For parents of twins, triplets and more, the moment of finding out you're carrying more than one baby is a moment you'll never forget. I can still hear that voice during the ultrasound: "Oh, wait, there's another one…". The reaction can range from disbelief, shock, joy, despair, fear, surprise or a combination of all these and more. I was rendered speechless for several hours (the one and only time according to my husband). This was followed by a sense of overwhelming anxiety at how I would cope as a first time mother with two babies.
Eleven years on and memories having faded of sleepless nights, constant feeds, never-ending washing and unsolicited questions from strangers about the babies' weight, gender, identical or fraternal, conception (yes, people asked how they were conceived), I could not feel more blessed to have had the opportunity to parent twins. But it wasn't always like that.
What got me through that period of overwhelming anxiety to a place of acceptance and, finally, excitement was (in addition to family support) the local multiple births association. Through them, I was able to meet with other multiple mothers-to-be, learn from parents that had "been there, done that" and have access to the many resources available to members. From practical tips on choosing the right pram to nappy reviews, from sleeping strategies to feeding issues, from pregnancy and development to educational needs of multiples – there was nothing that the multiple births association could not help me with.
The best find, however, would have to be the great friends I've made who have shared the trials and tribulations that come with managing multiples and who look at my house and don't see a mess but, instead, compliment the space that has been "custom designed" by two busy boys.
Me and my wombmate
With the number of pregnancies resulting in multiple births increasing consistently since the 1970's (in 2011, 4,560 pregnancies resulted in multiple births being registered), we are seeing more twins, triplets and higher order multiples in Australia today than we ever have before. This week is Multiple Birth Awareness Week, a national event held annually to celebrate multiples and to educate people about the unique challenges of parenting twins, triplets and more.
In 2014 Multiple Birth Awareness week will be celebrated from Sunday 9 March to Sunday 16 March with many events being organised across Australia. If you want to find out more, go to the Australian Multiple Birth Association website which has a listing of events in each State and Territory.
So, get along to an event near you and celebrate the joy of double trouble, triplet tantrums and the quarrelsome quadruplets, multiplied!