Beth Jacks column

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 24, 2011

Snippets by Beth Boswell Jacks

What not to say to mom-to-be in reaction to news of triplets

Well, well. What’s the old adage? Be careful what you wish for? My nephew Jack and his precious wife, Sage, have wanted a baby for some time. Finally, Sage is in the family way – with triplets. Three girls.
Because such news leaves most of us at a loss for a proper response, with Sage’s permission I’m sharing an entry from her blog – an entry advising us what NOT to say.

Sage writes:

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I think the most interesting thing about being pregnant with triplets is [what] people say to you. In order to entertain myself I have decided to categorize each response into one of five fictional characters. Meet Monica, Sue, Debbie, Samantha and Nancy.

Monica is the anxiety ridden question asker. After a brief moment of excitement, Monica immediately starts to process and internalize the thought of having triplets. Then the questions begin: “How are you going to handle this? Are you prepared? Do you know what you’re doing? Can you imagine having to give three kids baths? Put three kids to sleep? Feed three kids? How will they ever sleep at the same time? Have you thought about where they’ll go to school? Will they have different friends? You’re going to have to figure that out, right?”

Nope. Haven’t thought about any of this. Good thing I talked to Monica!

Then there’s Sue. Her M.O. is unfiltered, unabashed, over- the-top enthusiasm.

“OHHHH, MYYYYYY GOD!!!!!” ….followed by busting through a window of some sort.

You get the picture. Sue simply cannot contain herself. She means well and is really quite entertaining. My only complaint is that she makes me feel guilty for my lack of public elation.

On to Debbie – Debbie Downer, that is, and that label is putting it lightly. Debbie is convinced something horribly tragic is going to happen, but rather than keep those thoughts in her head, she shares: “Oh, wow. I had a friend who was pregnant with triplets. But they died. You know there are lots of complications. You’ll probably be in the hospital. You know if the babies make it they will be in the hospital as well.”

Debbie immediately muffles any excitement I might express by her immediate look of disapproval before launching into my impending dark future.

Now meet Samantha. She’s convinced my life is over and I will never, ever have fun again.  

“Ohhhhh. Wow!” she says. “Triplets! That makes me want to throw up.”

In Samantha’s eyes, this is the worst thing that could happen to a person. I guess she doesn’t know that I already have no life, so this really doesn’t change my status all that much.

And finally there’s Nancy Drew with the inquisitive mind. She MUST immediately get to the bottom of how this situation occurred. No other conversation can take place until “The Mystery of Sage’s Fertility” is solved.

“Did you do drugs? Fertility drugs?”

Don’t waste any time, Nancy. And don’t worry about having this conversation privately – feel free to do it in front of co-workers, strangers, grocery store clerks.

I totally appreciate Nancy’s quest for the truth, and it is a fair question, one I don’t mind answering, but it is just a little awkward . . .

I’m not sure how you [say] that this is a result of years of a difficult roller coaster that I would never wish on my worst enemy. Or that when waiting for the result of another round of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), we faced the fear and despair that we were nearing the end of the road… only to find we were finally pregnant, then to discover weeks later we were blessed with twins, then to learn a week later God had added a special bonus by splitting one of those miracle embryos.  

So…YES, Nancy, I did drugs . . . and I guess I should leave it at that.

Beth’s comment: What is the proper response to such startling news? Sage didn’t say, but I’m guessing this is appropriate and sufficient: “That is wonderful. Congratulations!”

It’s just so hard to keep the “Sue” in me bottled, y’know?

Follow Sage’s progress at <>.