Unsolicited Discourse


I have yet to meet a pregnant person or parent who hasn’t, at some point, been subject to invasive comments and questions from strangers. But the level of unsolicited discourse seems to increase exponentially the more children you have. Today, Heather shares the most common questions and comments she gets as the parent of a preschooler + triplets, and the responses she has at the ready:
“One of our greatest challenges is going out in public as a family, not because of the effort to care for our kids but because people seem to view us as something of a 'freak show.' We are always stopped in our tracks (and I do mean this literally), and experience the below questions/comments just about every time we go out. I understand that triplets are not so common, but at a baseline we are a family – not an exhibit to be ogled – and wish for sensitivity and basic manners when approached. I don’t always give the answers below, but I would sure like to!

Q: Are they natural?
A: Hmm, as opposed to unnatural or fake? I am quite sure my babies are real.

Q: Did you take fertility drugs?
A: Well, do I know you personally enough to share how we conceived our children? Are you asking about my personal medical information or my relationship with my husband? Also, please note that my 4 year old is standing right next to me and now wants to know what the stranger who stopped us is asking about. If you are asking because you are experiencing infertility, it's best to share that up front.

Q: Are they triplets?
A: Yes they are (snarky answer: If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.).

Q: Are they identical?
A: No they aren't. If you look at them you will notice that one is a girl and the boys look nothing alike.

Comment: I can't imagine what you spend on diapers.
Response: Well, if you are really interested, we use 20-30 a day. We do our best to not pay more that .19/diaper so that adds up to about $2080/year.

Comment: I feel sorry for you.
Response: Well I feel sorry for you as you do not get to experience the love and joy that all four of my children bring us.

Comment: Better you than me!
Response: I couldn't agree more.

Comment: God bless you.
Response: Yes we are surely blessed.

Oh, and please do not touch our children or invade their personal space without asking.”

Image credit: “Happy Family of Six Sealed for Time and Eternity” by Agrippa Ndongwe (1993)

FamilyChristine KohComment