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"Do twins run in your family?" (or how much would you discuss infertility treatment w/ strangers, fr

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peonygirl

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As a quick intro to this post, I'm 25 weeks pregnant with twin boys conceived via Clomid. I never would have thought to discuss my ovulation issues with people outside my immediate family and friends and my own kids (once they were old enough to care). However, since I was one of the lucky 5-6% who conceived twins with the medication I am constantly being asked "Do twins run in your family?" by strangers and friends. I can't help but think that they are implicitly asking whether I did IVF or used any fertility drugs. I was 25 when I conceived the kiddos, so I don't really fall into the typical demographic people think of when it comes to "needing help." I really have no problem discussing this though since I feel like people who struggle with TTC do need advocates who are open about their stories, but on the other hand the grocery store does not seem to be the right enviroment to be discussing my menstruation history.


Anyway, I was wondering what others would do in this case? I have also been asked point-blank by strangers, "are they natural?" and while I think that's fairly impolite phrasing I have no problem answering "nope" with a smile. I do intend to tell my kiddos that mommy needed some help having them, but I really don't know what to do about friends/family/strangers. Sometimes when people ask me the question about whether twins run in my family I do elaborate and say that I took Clomid, but it seems like only the infertiles truly get what that means. Occasionally people even respond, "oh, I want twins too, I should do that!" or "so you knew you were probably going to have twins?" both of which are just plain silly/uninformed. I really don't give a darn what people think about me, but I want my kiddos to feel comfy with the situation since I know that later on people might be asking me in their presence. I don't want their twinness to feel any less special to them just people deem it "unnatural."

Right now the biggest issue is what to do about my family. My mom and most of DH's family know about the Clomid, but my dad didn't know we were trying so it seemed like the "we're pregnant. . . and it's twins" surprise was pretty big and I postponed going into the intimate details of my gyn history. I'm not sure if I should eventually initiate a conversation or not worry about it unless he asks me directly. Of course, my more distant relatives have put a more personal spin on my initial question: "But twins don't run in OUR family!"

I would really like to hear what people think and what you would do in this case! Right now I've just been answering the questions that people ask me (not assuming they mean something else) but others do seem awfully curious!
 

Logan Sapphire

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First of all, congratulations on your twins! That''s very exciting! I''m a twin too :)

I haven''t been in your exact same position, but since we did build our family through adoption, people also feel the need to comment on or make guess about my fertility (why do they always assume the woman has the problem??). While I definitely agree with you that people who are struggling with fertility need advocates and that infertility isn''t really discussed, I personally feel like no one has the right to know anything about how/why we adopted or about my daughter''s history before she knows and makes that decision to share the information herself.

If people ask you if twins run in your family, I would just smile and say "They do now!" I have a co-worker who has two sets of twins (conceived without intervention), and they get asked fertility questions all the time!
 

stephbolt

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Date: 8/4/2009 6:47:33 AM
Author: Logan Sapphire
First of all, congratulations on your twins! That''s very exciting! I''m a twin too :)

I haven''t been in your exact same position, but since we did build our family through adoption, people also feel the need to comment on or make guess about my fertility (why do they always assume the woman has the problem??). While I definitely agree with you that people who are struggling with fertility need advocates and that infertility isn''t really discussed, I personally feel like no one has the right to know anything about how/why we adopted or about my daughter''s history before she knows and makes that decision to share the information herself.

If people ask you if twins run in your family, I would just smile and say ''They do now!'' I have a co-worker who has two sets of twins (conceived without intervention), and they get asked fertility questions all the time!
Love this response, Logan! Peony, I can''t believe you are getting all these questions, I would never ask a stranger anything about how her children were conceived! Heck, I wouldn''t ask anyone but a close friend. If you do feel comfortable sharing the details, then I would be honest with friends/aquaintences, but I think you''ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you just stick with a lighthearted response with those you don''t really know.
 

nycbkgirl

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peony, i remember having the exact same issue and i discussed it in the preggo thread....i was so angry that ppl just dont have enough sense ! but since i do have twins on my side and dh''s side...when they ask do they run in the family..i say yep....anyhow...if u dont have any twins in the fam...i used to say...dunno maybe they do maybe they dont....with ppl i want to tell i do but otherwise i just avoid the ? and they can tell not to push it any further!..if someone asks is it natural..i say...my kids are all natural
...

it is a very rude ?..esp asked by ppl u arent close to ..i get the curiosity and all but go home and look it up on the internet or smthg....urgh...i sympathize!
 

neatfreak

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Peony-I have no advise at all other than the "they do now" response as well. That one is popular over on twinstuff for the moms that had help conceiving their twins! I even use it when I don't feel like talking to people and I didn't use fertility treatments-so it's really a catch all phrase.

As for people's comments-unfortunately they NEVER end and everything thinks they get to have a say when you have twins for some reason. I cannot take my boys out EVER without being asked if they run in the family (and yes I do think that is often a veiled question about infertility treatments). I also get asked all kinds of inane questions about them-people are pretty stupid in addition to being rude.

On good days I just smile and chat with people a bit and then tell them I need to be on my way. On bad days I give curt answers and basically just walk away. I wasn't kidding when I said a few months ago that it takes 3x as long to go do anything in public now compared to before the twins.

Hang in there hon-just think about what you are comfortable sharing and then go from there. Many twin moms I know who did have help say just that. When someone asks them if twins run in their family they just say "nope-I had help", and leave it there. That shuts most people up. Except if they say they should do that too b/c they want twins to a certain friend of mine she goes OFF on them and tells them how inappropriate that is (she's in the medical sciences).
 

somethingshiny

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Congratulations! How exciting!

I struggled for years TTC so I agree that their needs to be success stories to hear.

I don''t think strangers and others are trying to be rude. I think the world is awed by the thought of multiples. It''s unusual and remarkable. I think people are also awed by the thought of the relationship those children will have with one another. We see so many women pregnant and successful pregnancies that the feeling of the "miracle" seems to pop up in multiples now.




I''d be prepared for that question for the rest of your life.
 

luckystar112

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People can be rude, but you don''t have to appease them.
It''s no more anyone''s business that you took clomid than someone else had a c-section. Notice people don''t run around asking, "Was she delivered vaginally?"
 

Haven

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Date: 8/4/2009 11:58:10 AM
Author: luckystar112
People can be rude, but you don''t have to appease them.
It''s no more anyone''s business that you took clomid than someone else had a c-section. Notice people don''t run around asking, ''Was she delivered vaginally?''
Ha! I agree with this.

Twins do run in my own family, and though we haven''t even started TTC, people feel it is their place to ask about our reproductive plans on a regular basis. I find this very rude, so I usually say something like "We haven''t even discussed it" or, if I''m feeling a bit like putting them in their place, I feign surprise and embarrassment and say "Wow, well that''s just so personal. I''m not really comfortable sharing intimate details of our life like that."

Congrats on your pregnancy! I don''t know what Clomid is, or how difficult it was for you to get here, but I hope that the future brings you much love and happiness with those babies!
 

ellaila

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Oh just wait till you have the babies - THEN strangers will ask you if you''re nursing them! I honestly once had a woman ask me that in a crosswalk. WHAT?

I never understood why people think this is any of their business. I always wanted to have the nerve to reply either "No, they don''t run in my family. By the way, what''s your favorite sexual position?" Or "No, they don''t run in my family. Did you poop today?" or something just as ridiculously inappropriate!

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!
 

neatfreak

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Date: 8/4/2009 11:58:10 AM
Author: luckystar112
People can be rude, but you don''t have to appease them.

It''s no more anyone''s business that you took clomid than someone else had a c-section. Notice people don''t run around asking, ''Was she delivered vaginally?''
Yes people do run around asking it with multiples!


I really think people don''t realize that it is just as inappropriate to ask these things to a multiples mama as it is to singleton mama! Yet they ask anyway...
 

princesss

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Okay, so I''m going to stick my neck out here, so please don''t kill me.

I really didn''t realize that asking if multiples ran in somebody''s family was rude, and I definitely didn''t think it was akin to asking details about the birth or a way of hinting at difficulty conceiving. I guess I just thought it was a question to show interest in your family, since most moms like to talk about their kids. I''m definitely glad I saw this thread before I had the chance to offend somebody. (The most I think I''ve subjected anybody to was me waving at their kids and saying, "Sweetie, twins! I love twins..." as we passed.) So thanks for the heads up, but please give some people the benefit of the doubt. I''m sure they don''t realize they''re being rude, and I think the majority of people wouldn''t ask if they knew how it was perceived. I''m not saying don''t get annoyed, just...don''t think they''re all evil people out to question everything you did, okay? Some of us are just slow...
 

swimmer

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I just have to chime in to share just how insane people are:

Someone who is not close to me but was at the baby shower I hosted on Sunday turned to me (the only non pregnant or breastfeeding woman there) and asked "does infertility run in your family?"

I snorted loudly. And said, "I don''t know, but will ask all my siblings."
 

ellaila

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I personally never got offended if someone asked if twins run in my family - I think that asking how someone conceived or whether you''re BFing is different though. I don''t think that people are "evil" for asking, I just think they''re being out-of-bounds nosy!

One thing that I know a lot of people DO take offense to is the term "natural" to refer to kids born w/o fertility treatments. As in, "Oh were your twins natural or IVF?" The preferred term is "spontaneous."
 

princesss

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Date: 8/4/2009 1:19:54 PM
Author: ellaila
I personally never got offended if someone asked if twins run in my family - I think that asking how someone conceived or whether you''re BFing is different though. I don''t think that people are ''evil'' for asking, I just think they''re being out-of-bounds nosy!

One thing that I know a lot of people DO take offense to is the term ''natural'' to refer to kids born w/o fertility treatments. As in, ''Oh were your twins natural or IVF?'' The preferred term is ''spontaneous.''
I definitely agree with the bolded part - I can''t believe anybody would ask that. That''s personal.

And the second paragraph - noted. Not a word I would have chosen (my inital reaction to somebody saying she was asked if her kids were natural was thinking, "What? You think they''re cyborgs or something?"), but I like "spontaneous" a lot. Seems like it describes what life will be like with multiples, as well.
 

so cal girl

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Peony, my sister just had twins that were conceived via clomid and an IUI, and she had similar problems. Like somethingshiny and princess said, I don''t think people are trying to be rude, I think that twins just generally interest people. At least I would give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that is why they ask. As for the people who flat out ask if they are "natural", I might be tempted to throw out a snide remark, but the way you are dealing with it is probably better


My sister was pretty open about her fertility issues with people she was close to, but if a stranger asked, she would just say that there were twins somewhere back in our family. Heck, most people have twins somewhere in their family, and if not, how the heck would the stranger know? Now if the person asking is family, then you may have to come clean.

As for the whole "unnatural"-ness associated with Clomid and other fertilty procedures, I just don''t get it. The sperm and the egg come together to make an embryo . That''s how all pregnancies happen, and whatever it takes to get there is really none of anybody''s business.
 

Mandarine

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Hi Peony!!! Glad to see you''re doing well!!!


It personally doesn''t bother me when people ask me.....and like you, I get this questions asked A LOT!. From co-wrokers, to grocery store clerks and everyone in between. Since in my case it was "spontaneous", maybe that''s why it doesn''t bother me. However, I was talking to my friend that had fertility treatments and conceived twins...and it didn''t really bother her either. I think mainly it''s just how you perceive the question and how the question is actually asked.

I think the majority of the people asking mean no "evil" and are just curious. If you feel like sharing, share!....if not, just say "yes, they run in my family!". Who cares if they don''t...it''s not like they''re going back home to run a family history on you to verify the answers. I think that''s better than making a snarky remark back...because again, I don''t think people have bad intentions when they ask.

I''m with Ellaila...what does bother me are the people asking if I plan on breastfeeding or having a vaginal birth!. Again though, it doesn''t bother me enough to be rude...I always answer "I don''t know, I guess we will see!".

The type of comments that are getting old are the "wpw, uoi will have your hands full!". I get that one quite a bit...I just say "yep, thankfully I''ll have some help from family". Again, just an answer that won''t propt much discussion and we can move on.

I''d say just enjoy the pregnancy and don''t feel like you have to be 100% honest all the time!. There are also cances of having twins for other reasons...so even if you don''t want to share with family you can just say "I know, what are the chances!"...and just leave it at that.

Good luck! :)

M~
 

Festy

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Hi Peony! 25 weeks, that is unbelievable. I feel like you just got your BFP.

I am one of those people who has asked the question. The person I asked is my husband''s friend''s wife when we had them over for dinner. Since DH and I hadn''t started thinking of TTC at that time I had no idea my question might be perceived as rude. I was just making chit chat. Now that we are struggling with TTC and are about to start using Clomid I am MUCH more sensitive about these things.

My aunt conceived twins when she was 41. They were spontaneous, but surely also a result of her age. So if the question were ever asked of me I could say "yes" without lying, even though the spirit of the question is getting at something different. As for your specific family, it''s a tough call. I would say if your dad expresses curiosity then tell him (if you feel comfortable) but if not, just leave it be.
 

drk

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I think it just depends on how private you and DH are as a couple. Mine doesn''t say much to others about the infertility stuff, but does have a close female friend that he''s talked to about it.

I haven''t actually been too bothered by having to tell my residency program director and hospital coordinators last year about my infertility and need for extra doctors appointments, nor about the extra time I''d be taking off unexpectedly for our IVF cycles. So many people out there are dealing with infertility, and I''m not ashamed of it. I''m sure a lot of people will end up learning that we got pregnant after a couple tries at IVF, and after nearly 4 years of trying, once we finally start announcing, though I''m sure I''ll tell more than my DH will. If even one or two of those people is struggling themselves, and could use some advice from someone who''s been there, I''ll be happy.

If I were pregnant with twins from some sort of infertility treatment, I would tell people that I''d had help, even though twins do run in my family (my maternal great-grandmother was one of three sets of twins). How much detail I would go into in terms of what I''d done would depend on how the person was asking, and if they ended up opening up to me that they were also struggling.

I don''t see that there''s anything unusual or shameful about having used clomid. In your shoes, I would probably just say I''d used clomid to fix some hormonal issues, and was one of the few people who take clomid who are lucky enough to conceive twins. And I wouldn''t be offended if people asked me about plans for c-section or breastfeeding. Often, people are excited for you and want to make conversation. If you''re a very private person, deflect the questions, if not, there''s nothing wrong with being as open as you want. I probably wouldn''t even feel the need to tell the boys that I''d used clomid to get pregnant, unless they started asking questions. It''s just not that big of a deal, in my opinion. Nothing too unnatural about it. :)

Kate
 

Mandarine

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I don''t get offended per say when someone asks me if I plan on delivering naturally...it really depends on who''s asking and how they ask. If it''s a complete stranger, then more than being offended I''m just sort of in shock that they ask in the first place and I truly don''t want to elaborate on my plans!. I do think it''s better to answer something like "We don''t know yet, or we''ll see" rather than a a snarky response...

In general, most people get happy when they see a belly and all of their questions are not meant to be out of line...so I''d just keep that in mind and try not to get caught up in it!
 

jas

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Yeah, I got the "are they natural" question a lot when pregnant. I always said they were my kids and therefore by definition, unnatural. It usually confused people enough to leave me alone.

ETA -- then after delivering people asked how they came out. I immediately ALWAYS offer to show people my scar...without telling them where they came out...

This, by the way, is why I am not asked over to people's houses anymore.
 

princesss

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Date: 8/4/2009 4:23:09 PM
Author: jas
Yeah, I got the ''are they natural'' question a lot when pregnant. I always said they were my kids and therefore by definition, unnatural. It usually confused people enough to leave me alone.

ETA -- then after delivering people asked how they came out. I immediately ALWAYS offer to show people my scar...without telling them where they came out...

This, by the way, is why I am not asked over to people''s houses anymore.
Jas, it is not fair to make me laugh this hard. Really not fair.
 

Festy

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Date: 8/4/2009 4:23:09 PM
Author: jas
Yeah, I got the ''are they natural'' question a lot when pregnant. I always said they were my kids and therefore by definition, unnatural. It usually confused people enough to leave me alone.

ETA -- then after delivering people asked how they came out. I immediately ALWAYS offer to show people my scar...without telling them where they came out...

This, by the way, is why I am not asked over to people''s houses anymore.
You are officially invited to my house!
 

peonygirl

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Thanks for all of the feedback thus far!
You gals are great! One other thing I''ve been saying when people ask me whether twins run in the family is, "No, we were really surprised." Which is probably the most 100% true answer I can give without getting personal since we were extremely surprised (esp with them missing the second baby on the initial ultrasound).

So it sounds like people agree with me that when people ask that question they''re not actually wondering whether I have a hereditary disposition to hyperovulation, right?
 

neatfreak

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Date: 8/4/2009 12:57:51 PM
Author: princesss
Okay, so I'm going to stick my neck out here, so please don't kill me.


I really didn't realize that asking if multiples ran in somebody's family was rude, and I definitely didn't think it was akin to asking details about the birth or a way of hinting at difficulty conceiving. I guess I just thought it was a question to show interest in your family, since most moms like to talk about their kids. I'm definitely glad I saw this thread before I had the chance to offend somebody. (The most I think I've subjected anybody to was me waving at their kids and saying, 'Sweetie, twins! I love twins...' as we passed.) So thanks for the heads up, but please give some people the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure they don't realize they're being rude, and I think the majority of people wouldn't ask if they knew how it was perceived. I'm not saying don't get annoyed, just...don't think they're all evil people out to question everything you did, okay? Some of us are just slow...
Princesss-It's just that for many people what they REALLY want to know is if they are "natural". If I say "no" to the run in the family question VERY VERY often people follow it up by asking if they were "natural". So for those people who *just* want to know if they run in the family it isn't rude. But in my experience, it often is a veiled attempt to find out more personal information.

And FWIW I think it's totally a different story to ask someone you KNOW vs. someone asking me in line at the grocery store ya know? If it's someone at a party, a friend, etc. I don't think it's rude at all. I DO think it's a bit off to ask someone at the grocery store though just because it's a personal question to someone you don't know.


I think it gets sensitive because I get asked these questions EVERY SINGLE TIME I go out the door with the babies. I have no problem with some polite chit chat and think it's wonderful when people want to stop and coo at my babies or say hi to them. But it gets old to hear the same 3 questions/statements over and over everyday.

And unfortunately many people ARE digging for personal info...if they don't follow it up with a "natural" question I don't find it offensive just a bit annoying if it's a stranger.

I am thinking of putting a sign on my stroller that says:

1. Yes they are twins.
2. They are boys and fraternal.
3. No, fraternal does not mean they must look identical.
4. I am not lying; they are not identical twins.
5. Yes we were surprised, no they don't run in the family, I had no treatments, I BF, and they were born via c-section.
6. Yes, I have my hands full.
7. Yes, they are double trouble.
8. Yes, I am very blessed.
9. Please refer all other questions to my publicist.

I think that about covers it.
 

Pandora II

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Date: 8/4/2009 12:57:51 PM
Author: princesss
Okay, so I''m going to stick my neck out here, so please don''t kill me.

I really didn''t realize that asking if multiples ran in somebody''s family was rude, and I definitely didn''t think it was akin to asking details about the birth or a way of hinting at difficulty conceiving. I guess I just thought it was a question to show interest in your family, since most moms like to talk about their kids. I''m definitely glad I saw this thread before I had the chance to offend somebody. (The most I think I''ve subjected anybody to was me waving at their kids and saying, ''Sweetie, twins! I love twins...'' as we passed.) So thanks for the heads up, but please give some people the benefit of the doubt. I''m sure they don''t realize they''re being rude, and I think the majority of people wouldn''t ask if they knew how it was perceived. I''m not saying don''t get annoyed, just...don''t think they''re all evil people out to question everything you did, okay? Some of us are just slow...
Until I hung around the TTC and PG threads, I would have always seen it this way. I''m naturally quite curious about twins - possibly as they do run in my family - and wouldn''t necessarily jump to the conclusion that they were concieved with help. If someone was having quads I would assume that they had...

Often it''s also just something to say - other than "OMG how completely terrifying" followed by story of going for scan and begging the tech. to swear there was only one in there - which one presumes ''might'' be seen as offensive.
 

kittybean

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Do twins really run in families? Or is it kind of an old wives'' tale? All the twins I''ve ever known have been the only twins anyone can remember in their families. Why do people assume that, if there are no twins in the family, that automatically means that the expecting parents used some sort of fertility treatment? Before fertility treatments existed, there were still loads of twins that existed without there having been other twins in the family. Please inform me, knowledgeable PS parents and parents-to-be!

(BTW, Neatfreak, if I saw you and your twins, I am sad to admit I''d probably run up to you and cause all sorts of delays. I love babies, and seeing two absolutely adorable little boys like yours would make my day.)
 

drk

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Ok, NF, you totally need to get that sign made! It was baffling to me that so many people thought these fraternal girl twins I babysat (at 13 - what was their mother thinking, leaving 6 month old twins and their 5 year old sister with a 13-year-old?) were identicals. They looked completely different to me, there was never any question of me getting them mixed up. I can see how that would be totally annoying to you, to have to argue with strangers about whether they''re fraternal or identical. Ugh.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 8/4/2009 6:16:10 PM
Author: kittybean
Do twins really run in families? Or is it kind of an old wives' tale? All the twins I've ever known have been the only twins anyone can remember in their families. Why do people assume that, if there are no twins in the family, that automatically means that the expecting parents used some sort of fertility treatment? Before fertility treatments existed, there were still loads of twins that existed without there having been other twins in the family. Please inform me, knowledgeable PS parents and parents-to-be!


(BTW, Neatfreak, if I saw you and your twins, I am sad to admit I'd probably run up to you and cause all sorts of delays. I love babies, and seeing two absolutely adorable little boys like yours would make my day.)

Lol Kitty-delays I don't mind as much as hearing the same questions over and over!

And yes, twins can run in families. It works like this. Some women have an inherited trait that they drop more than one egg at a time. If both are fertilized then voila! Twins! So that is why twins can run in families. But at the same time it can be completely random too-any woman can drop two eggs one month and if it happens that they get fertilized then you know what happens! Identical twins occur when one egg is dropped and then it splits a few days after being fertilized. They say that is completely random. But some families have a lot of identical twins too so I feel like there may be something genetic there that we haven't discovered yet-but that's my own opinion!

And the reason most people assume fertility treatments is because the reality of it is that these days many many sets of twins have been born because of fertility treatments. The twinning rate has gone up dramatically. So people ask because it's often true.
 

neatfreak

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Date: 8/4/2009 6:23:20 PM
Author: drk
Ok, NF, you totally need to get that sign made! It was baffling to me that so many people thought these fraternal girl twins I babysat (at 13 - what was their mother thinking, leaving 6 month old twins and their 5 year old sister with a 13-year-old?) were identicals. They looked completely different to me, there was never any question of me getting them mixed up. I can see how that would be totally annoying to you, to have to argue with strangers about whether they''re fraternal or identical. Ugh.
Lol-yes it is completely baffling to me! I don''t mind at all when people ask and then I can say no and that is the end of it. But seriously-people ARGUE with me about it! I still can''t believe that people argue with me about my own babies and whether they are ID or not...
 

princesss

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NF, thank you so much for taking the type to explain that. Not having gone though any of the TTC/Preggo/Mommy experience, I''m pretty naive about this stuff. Better to learn here, and not bug anybody IRL. I''m easily annoyed by answering the same questions over and over, so I could see where that would get obnoxious quickly.
 
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Diamond Eye Candy

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