First, some of us may think it's obvious why you shouldn't ask a pregnant woman if she is having twins, as it implies she is looking rather large. While this offends some, this doesn't bother me as I know pregnancy brings about a big belly, and I can get over that. But, the real reason I think we all really need to think about asking a woman this question is much deeper.
You see, when you ask a pregnant woman "are you sure you don't have two in there," what you may not know is that at 7 weeks she went in for an ultrasound due to some stomach pain.
What you most likely don't know is that during that ultrasound the tech looked at her and said, "Now this is interesting. I see one baby....and I see two babies." And in that instance that mother TOO saw two babies. Two babies. Two flickering heart beats. Two souls growing inside of her.
What you don't know is that in that moment her heart raced out of pure and utter fear, but perfect excitement. In that moment her heart instantly grew and she was a mother who was now in love with not just her baby #4, but her unexpected baby #5.
What you don't know is how uneasy she became when the doctor came in and said "I am concerned about the viability of Baby A. The heart rate is low and growth is a week behind." How she heard him mention a few statistics, but all she could think of was how she so badly wanted that little runt, Baby A.
What you didn't know was that for the next two weeks she and her husband prayed incessantly for God to care for both of the lives inside of her. That although they were scared to death, they knew there were two beating hearts inside of her that belonged to them. Their babies. Their children.
And what you might not know is that for those same two weeks she feverishly Googled "Vanishing Twin Syndrome" to help ease her fears that Baby A would just become another statistic. That she would find herself getting excited over the thought of bringing two babies into this world, but squashed her excitement with fear and sadness if she was to find out that Baby A didn't make it.
What you don't know is that at 9 weeks her ultrasound was one of her most bittersweet moments. She instantly knew when she looked at the screen that her biggest fear was true. Baby A's heartbeat was no longer flickering, no longer present, and no longer alive. In that moment she battled between rejoicing for a healthy, active Baby B, and feeling crushed as she looked at Baby A's smaller, almost vacant sac.
What you don't know is that she sobbed with her husband, and felt guilt for having such grief while she had so much to be thankful for. She was carrying a thriving Baby B. Baby #4.
What you don't know is that a miscarriage is a miscarriage and that no matter if you have another baby, you so deeply mourn the loss of the baby you no longer have, even if you only knew about that baby for 2 weeks. You equally grieve for the loss as you rejoice for the life.
What you don't know is that she met with the nurse after this ultrasound who hadn't realized the results and exclaimed "Congratulations! How exciting! Did you know you were having twins?!" So while your heart freshly wounded you had to explain that in fact, you did know, but that you no longer carried two babies.
What you wouldn't know is that she cried the entire way home while she listened to "Good Good Father," and because she knows her Father, she belted out:
You're a good good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am
What you don't know is that when she hears of someone having twins it stings just a bit. When she sees two babies in the grocery story her heart aches for just a second when she thinks of the "what if."
What you don't know is that she rejoices with this new life inside of her, but knows this pregnancy will always carry with it some loss. The birth will be joyous, but there will be a side of her that grieves what "could have been." There will always be an ache in her soul when she remembers that flickering heartbeat at 7 weeks.
You see, when you ask "Are there two in there?" she really REALLY wants to tell you "yes." She so wishes the answer was different than the actual response. When you ask her if she is having twins it stings, because she can't tell you that yes, indeed, she is carrying the two babies she had prayed for not that long ago.
What you can be sure of is that we are happy, and Baby B is growing and thriving. What you can be sure of is that we rejoice for the gift God has given us, and we look forward to someday meeting our Baby A.
(If you ever asked or joked with me about twins, it's okay :-) This isn't meant to guilt, and I know that it is all in innocence, but I also know that sometimes we don't realize someones journey or story. I know my story isn't common, but I urge you to think twice before you ask a woman if she is carrying twins. I know 100% that no one has ever meant harm in this common joke)