Special thanks to Corinne Parco for sharing her high school senior project with us! She writes, “I decided to write an article about triplets since I, myself, am a triplet. The article is about the perspective of triplets and triplet mothers.”
Throughout human history the number “three” has been a number of fascination and importance. In the world of art there are only three primary colors that are needed to make most colors; red, yellow, and blue. Three is a number representing time: past, present, and future; birth, life, death; or beginning, middle, end. In fairy tales, characters are usually granted three wishes. So, it is only natural for people to have a fascination with triplets. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a triplet? Or have you ever had the fleeting thought about wanting to have triplets? The triplet life is complicated – three of everything including three mouths to feed, three diapers to change, three cribs, triple the mess and triple the fun!
I am a triplet and I am going to give you a unique look into what life is like for a triplet and also triplet parents. There are many challenges and rewards in both areas, so if becoming a parent of triplets is in your future, I hope that this insight is helpful.
I interviewed five triplet mothers: Stacy, Sue Ann, Julie, Sue, and Jennifer for their unique perspectives to give you an inside look into their lives. From a social aspect, many triplet mothers said they feel like they’re being judged because they have triplets. One of the triplet mothers, Sue Ann, said it was hard going out in public because most people are curious or fascinated. When they see triplets they feel the need to stop her to ask questions. People believe having triplets is a miracle and a burden; a miracle that they were able to give birth to three babies at once, but also a burden to have to take care of three babies at once. Typical comments to triplet mothers from strangers are: “I am glad it is you and not me”, “You have your hands full”. Other frequently asked questions were: “Do you dress them alike?”, “How do you do it?”, “Do they share the same birthday party?”, “Can you tell them apart?”. “Are they identical” (even with girls/boys/sets). People often ask how the moms conceived triplets. (Wow that’s a personal question!) To that Sue Ann replied “That is none of your darn business!” Other questions asked by strangers include: “Were you surprised to have triplets?”, “Do your triplets share?”, “Do you plan on having any more children?” and “Are they natural?”. You can see that when out in public the amount of curiosity is high amongst people. As a triplet parent, you need to be prepared for a lot of questions, and at times you may even feel that your children are bit of a spectacle.
As triplets grow older people tend to make assumptions about their personalities and their appearances, such as they must all be alike. Some people don’t understand the difference between identical and fraternal. For example, when I meet people and tell them I am a fraternal triplet they will say I look identical to one of my sisters. Triplets may look similar because they are siblings, but they can be fraternal. Another inference is that people believe triplets must be all into the same things or activities and they all share the same friends. Julie commented, “People sometimes assume that they have all the same interests and abilities. That they are less unique because they are triplets.”
Speaking from a triplet’s perspective there are times when I don’t want people to know I am a triplet because I’m asked too many questions such as: “Do your sisters look like you, have I seen them before?”, “Do you have the same classes?”, “Do they go to the same school as you?” and “What do they look like?”. When triplets are young, they may have the same hobbies and likes because they spend more time together and it’s easier for the parents to put them in the same classes. But as they grow older, their activities and preferences are going to differ from each other’s. Writing from a triplet’s view point, it’s a bit annoying that some people see triplets as one entity, by that I mean they think we all have the same interests, we must be best friends, and we all look identical. Everyone is their own unique individual! Jennifer stated that people often try to classify triplets into categories. Strangers ask which one is the sporty, active one or which one is the smart one? Some people tend to believe that triplets can read each other’s thoughts. Triplets can’t read each other’s thoughts! We may share a connection or bond because we were born and raised together, but we can’t really read each other’s minds.
When we were younger, my sisters and I were in the same classroom until we reached high school. At first it was fine being in the same class because we already had an automatic partner and didn’t need to ask anyone, but later on when we entered fifth grade that’s when everything started to change. We didn’t want to be in the same group anymore because grades started to matter. I had the better grades and during high school teachers would sometimes compare us. For example: “why don’t you study together?” “Why do you have the better grade in the class?” “Do they (my sisters) study?” I felt good knowing I had the better grades, but I also felt bad because I didn’t know my sisters weren’t doing that well in class. Entering high school has made my sisters and I grow apart because of school work and our extracurricular activities, but when we do get together and talk, it becomes a heart to heart discussion which brings us closer together.
The topic of money came up when interviewing triplet mothers. Parents of triplets have to pay for three of almost everything including three college educations at the same time, so financial planning and saving is essential in a household with triplets. To save money triplet mothers use coupons and search for the best deals in every purchase. Sue Ann mentioned that her children started to notice when their friends went on a nice vacation and they were able to eat out all the time. She also said the only time her family ate out was when her kids were young and everyone agreed to drink water, instead of soda, and order from the kid’s menu. One of the triplet mothers said when she brings her children to the outdoor dollar movies, instead of buying popcorn there, she brings her own home popped popcorn. Another way the triplet mothers save money is by selling and shopping at consignment sales organized by their multiple group. All of the triplet moms belonged to a twin or triplet group when their children were small for emotional support and to connect with other families. Sharing stories and best practices with expectant, or new parents, provides insight into the rare world of raising triplets, as well as how to survive the first few challenging years.
Being a triplet is very special and unique. Mentioning that you are a triplet can be a good ice breaker when meeting someone for the first time. On the other hand, many people tend to want to make a lot of assumptions about you and your siblings. I usually have to answer lots of questions and do quite a bit of explaining. I can now appreciate the challenge facing a triplet mom, with three babies in a stroller, trying to make it through the grocery store while having to deal with all of the questions posed by total strangers at the most inopportune or oddest time! I am blessed to be a triplet and to be a part of this rare bunch that has added perspective to my life.
Like the way the Pythagorean theorem defines the relationship of the three sides and three angles of a triangle, I feel like I am part of an equation that would be incomplete without my two sisters. They have added laughter, joy, frustration, and mostly a love that cannot be replaced by any other two people in this world. Though we are definitely individuals, with our own interests and personalities, we will always share an inexplicable bond, the bond of a triplet.