“Twins” born years apart…

Every so often there’s an article like this one in today’s Guardian, about “twins” born years apart… The writer of this piece has a son and daughter born as a result of one fresh IVF cycle and a further frozen embryo transfer from the same batch of embryos.

It is a fortunate, yet far from uncommon, experience after fertility treatment, but it doesn’t make the children “twins”. Twins are two babies who are carried together and born at the same time, which these children were not. They are siblings rather than twins.

The Guardian seem to specialise in this myth – here are some previous twins who were born five years apart, although at least that time they called them “twins” in the headline…  Those were also covered by the Telegraph. And unsurprisingly the Daily Mail likes them too – these brothers born two years apart are “technically” twins according to the Mail – in fact, they are technically not twins. It is always made to sound as if it is some extraordinary and highly unusual matter, yet there are hundreds of thousands of siblings around the world who will have been conceived in a similar way.

Maybe I’m getting pedantic in my old age…

What not to say to someone who is having difficulty getting pregnant

Thanks to author Tracey Buchanan for her article in The Telegraph on what not to say to people who can’t get pregnant – the more other people understand that telling us we can “always adopt” or that we’d get pregnant if we went on holiday isn’t a great idea, the better.

I was particularly horrified by the fact that the suggestion that fertility problems were “God’s way” came from an NHS consultant – whoever it was shouldn’t be let loose in a fertility clinic ever again…

I was interested in Tracey’s take on pregnancies though as she says her happiness for others outweighed her own feelings of sadness. I think she’s actually quite unusual on this one.  Of course, most of us would hate not to be told about pregnancies – there’s nothing worse than suspecting that someone is pregnant and is putting off telling you because they know you’re struggling to conceive – but at the same time I don’t really think my feelings of joy for friends who were pregnant ever did outweigh my sadness. People looking at me with pity when they made pregnancy announcements didn’t just “sting a little” – I absolutely hated it and I’d often go home and cry with anger and frustration as well as sadness. They may not be pleasant emotions, but I know I’m far from alone in feeling that way.

 

Going back to the article though, I like the fact that Tracey has given the Telegraph’s readers some suggestions of more helpful alternatives to what they might say to friends with fertility problems.  Most of the time people are trying to be kind, even if it doesn’t feel that way, and it’s always useful to have some direction when you want to be helpful but aren’t quite sure what best to say…