It is exciting to be pregnant with twins, right up until the third trimester. One will find it nearly impossible to escape the blank stares once the belly has reached epic proportions. There are the odd looks and fascination as people get up the nerve to ask you if you are having twins. Nearly half of the individuals who will hear the response will follow with an inevitable question, “Are they natural twins?” Another variation of this question is a pointed, “Do twins run in your family?”
The onset of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) has sparked an interesting American phenomenon and a spike in the incidence of multiple births. Through the use of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) and IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) those who have been unable to conceive are able to bring forth children into the world. Stories such as those of Nadya Suleman and Kate Gosselin have created a multiple birth fervor over the methods by which women conceive their babies – especially when they are multiples. People just can’t get enough of twins, triplets and beyond. Unfortunately, people also can’t get enough of the inner curiosity of how those multiples got into their own existence. Perhaps the large amount of publicity has had a numbing effect on the manners of interlopers of the public.
That brings the story back to the question of , “Are they natural?” The first time a woman is asked such a question if causes the individual to stop dead in their tracks and stare in awe. The mother is ultimately asked about the state of her uterus and fertility in public, on-the-spot and usually taken by surprise. The only comparison I can give is imagine asking a person what their bra size (or other personal measurement) without the least bit of embarrassment. Yet, it happens to mothers of multiples often and consistently. It is a point of humor in groups of mothers who have multiples. We are asked how we conceived, if we wanted twins or even our aspirations to have future children.
Is this a reflection of society’s fascination with multiples or just a nosy public? In either case, it is best to decide the next time you ask such a question what information are you looking for. If you are a mother of multiples, I implore you to fire back with a counter-question. Ask the individual if they are inquiring as to whether the children in question are non-organic or alien? If that does not exude the response that you were hoping for, I ask you then to ask the offender if they are asking about the status of your uterus and fertility. After all, your children are carbon-based life forms and deserve to be considered natural or native to this Earth!
The answer to the question is indeed, yes, twins and triplets (and more) are in fact natural. If conceived through non-assisted means or assisted means, the result is the same. Take the time to marvel at the children that the world has created and remember the sensitivity of the woman you are asking. She may have tried for more years than you can count and you have opened an closing wound. Just ask, are they the result of infertility treatment and you will get a more accurate response. Another option would be to restrain yourself as you are asking more than the biological state of a child.