IVF.  However, it really rubs me the wrong way when people have the audacity to ask me "Were they conceived naturally?"  My immediate reaction is to say "None of your damn beez-wax!" or (see above) but I never have and I never will because maybe, just maybe they are looking for that open door to chat about their experiences??  I have always wholeheartedly answered "Through IVF, we were blessed with these two beautiful children."   And by the way, I am STILL WAITING for one of these women to see my "confession of infertility" as that "open-door"....nevertheless, my response usually ends the inquisitiveness and in all their defenses...we do eventually get a "They're so cute!"


  1. Who aske this question??? Almost everyone! I've heard it so many times that I now say nope, they're robots, how did you know? Most people think they're human. It amuses me to see their reaction.

  2. It is really amazing that people ask this...Robots eh? That's a good one...I might just have to change it up from time to time!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. we get this a lot too and I'm like you - totally open about our "proudly IVF" status

  4. An oldie but goodie!

    I, too, am open about getting a little medical boost for the old ovaries, but I will admit I cringe when people ask if my babies are "natural." Touch them. Change their diaper. Feed them. 100% natural, I promise you!

  5. You've got to go find my post about Tampon Brand on my site... SAME topic! I've got twin girls and get the same banter. Oh and Bridget from Twinisms posted a similar recycled post about her twins (she has two sets!)

    Glad you found us!!

  6. We didn't have any help, but only 56 % of twins are conceived without drugs or other help, so I'd bet half of those ladies in your class were just afraid to say something. :(

    I think this question is just programmed into people when they see twins. I don't think they are trying to be offensive... they are just fascinated with multiples. Like asking which one is older... as if two minutes is going to make a difference in the personality of either child or the dynamic between them. People just want to engage you in conversation (while looking at your cute babies a bit longer), and don't know what else to say. At least that is what I tell myself when people ask if they were 'natural'. :) Keeps me sane.

  7. Good for you for being so open about it. It's not a comfortable subject and it seems to me that anyone making such ignorant comments or questions has never had to deal with infertility issues. I'm guessing that even if there were people in your class who didn't let you know about the IVF at the time, they probably still appreciated hearing from you.

  8. People just don't think before they speak sometimes. My son had to wear one of those helmets when he was about 6 mo old to help round out a huge flat spot on the back of his head (worked marvelously) and I will never forget... We were in Baby's R Us and this older woman walked up to me and says "what's wrong with your baby? Does he have a brain injury?" - I shiz you not! I didn't even know how to respond. I'm pretty sure she knew I was pretty appalled by her question by the look on my face.

    Thanks for linking up with us for Ghosts of Blogging Past! :)



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